Tuesday, December 19th 2017
Bristol Flyers Women’s cup run came to a disappointing end against Ipswich in the semi-final on Saturday.
The Flyers had two weeks to prepare for this game and the team were in good form going into their last game of 2017. Ipswich, currently sitting top of Division Two, had brought a lot of home support with them and looked serious during the build up to the game.
On the very first play of the game, Fiona Fox made a full down court pass to Hannah Wallace for a layup. Ipswich’s Harriet Welham then made shots from in and outside the arc, giving Ipswich a 6-2 lead after one minute, which was followed by a seven point run from Liisa Juul that put the Flyers back on top. Five points in twenty seconds from Esther Little helped to narrow the gap for the visitors, and a three-pointer from Amy Linton swung the advantage back to Ipswich halfway through the quarter.
Ipswich did well to prevent fast breaks from the Flyers, but with more and more of their three point attempts falling short, the Flyers were able to mount a comeback. Great rebounding from Becky Cantin – she would finish the game with 13 total rebounds – helped clear the way for the Flyers to take back the lead with good play from close range and from the foul line. A final layup from Mai Zilbeti ensured the Flyers ended the opening quarter 22-17 ahead.
Wallace again opened the scoring after the game re-started with another layup, followed by another from Zilbeti which took the Flyers’ lead to seven. Ashleigh Pink then ended Ipswich’s scoring drought, and an outside jumper from Little narrowed the gap to three.
Six minutes in the Flyers lost their grasp on the game: they were unable to get a shot to drop, and Ipswich went on a fifteen-point scoring run to end the second quarter. Ipswich had turned the game on its head, and went to the locker room with a 38-29 lead over the Flyers.
As the second half got underway, Fox ended the Flyers’ long scoring drought with a two, shortly followed by two more from Cantin, who then prevented an easy layup and on the subsequent play Wallace hit another shot from outside to reduce the arrears to three points. Pink ended the Flyers’ momentum with a layup, as Ipswich sough to find re-discover their offensive flair after a lacklustre start to the third quarter.
The Flyers continued to find loose balls, two of which found their way into the hands of Till, who put them both away to level the scores at 42. Till then tipped in a missed shot from Short for the Flyers, and Cazey made a final jump shot as time expired, giving Ipswich a 55-49 lead going into the final stage of the game.
A three pointer from Till opened the final quarter, before making a basket just before the shot clock ran out. An and-one from Wallace then tied the scores once more, but the Flyers allowed too many fast break points from Ipswich, and six points without reply saw the visitors go 63-57 in the lead.
Five quick points from Wallace and a three-pointer from Molly James saw the Flyers turn the tables on Ipswich, and despite some good defence from the Flyers a lot of refereeing decisions went against them, which gifted Ipswich more possession time and attempts at basket.
Harriet Welham kept finding gaps in the Flyers defence, and her low post shooting put Ipswich back in the lead by four points, only for Wallace to close the gap to two. Wallace and Welham were both outstanding for their respective teams, and were joint top scorers on 23 points each.
With just over a minute left, Fox found a way through Ipswich’s defence and tied the scores twice, but with 17 seconds to go, Welham made what was to be a dagger three pointer. Wallace made one of two foul shots, and on the final attack a hurried Zilbeti missed from close range and Ipswich caught the rebound, rounding out this highly unpredictable, tense and exciting game, but also bringing the Flyers’ cup campaign to a disappointing and devastating end.
“Obviously we’re disappointed to lose here, we would have loved to play in the final.” Head Coach Gareth Till told bristolflyers.co.uk.
“For the last two weeks we’ve been concentrating on Ipswich. We were as prepared as we could have been. The loss will certainly refocus us and we’re more determined to come back stronger.”
“I thought we were a bit unfortunate coming down the stretch, there were a key few plays that didn’t quite go our way. Ultimately a poor second quarter was our downfall. The girls we battled back hard, and we put ourselves in a position to win the game.”
The Flyers Women’s will be back at WISE on January 13th, when they will be taking on the University of Nottingham. Keep up to date with the team on Facebook and Twitter.
Bristol Flyers Women are always on the lookout for new players, coaches and volunteers. Anybody who's interested and committed is always welcome to join the Flyers Family. Contact Flyers Women at email@example.com
Written by Jack Ford. A recent member of the Flyers Family, Jack has been volunteering with Bristol Flyers writing game reports on Flyers Women for the website and game day programme.
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