- National Teams
Harriet Welham led Ipswich to a 96-90 win over reigning champions Thames Valley Cavaliers to secure Ipswich the National Cup on Sunday afternoon at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester.
Welham, who was named MVP, finished with 32 points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals, coming up huge in the fourth quarter to lead Ipswich to victory.
Liv Forster and Christabel Osarobo – both NCAA Division 1 bound next season – added 17 each for Ipswich, while Kat Goldsby had 24 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals to lead TVC.
Nothing could separate the two sides, their second competitive match up in as many weeks after TVC won at the buzzer last weekend in league play.
“We talked about rebounding and defending the paint,” suggested Ipswich head coach Nick Drane when questioned about his half time approach.
“We talked about the fact that they’re bigger and stronger than us and that we had to compete and if we could compete and stay out of foul trouble that we would be able to bring it home late in the game.
“[Losing last week’s D1W game to TVC] did us a favour in the sense that we know that they can beat us. We’re having a pretty good season in the league and I think if you start to [believe] all the noise I don’t think it does you any favours as a team.
“We know how good Thames Valley are, so when they beat us last week it proved that we needed to be at our best to beat them here.”
A 9-0 Ipswich run punctuated by a Liv Forster three to open the third quarter appeared to give Ipswich control with a 12 point lead, but TVC refused to go away. They used a 14-2 run of their own to tie it up at 58 halfway through the third.
The teams went blow for blow the rest of the way. Kat Goldsby scored a tough lay up inside and-1, converting the free throw to give TVC their first lead since the first half with a little over seven minutes remaining.
But it was Harriet Welham time. She sparked an 8-0 run for Ipswich to take control, and scored 10 points over the next five minutes to put TVC away and secure the win.