Welham stars as Ipswich start season with huge win over Oxford
WNBL Division One
Oxford Brookes 37
Ipswich opened their WNBL season in emphatic fashion on Saturday, beating Oxford Brookes by a staggering 103-37 margin.
The newly-promoted home side opened things up with back-to-back three pointers from captain Amy Linton, before a 7-0 run from the visitors had everyone inside Copleston anticipating a close encounter.
However, the Ipswich team simply changed gear and went on a phenomenal 29-0 run, holding their opponents scoreless for the rest of the quarter, finishing the period 35-7 up, with Oxford seemingly not know what had hit them.
Linton continued her hot start while National Player of the Year Harriet Welham was as unstoppable as ever.
A barrage of three pointers continued in the second quarter, with Danni Cazey, Charlotte Redhead and Cameron Taylor-Willis all connecting from distance while GB international Esther Little was dominating the boards and leading the Ipswich break.
The Suffolk side didn’t let up as they extended their lead, winning the second quarter 24-11. Ipswich coach Nick Drane was able to use all 11 of his available players by half-time, giving senior debuts to youngsters Phoebe Colton and Kenzie Day, while Nicole Aston and Ines Bowman-Boyles also played key roles off the bench.
The third quarter saw Ipswich further dominate, although there was the inevitable drop off in intensity as Drane heavily rotated his bench. Ella Pearson showed her vast improvement over the summer while Little, Linton, Welham Taylor-Willis and Cazey continued to run riot until the final buzzer.
Ipswich were led, as they so often are, by Welham’s 28 points. The dynamic guard added 12 rebounds and 10 assists to notch the team’s first triple double of the season.
Linton connected on five three pointers on her way to 17 points while Taylor-Willis recorded 16 points and five rebounds. Little’s eight points and nine assists were accompanied by an eye-popping 33 rebounds, a team record.
Ipswich have their first road trip of the season on Saturday, as they travel to Solent Kestrels.