Spirited Bobcats are pipped in thriller

BASKETBALL: Ipswich Bobcats 80 London Sting 93. Ipswich Bobcats gave a spirited display when they lost 93-80 to visiting London Sting in an exciting high-scoring Women's National Basketball Conference clash.


Ipswich Bobcats 80 London Sting 93

IPSWICH Bobcats gave a spirited display when they lost 93-80 to visiting London Sting in an exciting high-scoring Women's National Basketball Conference clash.

Bobcats were keen to avenge the 78-62 defeat they suffered when the sides met in Harlesden in September but slipped to an early deficit when baskets by Teresa MacCuish and Zoe Mallett gave Sting a 6-1 lead.

Bobcats fought back strongly and baskets by Kayleigh Read, Line Brodie and Kirsty Clark gave Ipswich an 11-8 lead after six minutes, which Charlotte Dunne extended when she hit a basket and two points from the line.

Bobcats were good value for their 19-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, and a three-point play and a mid-range basket by captain Laura Shemming gave Ipswich a 24-14 lead two minutes after the restart.

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A three-pointer by Su Davis sparked a Sting revival and Charmaine Payne's strong inside moves not only brought the London centre four important points but drew three further fouls by Kirsty Clark, forcing Ipswich coach Elaine Miller to rest the Scottish international to prevent her fouling out.

The visitors' domination continued and they outscored Bobcats 15-6 to take a 29-25 lead midway through the quarter, but the sheer determination in the Ipswich team saw another inspired fightback, this time fought from the free-throw line as Read, Wood, Brodie and Shemming were persistently fouled on their drives to the basket.

Lauren Lindsay came off the Ipswich bench to score from an impressive drive and reduce the deficit to 39-42, but late baskets from the lively MacCuish and purposeful Payne secured a 46-39 half-time advantage for the visitors.

With Clark remaining on the bench to be saved for the final quarter, Angela Orvis was given an extended run out in the third quarter and used all her experience to outwit the Sting defence and haul Bobcats back into contention.

Orvis scored eight of her ten-point tally in a seven minute spell which saw Ipswich draw level at 56-56 before baskets by Brodie and Kayleigh Button secured a 60-58 lead going into the final quarter.

Cheered on by the vociferous Maidenhall crowd, Bobcats started the final period in determined mood and points from the free throw line by Orvis and Shemming kept Ipswich in front.

But the introduction of Patsy Imbert after Robyn Barnes fouled out for Sting proved influential on the outcome of the contest.

Imbert's powerful inside play sparked a seven-point streak for Sting as they took a 72-66 lead midway through the quarter.

Bobcats made a valiant effort to respond, but with Shemming fouling out with four minutes remaining they were left with a mountain to climb.

Two baskets from Clark kept Bobcats in touch and they were still in with a realistic chance when they trailed 72-79 with just over three minutes to play.

Points from the free throw line by MacCuish and Imbert extended Sting's lead to 83-72, but Line Brodie sealed her best-ever performance for Bobcats with a three-point play to secure an impressive 17-point tally.

Read fouled out after committing a late foul on MacCuish and although a final three-pointer from Clark secured Bobcats' highest score of the season, Sting's greater strength in depth saw them pull away to a deserved but hard fought 93-80 victory.

Ipswich Bobcats players and scorers: L Shemming 18, L Brodie 17, K Read 13, K Clark 10, A Orvis 10, C Dunne 6, L Lindsay 2, K Button 2, H Wood 2, K Banns 0.

London Sting players and scorers: T MacCuish 23, C Payne 17, Z Mallett 16, A Batimba 12, P Imbert 12, S Davis 6, E Hausen 4, T Faulkner 3, R Barnes 0, J Bedwell 0.

Women's National Conference results: Ipswich 80 London 93, Rhondda 86 Cardiff 61.

IPSWICH Bobcats Cadettes had the daunting task of taking on the table-topping and undefeated Haringey Angels at Maidenhall Sports Centre.

The very talented Haringey team ran out very comfortable 101-42 winners to maintain their league title aspirations.

The Bobcats youngsters made a nervous start despite taking a very early lead through Kerry Moore. The pace and aggression of Haringey was proving to be the downfall of Ipswich with many unforced errors. At the end of the quarter Haringey had powered their way to a commanding 31-8 lead.

Coaches Fay Greaves and Christel Macaudiere tried to instil greater control and aggression into their players. This resulted in a better second quarter and points from Lois Nunn, Lauren Lindsay, Natalie Field and a three-pointer from Victoria Brownsell gave the scoreline some respectability as they trailed at half time 21-55.

The third quarter was very much a repeat of the second with Haringey dominating play particularly under the boards where they were getting second and third scoring opportunities.

Alice Dunne and Emma Bogg came on for the Bobcats and got themselves on the score sheet as well as working hard on defence to try and stem the Haringey onslaught. However the visitors finished the quarter strongly to lead 77-33.

The final quarter saw both coaches giving all their players court time with the final result in no doubt.

The Bobcat girls can take heart from the fact that they are a young team and many will remain for next season. They will have learnt from the experience and will need to practice hard on the training court to try and reduce the errors that prove so costly at this level.

Ipswich Bobcats players and scorers: L Lindsay 7, K Moore 6, A Dunne 2, E Bogg 2, R Chambers, V Brownsell 9, N Field 10, and L. Nunn 6.

Haringey Angels players and scorers: R Davids 28, J Cambell 11, M Githesi 11, M Simpson 8, R McCarthy 12, M Karumba 4, K Joseph 9, M Hall-Ramsey 8 and A Stewart 10.

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