Stubborn Cardiff make it tough but Ipswich keep unbeaten run going
- Credit: Archant
National play-off semi-finals Ipswich 77 Cardiff 68
Ipswich Women extended their unbeaten run to 21 games in the National play-off semi-final on Saturday with a comfortable 77-68 win against a stubborn Cardiff Met Archers team.
Ipswich were without National League leading scorer Harriet Welham, while Great Britain international, Esther Little was playing only limited minutes after missing the last three weeks due to injury. However, the Suffolk sided showed off their strength in depth and again demonstrated their character with a win in difficult circumstances.
Ipswich opened things up early in the game and didn’t really look back, although a late run from the Archers brought things within single digits, making things looking slightly closer than perhaps they were.
In the absence of Welham, Ipswich needed to find some extra scoring, and they got it from Maya Price (25 points and 22 rebounds) and Ashleigh Pink (21 points) while Danni Cazey added 14.
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Ipswich led from start to finish, leading by 11 after the first, which by the fourth quarter they had extended to 16 going into the games final ten minutes. However, the final period saw Cardiff hit some late shots and bring things within single digits, and much like Derby Gems in the final regular season game, Cardiff celebrated as the final buzzer sounded – like they had won the game.
“At this stage of the season, a win is a win,” said Ipswich coach Nick Drane.
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“We didn’t play well and we certainly didn’t shoot well, but to advance to the semi-finals with a depleted squad shows great character and proves that every player on this team has a role to play.
“Our preperations for Sevenoaks began last night. We will be having some extra sessions this week and will be very well prepared for the next game.”
There is no time to relax for Ipswich who now turn their attention to the National play-off semi-final, when they host Sevenoaks Suns next Saturday, again at Copleston.
The game will tip at 5pm in what is sure to be an emotionally charged game. In addition it’s the team’s last home game of what has been a historic season, as well as being a final home game for Ashleigh Pink, Maya Price and Jessica Baker all of whom are moving on to University.
Ipswich will be being presented with their NBL Division Two North trophy and individual medals after the game.