There was compelling viewing across WNBL Division One this weekend with four fixtures taking place this past Saturday. The pick of the bunch was a 1st plays 2nd contest in the East, so let's take a look at how that game and the rest of the schedule played out in Week 3.
In the battle of the division's 2-0 sides, spoils went to the defending playoff champions as Anglia Ruskin beat Ipswich 96-81.
Ipswich started slowly and after a few early exchanges, the Suffolk side began to fall away. With the Rhinos lead moving into double digits at 43-32 by the half, the difference would then pass 15 as the 3rd quarter wore on. Ipswich did manage to get their deficit back to single digits midway through the 4th, but they couldn't continue that comeback as they fell to a first defeat of the season.
ARU's Madeline Homoly was a big difference maker for her side as she recorded an impressive 35 points to go with 11 rebounds and 3 steals. Katrin Hulme didn't have quite the same impact on the score board, totalling 13 points for the contest but she did pull down a huge 19 rebounds. Coco Yeung top scored for Ipswich with 25, and reigning WNBL Division One Player of the Week Harriet Welham had 21.
Team Solent remained unbeaten on the year after a low scoring 48-23 win over Southwark Pride. Andrea Kurkowski scored 17 points for the Kestrels, making all the difference in a tight match up as the only player who made it into double digits. Amelia Sandie had 7 points for the hosts.
Barking Abbey Lions II couldn't find a way to get a maiden victory of 2019/20 as they lost to Thames Valley Cavaliers 66-51. The defeat knocks the Lions to 0-2 as Thames Valley are now off the mark at 1-2.
There was no winning start to life in D1W for Nottingham Trent as they lost 66-52 against Reading Rockets. Aided by 19 points from Sitota Espinosa, the Rockets lead increased steadily throughout the game, peaking at 24 to begin the 4th quarter. Captain Vicky Gray led from the front for NTU with 17 points but ultimately she couldn't help her side fashion any kind of a comeback despite winning the final frame 14-4.
CJ Lee, Solent Kestrels head coach: “I’m really happy with our defensive efficiency and commitment today. Southwark are young and inexperienced, but they were aggressive and athletic, and we did a great job forcing them to play deep into shot clock. Offensively we didn’t read the game well at all, so we have some work to do in readiness for next week and the rest of the season."
On reflection I was poor today. Coached the game wound up, frustrated and angry. Can’t allow that to happen. It’s a been a rolarcoaster of a week, huge academy win, heartbreaking injury to a wonderful young man and all of the emotions in between. Need to set a better example!— Nick Drane (@IBA_CoachDrane) October 12, 2019
2:00pm – Barking Abbey Lions II 51 v 66 Thames Valley Cavaliers
4:00pm – Anglia Ruskin University 96 v 81 Ipswich - LIVE STATS
6:30pm – Southwark Pride 23 v 48 Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS
6:15pm – Nottingham Trent University 52 v 66 Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS
Five fixtures make up the D1W schedule for next weekend as action moves into week 4 of the season.
For the second week in a row, WNBL fans can enjoy a 1st v 2nd showdown as Anglia Ruskin take their unbeaten record on the road against the 2-0 Solent Kestrels.
Elsewhere, Nottingham Trent host Southwark with both sides looking for their 1st win of the year, Ipswich head to Thames Valley, Barking and Loughborough lock horns in London and Bristol welcome Reading to the South West in Sunday's only game of the weekend.
Main image credit - Team Solent Kestrels