Hatters send Bobcats packing

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Sheffield Hatters 104 Ipswich Bobcats 59. Ipswich Bobcats made another fruitless journey to South Yorkshire on Saturday when they crashed to an emphatic 104-59 defeat at the hands of Sheffield Hatters in the Women's National Conference.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Sheffield Hatters 104 Ipswich Bobcats 59

IPSWICH Bobcats made another fruitless journey to South Yorkshire on Saturday when they crashed to an emphatic 104-59 defeat at the hands of Sheffield Hatters in the Women's National Conference.

Bobcats had lost to Hatters 77-48 in the National Cup only a week earlier, and any hopes of turning that result around were quickly dispelled when a dominant inside performance by Kristy Lavin took Sheffield 18-6 ahead midway through the first quarter.

A determined display by Laura Shemming saw the Ipswich captain score five points to haul Bobcats back to 18-11, but scores by Hinchliffe and Lavin secured a 22-11 lead for Hatters as the game went into the second quarter.

It was all Hatters at the restart, with Rada Pavichevich combining well with England International Katie Crowley and Andrea Kagie to go 31-15 ahead. Crowley then piled on the misery for Bobcats with the first of two three-pointers, and a basket from Kirsty Clark was all Ipswich could muster as Hatters took a commanding 40-17 lead.

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A pair of free throws from Kayleigh Read and three more baskets by Shemming helped Bobcats recover and a late basket by Helen Wood saw Ipswich trail 48-27 at the interval, but they were unable to contain Sheffield at the start of the third quarter when Hatters quickly added ten more points.

Shemming was again on hand to score Bobcats first field goal of the period as late as the fifth minute. Bobcats then played their best basketball of the match, with Line Brodie and Kayleigh Read both hitting form with accurate outside shots to help Ipswich recover to 65-38. Kayleigh Button came off the bench and scored from the free throw line after being fouled by Lisa Hutchinson and Bobcats held their own during the closing stages of the quarter to trail 71-44.

At that stage it looked possible for Bobcats to at least register a better score than the previous week's cup game, especially when baskets by Wood, Brodie and Shemming closed the gap to 75-50 inside the first two minutes. But Hatters were clearly still in fighting mood and ground out an extended lead from the free throw line as the tiring Bobcats got into foul trouble trying to defend Sheffield's relentless drives to the basket.

Shemming stood out in an otherwise lacklustre Bobcats performance and capped a fine personal display with an impressive turn around jump shot to secure a game high 30 point tally while taking no less than 13 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists.

Bobcats plight worsened in the closing stages when Clark fouled out and an unanswered 14-point streak in the last four minutes sealed a much deserved 104-59 Sheffield victory in a match where Bobcats were rarely able to raise their game.

Bobcats return to Maidenhall on Saturday 16th November to play their first home game for two months when they face high-flying Thames Valley Tigers in another Women's National Conference fixture. The match tips off at 6.30pm.

Ipswich Bobcats players and scorers: L Shemming 30, L Brodie 10, K Read 8, K Clark 4, H Wood 4, K Banns 2, K Button 1, C Dunne 0.

Sheffield Hatters players and scorers: K Lavin 25, K Crowley 18, R Pavichevich 17, A Kagie 16, K. Loftus 8, L Hutchinson 7, S Winter 5, K Hinchliffe 4, M Lafferty 3, H Catto 1.

Women's National Conference results: UWIC Cardiff 56 London 80, Rhondda 73 Northumbria Tyne & Wear 58, Sheffield Hatters 104 Ipswich 59.

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