WNBL1: Week 2 Recap (24/25 October 2020)

Three fixtures took place in the second week of the new WNBL season as the 2020/21 season begins to gather momentum.

With six more teams getting their season underway, there is already a familiar look to the D1W table. 

With Ipswich, Anglia Ruskin and Team Solent Kestrels all enjoying wins, here's how the action unfolded this weekend.

The champions are up and running

BA London Lions (0-1) 60-99 Ipswich (1-0)

Last season's D1W winners Ipswich got their title defence underway with a comfortable 99-60 win away to BA London Lions II (0-1).

Leading post to post, Coach Drane's side built a double digit lead midway through the 1st period, further asserting their dominance as the half wore on. Early in the third the difference was past 20 and the Suffolk side never looked back from there.

Esther Little filled the stat sheet (21 points, 22 rebounds, six assists, three steals, three blocks, 42 efficiency) in an incredible do it all performance, and reigning MVP Harriet Welham (37 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, 33 efficiency) did the bulk of the heavy lifting on the score board.

“It’s good to get off to a winning start," said Drane. "Huge credit to Barking for hosting us and getting the game played in these difficult times.

"Considering we haven’t played for eight months, I thought it was a good performance. We are expecting Solent next week to be tough.”

Keeping pace

Anglia Ruskin University (1-0) 69-50 COLA Southwark Pride (1-1)

Twenty points from Jazmin Gyulai and solid debuts from Courtney Gray and Autumn Kalis pushed Anglia Ruskin to a 69-50 home win against COLA Southwark Pride.

After an even first quarter, the hosts clicked into gear and a 28-14 second frame set the tempo for the remainder of the contest. With Gyulai firing, the Rhinos' lead moved into double digits and stayed there the rest of the way.

Southwark showed the same fighting spirit that allowed them to claim a win in week one against Reading, with Emily O'Connell (12 points, three rebounds) and Molly Lavin (14 points, 10 rebounds) both working hard offensively despite the final score.

Alongside the Hungarian wing's output (20 points, six rebounds, two assists, five steals), Grey (14 points, 11 rebounds, 21 efficiency) and Kalis (13 points, 12 rebounds, 16 efficiency) both impressed, as did captain Noa Sanchez Marques, who narrowly missed out on a double-double with 10 points and nine assists.

"When it came to the rebounding and slowing them up in transition, I thought we did an excellent job on that," said ARU head coach Jacob Lloyd.

"Overall we have to be positive as this is the first game we've played together. We're going to take each game as it comes and continuously working towards the vision for what this team looks like in March and April time."

"It's exciting to get back on court again," Gyulai added. "We're still adjusting to each other because the team is new, but it's nice because we can all learn a lot from one another."

Kestrels fly back

Bristol Flyers (0-2) 63-68 Solent Kestrels (1-0)

Despite trailing early in the fourth quarter, Solent showed their composure to overcome hosts Bristol 68-63, sending the Flyers to 0-2 in the process.

In a hard fought and physical contest that included 12 lead changes, both teams went toe-to-toe for the duration. Solent's Krisztina Velkey threatened to break the game open on multiple occasions, but ultimately fell into foul trouble as Chiara Di Stefano (14 points) and Erica Meyer (13 points, eight rebounds) were left to pick up the slack.

Velkey's absence did allow the Flyers to pull into the lead as the second half wore on, with Mai Zilbeti (16 points) and Fiona Fox (10 points, nine boards) both doing damage.

It would ultimately be the visitors who would take the contest as a late 12-0 run by Solent proved too much for the Flyers to overcome.

"We played a good game, we are still learning and finding out the right way to play on defence and offence," said Bristol head coach Pedro Vega Fuentes.

"We are still making a lot of turnovers and this will be our focus in the coming weeks. I'm looking forward to our next game and showing our progression. We will make this team a strong family."

Solent head coach CJ Lee commented: “It wasn’t a pretty win, but our team showed some character. Down by six, we held our nerve, made some big defensive plays, and closed out a tough opponent on the road.

"The Flyers did a great job today, both on and off the floor. We’re so grateful to be playing meaningful basketball, after such a long break, and given these difficult circumstances."

This weekend's results:

Saturday 24th October

BA London Lions II 60-99 Ipswich - LIVE STATS

Anglia Ruskin University 69-50 COLA Southwark Pride - LIVE STATS

Bristol Academy Flyers 63-68 Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS

Looking ahead

A trio of games make up the week 3 schedule as Ipswich head to the South coast to take on Solent in what is sure to be a tricky tie for the defending champions.

Elsewhere, Bristol host Loughborough as the Riders get their season underway, and Nottingham Trent also begin their campaign as they welcome BA London Lions II.