Tag: chelsea brook

WNBL Round 14 review: Capitals make stand with top two scalps

IN what could well be a memorable round in hindsight come the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) finals series next month, the University of Canberra (UC) Capitals have made a stand by knocking off the top two sides. The now-fourth placed Capitals, along with the former-third placed Adelaide Lightning who also had a huge win, showed they are not making up the numbers and would be pushing for a top two spot in the final two rounds.

UC Capitals (76) defeated Melbourne Boomers (75)

The third last round of the WNBL could not have opened with a better game after two genuine title contenders went toe-to-toe until the reigning premiers emerged victorious following a one-point overtime thriller. The UC Capitals had to fight hard against Melbourne Boomers to keep their top two chances alive, sinking the Boomers in the first overtime by a point in what had been a see-sawing match to that point. The Capitals led by six points at quarter time, but the Boomers clawed their way back after that, reducing the margin to five by half-time, and then one by the final break before levelling the scores at the last buzzer. Despite the momentum of the past three quarters being with Melbourne, it was UC that stepped up and won thanks to a basket from an injured Keely Froling with great defence stopping the Boomers in the dying seconds of the match during the 76-75 Capitals’ win. Despite having a broken nose and cheek which was confirmed after the match following a collision with Sophie Cunningham in the fourth term, Froling played out the game posting 12 points, nine rebounds and two assists. She ably assisted the damaging duo of Kia Nurse (23 points, seven rebounds) and Marianna Tolo (22 points, nine rebounds), while Olivia Epoupa picked up eight points 16 rebounds, seven assists and six steals in a ridiculous effort from the French guard. For the Boomers, Cunningham reached a team-high 22 points, while Stella Beck (17 points, four rebounds) and Ezi Magbegor (14 points, four rebounds) were busy, as was Cayla George (eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks). Unfortunately for Froling, she will miss at least three weeks of action, bringing her up to the start of the WNBL finals series.

DC Medal: 3 – Olivia Epoupa (UC), 2 – Marianna Tolo (UC), 1 – Kia Nurse (UC)

Adelaide Lightning (77) defeated Townsville Fire (60)

Over in Adelaide, the Lightning consolidated their third spot with an important 17-point win over bottom two side, Townsville Fire. It was a shared effort by the Lightning who burst away after an even first term. Neither team could be split at quarter time, but it was all Adelaide after that as the Lightning piled on 18 points to 11 in the second term and extended that lead to 14 by the final break. They did not stop there, winning the last term 16-13 to run out 77-60 victors in front of their home fans at Titanium Security Arena. Adelaide’s forward duo of Stephanie Talbot (16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks) and Brianna Turner (15 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks) again led the way as all starting five members reached double-figure points on the night. Lauren Nicholson (14 points, seven rebounds), Nicole Seekamp (12 points, four rebounds and nine assists) and Kathryn Westbeld (10 points, five rebounds) all provided presences off the boards, as Chelsea Brook got in on the action with eight points of her own off the bench. It was not as evenly spread for the Fire, with Tess Madgen leading the way thanks to 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Darcee Garbin (16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks) picked up a double-double after her work rebounding the baskets. Julie Vanloo reached double-figure points with 10, as well as two rebounds and three assists, while Bridget Carleton (six points, six rebounds) and Christina Boag (eight points, six rebounds) tried hard.

DC Medal: 3 – Stephanie Talbot (AD), 2 – Brianna Turner (AD), 1 – Tess Madgen (TF)

Sydney Uni Flames (62) defeated by Melbourne Boomers (76)

Melbourne bounced back from their heartbreaking one-point loss at the hands of the Capitals to rebound with a 14-point win on the road against Sydney Uni Flames on Saturday night. The Boomers got off to an ideal start in the match, leading by three points at quarter time and then extending the lead out to seven by the main break. Sydney Uni managed to stem the bleeding in the third stanza, but the visitors went all out in the last term, piling on 15 points to eight to run away with the contest, 76-62. Magbegor led from the front with a game-high 25 points, five rebounds and four assists, while George (14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals) and Madeleine Garrick (13 points, four rebounds, seven assists and four steals) picked up some big numbers across the board. Coming off the bench, Monique Conti was busy with six points and four assists in a playmaking role, while Beck also reached double-figure points with 10, accompanying her two rebounds and two blocks. For the Flames, Brittany Smart showed her talent off the bench posting a team-high 18 points as well as three rebounds, while Lauren Scherf‘s dazzling form continued with a double-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks in a huge effort despite the loss. They were the only two players to reach double-figure points as Jessica Kuster (six points, nine rebounds) and Alex Wilson (five points, six assists) both had inaccurate games on the scoring front but worked tirelessly.

DC Medal: 3 – Ezi Magbegor (MB), 2 – Cayla George (MB), 1 – Lauren Scher (SU)

Bendigo Spirit (76) defeated by Southside Flyers (91)

Southside Flyers’ remarkable season continued with a 15-point win over cellar dwellers Bendigo Spirit on the road. Heading into the match these teams were at opposite ends of the ladder and it showed in the first three quarters as the Spirit could not quell the fired-up Flyers. Southside burst out of the blocks to add 24-15 in the first term, and by half-time the margin was a whopping 16 points, The trend continued into the third with a 24-17 term to open up a 23-point advantage before Bendigo gave its home fans something to smile about with a solid final term to cut the deficit back to 15 but fell short 76-91. Rebecca Cole led the way for the Flyers with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Mercedes Russell‘s double-double season continued with 13 points, 12 rebounds and two assists on the night. Also racking up plenty of points were Leilani Mitchell (19 points, three rebounds, four assists and two blocks) and Sara Blicavs (18 points, eight rebounds and two assists) in a strong starting five effort. Coming off the bench, Kiera Rowe was efficient with eight points at 75 per cent from the field. For the Spirit, Tessa Lavey was the dominant points-scorer with 20, as well as three rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Carley Ernst (15 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks), and Abigail Wehrung coming off the bench (15 points, six rebounds) were also strong. After a big point-scoring effort last round, Shyla Heal only managed the four, but picked up a team-high eight rebounds on the night.

DC Medal: 3 – Rebecca Cole (SF), 2 – Mercedes Russell (SF), 1 – Sara Blicavs (SF)

Perth Lynx (95) defeated Townsville Fire (62)

Finals might be out of the question for last year’s fourth placed side, but it did not stop the Perth Lynx making a huge statement at the Bendat Basketball Centre on Sunday evening. The Lynx smashed fellow bottom four side, Townsville Fire on the way to a 33-point shellacking in front of home fans, winning three of the four quarters and putting in one of the most dominant 10-minute terms all season. The Lynx led by six points at quarter time and were out to a 13-point lead at the main break. Townsville reeled the home team back in by three to cut the deficit to 10 at the last change before Perth put the foot down in a one-sided affair seeing them slam home 37 points to 14 and blow the game out of the water in a massive 95-62 win. Alison Schwagmeyer came off the bench to lead the way for the winners, posting 21 points and four rebounds, while Marena Whittle (17 points, four rebounds and two assists) also provided great cover when injected into the game. Katie-Rae Ebzery was the Lynx’s best, picking up figures of 17 points, eight rebounds and two assists, while Lauren Mansfield (14 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals) and Nadeen Payne (10 points, six rebounds) also picked up double-figure points. For the Fire, it was Garbin who picked up the points, registering 19 points and five rebounds on the night, while Carleton had a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Madgen had 10 points, five rebounds and two assists.

DC Medal: 3 – Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL), 2 – Alison Schwagmeyer (PL), 1 – Marena Whittle (PL)

Southside Flyers (74) defeated by UC Capitals (98)

The Perth-Townsville game was not the only statement made by a WNBL team on Sunday night, with reigning premiers UC Capitals making sure the competition had not forgotten about what they were capable of in season 2019/20. Despite missing both Kelsey Griffin and Keely Froling to injury, the Capitals banded together and produced a remarkable performance on the road against the premier team of the competition this season. They made their intentions clear from the get-go with a 30-20 opening term and by half-time, the home crowd was silenced as the Capitals led by a whopping 18 points. While many would have forgiven them for not running out the game given the extra rotations for youth, the Capitals stepped it up, scoring a further 21-14 in the third term to lead by as much as 25 at the final break before Southside managed to get some respect back with a 20-19 final term in what was a horror showing, going down 74-98. Nurse was unbelievable posting a round-high 33 points to go with three rebounds and three assists, while Epoupa (15 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and two steals) and Tolo (13 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks) both picked up double-doubles. Maddison Rocci thrived with season-high points of 19, as well as three rebounds and two steals, while Alex Delaney also impressed with 13 points and two rebounds. For the Flyers, Russell had a strong game of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Blicavs had another good performance of 10 points and eight rebounds. Mitchell (14 points, five assists) was the other prominent scorer for the losing side.

DC Medal: 3 – Kia Nurse (UC), 2 – Olivia Epoupa (UC), 1 – Marianna Tolo (UC)

DC Medal Leaderboard:

29 – Mercedes Russell (SF)
28 –
27 –  Cayla George (MB)
26 –
25 –
24 –
23 – Stephanie Talbot (AL)
22 –
21 – Kelsey Griffin (UC)
20 – Brianna Turner (AL)
19 –
18 –
17 – Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL), Olivia Epoupa (UC)
16 – Lindsay Allen (MB), Alice Kunek (SU)
15 – Kia Nurse (UC)
14 – Alison Schwagmeyer (PL)
13 – Abby Bishop (TF)
12 – Colleen Planeta (AD), Darcee Garbin (TF)
11 – Keely Froling (UC), Leilani Mitchell (SF)
10 – Jenna O’Hea (SF), Ezi Magbegor (MB)
9 – Madeleine Garrick (MB), Marianna Tolo (UC)
8 – Carley Ernst (BS), Bridget Carleton (TF), Tess Madgen (TF)
7 – Jessica Kuster (SU), Sara Blicavs (SF)
6 – Imani McGee-Stafford (PL), Rebecca Cole (SF)
5 – Tahlia Tupaea (SU)
4 – Kelly Wilson (BS)
3 – Rebecca Tobin (BS), Lauren Nicholson (AL),  Tessa Lavey (BS), Sophie Cunningham (MB), Shyla Heal (PL), Mareena Whittle (PL)
2 – Crystal Langhorne (AD), Micaela Cocks (TF), Chelsea Brook (AD), Lauren Mansfield (PL), Nicole Seekamp (AL), Julie Vanloo (TF)
1 –  Ariel Atkins (PL), Alex Wilson (SU), Anneli Maley (SF), Stella Beck (MB), Abigail Wehrung (BS), Kathryn Westbeld (AD), Lauren Scherf (SU)

2019/20 WNBL preview: Round 12 – Finals race set to narrow

IT is make or break time in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) this round, with finals well and truly on the line. If the results go the way as planned, there could be as much as a four-game gap between fourth and fifth making it incredibly difficult for the sides outside the finals spots to force their way into the top four.

PERTH LYNX vs. SOUTHSIDE FLYERS
Friday, January 3, 6.30pm
Bendat Basketball Centre

In one of three Friday night games, a well-rested Southside Flyers returns to WNBL action against a Perth Lynx side that has been steadily improving after a mid-season slump. The Lynx have hardly made Bendat Basketball Centre a fortress this year, but remain stronger at home than on the road which is where their troubles have come from. The Flyers are coming off a rare loss, going down to Sydney Uni Flames back on December 21, which was their last game prior to the Round 12 clash. They are sitting pretty on top of the table, two games clear, and after missing a couple of key players in that game, will be keen to bounce back with an important win here. These teams have played twice so far this season, with Southside getting up at home both times, including in Perth with an 82-68 triumph back on November 29. Alison Schwagmeyer has been a force this season off the boards for the Lynx, leading their points scoring with 16 per game in 2019/20. Katie-Rae Ebzery and Lauren Mansfield have also provided plenty with their movement across the court despite both being sub-180cm. Mercedes Russell missed the last game for the Flyers, but has been superb this year, averaging just about a double-double when it comes to points (16.1) and rebounds (9.9), to be the standout center in the competition. Jenna O’Hea also missed the last game, with the Opals star another standout player this year for the top-of-the-table side. Southside head into this contest as strong favourites, but you can never discount the Lynx.

TOWNSVILLE FIRE vs. ADELAIDE LIGHTNING
Friday, January 3, 7.00pm
Townsville Stadium

With a line now all but put through their name for season 2019/20, Townsville Fire host their first game of 2020 on Friday night in a bid to try and wreck the Lightning’s chances of making finals. The Fire have slipped to three consecutive losses, including a disappointing one-point loss to Bendigo Spirit which all but ended their hopes of making finals this season. Five games adrift of the fourth placed Lightning makes it difficult given the time remaining in the season, but there is still plenty to play for in the last month. For Adelaide, it is much higher stakes, needing a win to retain the breathing space ahead of Sydney Uni and Perth who have both been sniffing around for that all-important top four position. The last time these two teams met was back in October, when Adelaide triumphed up in Townsville with an 86-68 victory. The Lightning will be hoping for much of the same in this clash, having won just one of the three encounters from the 2018/19 WNBL season. The two standouts for the Lightning are Stephanie Talbot and Brianna Turner. Talbot is averaging more than 16 points and eight rebounds per game, whilst getting close to a couple of steals and more than a block per game in a strong all-round effort. Turner on the other hand is a rebounding machine, averaging a double-double of points and rebounds, whilst providing a great defensive option close to the defensive basket, blocking opponents’ shots almost twice per game. For the Fire, Abby Bishop has had an outstanding season, and while her game last round was quiet by her standards, she still averages a team-high 15.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. Darcee Garbin (13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals) and Tess Madgen (12.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists) are handy contributors, while Bridget Carleton picked up a double-double last round and averages 11.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game following her 19 and 12 respectively last round. Adelaide should get the win here, as the Lightning have a good record in Townsville, though the Fire would love to cause a few headaches for the visitors.

BENDIGO SPIRIT vs. UC CAPITALS
Friday, January 3, 7.00pm
Bendigo Stadium

In the third and final game of the Friday night trio, reigning premiers UC Capitals travel to Bendigo to take on the last placed Spirit. Whilst finals is out of reach for the potential wooden spooners, last round was a positive when the Spirit snapped a nine-game losing streak to down Townsville Fire. The Capitals have been able to make the best of an absence of Kelsey Griffin who is currently out due to an ankle injury. Last round’s win against Perth Lynx showed the Capitals have the depth to match it with anyone, as Olivia Epoupa, Marianna Tolo and Keely Froling all picked up double doubles. These sides have played twice in the past month, with the Capitals naturally getting up both times given the Spirit’s form of late. The wins were by 25 and 10 points respectively, though the Spirit will hope to ride on last week’s performance and put in a much better effort at home than the December 6 drubbing. The Spirit have three players averaging more than 10 points per game this year, with Carley Ernst leading the way with 11.4 as well as 6.5 rebounds. Demi Skinner (10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds) and Abigail Wehrung (10.3 points, 2.4 rebounds) have been busy this season, while Kelly Wilson (9.3 points, 5.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals) has been a balanced contributor. Coming off an important confidence-boosting win at home last week, the Spirit have had all three of their wins in Bendigo, with a 3-5 record there. The Capitals have been a little more shaky on the road with a 4-3 record, but should get the job done against the bottom side. Given what is on the line, being level with the Boomers in second spot, it is crucial for the Capitals to make up the 32-point differential between them and the second placed Melbourne to try and push their way into the top two.

ADELAIDE LIGHTNING vs. SOUTHSIDE FLYERS
Sunday, January 5, 1.00pm
Titanium Security Arena

Playing their second game of the round and back-to-back games on the road, Southside Flyers head to Adelaide where they take on Adelaide Lightning at Titanium Security Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Lightning crucially held onto their top four spot last round, triumphing in style over reigning premiers, UC Capitals, and would love nothing more than a win against Southside Flyers here. These two teams have faced in South Australia this season already, with the Flyers getting up 91-85 back on December 1. After such a long break between games, it will be interesting to see how Southside pulls up in a second match two days after the first. Adelaide also plays its second game of the round, and will have more travelling to do, heading home from Townsville after the Friday night match, but will at least be at home for the match. Along with Talbot and Turner who have been the two standouts this year, Lauren Nicholson and Nicole Seekamp have shared in more than 25 points, six rebounds and nine assists between them. They are among a starting five that all average a steal per game, while Chelsea Brook has shown she is capable of putting up solid numbers when called upon to do so. The Flyers might have missed two of their top stars back in Round 10, but the likes of Rebecca Cole, Leilani Mitchell and Sara Blicavs ensures the league’s newest rebranded side has no problem with depth. Anneli Maley might not have a lot of points to her name, but she provides good rebounding depth off the bench and will be one who continues to be an option coming onto the court throughout games. The Flyers can almost secure top spot, and one would think a top two spot, with back-to-back victories in this round.

UC CAPITALS vs. PERTH LYNX
Sunday, January 5, 2.00pm
AIS Arena

Two sides who go at it for a second time in Round 12 are the UC Capitals and Perth Lynx who head to Canberra to face-off at AIS Arena from 2pm on Sunday. The Capitals return from Bendigo to host the clash, while the Perth cross to the eastern seaboard after a home game on Friday night. Depending on the Capitals’ result against Bendigo – which in fairness to the Spirit is expected to be a win against the bottom side – UC could well go outright second with a second victory here. The Boomers play a few hours later against the Flames in a day that if both sides win, the finals race is just about decided. Given the Capitals’ 6-1 record at home and Perth’s 2-5 record on the road, it is clear to see which team is favourite heading into this clash. Also taking into account the fact the Capitals knocked off the Lynx by a comfortable 17 points in the last outing just a week earlier – in Perth – showed they have the form and confidence to knock over the sixth placed side. There are a lot of permutations this round, but if Adelaide Lightning get the win over Townsville as expected and the Lynx lose both games, it would mean the Lynx must chase down a five-game deficit outside the top four with just four rounds remaining. It will be the third time these teams have faced off with the 17-point win to UC actually the lesser of the two victories from the reigning premiers in this head-to-head. The Capitals also won by 18 points in Canberra back in November. While the double-double trio caught headlines last round for the Capitals, you cannot forget the impact Kia Nurse has each and every week, averaging a handy 20.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. The other starter is Maddison Rocci who has been flying under the radar with more than seven points and almost three assists per game. Add in Gemma Potter who has received court time every game to average almost three points and a rebound per game, and the Capitals have some youth coming through the ranks. Perth would hope to piece together a much better performance this week against the Capitals and along with Schwagmeyer and Ebzery, they need more consistency standing up each week. Imani McGee-Stafford and Ariel Atkins are a couple of American imports who show signs of breaking games open and the former is averaging 10.6 points and 8.4 rebounds, while the latter is 9.8 and 4.6 respectively. With Mansfield and Nadeen Payne also putting up solid numbers and Marena Whittle coming off the bench, the Lynx have the talent, they just need to build greater consistency, particularly on the road. This will be a tough game to win but give them a world of confidence if they can pull it off.

SYDNEY UNI FLAMES vs. MELBOURNE BOOMERS
Sunday, January 5, 5.00pm
Brydens Stadium

In a game that will likely have some big ramifications for the finals race, fifth placed Sydney Uni Flames take on top two side, Melbourne Boomers. With the UC Capitals having the luxury of already having played two games prior to this tip-off, the Boomers could find themselves fighting for second spot in this game. The Flames have shown they are capable of knocking off some serious talent, taking down the Flyers in Round 10, but will still be hurting from the loss of Colleen Planeta for the season. The Boomers will have an eye on the WNBL finals considering their season, and with their depth will be favourites in this one. These sides have only played once thus far this season, with the Boomers getting up by 13 points at home. They have not played in Sydney since October 21, 2018, where the visiting side also got the chocolates on that day in an 87-75 triumph. Neither of these sides have played earlier in the round, so earn a nice break heading into this final game of Round 12. Alice Kunek is the Flames’ leading points scorer, and will share the load left by Planeta with Jessica Kuster and Alex Wilson who both average double-figure points. Lauren Scherf is an underrated player coming off the bench with seven points and eight rebounds per game, and could be the one who stands up and consolidates her starting spot with Tahlia Tupaea rounding out the five. The Boomers also have plenty of firepower across the court with Lindsay Allen and Cayla George averaging more than 30 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals between them. Sophie Cunningham, Ezi Magbegor and Madeleine Garrick are the other three regular starts, all of whom average double-figure points. Last round was the first time the Boomers had a different starting five, with Cunningham absent, and Antonia Farnworth stepping up to play that role. Expect Melbourne to go all-out to try and hold onto second spot, but Sydney Uni will be keen to cause yet another upset.

WNBL Round 11 review: Spirit snaps nine-game losing streak

IT was a massive round of Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) action, with Bendigo Spirit snapping a nine-game losing streak to draw level with Townsville Fire in the bottom two spots, while the top four seems almost done and dusted with a two and a half-game gap between fourth and fifth.

Adelaide Lightning (78) defeated UC Capitals (68)

It took until overtime, but Adelaide Lightning managed to get the job done at home against the reigning premiers, University of Canberra (UC) Capitals by 10 points. The Lightning proved to be a crowd-pleaser in Adelaide, desperately needing a win to retain fourth spot with the likes of Sydney Uni Flames and Perth Lynx edging closer, while the Capitals had to claim victory in order to temporarily take second spot. It was the Capitals who started the stronger of the sides, piling on 21 points to 16 in the first term, then led by seven at half-time to look pretty solid at the main break. But the third term out of nowhere saw the Lightning take back the momentum and completely dominate the play, sinking 17 points to nine to remarkably lead at the final break, albeit by a solitary point. A high scoring final term resulted in the Capitals drawing level by the end of regular time, but the momentum was with the Lightning who shot 17 points to seven in the overtime to run out as comfortable winners as an overtime victory goes. Stephanie Talbot led the charge for the home side with a massive 21 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks, teaming well off the boards with partner-in-crime, Brianna Turner (11 points, 14 rebounds, two blocks and one steal). Lauren Nicholson (15 points, two rebounds and two steals) and Nicole Seekamp (seven points, seven rebounds and nine assists) provided good support, while Chelsea Brook showed how bright of a future she has with 14 points and four rebounds off the bench. The Capitals had a couple of standouts in the absence of Kelsey Griffin, with Marianna Tolo starring thanks to 22 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks, while Kia Nurse sank 16 points, and had five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Olivia Epoupa (seven points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals was prominent across the board, while Maddison Rocci (eight points, five rebounds) and Keely Froling (seven points, six rebounds and four blocks) provided plenty of rebounding power.

DC Medal: 3 – Stephanie Talbot (AD), 2 – Marianna Tolo (UC), 1 – Brianna Turner (AD)

Melbourne Boomers (77) defeated Townsville Fire (61)

Melbourne took full advantage of a UC Capitals loss with both games on simultaneously, as the Boomers gained some vital breathing space in second spot as they grabbed their tenth win in their final game of 2019. Playing at home against bottom two side, Townsville Fire, the Boomers were strong favourites to take it out, and despite some resistance in the first term which saw both sides head into quarter time with 20 points apiece, Melbourne clicked after that. The Boomers scored 23 points to 16 in the second term to lead by seven at half-time, and had increased their lead to 11 by the final break. Not willing to take the foot off in the final term, Melbourne added 18 points to 13 in the last quarter to secure a fairly comfortable win, 77-61. Cayla George was the standout on court, sinking 27 points and helping herself to three rebounds and two steals. Lindsay Allen (10 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals) was the other player to reach double figures from the starters, while Stella Beck (14 points, three rebounds and two assists) did it coming off the bench. The home side dominated rebounds, 38-29, with the likes of Ezi Magbegor (nine) and Kalani Purcell (nine) leading the way, with Purcell also picking up six assists and four steals to be the ultimate team player as she contributed just four points. For the Fire, Abby Bishop again led proceedings in the scoring department, adding 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Tess Madgen helped herself to 13 points, three rebounds and four assists. Julie Vanloo (10 points, two steals) also reached double figures, while Darcee Garbin might have had a night to forget in terms of shooting (one from seven from the field), but still recorded seven rebounds and three assists. Kate Gaze came off the bench for five points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in a solid performance.

DC Medal: 3 – Cayla George (MB), 2 – Abby Bishop (TF), 1 – Stella Beck (MB)

Bendigo Spirit (79) defeated Townsville Fire (78)

Last placed Bendigo Spirit snapped a nine-game losing streak by holding on in a one-point thriller over fellow bottom two side, Townsville Fire. While Bendigo’s hopes of making finals were all but over prior to the game, the Spirit effectively ended the Fire’s chances by toppling them in the contest. It also meant Bendigo moved to within points difference of the Fire in seventh place on the ladder. In the match, neither side could be split at quarter time, before Townsville hit the front by two points at the half. Bendigo regained control by the final break with a powerful 27-21 third quarter, which earned a response from the visiting side. In one of the nail-biters of the season, Townsville scored 15 points to 12 in the last quarter, but it would not be enough to get the points. Carley Ernst led the way for the Spirit, sinking 24 points and picking up six rebounds and two assists in the process, while Abigail Wehrung helped herself to 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Demi Skinner (16 points, five rebounds) and Shyla Heal (12 points, five rebounds) also reached double figures in what was a terrific team effort. For the losing side, Bridget Carleton shone across the board to be arguably the best-on despite the loss, picking up 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Tess Madgen (17 points, five rebounds and two assists) and Darcee Garbin (13 points, four rebounds) also were prominent in the starting line-up, while Micaela Cocks (10 points, two rebounds) contributed coming off the bench.

DC Medal: 3 – Bridget Carleton (TF), 2 – Carley Ernst (BS), 1 – Abigail Wehrung (BS)

Perth Lynx (59) defeated by UC Capitals (76)

The University of Canberra (UC) Capitals have drawn level with Melbourne Boomers in second spot after a dominant second term helped the reigning premiers overcome Perth Lynx on the road by 17 points. Neither side could be split in the opening term, but a 26-11 rout in the second stanza saw the Capitals race out to a 15-point half-time lead. Perth cut the deficit to 12 by the final break, before the Capitals put the foot back on the pedal with a 17-12 last term to run out 76-59 winners at Bendat Basketball Centre. Three Capitals picked up double doubles, with Tolo (21 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and four blocks), Froling (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Epoupa (10 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists) all reaching the milestone. Nurse was not too far behind to make a dominant starting four with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Rocci had six points, three rebounds and six assists in the win. For the Lynx, Katie-Rae Ebzery was a lone hand in attack with 25 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. The next highest scorers were Ariel Atkins (eight points, four rebounds and two steals) and Imani McGee-Stafford (eight points, six rebounds), while Marena Whittle amassed 13 rebounds to go with four points.

DC Medal: 3 – Olivia Epoupa (UC), 2 – Marianna Tolo (UC), 1 – Keely Froling (UC)

Sydney Uni Flames (72) defeated by Adelaide Lightning (80)

Adelaide has consolidated fourth spot with a crucial eight-point win over Sydney Uni Flames on the road. The Lightning moved two and a half games clear of the Flames in fifth, with Perth Lynx’s loss also helping give the Lightning a crucial break inside the finals spots. The Lightning got off to a good start to lead by two points at quarter time, but the Flames refused to throw in the towel, maintaining the narrow deficit by the main break. It was the third term where Adelaide kicked away with a 17-10 quarter to open up a nine-point advantage. Wary of a comeback in front of their home fans, the Lightning did not allow the Flames to gain too much momentum in the fourth term, with Sydney Uni only cutting the deficit by one at the final whistle to go down 72-80. Kathryn Westbeld continues to improve for the Lightning, starting and producing 17 points, four rebounds and three assists for the afternoon, while Talbot was best-on for the Lightning, sinking 13 points, and having nine rebounds and nine assists – just one rebound and one assist away from a triple-double. Nicholson (13 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Seekamp (13 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals) also contributed plenty of points for the evening. For the losing side, Alice Kunek was a standout with 26 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Jessica Kuster (14 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks) and Alex Wilson (14 points, two rebounds, four assists and three steals) also reached double-figure points.

DC Medal: 3 – Stephanie Talbot (AD), 2 – Alice Kunek (SU), 1 – Kathryn Westbeld (AD)

DC Medal Leaderboard:

25 – Mercedes Russell (SF), Cayla George (MB)
24 –
23 –
22 –
21 – Kelsey Griffin (UC)
20 – Stephanie Talbot (AL)
19 –
18 –
17 –
16 – Lindsay Allen (MB)
15 – Brianna Turner (AL)
14 – Alice Kunek (SU),
13 – Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL), Abby Bishop (TF)
12 – Alison Schwagmeyer (PL), Colleen Planeta (AD), Olivia Epoupa (UC)
11 – Kia Nurse (UC)
10 – Jenna O’Hea (SF), Keely Froling (UC)
9 – Madeleine Garrick (MB), Darcee Garbin (TF)
8 – Leilani Mitchell (SF), Carley Ernst (BS),
7 – Jessica Kuster (SU), Bridget Carleton (TF)
6 – Imani McGee-Stafford (PL), Sara Blicavs (SF), Marianna Tolo (UC)
5 – Tahlia Tupaea (SU), Ezi Magbegor (MB)
4 – Kelly Wilson (BS), Tess Madgen (TF)
3 – Rebecca Tobin (BS), Rebecca Cole (SF), Lauren Nicholson (AL),  Tessa Lavey (BS)
2 – Crystal Langhorne (AD), Micaela Cocks (TF), Chelsea Brook (AD), Lauren Mansfield (PL), Nicole Seekamp (AL)
1 – Sophie Cunningham (MB), Ariel Atkins (PL), Alex Wilson (SU), Anneli Maley (SF), Stella Beck (MB), Abigail Wehrung (BS), Kathryn Westbeld (AD)

WNBL Round 9 review: Southside flies further ahead

SOUTHSIDE Flyers have moved three and a half games clear on top of the Women’s National Basketball (WNBL) ladder after back-to-back victories over the weekend made it six consecutive wins for the home side. The other results also fell the Flyers’ way, with Melbourne Boomers going down to Perth Lynx, meaning Southside is four wins ahead of Melbourne, but the Boomers have a game in hand.

Southside Flyers (81) defeated Townsville Fire (62)

In a battle of two sides up opposite ends of the WNBL ladder, it was no surprise to see the ladder leaders and premiership favourites come out on top in a 19-point win at Dandenong Stadium. Southside led early on with a five-point advantage at quarter time that increased to nine by the main break. The Flyers really put the Fire on ice in the second half, piling on 21 points to 12 in the third term to effectively end the contest. The final quarter was a low-scoring affair with just 13 points scored, as Southside again won the term to eventually get home, 81-62. Jenna O’Hea was the top scorer for the winners, posting up 17 points, five assists and three rebounds, while Sara Blicavs (13 points, eight rebounds) and Mercedes Russell (12 points, eight rebounds) were also prominent from the starting whistle. Anneli Maley showed what she has to offer, coming off the bench to pick up a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. For the Fire, Darcee Garbin was a lone hand on the scoring front, piling on 28 points and five rebounds, with Bridget Carleton‘s nine points the next highest. Julie Vanloo had a game-high eight assists, while Tess Madgen and Abby Bishop had six rebounds a piece in what were low scoring games for the duo.

DC Medal: 3 – Darcee Garbin (TF), 2 – Mercedes Russell (SF), Anneli Maley (SF)

Townsville Fire (61) defeated Sydney Uni Flames (57)

There is no place like home, and Townsville lived up to the famous saying by saluting with a four-point win over fellow bottom four side, Sydney Uni Flames. The Fire overcame the disappointing loss to Southside on Friday night with a tight 61-57 victory over the Flames to knock Sydney Uni out of fifth spot, and move the Fire to within a win of the Flames’ in sixth. Townsville had its work cut out from the get-go, leading by just a point at the first break and two by half-time. Sydney Uni was not about to just lie down however, as the Flames drew level by the three quarter time whistle thanks to a 14-12 term. Townsville got back on top in the final term to win the quarter 19-15, and it was ultimately the difference between the two sides on the night. Unlike Friday night, the Fire had their quartet of stars firing with Garbin again leading the way thanks to 15 points, 12 rebounds and two assists, while Carleton also picked up a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Madgen (15 points, nine rebounds and three assists) and Bishop (11 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals) were more prominent in the match to help Townsville to a much needed win. For the Flames, it was a performance not too dissimilar to Townsville’s effort on Friday night, with Alex Wilson being a lone hand on the scoring front. She dropped 20 points, as well as five assists and three rebounds, with Alice Kunek and Lauren Scherf the next highest points scorers with nine apiece, though they also shared in five rebounds and a steal each. Jessica Kuster was also strong off the boards with seven points, eight rebounds and four steals.

DC Medal: 3 – Bridget Carleton (TF), 2 – Darcee Garbin (TF), 1 – Tess Madgen (TF)

Adelaide Lightning (91) defeated Bendigo Spirit (75)

Adelaide maintained its top four spot with a very impressive 16-point win over cellar dwellers, Bendigo Spirit. The Lightning were too strong for Bendigo in the opening term with a 28-15 quarter, then extended the lead to 17 by half-time. To the visiting side’s credit, the Spirit refused to be dampened despite the heavy deficit, forcing their way back into the contest with a 19-15 term to put it back to a more manageable 13 points. It would prove to be a bridge too far to cross, as the Lightning took no chances, striking with a 23-20 final term to secure the 91-75 victory. Brianna Turner was massive for the winners, posting up 23 points, 13 rebounds, two assist, three steals and five blocks in a memorable performance. She was well aided by the likes of Stephanie Talbot (17 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals a a block) who was equally as effective, narrowly missing out on a rare triple-double. Nicole Seekamp (13 points, three rebounds and five assists) and Lauren Nicholson (10 points, three assists) also reached double-figure points, as did Chelsea Brook (16 points, three rebounds) coming off the bench. For Bendigo, Carley Ernst had a big impact starting on the bench with a team-high 21 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, while Demi Skinner (17 points, eight rebounds) and Shyla Heal (16 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals) were also prominent.

DC Medal: 3 – Brianna Turner (AL), 2 – Stephanie Talbot (AL), 1 – Carley Ernst (BS)

Perth Lynx (68) defeated Melbourne Boomers (66)

In a crucial game, Perth Lynx stepped up to the plate to knock off Melbourne Boomers by two points and retain fifth spot on the table. The Lynx needed the victory to keep in touch with fourth placed Adelaide Lightning, and also restore the faith with a big scalp in front of home fans. It was far from an easy night, with the Boomers turning a four-point quarter time deficit into a seven-point half-time lead following a huge 22-11 second quarter. Perth put the afterburners on in the third term to double the visitor’s score thanks to 18 points to nine, and move two points clear. That proved to be the final deficit as both sides traded blows in the final term, but it was the Lynx who came out on top in a 68-66 win. Katie-Rae Ebzery top-scored for the Lynx, posting up 16 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Alison Schwagmeyer came off the bench to be an influence on court with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Lauren Mansfield (15 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals) and Nadeen Payne (10 points, five rebounds and two assists) both reached double-figure points, while Imani McGee-Stafford surprisingly did not score but put up nine rebounds in the win. Despite the loss, Cayla George was arguably best on court with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, while Ezi Magbegor (15 points, seven rebounds and three steals) and Sophie Cunningham (16 points, four rebounds and three assists) were also strong on the night.

DC Medal: 3 – Cayla George (MB), 2 – Alison Schwagmeyer (PL), 1 – Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL)

UC Capitals (65) defeated by Southside Flyers (70)

In the final game of the round, Southside overcame its only conqueror this season, recording an important five-point victory over reigning premiers, University of Canberra (UC) Capitals. The Flyers ensured they had a good start to get away to a three-point lead, but it was not long before the home side reeled them back in as the Capitals scored 18-14 in the second term to hit the front. They extended the lead to three points by the final break, before Southside found an extra wind and flew home with a 23-15 final term to run away with the 70-65 contest in what was an enthralling battle between two title contenders. Rebecca Cole was the most prominent scorer with 21 points, three rebounds, one assist and two steals, while Russell was again a standout thanks to her 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. As she did in her side’s loss against the Capitals, former UC player Leilani Mitchell was busy with 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the win. For the Capitals, Marianna Tolo topped the scoreboard with 16 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Kia Nurse (13 points, five rebounds and two assists) and Olivia Epoupa (11 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals) were ultra impressive. Star forward Kelsey Griffin was well restricted to just four points, but managed 12 defensive rebounds, two steals and a block in the loss.

DC Medal: 3 – Mercedes Russell (SF), 2 – Olivia Epoupa (UC), 1 – Leilani Mitchell (SF)

DC Medal Leaderboard:

25 – Mercedes Russell (SF)
24 –
23 –
22 – Cayla George (MB)
21 – Kelsey Griffin (UC)
20 –
19 –
18 –
17 –
16 –
15 –
14 – Lindsay Allen (MB), Stephanie Talbot (AL)
13 – Brianna Turner (AL),
12 – Alison Schwagmeyer (PL)
11 – Kia Nurse (UC), Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL)
10 – Jenna O’Hea (SF), Colleen Planeta (AD)
9 – Madeleine Garrick (MB)
8 – Abby Bishop (TF), Alice Kunek (SU), Darcee Garbin (TF), Olivia Epoupa (UC), Leilani Mitchell (SF)
7 –
6 – Keely Froling (UC), Imani McGee-Stafford (PL)
5 – Tahlia Tupaea (SU), Sara Blicavs (SF)
4 – Kelly Wilson (BS), Jessica Kuster (SU), Bridget Carleton (TF), Tess Madgen (TF), Carley Ernst (BS),
3 – Rebecca Tobin (BS), Rebecca Cole (SF), Lauren Nicholson (AL),  Tessa Lavey (BS)
2 – Crystal Langhorne (AD), Micaela Cocks (TF), Chelsea Brook (AD), Ezi Magbegor (MB), Lauren Mansfield (PL), Nicole Seekamp (AL)
1 – Sophie Cunningham (MB), Ariel Atkins (PL), Alex Wilson (SU), Anneli Maley (SF)

WNBL Round 6 review: Top three move two games clear

BACK-to-back wins over the weekend to Melbourne Boomers, and victories to Southside Flyers and University of Canberra (UC) Capitals meant the top three in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) moved two games clear of fourth. The other game saw Perth Lynx keep their finals hopes alive with an important win over Sydney Uni Flames.

Adelaide Lightning 57 defeated by Melbourne Boomers 71

Melbourne secured a vital road win against fourth placed Adelaide Lightning to gain a bit of separation inside the top three. The Boomers trailed by three points at the first break, but hit back with a 17-8 second term, and went on with it from there, restricting the Lightning to just 30 points in the last three quarters, while piling on 57 themselves to run away with a 71-57 victory. Lindsay Allen was the top scorer with 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and one steal, while Ezi Magbegor picked up a double double in her best performance of the year with 13 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Cayla George (13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks) was superb, while Penina Davidson had 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench. For the Lightning, Nicole Seekamp sank 15 points, two rebounds and three assists, while Brianna Turner (10 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks) and Chelsea Brook (10 points, five rebounds) were the other two players who reached double figure points. Stephanie Talbot tried hard with seven points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals, but ultimately the home side could not put enough points on the board.

DC Medal: 3 – Lindsay Allen (MB), 2 – Ezi Magbegor (MB), 1 – Cayla George (MB)

Sydney Uni Flames 82 defeated by Perth Lynx 91

Perth finally snapped its four-game losing streak with an important nine-point victory over Sydney Uni – the side it last beat all the way back in Round 1. The Lynx edged ahead in the second term after an even first quarter, but then added 23 points to 18 in the third to lead by 10 at the final break. The Flames hit back to cut the deficit back to nine, but it would not be enough in the end. Alison Schwagmeyer produced another stunning game, picking up a double double with 25 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and one steal to be best on court, while Katie-Rae Ebzery returned from Opals duties to post 20 points, three rebounds and three assists in the win. Ariel Atkins continued her good start to her WNBL career with 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals off the bench. Maddison Allen was also strong with 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks. For the Flames, Colleen Planeta was the best with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Alex Wilson shared the top scorer billing with 16 points, three rebounds and nine assists. Lauren Scherf (14 points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks) and Jessica Kuster (13 points, nine rebounds) were the other two key scorers for the home side.

DC Medal: 3 – Alison Schwagmeyer (PL), 2 – Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL), 1 – Colleen Planeta (SU)

Townsville Fire 59 defeated by Southside Flyers 91

Southside Flyers bounced back from their first loss of the WNBL season with a big statement over cellar dwellers, Townsville Fire. Sitting at opposite ends of the ladder, the Flyers piled on 30 points to 19 in the opening term, then proceeded to win all four quarters in a one-sided, dominant display. Never letting up, it was clear to see that Southside is one of the title contenders, producing such an effort on the road. Jenna O’Hea (21 points, seven assists and two steals) and Rebecca Cole (20 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals) were the key scorers, while Mercedes Russell continued her dominant start to the season with an impressive 17 points, nine rebounds and two assists. It was hard to find the top player for the Flyers with Sara Blicavs also picking up a double double thanks to 12 points, 13 rebounds and four assists, while Leilani Mitchell had eight assists and three rebounds to go with her 13 points. Abby Bishop was the clear standout for the Fire with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Micaela Cocks (10 points, three rebounds and three assists) was the other player to reach double figures in what was a disappointing loss for the home side.

DC Medal: 3 – Mercedes Russell (SF), 2 – Sara Blicavs (SF), 1 – Jenna O’Hea (SF)

Bendigo Spirit 59 defeated by Melbourne Boomers 75

Rounding out a good weekend for the Boomers, Melbourne took home the points on the road against Bendigo Spirit in a 16-point win. The Spirit started strongly to lead by three points at the first break and half-time, before the Boomers took over to lead by the same margin with a quarter to play. They built on that momentum in the final term to post 24 points to 11 and run away with the contest in a margin that was not completely accurate of the game’s tightness. Allen was again the team’s top scorer with 17 points, four assists and two steals in the win, while Madeleine Garrick stepped up to contribute 12 points, six rebounds and two steals. Magbegor (10 points, seven rebounds and two steals) and George (10 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks) were also prominent across the board. For the Spirit, Abigail Wehrung was a lone hand in the scoring department with 13 points, as well as two rebounds and two assists, while Kelly Wilson picked up nine of her team’s 16 assists, though had seven of her side’s 27 turnovers. Rebecca Tobin was the dominant player off the boards with 15 rebounds to accompany her six points, four assists and two steals.

DC Medal: 3 – Cayla George (MB), 2 – Lindsay Allen (MB), 1 – Madeleine Garrick (MB)

UC Capitals 84 defeated Perth Lynx 66

Reigning premiers, University of Canberra (UC) Capitals finished strongly at home to run over the top of Perth Lynx and maintain touch with Melbourne and Southside in the top three. The Lynx surprised the home crowd in the opening term to lead by a point at quarter time, before the Capitals piled on 23 points to 16 in the second term. Perth got back on top in the third to reclaim the lead by two points at the final break. Like any good side on the ropes, the Capitals found a way to breakthrough and eventually piled on the points in the final term, sinking 32 points to 12 to run away with an 18-point win in a game where – like the previous one – the final margin did not accurately reflect how close the game was. Kelsey Griffin was unbelievable with 19 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while Marianna Tolo (12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks) also picked up a double double, Kia Nurse played her best game for the season in terms of overall impact and not just points, picking up 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Maddison Rocci also impressed with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists. Coming off the bench, young gun Gemma Potter scored nine points and had two assists. For the Lynx, Lauren Mansfield scored a game-high 23 points, as well as five rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Schwagmeyer added another 19 points and seven rebounds to her season totals. Nadeen Payne (10 points, 10 rebounds) picked up a double-double, while Atkins had six points, five rebounds, three steals and three assists.

DC Medal: 3 – Kelsey Griffin (UC), 2 – Kia Nurse (UC), 1 – Lauren Mansfield (PL)

DC Medal Leaderboard:

16 – Kelsey Griffin (UC)
15 – Cayla George (MB),
14 – Mercedes Russell (SF)
13 – Lindsay Allen (MB)
12 –
11 –
10 – Brianna Turner (AL), Alison Schwagmeyer (PL)
9 –
8 – Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL)
7 – Leilani Mitchell (SF), Abby Bishop (TF), Colleen Planeta (AD), Jenna O’Hea (SF)
6 – Keely Froling (UC), Stephanie Talbot (AL), Kia Nurse (UC)
5 – Alice Kunek (SU), Tahlia Tupaea (SU), Olivia Epoupa (UC)
4 – Imani McGee-Stafford (PL), Kelly Wilson (BS)
3 – Carley Ernst (BS), Rebecca Tobin (BS), Sara Blicavs (SF), Madeleine Garrick (MB),
2 – Crystal Langhorne (AD), Micaela Cocks (TF), Rebecca Cole (SF), Chelsea Brook (AD), Ezi Magbegor (MB), Lauren Mansfield (PL)
1 – Bridget Carleton (TF), Lauren Nicholson (AL), Sophie Cunningham (MB), Jessica Kuster (SU), Nicole Seekamp (AL), Tess Madgen (TF), Ariel Atkins (PL)

WNBL Round 5 review: Final three games see UC capitalise in Melbourne

REIGNING premiers, University of Canberra (UC) Capitals made it a weekend away in Melbourne to remember, downing the Boomers on Saturday after also getting the better of the Flyers on Thursday night. They moved to second on the table, while other results on Saturday saw Adelaide Lightning smash Bendigo Spirit, and Perth Lynx win their first game since Round 1 to down the Flames for the second time this season and move to fifth on the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) ladder.

Perth Lynx (93) defeated Sydney Uni Flames (74)

Despite a rocky start to the season and having not won since Round 1 – and only against the Flames – Perth’s victory over Sydney Uni moved the Lynx to fifth spot on the table, one of four sides with two or less victories this season and opening up a large gap between the finals-bound places and the rest. The Lynx made their intentions clear early, slamming home 31 points to 15 in the opening term on Saturday night, before extending the half-time lead to 20. They were not going to take the foot off the jugular after the break, adding 22 points to 15 in the third term to end the contest. The Flames managed to grab some important points back in the final term as the Lynx gave plenty of up-and-coming stars a run, but the game was over and they won 93-74. Katie-Rae Ebzery was simply superb for the Lynx, recording a game-high 28 points, four rebounds and two steals, while Lauren Mansfield was a great playmaker thanks to 13 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals. Alison Schwagmeyer – while down on her usual point-scoring output – had 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals, as Nadeen Payne and Marena Whittle also added 10 points each to the cause. For the Flames, Colleen Planeta stepped up in defeat to sink 23 points and eight rebounds, while Alice Kunek was the only other major scorer with 14 points, five assists and three rebounds. Lauren Scherf had just eight points but helped out around the court with seven rebounds and five assists.

DC Medal: 3 – Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL), 2 – Colleen Planeta (SU), 1 – Lauren Mansfield (PL)

Adelaide Lightning (105) defeated Bendigo Spirit (77)

Adelaide ensured it had some breathing space in the top four thanks to a big win over Bendigo Spirit at home. The Lightning added 28 points to 18 in the opening term, then extended the lead to 17 by the main break. They put together a four quarter performance in front of the home crowd at Titanium Security Arena, winning the last two quarters, 23-16 and 25-21 to run away 28-point winners, 105-77. Brianna Turner was the top scorer on the court with 22 points, eight rebounds and two assists, while Stephanie Talbot had 18 points, four rebounds, eight assists and two steals in a big performance. Chelsea Brook and Lauren Nicholson were busy throughout the game with 16 points apiece with Brook also recording six rebounds. Nicole Seekamp might have had just the 10 points on the board, but came close to a double double, setting up teammates for nine assists on the night. For the losers, Carley Ernst picked up a team-high 17 points and six rebounds, while Shyla Heal tried her hardest off the bench with 16 points and three assists. Kelly Wilson was the other Spirit player to reach double figures in the points column with 15, as well as two rebounds. It was a disappointing night for Bendigo who go into the week’s break having to regroup after the big loss, while Adelaide will head in knowing it is close to the top three sides.

DC Medal: 3 – Brianna Turner (AL), 2 – Stephanie Talbot (AL), 1 – Chelsea Brook (AL)

Melbourne Boomers (76) defeated by UC Capitals (79)

In the final game of the round, UC Capitals took back second spot with a huge 79-76 victory over Melbourne Boomers, completing a season-defining weekend away in Melbourne. Having knocked off the previously undefeated Southside Flyers on Thursday night, the Capitals handed the same fate to the Boomers, starting strongly to open a 10-point lead by quarter time. Melbourne went one better in the second quarter to turn it around and lead by a point themselves courtesy of a 26-15 second term, before extending that to four by three quarter time. The reigning premiers refused to lie down however, forcing their way back into the contest to deliver a 29-22 final term to record a narrow 79-76 victory. Kia Nurse was again the top points scorer with 22, as well as three rebounds and three assists, as Kelsey Griffin did as she pleased with nine rebounds, three assists and five steals to accompany her 18 points in a best on court performance. Marianna Tolo started this week and had 18 points, five rebounds and two blocks, while Olivia Epoupa finished with a productive five rebounds, eight assists and four steals to go with five points. For the Boomers, Lindsay Allen (18 points, six assists) and Sophie Cunningham (18 points, three rebounds and two steals) tried hard throughout the contest, while Cayla George had 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists in defeat.

DC Medal: 3 – Kelsey Griffin (UC), 2 – Kia Nurse (UC), 1 – Cayla George (MB)

DC Medal Leaderboard:

13 – Kelsey Griffin (UC)
12 –
11 – Mercedes Russell (SF), Cayla George (MB)
10 – Brianna Turner (AL)
9 –
8 – Lindsay Allen (MB)
7 – Alison Schwagmeyer (PL), Leilani Mitchell (SF), Abby Bishop (TF)
6 – Jenna O’Hea (SF), Keely Froling (UC), Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL), Colleen Planeta (AD), Stephanie Talbot (AL)
5 – Alice Kunek (SU), Tahlia Tupaea (SU), Olivia Epoupa (UC)
4 – Imani McGee-Stafford (PL), Kelly Wilson (BS), Kia Nurse (UC)
3 – Carley Ernst (BS), Rebecca Tobin (BS)
2 – Crystal Langhorne (AD), Madeleine Garrick (MB), Micaela Cocks (TF), Rebecca Cole (SF), Chelsea Brook (AD)
1 – Bridget Carleton (TF), Lauren Nicholson (AL), Sophie Cunningham (MB), Jessica Kuster (SU), Nicole Seekamp (AL), Tess Madgen (TF), Sara Blicavs (SF), Ariel Atkins (PL), Lauren Mansfield (PL)

WNBL 2019/2020 Weekend preview: Round 2 – Undefeated sides to tip-off tonight

ROUND 2 of the Women’s National Basketball (WNBL) is set to commence tonight with Perth Lynx, Townsville Fire, Southside Flyers and Bendigo Spirit all playing two games this round as teams jostle to take an early advantage on the ladder.

SOUTHSIDE FLYERS v. PERTH LYNX
Thursday, October 17
7:30pm

The first game of the round will provide plenty of excitement with the third placed Flyers set to face off against the first placed Lynx in a thriller. Both teams are coming off wins and will be riding high making for a hot contest given the stakes. They match up relatively evenly with the Flyers only just nudging ahead with steals credit to their defensive pressure while the Lynx have proved to be damaging off the boards with more rebounds. The Flyers announced themselves as contenders in their inaugural season with a narrow and hard fought win last week and will be looking to keep that ball rolling in Round 2. After a dominant performance, last week Leilani Mitchell and Jenna O’Hea will be looking to replicate their form at the rim and cause havoc with their offensive play. Sara Blicavs can also pose a threat for the Flyers with her ability to score and run the court. But Perth are not without star power of their own with Alison Schwagmeyer a real threat to the scoreboard with her nous and read of the play to burst away from the pack and take the shot. Nadeen Payne is also handy across the court meaning the Flyers will have to put some work in to stop her influence.

TOWNSVILLE FIRE v. ADELAIDE LIGHTNING
Friday, October 18
7:00pm

Expect a tight tussle between Townsville Fire and Adelaide Lightning given their ladder positioning. They have differing styles with the Lightning renowned for their ability to post high totals and blow teams out of their water but can fade out of games which the Fire must capitalise on. Fire currently sit sixth on the ladder but could leapfrog Lightning with a win given Adelaide played two games last round and only won the one. Adelaide have had an up and down start to the season and will be seeking to gain some consistency but have proven they have the arsenal to score freely. Lauren Nicholson starred last week with a whopping 39 points while the likes of Nicole Seekamp (28 points), Stephanie Talbot (25 points) and Chelsea Brook (23 points) also flexed their muscles making them a handful for the Fire to maintain. Although Townsville are yet to register a win after falling short last week they will be looking to the likes of recruit Bridget Carleton to lead the way after notching up 20 points in Round 1. Tess Madgen also put her best foot forward last round and will be wanting to repeat her efforts against another tough opponent.

SYDNEY UNI FLAMES v. SOUTHSIDE FLYERS
Saturday, October 19
5:00pm

In their second game of the round, the Flyers must be on their game if they are to keep their spot in the top four. Despite Sydney being unable to muster up a win in their two games last week expect them to throw everything at their opponents to progress up the ladder. Both sides have a plethora of key players that can tear games apart with a big rebound or timely block making for an intriguing contest. Sydney Flames trio Colleen Planeta, Alice Kunek and Lauren Scherf are all instrumental around the basket with Planeta notching up a staggering 41 points last round credit to her accuracy and ability to back herself from wherever. The Flyers will have to be careful around goal given the Flames ability to gobble up rebounds with 88 compared to 34 while Sydney are also not afraid to share the ball around with more assists than Southside meaning they must shut down their opponents transition down the court. For the Flyers expect O’Hea and Mitchell to stand up while the likes of Louella Tomlinson will be looking to have an influence across the court.

MELBOURNE BOOMERS v. BENDIGO SPIRIT
Saturday, October 19
7:30pm

In their second encounter in as many weeks the Boomers will be wanting to extend their winning streak while the Spirit will be hoping to make amends for Round 1. The 15-point win earnt the Boomers second spot on the ladder while it pushed Bendigo to the bottom- something they’ll be wanting to change. The scoring was relatively evenly spread last week with five players from the Boomers all registering double points. Lindsay Allen did the most damage with 19 points and was closely followed Madeleine Garrick with 15 points, meanwhile Ezi Magbegor notched up 13 points and seven rebounds. Despite not getting a wealth of court time Monique Conti also played her part putting up a couple of shots and doing the little things well while Cayla George amassed 12 points and nine rebounds. Spirit trio Shyla Heal, Marte Grays and Demi Skinner all registered 14 points apiece but will be looking to the fringe players to lift their load if they are to get over the top of the Boomers.

UC CAPITALS v. TOWNSVILLE FIRE
Sunday, October 20
2:00pm

With a win already under their belts, expect reigning premiers UC Capitals to bring the heat against the Fire and notch up another victory. The Capitals have a wealth of options going forward with Kia Nurse and Kelsey Griffin both dominant and able to score with ease. Nurse made no mistake last round amassing 28 points while Keely Froling is also a viable option for the Capitals. UC currently sit fourth on the ladder and will want to work their way up the ladder with a convincing win over the winless Townsville. Both sides are pretty equal despite the blocks with Capitals racing ahead with six compared to zero highlighting their defensive pressure which could pose an issue for the likes Carleton, Madgen and Darcee Garbin.

BENDIGO SPIRIT v. PERTH LYNX
Sunday, October 20
5:00pm

The final game of the round will pit the bottom side against the top. Both sides will have played two games for the round and will be searching for consistency to build their season on. Bendigo may struggle to stop Schwagmeyer who proved pivotal to the scoreboard but will be hoping that Heal, Grays and Skinner can impact the play. Perth have shown they can be damaging on the burst and can convert off turnovers making them a real threat heading into the match-up against the Spirit.

WNBL Round 1 review: Perth goes top as UC capitalise in third term

PERTH Lynx have taken the honours in Round 1 of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season, defeating the Adelaide Lightning who won their opening game, to move to top spot on the table. It was a good weekend for Melbourne Boomers, Southside Flyers and UC Capitals who all won their opening round games. On the other end of the scale, Sydney Uni Flames went down in both matches, while Bendigo Spirit and Townsville Fire also lost their opening games. We also began our DC Medal count with a 3-2-1 vote for our top players in each game with the winner to be announced at the end of the season.

Adelaide Lightning (89) defeated Sydney Uni Flames (79)

Tipping off the start of the WNBL season, Adelaide struck early against last year’s wooden spooners, to pile on 29 points to 19 in the opening term. The Lightning were strong from the get-go, and extended their lead to 12 by the main break and 16 by the last change. To the Flames’ credit, they never gave in and won the final term with a 19-13 term to cut the final deficit to 10. Despite the best efforts of Colleen Planeta (30 points at 71.4 per cent from the field), 11 rebounds and a block, the Flames could could not contain the likes of Crystal Langhorne (20 points, 13 rebounds) and Chelsea Brook (19 points, four rebounds) in a strong team effort. Stephanie Talbot (12 points, five assists) and Nicole Seekamp (11 points, eight assists and two steaks) were also prominent on the scoring front, with the scary factor being that star Lauren Nicholson had a quiet game by her lofty standards with just seven points, as well as two assists. For the Flames, aside from Planeta’s massive effort, Lauren Scherf had a huge game on debut with 17 rebounds and two steals to accompany her 10 points, while Alice Kunek (16 points, six assists, and three rebounds) was also strong.

DC Medal: 3 – Colleen Planeta (SU), 2 – Crystal Langhorne (AD), 1 – Chelsea Brook (AD).

Bendigo Spirit (72) defeated by Melbourne Boomers (87)

Dominant first and third terms by Melbourne Boomers gave the city side an early win on the board against their country counterparts, Bendigo Spirit. The Boomers raced out to an eight-point lead at quarter time, and despite the home side’s best efforts, maintained the advantage at the main break. The visiting team put the foot down at Bendigo Stadium in the third term, piling on 27 points to 17 to race out to an 18-point lead with a quarter to play. Bendigo managed to cut the deficit by three, but could not reduce it to less than the 15-point final margin. Lindsay Allen top scored for the Boomers, with all five starters contributing double-figure points. Allen (19 points, six rebounds and seven assists) led the way with Madeleine Garrick (15 points, five rebounds, three assists), Ezi Magbegor (13 points, seven rebounds and two assist), Cayla George (12 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocs) and Sophie Cunningham (11 points, four assists and two rebounds) all sharing the baskets. For the Spirit, three players finished with 14 points apiece, with Marte Grays (14 points, nine rebounds and three assists) the only starter to reach double figures, while Shya Heal (14 points, two assists) and Demi Skinner (14 points, four rebounds) were prominent off the bench. Kelly Wilson (nine points, five rebounds and eight assists) covered a fair portion of the court, while Carley Ernst (six points, seven rebounds and four assists) also had a playmaking role.

DC Medal: 3 – Lindsay Allen (MB), 2 – Cayla George (MB), 1 – Madeleine Garrick (MB)

Southside Flyers (81) defeated Townsville Fire (72)

The WNBL’s newest franchise started off its history with a win at Dandenong Stadium, getting up over Townsville Fire, 81-72. The Flyers flew out of the blocks to lead by eight points at quarter time, before the Fire narrowed the gap to six and four respectively over the next two breaks. With the momentum in the visiting side’s favour, the Flyers got back on top in the last term, adding 19 points to 14, to record a nine-point victory. Southside’s star-studded starting five all reached double figures, with Leilani Mitchell piling on 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals on debut, well aided by Jenna O’Hea contributing 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists. American import, Mercedes Russell had a prominent start to her WNBL career, adding 12 points, four rebounds and two blocks, while Sara Blicavs (13 points, three rebounds and two steals) and Rebecca Cole (11 points, five rebounds and six assists) were also damaging. For the Fire, Bridget Carleton shone on debut, racking up 20 points, seven rebounds and two steals, while Tess Madgen played every minute of the match on her way to 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Darcee Garbin was the other dominant scorer with 16 points and seven rebounds. The Flyers only got five points out of their bench, but with the likes of Louella Tomlinson and Aimie Clydesdale waiting in the wings, there is no shortage of talent ready to make an impact.

DC Medal: 3 – Leilani Mitchell (SS), 2 – Jenna O’Hea (SS), 1 – Bridget Carleton (TF)

Perth Lynx (79) defeated Sydney Uni Flames (62)

Perth kick-started its season in style with a comprehensive win over the Flames to hand Sydney Uni its second loss of the opening round. The Lynx won a shootout in the first term, sinking 32 points to 23, then won the next term in an arm-wrestle 16-9, and had the game all but in the bag by the final break with a 64-42 lead. The Flames once again fought back in the final term to cut the deficit, but could only make inroads by five points, to end up going down by 17. Alison Schwagmeyer was the standout player on the court with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, while also picking up two assists and two steals. Nadeen Payne (13 points, four rebounds), Imani McGee-Stafford (12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks) and Katie-Rae Ebzery (10 points, seven assists and four rebounds) were impressive starters, while Nes’eya Williams stepped up off the bench with 10 points and four rebounds. For the Flames, Kunek topscored with 15 points to go with her three assists, while Planeta (11 points, nine rebounds and two assists) and Scherf (11 points, eight rebounds and three assists) also produced a block each. Jessica Kuster was the surprise packet with 10 points and eight rebounds in a promising performance. The win moved Perth to the top of the table with the greatest points difference of the Round 1 winners.

DC Medal: 3 – Alison Schwagmeyer (PL), 2 – Imani McGee-Stafford (PL), 1 – Colleen Planeta (SU)

UC Capitals (90) defeated Adelaide Lightning (83)

Reigning premiers, University of Canberra (UC) Capitals showed that they can fight back from a deficit, producing the best individual quarter of the opening round with 33 points and a difference of 20 to their opposition in the third term. To that point, it was all the visitors who lead by 10 points at the main break, but that lead turned into a deficit, and despite the Lightning also winning the final term 15-12 – meaning they had won three of the four quarters – the Capitals secured the seven-point win. It was a triple threat from the winners, with Kia Nurse (28 points, seven rebounds) and Kelsey Griffin (22 points, 20 rebounds, three assists and three blocks) doing as many would expect, but Keely Froling showed she could add a massive element this season having played every game but never started last season, producing 22 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in the big win. Olivia Epoupa (six points, seven rebounds and eight assists) was the key playmaker on the court and added serious talent to the Capitals’ outfit. For the Lightning, Nicholson clicked into gear for this game, piling on 32 points, three rebounds, four assists and three steals to do everything she could to try and get her side over the line. While unsuccessful, she did have plenty of support with Seekamp (17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists) and Talbot (13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals) also prominent in defeat.

DC Medal: 3 – Kelsey Griffin (UC), 2 – Kia Nurse (UC), Lauren Nicholson (AL)

DC Medal Leaderboard:

4 – Colleen Planeta (AD)
3 – Lindsay Allen (MB), Leilani Mitchell (SS), Alison Schwagmeyer (PL), Kelsey Griffin (UC)
2 – Crystal Langhorne (AD), Cayla George (MB), Jenna O’Hea (SS), Imani McGee-Stafford (PL), Kia Nurse (UC)
1 – Chelsea Brook (AD), Madeleine Garrick (MB), Bridget Carleton (TF), Lauren Nicholson (AL)

NBL1 Women’s Round 15 review: Braves make a statement as Cobras secure fourth

THE final round of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 Women’s competition is done and dusted, with the top eight locked up ahead of the start of finals in a fortnight. Bendigo Braves sent a message to the rest of the competition with a comprehensive 30-point win over second placed Geelong Supercats to lock up the minor premiership. The Braves’ only loss had come at the hands of the Supercats, and from the outside it was clear to see they were keen to post a big win. They won all four quarters on their way to victory, albeit against a Geelong side missing Sara Blicavs and Ovie Magbegor. Instead it was Gabrielle Richards (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Kelly Wilson (21 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks) who dominated, while Gabriella Turner (23 points, five rebounds and three assists) also had a say in the proceedings for the winners. In their NBL stars absences, Isabella Brancatisano had her best game to-date, picking up 16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Ebony Rolph helped herself to 15 points, 10 rebounds and six steals with both players registering double-doubles.

In the standalone game on Friday night, Waverley Falcons locked up a top eight spot courtesy of a 34-point win over Hobart Huskies to secure the finalists for season 2019. The visiting side also won each of hte four quarters on their way to an imposing 97-63 win over the bottom four side. Renae Mokrzycki had a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds, while Tegan Cunningham (12 points, 10 rebounds) picked up a double-double, and Kelly Bowen (12 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists) was also important in the victory. For the Huskies, Ellie Collins (19 points, two rebounds, three assists and two blocks) was the standout scorer, while Tayla Roberts (10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Kylie McCauley (nine points, seven rebounds and two assists) were both prominent off the boards. Waverley then moved into seventh spot on the table courtesy of a 22-point win over Launceston Tornadoes. Carley Ernst picked up 21 points and nine rebounds in the big win, while Mokrzycki (19 points, nine rebounds), Cunningham (15 points, seven rebounds), Bowen (10 points, nine assists, three steals and 13 rebounds) and Jessica Bygate (11 points, six rebounds) had great presence off the boards and on the scoreboard. Launceston’s Stephanie Gardner topscored for her side with 19 points and four rebounds, while Micah Simpson (16 points), and Sarah O’Neill (14 points, five rebounds) also tried hard throughout the game.

Dandenong Rangers’ weekend saw them just cling onto a finals spot, dropping both games, albeit against top four sides in Kilsyth Cobras (23 points) and Ringwood Hawks (three points) on consecutive days. In the big loss to Kilsyth, it was a slow start of 17 points to the Cobras’ 43 that all but sealed the Rangers’ fate, with Sarah Boothe having a night out by feasting on 28 points and 23 rebounds, shooting at 72.2 per cent from the field, as well as six assists. Clare Camac was the next highest points scorer for the Cobras with 17, as well as five assists and three rebounds, while Alison Downie picked up a double-double thanks to 12 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. For the losers, Colleen Planeta did the bulk of the damage picking up a double-double herself courtesy of 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Rebecca Cole was the next highest scorer (12 points, seven rebounds. In the loss to Ringwood, Planeta again did all she could with 25 points, nine rebounds and three bocks, while Cole recorded 23 points and six rebounds. For the Hawks, they shared the points around as Ella Ogier (16 points, 11 rebounds) was the best of them, ahead of Cassidy Mihalko (15 points, eight rebounds and three steals) and Danni Bone (14 points, nine rebounds and six assists).

A team who enjoyed a much better weekend was Eltham Wildcats, downing Nunawading Spectres by seven points, then toppling Melbourne Tigers by 21. Whilst it was not enough to make finals due to Waverley claiming both wins, the Wildcats finished their season on a high with back-to-back wins to sit ninth on the table. Against Nunawading it was Alice Kunek (27 points, nine rebounds and six assists) who stood tall), but she was joined by Chelsea Schweers (18 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals), Vanessa Panousis (13 points, four rebounds and four assists) and Chelsea Brook (11 points, nine rebounds and four assists) as other double-figure scorers. Nunawading had a couple of important scorers, with Maddie Garrick (20 points, six rebounds) leading the way, although Kathleen Scheer (18 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks) was best on the court. Rachel Brewster (13 points, nine rebounds) and Rebecca Pizzey (12 points, nine rebounds) came agonisingly close to double-doubles. In the comfortable win over Melbourne, Schweers had a team-high 23 points, while Margaret Mulligan was the standout with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Kunek (17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Brook (15 points, eight rebounds and three steals) were productive for their sides. For the Tigers, Monique Conti finished her consistent season off on the right note with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Kasey Burton (15 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals) was the other Tigers’ player who stood tall.

Ballarat Rush also enjoyed a win over Melbourne Tigers on their way to a narrow five-point victory. Chanise Jenkins had 24 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and four steals in the win, while Olivia Hackmann (19 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals) and Hsi-le Bao (13 points, 10 rebounds) were other Rush players to reach double-figure points. Conti was again the standout for the Tigers with 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, while Katie Budgen picked up some of the slack with 21 points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals, and Kasey Burton helped herself to a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds, as wells four assist, four steals and two blocks.

Knox Raiders finished the season with an on-the-road win against Albury Wodonga Bandits. The Raiders posted a 98-84 victory, winning three of the four quarters to do it comfortably in the end. Abbey Wehrung (22 points, two rebounds, six assists and two steals) and Bec Ott (21 points, five rebounds and four assists) both troubled the scorers quite a bit, while Lauren Scherf picked up a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds). For the Bandits, Jessie Edwards was the top player with 25 points and seven rebounds, while Emilee Harmon (17 points, six rebounds) and Cherise Daniel (15 points, five rebounds) were both productive players on the court.

In the other two games, Southern Sabres suffered two losses to finish off a disappointing season, going down to last placed Diamond Valley Eagles by 19 points, before suffering a narrow one-point loss to Frankston Blues. Diamond Valley’s Shelby Cheslek (25 points, 12 rebounds) and Anneli Maley (21 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and three steals) were dominant against the Sabres’ side, with Rachel Jarry (24 points, nine rebounds and six steals) doing all she could, while Amy O’Neill (14 points, eight rebounds and two assists) was the next best. In the narrowest of overtime losses, O’Neill was again prominent for the Sabres, registering 22 points, five rebounds, 10 assists and four steals, while Tenaya Phillips (24 points, five rebounds and three steals) and Ella Batish (20 points, six rebounds) were also busy. For the Blues, Shereesha Richards hauled her side across the line thanks to a mammoth 40-point, 14-rebound and seven-assist game, leading the way ahead of Saraid Taylor (19 points, 10 rebounds) who picked up a double-double as well, while Courtney Wilkins (14 points, seven rebounds) and Taylor Lee (13 points, six rebounds and four assists) were the next best.

Round 15 results:

Hobart Huskies 63 defeated by Waverley Falcons 97
Geelong Supercats 58 defeated by Bendigo Braves 88
Kilsyth Cobras 81 defeated Dandenong Rangers 58
Diamond Valley Eagles 88 defeated Southern Sabres 69
Albury Wodonga Bandits 84 defeated by Knox Raiders 98
Ballarat Rush 84 defeated by Melbourne Tigers 79
Eltham Wildcats 80 defeated Nunawading Spectres 73
Launceston Tornadoes 77 defeated by Waverley Falcons 99
Southern Sabres 96 defeated by Frankston Blues 97
Dandenong Rangers 68 defeated by Ringwood Hawks 71
Melbourne Tigers 72 defeated by Eltham Wildcats 93

Final ladder:

1 Bendigo Braves 19-1
2 Geelong Supercats 17-3
3 Ringwood Hawks 15-5
4 Kilsyth Cobras 14-6
5 Knox Raiders 14-6
6 Nunawading Spectres 12-8
7 Waverley Falcons 11-9
8 Dandenong Rangers 11-9

9 Eltham Wildcats 10-10
10 Albury Wodonga Bandits 9-11
11 Frankston Blues 9-11
12 Ballarat Rush 8-12
13 Melbourne Tigers 8-12
14 Basketball Australia CoE 6-14
15 Hobart HUskies 6-14
16 Southern Sabres 4-16
17 Launceston Tornadoes 4-16
18 Diamond Valley Eagles 3-17

Week 1 finals:

Bendigo Braves vs. Kilsyth Cobras
Geelong Supercats vs. Ringwood Hawks
Knox Raiders vs. Dandenong Rangers
Nunawading Spectres vs. Waverley Falcons

NBL1 Women’s Round 14 review: Bendigo Braves reclaim top spot

WITH two wins separating seventh from eighth in the National Basketball League (NBL)1, very few spots remain for a finals opportunity with four teams still contesting for eighth. The Bendigo Braves and Geelong Supercats have cemented their positions in the top-two, earning double chances with the Ringwood Hawks and Kilsyth Cobras still able to drop out of the top-four in the final round.

The Bendigo Braves opened the round continuing their monstrous win-streak, adding their tenth consecutive win (94-49) against the Albury Wodonga Bandits. The loss puts Albury in tough spot for next week, finishing the round in 9th position below Waverley Falcons who boast six consecutive wins. Tessa Lavey led scoring for the Braves, amassing 22 points, five rebounds and three assists in the win, while Rebecca Tobin (16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists) and Kelly Wilson (13 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists) both snared double-doubles. For the Bandits, Emilee Harmon was the only player to record double-digits, with 12 points, eight rebounds and two assists, alongside Jessie Edwards with nine points and four rebounds. Following their win at home, the Braves quickly found their 11th consecutive win and top spot after beating the Knox Raiders (79-96) on the road. Bendigo’s impressive second term (12-28) decisively took Knox out of the game, despite keeping close for the remaining terms. Again, Tobin was immense in the victory, snaring a huge double-double with 21 points and 22 rebounds, alongside teammates, Wilson (17 points, six rebounds and 10 assists) and Gabrielle Richards (13 points and 11 rebounds), who also finished with double-doubles. For the Raiders, Rebecca Ott led scoring with 19 points, three rebounds and six assists, with Briahna Whatman also impressing with 15 points and seven assists.

In the game that followed, the Raiders fell again to another impressive win streak, making six consecutive wins for the Waverley Falcons at Waverley Basketball Centre. The loss drops the Raiders to fifth, putting their second chance opportunity on the line as finals approach, while the Falcons hold the last spot in eighth. Carley Ernst (24 points, five rebounds and four assists) and Tegan Cunningham (22 points, seven rebounds and two assists) led scoring for the Falcons, with Kelly Bowen (12 points, 12 rebounds and five assists) finding a double-double for the game. Marena Whittle led scoring for the Raiders with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists, with Maddison Wild (14 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Ott (13 points, eight rebounds and five assists) finishing similarly impressive. In the game prior, the Waverley Falcons defeated the Ballarat Rush (76-83) on the road, ending Ballarat’s finals chances. Ernst earned a double-double, amassing 23 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in the win, while Cunningham (17 points and eight rebounds) and Renae Mokrzycki (20 points, six rebounds and two assists) both impressed at the board. For the Rush, Chanise Jenkins came close to a triple-double, recording 33 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists from 40 minutes in the loss. Hsi-Le Bao also cracked double figures with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists.

The Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence put on their most impressive round yet, opening up with a tight 90-86 win on the road against the Eltham Wildcats. The Wildcats opened the half better than Basketball Australia, taking a 52-41 lead into the main break. Though it wasn’t enough, with the visitors dropping Eltham to a 34-point half to close out the game, snaring an impressive four-point victory. Kelsey Rees (16 points and seven rebounds) and Sara-Rose Smith (16 points, six rebounds and two assists) led for Basketball Australia, while Jade Melbourne (14 points, six rebounds and three assists) and Kobe King-Hawea (14 points, six rebounds and four assists) followed close. For Eltham, Chelsie Schweers (22 points and five rebounds), Alice Kunek (18 points, four rebounds, three assists), Chelsea Brook (16 points, nine rebounds and three assists) all impressed in the loss. In Basketball Australia’s second outing, they beat the Hobart Huskies (67-73) for consecutive victories. Melbourne impressed again with 18 points and three assists, with Olivia Pollerd (12 points, three rebounds and two assists) putting together a strong game from 17 minutes. For the Huskies, Ellie Collins led with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Nikki Greene followed close with a double-double on 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Basketball Australia managed to double their total wins from three to six this round, beating the Southern Sabres (79-80) for their third consecutive win in overtime. With both sides out of contention, it simply becomes a battle to stay off the bottom. Melbourne was impressive again, recording a double-double with 29 points and 14 rebounds, while Smith stood up to record her first double-double of the round with 18 points and 10 rebounds. For the Sabres, Rachel Jarry also picked up a double-double 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Amy O’neill managed 25 points with five rebounds in loss.

The Ringwood Hawks continue to make a great case for a top-four finish, currently sitting as one of two teams in the top-six not coming off a loss. Their 89-68 win over the Launceston Tornadoes takes them to third place – one win ahead of fourth. Antonia Farnsworth came close to a triple-double for the Hawks with 24 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, while Megan Mullings followed close with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists. For Launceston, Stella Beck (21 points and 11 rebounds), Stephanie Gardner (14 points, eight rebounds and four assists) and Sarah O’neill (12 points, three rebounds and three assists) all held up well in the loss. In Launceston’s second outing, they managed a solid win over the Diamond Valley Eagles to stay off the bottom of the table. Gardner (24 points, six rebounds and six assists) and O’neill (19 points, nine rebounds and four assists) impressed again, with Brooke Brown (19 points and 11 rebounds) stepping up to record a double-double in the win. For Diamond Valley, Hope Terdich stood up to record 32 points and 14 rebounds, with Shelby Cheslek (21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists) also hitting a double-double and Alex Wilson (17 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists) coming up big with a triple-double in the loss.

In a battle for top-four, the Nunawading Spectres fall to the Kilsyth Cobras (72-80) in a tight game at home. The loss makes it difficult for the Spectres to break into top-four territory in sixth with seventh threatening, while the win for the Cobras has them contesting in fourth. Lauren Nicholson had a big night for the Cobras, recording 32 points, seven rebounds and four assists, with Kara Tessari (11 points, two rebounds and three assists) and Sarah Boothe (10 points, seven rebounds and two assists) also impressing on the night. For the Spectres, Maddie Garrick led scoring with 25 points, while Kathleen Scheer (11 points and seven rebounds), Rebecca Pizzey (11 points and six rebounds) and Rachel Brewster (11 points and three rebounds) combined well in the loss.

In Kilsyth’s second outing they faced a 71-78 loss at the hands of the Frankston Blues. The Blues keep their finals hope alive with the win on the road, putting the Cobras’ second chance in jeopardy for next week. Shereesha Richards put on a big performance with 30 points and 19 rebounds and Taylor Lee came close to triple-double territory with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. For the Cobras, Nicholson (25 points, nine rebounds and five assists), Alison Downie (14 points and eight rebounds) and Klara Wischer (12 points, 11 rebounds and three assists) were strong in the loss.

The Dandenong Rangers sit two wins ahead of eighth in seventh after collecting a tight win over the Albury Wodonga Bandits. This loss, and the one to the Braves, puts Albury’s finals hopes in jeopardy – nursing three consecutive losses at a pivotal moment in the season. Rebecca Cole led scoring for the Rangers, racking up 37 points, three rebounds and seven assists alongside teammate Colleen Planeta who had 21 points with six rebounds. For the Bandits, Edwards impressed once again with 31 points, while Hanna Zavecz followed close with 24 points.

In the final game for the round, the Melbourne Tigers faced off against the Hobart Huskies where they kept their final hopes just in reach with 102-75 win. Monique Conti recorded 36 points, six rebounds and 12 assists on her way to a double-double. Teammates, Briana Gray (25 points, nine rebounds and four assists) and Molly Mathews (19 points, seven rebounds and two assists) were similarly impressive. For Hobart, Sharna Thompson notched up 29 points from 33 minutes, while Tayla Roberts, Nikki Greene and Tayla Stevenson all finished with eight points.

Round 14 results:

Bendigo Braves (94) defeated Albury Wodonga Bandits (49)
Eltham Wildcats (86) defeated by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (90)
Hobart Huskies (67) defeated by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (73)
Nunawading Spectres (72) defeated by Kilsyth Cobras (80)
Albury Wodonga Bandits (87) defeated by Dandenong Rangers (90)
Ballarat Rush (76) defeated by Waverley Falcons (83)
Knox Raiders (79) defeated by Bendigo Braves (96)
Ringwood Hawks (89) defeated Launceston Tornadoes (68)
Diamond Valley Eagles (85) defeated by Launceston Tornadoes (93)
Kilsyth Cobras (71) defeated by Frankston Blues (78)
Southern Sabres (79) defeated by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (80)
Waverley Falcons (83) defeated Knox Raiders (65)
Melbourne Tigers (102) defeated Hobart Huskies (75)