LAST season’s champions are out of the finals race, with the Townsville Fire experiencing the brunt of Suzy Batkovic’s absence. The Boomers and Lynx are storming into the finals, while the Lightning is also looking strong as we head into the pointy end of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) 2018/19 season.
Adelaide Lightning (110) defeated Sydney Uni Flames (61)
Twice in less than a month, Adelaide has effectively put Sydney away with big margin victories. Both times at the Titanium Security Arena, Adelaide’s 43-point victory in Round 11 was eclipsed by a 59-point win over the bottom of the ladder side. The Flames hung in there in the beginning, shooting 23 to Adelaide’s 36, but they quickly declined in the second,scoring only nine points. The Lightning starters all scored over 10 points, with Lauren Nicholson starring with a 20-point performance. Her teammates, Nicole Seekamp and Nia Coffey were also big contributors. Seekamp played well to score 14 points alongside her five rebounds and nine assists. Coffey remained a problem under the board for opponents with nine rebounds, as well as four assists and 12 points to complement. For the Flames, Tahlia Tupaea rose to the occasion, picking up 21 points at 57 per cent and five rebounds.
UC Capitals (102) defeated Bendigo Spirit (62)
In keeping with the theme of big margins, UC Capitals earned a big, 40-point win over the Bendigo Spirit at home. The Capitals shot decently at 48 per cent, hitting 25 inside the arc and 10 outside. They earned more rebounds (40) and assists (23), and despite giving away 20 free throws, earned more with 24 of their own. Kia Nurse and Kelsey Griffin combined well to lead the Capitals to victory. Nurse ended with 24-points, two rebounds and two assists. She hit four from range, shot at 63 per cent and four steals. Griffin earned a double-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. She shot at 60 per cent, took three steals and landed two blocks. For the Spirit, Rebecca Tobin and Marena Whittle both scored 12 apiece.
Melbourne Boomers (64) defeated Perth Lynx (59)
The Boomers earned an important win at home, prevailing over the Lynx by five points. It seems that despite failing to crack double digits on the scoreboard in the second, the Boomers weren’t going to let that shake them. They outscored Perth, 17 to 10 in the third to take a one-point lead. The lead changed hands a little in the fourth, but for the most part Melbourne held the front and kept its spot on the table. Melbourne’s Eziyoda Magbegor was the game’s biggest highlight, scoring a game-high 17 points and six rebounds, despite only playing 21 minutes. Lindsay Allen also starred with 13 points, two rebounds and seven assists. For Perth, Brittany McPhee earned a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Townsville Fire (72) defeated by Dandenong Rangers (77)
In a round of themes we saw our second five-point margin, this time with Townsville falling to Dandenong at home. The Rangers excelled in most areas, shooting at 48 per cent compared to 38, proving better outside the arc and creating better movement in offence. Rebecca Cole scored 27 points for Dandenong with five assists and four rebounds. Following close was Kayla Pedersen who scored 18 points and took six rebounds, and Betnijah Laney, who picked up 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists. For Townsville, Laurin Mincy did well to score 18 points. She was also well assisted by Zitina Aokuso with 15 points and five rebounds, and Micaela Cocks with 14 points.
Bendigo Spirit (66) defeated by Perth Lynx (68)
This game came down to just two-points, with the teams matching their stats rather evenly across the board. Perth shot at 41 percent,took 43 rebounds and 10 assists, whereas Bendigo shot at 44 per cent, took 34 rebounds and 18 assists. The Spirit had a big quarter in the second where they scored 23 points, but just as with the first, Perth went on to win the remaining quarters to eventually take back the win. Asia Taylor stole the game with 20 points and eight rebounds. Her teammates performed well, with Katie Ebzery scoring 14 points with six rebounds and three assists, and Alison Schwagmeyer earning 12 points. Bendigo’s Nadeen Payne and Abbey Wehrung both scored 15 points to keep the Spirit close, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.
Sydney Uni Flames (60) defeated by Dandenong Rangers (85)
Sydney suffered yet another loss at home, this time at the hands of the Dandenong Rangers. Shooting poorly at 26 per cent, a near third of Sydney’s points were earned at the foul line (19). The Flames suffered immensely due to poor accuracy and turnovers and started the game slow with a 28-point first half – compared to 45. Dandenong’s biggest star emerged in Cole who scored 25 points across 27 minutes. She was accompanied well by Carley Mijovic who earned 19 points, seven rebounds and two assists,and Laney who picked up 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. Sarah Graham did well to earn 16 points with four rebounds and Tupaea worked real hard to play for the entire 40 minutes. She scored 12 points, took eight rebounds and five assists.