Star Welham leads depleted Ipswich to battling win at Solent
WNBL Division One
Solent Kestrels 79
Ipswich produced a huge fourth quarter performance to steal victory on the road to a very tough Solent Kestrels team as they moved to 2-0 in WNBL Division One action.
Ipswich travelled south with a depleted with no less than five players missing due to injury and a sickness bug that had swept through the team, and had to dig deep to earn their first win on the road this season.
The first quarter saw the Suffolk side race out of the blocks, with Harriet Welham in fine form and the pace of the Ipswich offence causing the host problems.
However, fatigue was always going to be the issue with only six fit players. The quarter went the way of Ipswich, but by half-time the tide had turned significantly, with Solent winning the second quarter 25-11, giving them a 44-39 advantage.
The third quarter saw the host further extend their lead, and while Ipswich found baskets easy to come by, they simply couldn’t stop the bleeding at the other end, with Solent collecting another 25 in the period, taking a seven-point advantage into the final period.
The fourth quarter saw Ipswich show off their phenomenal character. With everything stacked against them they went about swinging their momentum with some stifling defence and ruthless execution of offence.
Danni Cazey came alive, connecting on two consecutive three-point attempts, while Esther Little’s athleticism suddenly took over game, controlling both ends of the court. Key baskets from Welham, Taylor-Willis and a huge Charlotte Redhead three-point shot saw the visitors build an eight point lead of their own.
However, a Solent three point shot brought the Ipswich lead back to five, but some crucial defensive stops and smart offensive possessions enabled Ipswich to seal a crucial 84-79 victory.
Coach Nick Drane. “Considering what we were up against today, not only in terms of the level of the opposition, but we the calibre of players missing from our team, to get a win like this is great.”
Ipswich were led by a 31 point, 13 rebound double-double from Welham who was helped by 17 points and eight rebounds from Little. Cazey and Redhead added 13 apiece, while 15-year old Cameron Taylor-Willis recorded 11 points and 11 rebounds.