Historic Ipswich remain unbeaten
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Women 78 Derbyshire Gems 73
Ipswich Basketball Club’s all conquering Senior Women’s added a bit more history to their unforgettable season on Saturday as they took down second-placed Derbyshire Gems 78-73 to complete a remarkable 15-0 regular season, to go with their National Cup.
For the first time this season at Copleston, the Ipswich team were made to work for a win.
Derbyshire, who can boast the services of former GB Senior International, Joanne Claydon, came in with nothing to lose, already guaranteed of second place in the league and a home draw in the play-offs.
Ipswich, on the other hand, were protecting a phenomenal record of 19 wins from 19 games – and were playing without one of their own GB Internationals, Esther Little, who has rested due to a minor knock.
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Although the scoreline suggests this game went down to the wire, in reality, in wasn’t until the final minute of the game that the Gems pulled within touching distance of the champions.
“We weren’t at our best today, but we weren’t at full strength either,” said Head Coach, Nick Drane.
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“I thought we did a good job of digging in and grinding out a tough victory against a team I would imagine will have a very good run in the playoffs.
“Actually playing in a game like that going into the post season will do us good.”
Ipswich held an eight point lead after the first period (26-18), with Ashleigh Pink and Harriet Welham dominating the scoring, and they extended that lead to nine by half-time (45-36).
Maya Price was in fine form, blocking seven shots in the first half, while as expected, Claydon did much of the damage for the visitors.
In the third quarter Ipswich extended their lead to 16 and it looked like it was turning into another comprehensive victory for the Suffolk side, before the Gems clawed things back to ten going into the fourth (61-51).
Ipswich again pushed, Amy Linton, Pink and Danni Cazey all connected from long-range to extend the lead back to 16 with three minutes to play but Derbyshire would not throw into the towel – bringing it back to ten with a minute to play.
In the final 30 seconds Derby capitalised on a Ipswich miss and made a three to bring it within seven and then off an Ipswich turnover the lead was trimmed to five with 20 seconds to play.
Ipswich held onto the ball and run out the clock to close out their tightest league win of the season 78-73.
Top Scorers: Ashleigh Pink 29, Harriet Welham 21 & Maya Price/Danni Cazey 11.
Ipswich now turn their attention to the play-offs. Ipswich will host Cardiff Met Archers in the first round, at Copleston, on the weekend of April 7/8.