Ipswich coach Drane insists his unbeaten side are not getting distracted by history
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Basketball Club’s women’s side stand one game away from an unprecedented unbeaten, triple-winning season – but head coach Nick Drane insists that he and his players are not thinking about making history.
In their first season together, Ipswich have cut a swathe through the competition in NBL Division Two, winning the title without losing a single game.
They bettered that by winning the National Cup, seeing off several sides from the league above them, before fighting back from 17 points down in the final, against Division One champions Essex Blades, to lift the silverware.
And now, all that stands between them, the Division Two play-off title and an historic unbeaten season is the Derbyshire Gems, a side they’ve already beaten three times this season.
But Drane said: “It is one game from history. I’ve said all along that we’d probably lose a game or two this season, but now this run has gathered such momentum that the possibility of us losing is inconceivable to people on the outside.
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“But to us on the inside, we have a game to prepare for – and in a one-off game, anyone can beat anyone else. We are not really concerned with the history of it, we are worried about winning one game, that’s the way we have to look at it.”
Indeed, this final game, in Manchester on Saturday, could well be the toughest yet for Drane’s charges, the Gems only losing to them by five points in their last regular season clash.
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“They are a very big, physical and experienced team,” said Drane. “They have some outstanding players, especially Joanna Claydon, a former GB international who has given us fits in two out of the three games we’ve played.
“We’ve done a lot of preparation for her, video analysis and that sort of thing. They are also as big as we are, which is unusual, and a very resilient side.”
Ipswich will take 100 fans with them to Manchester hoping to see history and, reflecting on the season as a whole, Drane added: “There’s a great tradition of women’s basketball in Ipswich from the 1980’s and 90’s, and this group want to say that they belong with those great teams from the past.
“It’s been a fascinating challenge for me. I’ve become a better coach because of these girls and it’s been a fantastic journey – but we’re not finished yet.”