Ipswich beat closest rivals to stay unbeaten at top of the league

Ipswich's Harriet Welham led them to a win at Derbyshire. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Ipswich's Harriet Welham led them to a win at Derbyshire. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

WNBL Division Two Derbyshire Gems 63 Ipswich 75 Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women recorded a huge win on the road at previously undefeated Derbyshire Gems on Sunday to put themselves in a strong position at the top of WNBL Division Two heading into Christmas, writes William Russell.

Maya Price had a big game for Ipswich with six blocks. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Maya Price had a big game for Ipswich with six blocks. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

Ipswich put together a dominant performance that saw them ahead by 23 points going into the fourth quarter – before Derby mounted a mini comeback in the final two minutes to bring the score within 12.

Although Ipswich had made a perfect start to the season, going undefeated in the league as well as taking down teams from the division above to reach the National Cup semi-final, Derbyshire had done the same, making the significance of this game huge, with both teams making relatively short work of the teams in Division Two.

Ipswich led from the start, with Ashleigh Pink dictating the game’s tempo, and Maya Price controlling the paint, finishing the game with six blocked shots.

However, Derbyshire are a veteran team with a lot of experience, not least in the form of Great Britain Senior International Jo Claydon.

Ashleigh Pink scored 20 for Ipswich.

Ashleigh Pink scored 20 for Ipswich. - Credit: Archant


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Ipswich used a balanced attack to slowly build a double-digit lead going into half time, while Derby had no answer for Ipswich’s stifling defence, which held their hosts to just 24 points through two quarters.

The third quarter saw Ipswich further extend their lead, with leading scorer Harriet Welham getting it going, as the Suffolk side extended the lead to over 20.

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But having been kept quiet for three quarters by Ipswich outstanding team defence, Claydon then connected on four consecutive three pointers in the final two minutes to change the scoring spread from what looked like a relatively one-sided game to a more competitive contest.

Welham led Ipswich with 21 points while Pink added 20.

Head coach Nick Drane said: “I thought we did a good job today. To come here and get a win is hard. Their crowd really get behind them, and their court certainly favours a team that are used to the surroundings so it’s a great win.”

Ipswich, who are unbeaten at the top of the league, now turn their attentions to the National Cup semi-final at the Bristol Storm on Sunday.

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