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Ipswich beat closest rivals to stay unbeaten at top of the league

PUBLISHED: 13:09 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:09 04 December 2017

Ipswich's Harriet Welham led them to a win at Derbyshire. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Ipswich's Harriet Welham led them to a win at Derbyshire. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA


WNBL Division Two

Derbyshire Gems 63

Ipswich 75

Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women recorded a huge win on the road at previously undefeated Derbyshire Gems on Sunday to put themselves in a strong position at the top of WNBL Division Two heading into Christmas, writes William Russell.

Maya Price had a big game for Ipswich with six blocks. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA Maya Price had a big game for Ipswich with six blocks. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Ipswich put together a dominant performance that saw them ahead by 23 points going into the fourth quarter – before Derby mounted a mini comeback in the final two minutes to bring the score within 12.

Although Ipswich had made a perfect start to the season, going undefeated in the league as well as taking down teams from the division above to reach the National Cup semi-final, Derbyshire had done the same, making the significance of this game huge, with both teams making relatively short work of the teams in Division Two.

Ipswich led from the start, with Ashleigh Pink dictating the game’s tempo, and Maya Price controlling the paint, finishing the game with six blocked shots.

However, Derbyshire are a veteran team with a lot of experience, not least in the form of Great Britain Senior International Jo Claydon.

Ashleigh Pink scored 20 for Ipswich. Ashleigh Pink scored 20 for Ipswich.

Ipswich used a balanced attack to slowly build a double-digit lead going into half time, while Derby had no answer for Ipswich’s stifling defence, which held their hosts to just 24 points through two quarters.

The third quarter saw Ipswich further extend their lead, with leading scorer Harriet Welham getting it going, as the Suffolk side extended the lead to over 20.

But having been kept quiet for three quarters by Ipswich outstanding team defence, Claydon then connected on four consecutive three pointers in the final two minutes to change the scoring spread from what looked like a relatively one-sided game to a more competitive contest.

Welham led Ipswich with 21 points while Pink added 20.

Head coach Nick Drane said: “I thought we did a good job today. To come here and get a win is hard. Their crowd really get behind them, and their court certainly favours a team that are used to the surroundings so it’s a great win.”

Ipswich, who are unbeaten at the top of the league, now turn their attentions to the National Cup semi-final at the Bristol Storm on Sunday.

Two Ipswich Town stars will be looking to take a big step towards this summer’s World Cup over the next week while a host of younger players look to further their international careers.

Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has been impressed by Ipswich stopper Bartosz Bialkowski following his first call-up to the Polish national team.

Luton boss Nathan Jones is disappointed to lose the services of midfielder Flynn Downes due to international duty but is pleased to see the Ipswich Town youngster continue his development with England Under 19s.

Fighting for a place in England’s World Cup squad might be tough work for Burnley’s Nick Pope but it beats riding a milk float in the early hours of the morning.

Ipswich Town goalkeeper Michael Crowe was taken by surprise when he found out he had been called up for international duty, but is determined to learn as much as he can while away with the Wales squad.

Ipswich Town fans want to see young defender Josh Emmanuel given his chance in the first team next season.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says Josh Emmanuel may be sent out on loan again next season.

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers hopes striker David McGoldrick has not played his last game for the club.

Season ticket prices, whether we’ll hear from owner Marcus Evans and manager Mick McCarthy’s future are the three big questions as Ipswich Town head into a two-week international break.

Did you hear about the Mick McCarthy press conference? He walked into the room, sat down, and apologised profusely to the loyal fans of Ipswich Town, writes Northstander Terry Hunt.

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