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Ipswich Women produce their performance of the season to date as Loughborough beaten

19 February, 2019 - 08:00
Ipswich Danie Cazey beats the defence to make the lay-up. Photo: PAVEL KRICKA

Ipswich Danie Cazey beats the defence to make the lay-up. Photo: PAVEL KRICKA

Pavel.Kricka@btinternet.com

Ipswich Women 87 Loughborough Riders 66

Esther Littles' defence is just as good as her offence as she gets a hand in front of the Loughborough. Photo: PAVEL KRICKAEsther Littles' defence is just as good as her offence as she gets a hand in front of the Loughborough. Photo: PAVEL KRICKA

Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women put in one of their performances of the season to beat Loughborough Riders, a team that has had the better of them twice this season, on route to a comprehensive 87-66 win at Copleston.

Loughborough had beaten Ipswich earlier in the season by just five points in league play, but the following week put an exclamation point on that win by then knocking the Suffolk side out of the National Cup at the quarter-final stage in emphatic fashion, and going on the win the trophy previous held by Ipswich last month.

However, Ipswich, on their home court, had reason to feel confident having won four of their previous five contests, moving them one place above the Riders in the WNBL Division One table – meaning there was a lot at stake in this game as the race for playoff seedings heats up.

Ipswich started the better of the two teams, opening up a huge 15 points lead in the game’s opening quarter, with the home side dominating at both ends of the court.

Ipswcih's Sussana Rafiu had an exceptional game showing great confidence and assuarance. Photo: PAVEL KRICKAIpswcih's Sussana Rafiu had an exceptional game showing great confidence and assuarance. Photo: PAVEL KRICKA

Harriet Welham and Susannah Rafiu had it going early, while Esther Little looked to be playing some of her best basketball of the season as Ipswich ran riot.

The second quarter was a much more even affair, with the Riders finding their shooting form, scoring 21 in the period. However, the Ipswich onslaught continued as they again won the period, taking an unexpected 17-point advantage into the interval.

The third quarter started with three consecutive turnovers for IBC as Loughborough brought things to within 14 points, forcing Ipswich into a quick time-out.

The home side responded instantly, with Charlotte Redhead connecting on three consecutive three-point shots to balloon the Ipswich lead back up to 20 point. Loughborough battled valiantly, but Ipswich didn’t let up, extending their lead to 24 going into the game’s final stanza.

The fourth quarter was something of a formality, with the lead simply too much for Loughborough to mount any kind of realistic comeback. Although they did eat into the Ipswich lead, every time there looked like a momentum swing, Ipswich made a key play.

Harriet Welham continued to score freely, finishing with a game high 29 points, while Charlotte Redhead again demonstrated her red-hot shooting touch, with seven three pointers on her way to a season high 23 points while Esther Little was everywhere, scoring 14 points, adding 12 rebounds and eight assists. Ipswich closed out the game winning by an impressive 21 points 87-66.

“Loughborough are a very talented team, with some players you can’t leave open for a second, so this was a massive win for us and I thought we got some massive performances from the girls,” said coach Nick Drane.

“Last week was a horrendous result, and still could cost us later in the season, but what’s done is done, and to respond the way we have and beat a top quality team by more than twenty says a lot about the character of this group of players.”

Ipswich now hold the ‘head to head’ advantage over Loughborough and Solent meaning if they finish on the same record as those teams, they will have earned the higher playoff seeding. With just four games to play, if Ipswich can continue the form they have showed since Christmas, there is a good chance of a home seeding in the post season and a real chance that this remarkable team could continue this fascinating rise to dominance in the post season.

Top scorers: Welham 29, Redhead 23, Little 14.

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