Ipswich 96 v 55 Derbyshire Gems
NBL Division Two Women Playoff Final
Ipswich Basketball Club were crowned Division Two Women's Playoff champions as they completed a historic season; undefeated in the league, Cup and playoff competitions! A commanding performance against North division rivals Derbyshire Gems was highlighted by an MVP performance from Ipswich guard Harriet Welham who filled the stat-sheet with 33 points, six rebounds, three assists and five steals.
N B L S E N I O R F I N A L S 🏆🏀 @IpswichHoops also getting the triples to drop, as Esther Little finds Harriet Welham along the baseline!— NBL (@NBLengland) April 28, 2018
#NBL1718 #NBLfinals 🏀 #TogetherWeAreBasketbALL pic.twitter.com/yk2OsQwVTF
Ipswich started as they meant to go on, racing out to a 13-3 lead that was capped by Welham’s first triple of the game. Gems’ guard Steph Ogdon (17 points, four rebounds, two assists) managed to get her side going with a three pointer in reply but Ipswich hit straight back to quell any potential momentum and head to quarter time up 25-12.
“To go undefeated all season was unbelievable. I love playing and I love this group of girls,” said the MVP. “I wouldn’t want to play and win with anyone else, they’re my girls!”
If the Gems thought that the break between quarters might slow their opponents down, they were unfortunately mistaken. Danielle Cazey (12 points, four rebounds, three assists) dropped a shot from long range to pick up her first basket of the game and although Ogdon replied in kind, the momentum continued for the Suffolk side. A 28-15 score line quickly became 41-17 and from there Ipswich never looked back.
“This is the best team I’ve ever coached and I’ve been doing this full time for 17 years,” said Ipswich Head Coach Nick Drane after the buzzer. “They’re all girls that have come through our system and we’ve taught how to play. That’s very satisfying.”
After the main change, Drane’s side did him proud as their level of execution at both ends of the floor continued to rise. The Gems had few answers for their opponent’s pressure on defence, and with slick ball movement and telling penetration on the drive, Ipswich’s lead kept rising.
Though they continued to fight, Derbyshire were powerless to resist as the game wore on with Ipswich’s Maya Price (five points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks) a primary reason why the Gems couldn’t gain any real offensive traction. A late flurry of points in the final quarter was a deserved reward for Coach Kelly’s team, but the result of the game had long since been decided.
“Ipswich haven’t completed the treble for no reason,” said Derbyshire Captain Kate Loftus. “They have a lot of skill and a lot of talent and they’re still a young team. They made us work for every single point out there today but the girls can hold their heads high. We kept going to the end and our performance in the final quarter was nice to see.”
Drane is already planning for the future with his side, and rightly so after an unbeaten campaign, “We plan to move up to Division One next season so we’ll look to build towards being a strong side in that league too,” he said. “We’re going to enjoy this for now though, we can worry about next season in a few weeks’ time!”