The Team Solent Kestrels women kicked off 2024 with a tough 74-45 loss to WNBL high flyers Endeavour Ipswich at the Solent Sport Complex.
Having won their last home game in dramatic fashion against Birmingham Rockets, the Kestrels were unable to pull off another spectacular comeback as the visiting team demonstrated why they were top of the league and had only lost one game all season so far.
Ruby Laight scored 12 points with three rebounds whilst Faith McDowell recorded four steals in a strong defensive display.
The first quarter started rapidly with both teams showing defensive prowess and forcing turnovers all over the court. Fernanda Loberto threw herself onto loose balls on multiple occasions as she led the home team’s hustle. Earleesha Jackson scored late on in the quarter to help stay in touch with the away side as the first quarter ended 16-21 in favour of Ipswich.
Solent started to show off some fast ball movement at the start of the second quarter but found varying success, with a high number of turnovers and loose passes accompanying the points scored. Ipswich played a very pressure-intensive style that caught the home team out and benefitted from the prolific changes of possession to stretch their lead to 28-45 going into the halftime break.
Having had limited time to train over the Christmas break and also suffering with four players out with injuries, the fast pace the Kestrels had set themselves soon meant they had to slow the game down, allowing Ipswich the opportunity to show some passing moves of their own. A series of three pointers and trips to the free-throw line saw the third quarter end 36-65 to Ipswich.
The game’s momentum started to even out in the fourth quarter as Solent found some more rhythm in their attack. Jackson continued her scoring whilst Laight also continued to fashion good attacking opportunities. Neither side made a further indent to the lead as the game ended 45-74 to the away side.