Cup holders send Bobcats crashing out
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Sheffield Hatters 77 Ipswich Bobcats 48. Ipswich Bobcats bowed out of this season's Women's National Cup with a second round defeat by Sheffield Hatters when the sides met in South Yorkshire.
Sheffield Hatters 77 Ipswich Bobcats 48
IPSWICH Bobcats bowed out of this season's Women's National Cup with a second round defeat by Sheffield Hatters when the sides met in South Yorkshire.
Cup holders Sheffield are currently riding high in second place in the Women's National Conference and they made a strong start against a Bobcats side that had been without a competitive match for six weeks.
Sheffield applied pressure from the outset and baskets from the impressive England international Katie Crowley and Andrea Kagie took Hatters to a 13-0 lead after just four minutes.
A time out was called by Bobcats coach Elaine Miller and the visitors quickly responded with tighter defence and a more controlled offence, which saw Laura Shemming open Bobcats' account with a three point play after being fouled by Crowley on a drive to the basket.
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Baskets from Kirsty Clark, Line Brodie and Charlotte Dunne kept Ipswich in contention and they recovered to trail 23-14 at the end of the first quarter.
However, Sheffield again dominated at the restart.
A basket from Molly Lafferty was quickly followed by a free throw by Helen Catto and a three-pointer from Kirsty Lavin as Hatters forged into a 29-14 lead.
Brodie hit back with a three-pointer for Bobcats, but Lucy Hutchinson immediately hit a similar long-range effort as the outside shooting of both sides started to dictate the style of the game.
Dunne was equally effective with her drives at the end of the Ipswich fast break and made a solid contribution to defence with a huge blocked shot as Sarah Winter attempted a lay up for the home side.
The Bobcats revival saw them trail just 41-29 at half-time.
But another strong opening by Sheffield took the Hatters into a 51-33 lead midway through the third quarter to effectively put the game beyond Bobcats' reach.
Shemming scored three more baskets in the closing stages of the quarter to bring her personal tally for the match to 15 points.
But Sheffield held a commanding 60-39 lead going into the final period.
The hosts extended the advantage with baskets from Lavin, Kagie and Rada Pavichavich to go 72-41 ahead.
Kayleigh Read marked her return from injury with an 11-point tally when she hit a late three-pointer and both coaches had the opportunity to run their bench.
Kirsty Banns, Kayleigh Button and Lauren Lindsay all earned valuable court time as Sheffield progressed to the quarter-finals with a solid 77-48 victory.
Bobcats make a repeat journey to Sheffield on Saturday when the sides meet again in the Women's National Conference.
The match will be played at Concord Sports Centre and tips off at 4pm.
Ipswich Bobcats players and scorers: L Shemming 15, K Read 11, C Dunne 10, L Brodie 8, K Clark 4, K Banns 0, K Button 0, L Lindsay 0, H Wood 0
Sheffield Hatters players and scorers: K Crowley 17, A Kagie 13, K Lavin 13, R Pavichavich 12, L Hutchinson 11, H Catto 3, M Lafferty 3, K. Loftus 3, S Winter 2, K Hinchliffe 0.