BENDIGO Braves and Dandenong Rangers sit atop the National Basketball League (NBL)1 Women’s competition ladder after successfully winning both their games over the weekend. While they tasted success, it was not as enjoyable for the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (CoE) who dropped both games and went to 0-5 to start the season, while Diamond Valley Eagles and Nunawading Spectres split their respective games 1-1.
Bendigo tipped off the round on Friday night with a home victory over the future stars of the Opals. The Braves found themselves trailing by three points at quarter time and one point at half-time to the Basketball Australia CoE, before clicking into gear. The Braves scored 23 points to 15 in the third term before completely shutting down their opposition with a 16-5 final quarter to run away 72-54 winners. Gabrielle Richards was enormous off the boards with 20 points, 11 rebounds and two steals, while Kelly Wilson opened the game up for her teammates with a remarkable 14 assists and five rebounds to go with her 22 points. Tessa Lavey also had a night out for the winners, picking up 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists. For the CoE, Lily Scanlon was the only player to reach double figures, posting 10 points, as well as four rebounds, while Jade Melbourne finished with nine and three, as well as two assists. Adelaide Fuller scored six points and a team-high seven rebounds in the loss.
The next day, Bendigo made the trip down to Ballarat to face the Rush in a bid to go back-to-back. The Rush went down in Round 1, while the Braves now sat at 2-0. The home team got off to a better start, leading by one point at the first break, before Bendigo again flicked the switch, piling on 26 points to 17 in the second term to race to a eight-point advantage at half-time. That lead grew to nine by the final break, and then it was all Bendigo in the final term as the Braves outscored the Rush, 18-9 to win 73-55. Kelly Wilson was again phenomenal around the court, picking up 22 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, however she was far from alone. Richards (13 points, nine rebounds and three assists), Lavey (13 points, seven rebounds and three assists), Andrea Wilson (six points, eight rebounds) and Nadeen Payne (15 points, four rebounds) were all impressive for the winners. In a losing side, Chanise Jenkins was the star, finishing the match with 19 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and five steals, while Olivia Hackman (13 points, three rebounds) and Laura Taylor (10 points, 12 rebounds) were other Ballarat players who stood tall in the defeat.
Just prior to that clash, Dandenong Rangers enjoyed a 10-point win over Southern Sabres after a fast start. The Rangers posted 28 points to 19 in the first term, and while the Sabres fought hard after that, cutting the deficit at half-time and winning the final term, it was not enough to get over the line as the visitors took home the points. Rebecca Cole was sensational with 32 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Aimee Clydesdale had 23 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Others who impressed for the winners included Colleen Planeta who had 11 rebounds – 10 defensive – to go with her 22 points, two assists and three blocks, while Courtney Stothard had eight rebounds – four up each end – as well as three assists and eight points.
In the final game of the round, Dandenong made it two from two over the weekend, defeating Diamond Valley Eagles, 89-69. The Rangers found themselves on the receiving end of a slow start to trail by five at the first break. It was a minor blip on the radar however, as Dandenong won the remaining three quarters by seven, nine and nine points to eventually secure the 20-point win. Cole had another 32-point game, as well as six rebounds, six assists and two steals, while Clydesdale (22 points, two rebounds and three assists) was good again. Planeta dominated off the boards, finishing the weekend with 23 rebounds following 12 in this game, as well as 17 points, four assists, two steals and three blocks. For the Eagles, Hope Terdich scored a team-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds, while Anneli Maley was the losing side’s best, posting 13 points, 12 rebounds – 11 defensive – three assists, one steal and one block.
The day before, Diamond Valley Eagles had more success with a win over Basketball Australia CoE. The Eagles found themselves trailing by four at the first break before putting in a strong second term to lead by three at half-time. They put the foot down in the second half, netting points from everywhere with a 43-24 second half to run away with the 88-66 victory. Maley was prolific on the court with an eye-opening 31 points, including three from four from three-point range, as well as 15 rebounds and two steals. Terdich was busy with 25 points, nine rebounds and two assists, while Brianna Gregory was the other damaging shooter, scoring 18 points at 86 per cent from the floor. She also recorded seven rebounds – six defensive – and two assists. For the losers, Isabel Palmer scored 16 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Fuller finished with 12 points, four rebounds and one assist.
In the match of the round, Eltham Wildcats came from a long way back to run over the top of Waverley Falcons on Saturday night. The Wildcats trailed by nine at the first break and 10 at half-time, before turning it on in the third quarter to cut the deficit to eight by the final break. A 25-22 final term saw the Wildcats scrape home by the narrowest of margins, 81-80. Chelsea Schweers scored 25 points in the win, as well as five defensive rebounds and two steals, while Vanessa Panousis finished with 24 points, two rebounds, two steals and a team-high six assists. For the Falcons, Kelly Bowen was best on court with 30 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block, while Carley Mijovic played a real team game, posting 17 points as well as nine rebounds – eight defensive – and eight assists.
Meanwhile Geelong Supercats continued their undefeated start to the season with a five-point win over Knox Raiders. The home side led at every break, opening up a nine-point lead by half-time. The Raiders charged at them in the third term to cut the final deficit to three, before eventually steadying in the final term to win, 94-89. Sara Blicavs was impressive in the forward half with 15 points, while Jazmin Shelley scored 19 and had three assists. Ezi Magbegor had a massive block at the basket in the match, one of two blocks as well as 12 points and seven rebounds, while Zitina Aokuso also had eight rebounds as well as 15 points. For the Raiders, Lauren Scherf finished with a game-high 26 points, as well as six rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Marena Whittle was prolific across the court, posting 20 points, six rebounds and pickpocketing her opponents four times.
The other team to remain undefeated over the weekend was Ringwood Hawks, knocking off Albury Wodonga Bandits by 10 points at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre. With the basketball legend leading the Bandits in season 2019, it was a tight contest early on as both sides traded blows to start the second half as they did the first – level. Ringwood came alive in the second half however, scoring 44 goals to 34 to win by that margin, and record a 79-69 victory. Antonia Farnworth sunk 21 points and had eight rebounds and two steals, while Cassidy Mihalko finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Also impressive on the boards was Megan Mullings with 12 points and nine rebounds, as well as three steals and two assists. For the home side, the points were evenly spread with the starting line-up all recording double-figure points. Natalie Hurst, Emma Mahady and Jessie Edwards all recorded 14 points, while Cherise Daniel had a team-high seven rebounds to go with her 11 points, one more rebound than Emilee Harmon who also had 13 points.
Nunawading Spectres had a mixed bag down in Tasmania, losing to Hobart Huskies by 12 points, before posting a narrow two-point win over Launceston Tornadoes. Kathleen Scheer was at home down in the Apple Isle, recording 42 points and 28 rebounds across both games, while Rebecca Pizzey was also impressive, posting 32 points and 10 rebounds. Eliza Chilcott‘s work off the boards was also sensational, picking up 22 rebounds as well as 21 points and six assists. For their opponents, Cayla George was dominant for Hobart, recording 27 points, 17 rebounds, three assists and one block, while Ellie Collins assisted well with 21 points, six rebounds, five assists, five steals and three blocks in a superb all-round effort. For Launceston, Brittany Hodges had 29 points and six rebounds, while Sarah O’Neill also had impact on the scoreboard with 21 points, two rebounds and two assists.
In the other game in Round 2, Melbourne Tigers knocked off Frankston Blues, 77-71 after trailing at half-time. The Tigers were down by four at the main break before a Monique Conti-inspired fightback saw the Tigers run over the top of the visitors and enjoy a 77-71 victory. Conti scored 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists in a best on court performance, while Briana Gray and Louella Tomlinson combined for 23 points, 23 rebounds and 10 assists. Kasey Burton was also prominent off the boards with 12 rebounds to go with her nine points. For the Blues, JoAnna Smith had 26 points and five rebounds, while Saraid Taylor picked up 15 rebounds – 12 defensive – in a strong effort at the basket, as well as 13 points, four assists and three steals.
Round 2 results:
Hobart Huskies 87 defeated Nunawading Spectres 75
Bendigo Braves 72 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 54
Southern Sabres 89 defeated Dandenong Rangers 99
Geelong Supercats 94 defeated Knox Raiders 89
Diamond Valley Eagles 88 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 66
Albury Wodonga Bandits 69 defeated by Ringwood Hawks 79
Ballarat Rush 55 defeated by Bendigo Braves 73
Eltham Wildcats 81 defeated Waverley Falcons 80
Launceston Tornadoes 85 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 87
Melbourne Tigers 77 defeated Frankston Blues 71
Dandenong Rangers 89 defeated Diamond Valley Eagles 69