Tag: Kelsey Griffin

Hat-trick Hawks as Blues lose

THE Ringwood Hawks have done what no one else could this season, knocking off the undefeated Frankston Blues in one of three victories for the club in Round 11.

Having already defeated the Melbourne Tigers 71-56 on Wednesday night, and claiming an 18-point victory on Friday night against the Kilsyth Cobras, the Hawks were back in action again on Saturday claiming a massive scalp on the road at the Frankston Basketball Stadium.

After an entertaining first half it was the home team who led at the main break on the back of a brilliant first two quarters from Darcee Garbin who scored 19 points, half of her team’s total, as they led 38-37 with an intriguing second half to come.

The Hawks were brilliant as they managed to overrun the Blues in the second half to claim an 11-point victory. It was a great team performance as Funda Nakkasoglu (11 points), Danni Bone (11 points), Toni Farnworth(10 points), and Marena Whittle (21 points) all scored in double figures for the match. The defence of the Hawks was also a key factor as Ringwood held Frankston to just 24 second half points.

For the Hawks, Whittle completed her 21-point game with 12 rebounds and Bone had four offensive rebounds (five rebounds total) to go along with her 11 points. Meanwhile, Garbin (23 points, 14 rebounds) and Taylah Giliam (21 points, 4/7 three pointers made) were the stars for the Blues.

The defeat of the 10-0 Blues, and the two other wins against the Tigers and the Cobras keeps the Hawks’ hopes of making NBL 1 finals alive.

Meanwhile, Knox had two wins over the weekend including a victory over fellow finals contender Eltham. Knox defeated the Wildcats 75-53, the day after an eight-point victory over the Falcons.

Klara Wischer had a great game scoring 15 points, 13 rebounds, and four steals. Teammates Rebecca Ott (16 points, 4/6 three pointers made), Lucy Dawson (13 points, nine rebounds), Leah Santomaggio (12 points, four three pointers made) also performed, while Rebecca Pizzey (12 points, 10 rebounds, 5/8 field goals made) was again a solid contributor for Eltham.

Elsewhere, Launceston and Bendigo took advantage of the Blues’ defeat, narrowing the gap at the top of the ladder.

The Tornadoes had a close win against the Supercats, with Kelsey Griffin (26 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, four steals) falling just shy of a big triple double in the 73-70 victory.

The Braves had a crushing 31-point win against the Bandits. Abigail Wehrung (27 points, seven rebounds, five assists) and Kate Oliver (24 points, six rebounds, four assists) were huge for the Braves, and Kelly Wilson (nine points, nine rebounds, nine assists) also came close to completing a triple double.

Rachel Antoniadou (22 points, five assists) and Izzy Wright (21 points, six rebounds, five assists) were both important in Nunawading’s 92-66 win against Mt Gambier.

While Sara Bilcavs had 34 points and eight rebounds in Geelong’s first game of the round, a 29-point win over the Hobart Chargers.

Full Round 11 results:

Ringwood Hawks 71 def Melbourne Tigers 56
Hobart Chargers 69 def by Geelong Supercats 98
Bendigo Braves 105 def Albury-Wodonga Bandits 74
Ringwood Hawks 72 def Kilsyth Cobras 54
Knox Basketball 73 def Waverley Falcons 65
Frankston Blues 62 def by Ringwood Hawks 73
Ballarat Rush 72 def by Nunawading Spectres 95
Kilsyth Cobras 90 def Mt Gambier Pioneers 60
Dandenong Rangers 67 def by Albury-Wodonga Bandits 75
Launceston Tornadoes 73 def Geelong Supercats 70
Eltham Wildcats 53 def by Knox Basketball 75
Waverley Falcons 70 def by Frankston Blues 78
Diamond Valley Eagles 85 def Ballarat Rush 78
Nunawading Spectres 92 def Mt Gambier Pioneers 66
Sandringham Sabres 49 def by Melbourne Tigers 100

Photo credit: Ian Knight Photography

NBL1 Women’s stats update: June 10

WITH all four National Basketball League (NBL)1 competitions well underway this season, we look at who is leading the stats in points, rebounds and assists across the board in the women’s divisions.

POINTS

CENTRAL

#1 Olivia Thompson (South Adelaide) 27.33
#2 Teige Morrell (Southern Tigers) 21.55
#3 Samantha Simons (Forestville Eagles) 21.22
#4 Ashley Spencer (South Adelaide) 20.22

NORTH

#1 Amanda Johnson (SWM Pirates) 29.0
#2 Stephanie Reid (Townsville Flames) 28.0
#3 Kathleen MacLeod (SC Phoenix) 22.6
#4 Mikaela Ruef (Logan Thunder) 22.4

SOUTH

#1 Keely Froling (Launceston Tornadoes) 33.85
#2 Emma Mahady (Albury-Wodonga Bandits) 23.87
#3 Jenna O’Hea (Sandringham Sabres) 23.71
#4 Mariah Payne (Launceston Tornadoes) 22.8

WEST

#1 Samantha Lubcke (Willetton Tigers) 24.25
#2 Makailah Dyer (Perth Redbacks) 22.0
#3 Alex Sharp (Willetton Tigers) 21.50
#4 Tayah Burrows (Rockingham Flames) 20.42

ASSISTS

CENTRAL

#1 Jordan Hunter (South Adelaide) 9.77
#2 Alex Wilson (Norwood Flames) 5.62
#3 Mollie McKendrick (Eastern Mavericks) 5.44
#4 Taylor Ortlepp (North Adelaide) 4.77

NORTH

#1 Rachael McCully (SC Phoenix) 8.8
#2 Myra Donkin (Cairns Dolphins) 7.8
#3 Kathleen MacLeod (SC Phoenix) 7.8
#4 Mikaela Cann (Logan Thunder) 7.4

SOUTH

#1 Tessa Lavey (Frankston Blues) 7.66
#2 Tess Madgen (Bendigo Braves) 6.57
#3 Amy O’Neill (Sandringham Sabres) 5.71
#4 Monique Conti (Melbourne Tigers) 5.66

WEST

#1 Maddison Allen (Perth Redbacks) 5.85
#2 Tayah Burrows (Rockingham Flames) 5.42
#3 Nicole Jorre de St Jorre (Warwick Senators) 5.0
#4 Alex Sharp (Willetton Tigers) 5.0

REBOUNDS

CENTRAL

#1 Olivia Thompson (South Adelaide) 13.11
#2 Jess Good (North Adelaide) 12.55
#3 Mollie McKendrick (Eastern Mavericks) 10.88
#4 Emily Winter (Woodville Warriors) 10.77

NORTH

#1 Mikaela Ruef (Logan Thunder) 17.8
#2 Cayla George (Mackay Meteorettes) 17.25
#3 Amanda Johnson (SWM Pirates) 16.0
#4 Lara McSpadden (Rockhampton Cyclones) 12.83

SOUTH

#1 Anneli Maley (Eltham Wildcats) 24.62
#2 Keely Froling (Launceston Tornadoes) 17.71
#3 Alicia Froling (Ballarat Rush) 15.14
#4 Kelsey Griffin (Launceston Tornadoes) 13.4

WEST

#1 Alex Sharp (Willetton Tigers) 13.5
#2 Maddison Allen (Perth Redbacks) 11.57
#3 Carly Boag (Mandurah Magic) 11.14
#4 Mary Goulding (East Perth Eagles) 11.0

Picture credit: NBL1

NBL1 South Women’s wrap: Round 6

FRANKSTON Blues stand as the only undefeated side in the competition after Knox Raiders suffered a narrow defeat, and the Blues fought back to win their clash with Geelong Supercats in a blockbuster National Basketball League (NBL)1 South women’s Round 6 of action.

Geelong Supercats (75) def. by Frankston Blues (80)

The rampaging Frankston Blues started off their Round 6 of action in style with a hard-fought five-point win over Geelong Supercats. The confidence-boosting win showed the Blues could get their hands dirty, fighting back from an 11-point deficit at quarter time, to almost completely erase that by the half, and then finish the stronger of the teams to win, 80-75. Darcee Garbin shot 24 points and racked up 14 rebounds in a massive double-double effort, while Tessa Lavey (19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists), Taylah Giliam (18 points, three assists and two rebounds) and Ella Batish (11 points, three rebounds and two assists) all went to work for the winners. The Supercats had a quartet of talents running around on court, with Sarah Elsworthy (19 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals) leading the way, Antoinette Emma-Nnopu (18 points, 10 rebounds) picking up a double-double, and both Stephanie Blicavs (14 points, seven rebounds and six assists) and Alex Duck (10 points, seven rebounds and four assists) getting busy.

Nunawading Spectres (81) def. Knox Raiders (78)

A frantic finish where free-throws decided the contest, Nunawading Spectres held on against a brave Knox Raiders outfit to win by three points at home. Leading by five points at half-time, the Spectres were challenged in the second half as the Raiders cut the deficit to just one at the final break before Nunawading held firm in the last to win the term and secure the 81-78 victory against the previously undefeated side. Penina Davidson (20 points, 12 rebounds and four assists) and Rachel Brewster (20 points, seven rebounds and two assists) both top-scored for the Spectres, while Izzy Wright (18 points, six assists, four steals and three rebounds) and Louise Brown (10 points, seven rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocks) also impressed. The Raiders had a two-player shooting spree between Klara Wischer (25 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists) and Leah Santomaggio (25 points, three rebounds and two steals) in defeat.

Diamond Valley Eagles (52) def. by Kilsyth Cobras (104)

There was no mercy shown to the home team as a visiting Kilsyth Cobras doubled Diamond Valley Eagles’ score in their clash. The Cobras won by 52 points, and won each quarter by at least 12, including a 35-17 second term, and defensive shutdown of 17-4 in the last quarter on their way to a 104-52 win. Lauren Nicholson returned to NBL1 action as one would expect with the experienced WNBL player putting up 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists against the winless Eagles. Lauren Scherf (18 points, 13 rebounds and three assists), Carly Turner (12 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Abigail Curtin (10 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals) also produced big numbers for the winners. Olivia Bontempelli was again the standalone source of scoring for the Eagles, recording 17 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Ivana Vasiljevic was the next best with 10 points.

Dandenong Rangers (93) def. Hobart Chargers (72)

Delivering Hobart Chargers yet another loss, Dandenong Rangers fought back from a half-time deficit of 11 points to completely shut out the Chargers’ offence on their way to a 21-point triumph. The Rangers restricted the Chargers to just 15 points in the second half, 10 less than their second term and 17 less than their first quarter, whilst piled on 47 points themselves to run away with the 93-72 win. Emilee Harmon (26 points, seven rebounds) and Dallas Loughridge (25 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals) combined for 51 points, while Sherry Glennie (15 points, four steals and three rebounds) was also lively in the win. For the Chargers, Ellie Collins dropped 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the clear best in a losing side, supported well by Kylie McCauley (17 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Sharna Thompson (16 points, seven rebounds and two assists).

Eltham Wildcats (88) def. by Launceston Tornadoes (92)

Stunning an unbeaten team on the road, Launceston Tornadoes showed they mean business in the NBL1 season, winning 92-88 against Eltham Wildcats to hand the Wildcats their second loss of the season. The Tornadoes did not have it all their own way, but after being level at the final break, managed to secure the win with the 23-19 final term. Kelsey Griffin showed all of her experience for the Tornadoes with 28 points, 15 rebounds and two steals, while Mariah Payne (22 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals), Teyla Evans (18 points, five rebounds) and Micah Simpson (10 points, six assists and two rebounds) also stood up. Anneli Maley dropped an enormous 36 points and 25 rebounds – 17 defensive – on the Tornadoes in a bid to get her team over the line, also picking up four assists in the process. Rebecca Pizzey (11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Erin Riley (10 points, four rebounds and two assists) were other prominent Wildcats in the loss.

Ringwood Hawks (88) def. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (68)

Ringwood Hawks handed Albury-Wodonga Bandits another loss, winning all four quarters on their way to a comfortable 20-point win. The Hawks won each quarter by five, four, five and six points to always have that breathing space between themselves and their opponents in order to post the 88-68 win. Funda Nakkasoglu (22 points, nine rebounds and four assists) lead the way for the Hawks, while Marena Whittle (19 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks) picked up a double-double and Hope Terdich (12 points, eight rebounds) also stood up in the win. Emma Mahady (21 points, seven rebounds and two steals) was the dominant scorer for the Bandits, while Geralynn Leaupepe (15 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists) and Geraldynn Leaupepe (13 points, seven rebounds and two steals) teamed up to be double-trouble for the Hawks despite the loss.

Mt Gambier Pioneers (60) def. Ballarat Rush (48)

In a battle between two teams playing their only match of the round, Mt Gambier Pioneers picked up the victory at home over Ballarat Rush by 12 points. In a low-scoring encounter, the half-time lead of 17 points was all it took for the Pioneers, as the Rush could not claw their way back despite a strong final term of 17-13, losing 48-60. Jasmin Howe (28 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists) was the dominant player for the winners, knocking down six of 10 from long-range. Sherrie Calleia (14 points, eight rebounds and six assists) also looked impressive, whilst Hannah Young was next best with only the five points, but eight rebounds and three assists. For the Rush, Kristy Rinaldi was the only double-digit scorer with 11 points, recording six rebounds and three assists, while both Alicia Froling (eight points, 20 rebounds and two blocks) and Kasey Burton (six points, 14 rebounds, two assists and two steals) might have had forgettable shooting nights, but were enormous off the boards.

Kilsyth Cobras (60) def. by Launceston Tornadoes (87)

Backing up their massive win on the road against Eltham Wildcats, the Launceston Tornadoes made it two from two in Round 6, toppling Kilsyth Cobras by 27 points in a convincing four-quarter win. The Tornadoes won every quarter, with the first term 25-12 making the difference during the 87-60 triumph. Griffin added another double-double to her name with 24 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals, but this time she shared the load with Keely Froling who returned to produce a casual 25 points and 16 rebounds, as well as two assists and two steals. Payne (17 points, six rebounds and four assists) and Evans (10 points, six rebounds and two assists) also produced good numbers. Nicholson tried hard for the Cobras across all 40 minutes, recording 18 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals, while Scherf had a double-double of 13 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Turner finished with 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in the loss.

Waverley Falcons (63) def. by Bendigo Braves (84)

Grabbing a big win on the road, Bendigo Braves showed just how impressive they could be, downing the Waverley Falcons by 21 points in the team’s only games of the weekend. The Braves took control in the second term with a 29-13 quarter after an even first term, and that set the visitors up for the 84-63 win. Kate Oliver (27 points, eight rebounds and three assists) and Tess Madgen (22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists) both lit up the court with their shooting, while Abigail Wehrung (eight points, seven rebounds and five assists) was busy for the Braves. In defeat, Renae Mokrzycki had 14 points, eight rebounds and two assists, while Kelly Bowen (seven points, eight rebounds and two steals) and Nyakoang Lok (eight points, six rebounds and two assists) were both prominent off the boards.

Melbourne Tigers (89) def. Nunawading Spectres (66)

Melbourne Tigers grabbed an impressive 23-point win over Nunawading Spectres on Sunday to close out a mixed weekend for the Spectres. After grabbing the tight win against Knox Raiders, the Spectres were not able to stay with the Tigers in the final quarter, tiring out and the fresh team dominated to win the term by 19 points, and the match, 89-66. Monique Conti feasted with an almost triple-double of 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in every minute on court. Also not taking a trip to the bench was fellow WNBL talent Zitina Aokuso (18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks), while Geraldine McCorkell (15 points, six rebounds) and Isabella Brancatisano (five points, 11 rebounds and seven assists) impacted in different ways for the winners. Wright top-scored for the Spectres with 19 points, seven rebounds, three assist and three steals, while Rachel Antoniadou (15 points, three rebounds and three assists) and Davidson (14 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists) were also prominent scorers on the day.

Frankston Blues (90) def. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (67)

Frankston’s dominant unbeaten season rolled out with a 23-point triumph over Albury-Wodonga Bandits. A strong start had the home team 10 points up at the first break, and the 13-point differential in the third term (20-7) really drilled home the point during the 90-67 victory. Garbin shot another 19 points including five of nine from long-range, also recording 10 rebounds and two assists in the process. Giliam (17 points, four rebounds and two assists), Saraid Taylor (15 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Lavey (10 points, six assists and five rebounds) were also prominent in the win. It was no surprise to see Mahady (22 points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals) again the best for the Bandits, while both Jade McCowan (14 points, six rebounds) and Charlotte Beavan (10 points, four rebounds) shared around the points in the loss.

Sandringham Sabres (81) def. Hobart Chargers (49)

Hobart Chargers were no match for Sandringham Sabres as the visitors lost their second game of the weekend on Sunday, going down to the Sabres by 32 points at the southern Basketball Stadium. Whilst the final term was even, the damage was done in the first 30 minutes, as the home side piled on a 32-point lead, keeping the Chargers to 12 points or less in each of those terms during the 81-49 victory. Jenna O’Hea (21 points, six rebounds and three assists) was the top-scorer in the win, while Amy O’Neill (17 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals) and Cassandra Hill (15 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals) were also lively. For the Chargers, Thompson (12 points, five rebounds), McCauley (12 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Collins (11 points, eight rebounds and two steals) were again the double-digit scorers.

Picture credit: NBL1

2021 NBL1 South Women’s wrap: Round 3

THREE teams remain undefeated after Round 3 of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South women’s competition, as Frankston Blues (4-0), Knox Raiders (3-0) and Eltham Wildcats (3-0) stand tall amongst the rest of the competition.

Geelong Supercats (92) def. Waverley Falcons (49)

Geelong Supercats have dominated Waverley Falcons by 43 points in a one-sided affair to open the round. The home team raced out to a 10-point lead at quarter time, and then closed down the opposition’s scoring, capped off with a 29-8 third quarter. A 20-14 final term saw the Supercats finish full of steam as well, winning 92-49. Steph Blicavs dominated with 26 points – four of five from long-range – four assists, three rebounds and two steals, while Aimie Clydesdale hit five of 10 from three-point range to finish with 21 points, as well as four rebounds and four assists, while Sarah Elsworthy (17 points, five assists and three rebounds) and Rebekah O’Donnell (11 points, seven rebounds) also stood tall. Renae Mokrzycki (13 points, three rebounds and two assists), Meg Crupi (12 points) and Nyakoang Lok (11 points, five rebounds and two steals) were the double-figure points scorers for the Falcons in the heavy loss.

Frankston Blues (90) def. Launceston Tornadoes (84)

The battle of the undefeated sides lived up to expectations with Frankston Blues triumphing over Launceston Tornadoes by just six points in a thrilling contest. It was a tale of two halves as the home team raced away to pile on 52 points to 38 in the opening half and lead by 14. Launceston hit back in the second half, but could only claw back eight of those 14 points, to go down 90-84. Despite Tessa Lavey having an uncharacteristically poor day shooting (two of 15 from the field and none of nine from long-range for seven points), the dual sport star had 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals to still contribute to the team’s success. Darcee Garbin (23 points, 11 rebounds and three assists) and Ella Batish (20 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists) picked up the slack, while Taylah Giliam (16 points, three rebounds) and Samara Hill (12 points, two assists) also stood tall. For the Tornadoes, it was the triple threat that did all the damage to try and keep the side in it, as Keely Froling (30 points, 10 rebounds and two assists) and Kelsey Griffin (14 points, 10 rebounds and two assists) picked up double-doubles, and Mariah Payne finished with 28 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals.

Knox Raiders (111) def. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (38)

The bloodbath of the round well and truly went to Knox Raiders, who showed no mercy in a dominating 73-point shellacking of Albury-Wodonga Bandits. The Raiders never looked like losing with a 67-21 opening half, and then kept the Bandits to as low as seven points in the final term, running out 111-38 victors. Marianna Tolo had a night out with 25 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while Klara Wischer also picked up a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Kara Tessari (18 points, four assists and three rebounds), Kiera Rowe (17 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Leah Santomaggio (13 points, four rebounds and three assists) were others who hit double-figure points for the Raiders. Emma Mahady knocked down 20 points, seven rebounds and two steals in a lone-hand for the Bandits, scoring more than half of the team’s points.

Ballarat Rush (67) def. by Bendigo Braves (74)

Bendigo Braves have come away with an important win on the road against Ballarat Rush, facing a 13-point half-time deficit but turning it around with a dominant second half. The Braves trailed 46-33 at the main break, but then kept the Rush to just 21 points after that, whilst they piled on 41 to secure the narrow seven-point win, 74-67. Tess Madgen led the way, picking up an almost triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, while Kate Oliver (18 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals), Cassidy McLean (12 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists) and Piper Dunlop (eight points, seven rebounds and two assists) all shone in the win. For the Rush, Alicia Froling was unstoppable off the boards with 16 rebounds – seven offensive – to go with 14 points, two assists and two blocks, while Kasey Burton (15 points, seven rebounds and two assists) and Kristy Rinaldi (15 points, five rebounds and three steals) also contributed strongly.

Diamond Valley Eagles (48) def. by Melbourne Tigers (93)

Diamond Valley Eagles’ winless start to the season continued, going down to Melbourne Tigers by 45 points, while the Tigers strung together back-to-back wins. Melbourne won every quarter, getting out to a 25-point lead at half-time to all but seal the deal, then won the second half by 20 points as well to run out 93-48 winners. Isabella Brancatisano (23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists) and Zitina Aokuso (10 points, 13 rebounds and two assists) both racked up double-doubles, as Monique Conti came close to a remarkable quadruple-double of 23 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and seven steals as a clear best on court. Gemma Simon helped out with 19 points in the Tigers’ win. For the Eagles, Sophie Burrows scored a team-high 12 points to go with six rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Olivia Bontempelli (10 points five rebounds, four steals and three assists) and Ivana Vasiljevic (10 points, three rebounds) also reached double-figure points.

Eltham Wildcats (87) def. Nunawading Spectres (74)

Eltham Wildcats remained undefeated from three games with a solid 13-point victory over Nunawading Spectres at home. The Wildcats raced out to a 14-point lead at half-time, and built it up to as much as 20 points by the final break, before the Spectres fought it out in the final term to cut the deficit back, but fell short of victory as the home team triumphed, 87-74. Lily Scanlon (24 points, six rebounds and two assists) scored the most points, but Anneli Maley‘s unbelievable season off the boards continued with 19 rebounds – 13 defensive – to go with 15 points. Tess Heal (14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals), Rebecca Pizzey (13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks) and Shelby Britten (10 points, seven assists, two rebounds and two steals) also hit double-figure points in the win. Penina Davidson was a standout for the Spectres in defeat, picking up 20 points, eight rebounds, five steals and two assists, while Rachel Antoniadou (17 points, nine assists and two rebounds) and Rachel Brewster (16 points, five assists, three rebounds and two blocks).

Kilsyth Cobras (75) def. Hobart Chargers (73)

Hobart Chargers fell short of their first victory against Kilsyth Cobras, following a spirited four-quarter effort. The Cobras led by four points at the first break, with the teams tied by half-time. Another strong term from Kilsyth saw them extend the lead out to four again, before the Chargers hit back in the fourth, to even hit the front with 2:24 on the clock, but the Cobras managed to steady and take home the win, 75-73. Lauren Scherf (12 points, 15 rebounds and four assists) and Abigail Curtin (14 points, seven rebounds) were influential, as Briahna Whatman (nine points, 11 rebounds and six assists) came close to a double-double, and Nikita Young (13 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals) was also handy. Madeleine Garrick was the star for the Chargers, not far off a triple-double of 26 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while Tayla Roberts (13 points, nine rebounds) and Kylie McCauley (13 points, nine rebounds and five assists), Sharna Roberts (11 points, five rebounds) and Ellie Collins (10 points, eight rebounds) did all the scoring in a losing team.

Mt Gambier Pioneers (45) def. by Ringwood Hawks (89)

A four-quarter performance capped off by a rampant final term put an exclamation mark on the Ringwood Hawks’ victory against Mt Gambier Pioneers. In the Pioneers first game in South Australia this year, they were up against some stiff opposition and the Hawks came to play, leading by 17 points at the final break. No one would have seen the last quarter coming, as Ringwood piled on 35 points to eight in a one-way domination to blow out the final margin to 44 points, 89-45. Funda Nakkasoglu hit a match-high 26 points, as well as five rebounds and three assists, while Marena Whittle (20 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, four steals and four blocks) and Demi Skinner (18 points, nine rebounds) were also impressive. For the Pioneers, Hannah Young was the standout thanks to 11 points and nine rebounds, while Shakera Reilly (10 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Jasmin Howe (nine points, five rebounds and two assists) were others who stood out for the losers.

Bendigo Braves (84) def. Dandenong Rangers (56)

After a win on the road against Ballarat Rush, Bendigo Braves made it back-to-back victories in Round 3 thanks to a 28-point triumph over Dandenong Rangers. The Braves won all four quarters, scoring at least 17 points in every quarter, and keeping the Rangers to 15 or less in three of the four terms to win, 84-56. Madgen feasted on the Rangers with an almost triple-double effort of 43 points – including seven of 13 from long-range – nine rebounds and eight assists, while Oliver (18 points, 14 rebounds) picked up a double-double, and Abigail Wehrung (15 points, six rebounds and five assists) was also impressive across the night. For the Rangers, Dallas Loughbridge scored 17 points, five steals and three assists, stepping up with Emilee Harmon (15 points, seven rebounds) and Tenaya Sooalo (14 points, three steals and two rebounds) also having a helping hand despite the loss.

Waverley Falcons (93) def. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (64)

Another team that made it back-to-back wins for Round 3, whilst also sentencing a league battler to yet another loss were Waverley Falcons, who took care of Albury-Wodonga Bandits by 29 points. The Falcons dominated the first half to race out to a 24-point lead at the main break, though credit to the Bandits who hit back in the third term to cut it to 15 points at the last change and give themselves a sniff. The Falcons quickly got back on top with a 24-10 final quarter and ran out 93-64 winners. Anna Bandilovska (29 points, two rebounds) was the highest points scorer, though Mokrzycki racked up 28 points, 17 rebounds and Kelly Bowen had 17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in double-double efforts. Mahady was again the key scorer with 20 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three assists, though she had some support in this match thanks to Charlotte Beavan‘s 16 points and three rebounds – with five of nine triples – and Brodie-Paige Theodore‘s 12 points – nine from the free-throw line – four rebounds and two assists.

Melbourne Tigers (109) def. Hobart Chargers (87)

Melbourne Tigers made it three consecutive wins, and handed Hobart Chargers an 0-4 start to the season with a 22-point victory at home. The Tigers were surprisingly sluggish to start the match and conceded 34 points in the first term to trail by 12 at quarter time, but then stepped up to completely dominate the game and score 87-53 and run out 109-87 winners. Conti had another massive performance of 40 points – eight of 12 from long-range – seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while Brancatisano (23 points – five of 11 from long-range – four rebounds and four assists) and Aokuso (19 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, three steals and two blocks in a triple-double effort) all dominated. Collins stepped up with 25 points, six rebounds and three assists in the loss, while Garrick (19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals), Tayla Roberts (15 points, six rebounds) and Thompson (13 points, three rebounds) were also lively.

Sandringham Sabres (67) def. by Launceston Tornadoes (100)

Closing out the weekend was Launceston Tornadoes bouncing back from their first loss of the season against Frankston Blues, to easily win 100-67 against Sandringham Sabres. The Tornadoes won every quarter by at least eight points in a dominant effort to secure the 33-point victory. Froling had an unbelievable performance of 37 points, 13 rebounds and four steals, one of three players to reach double-doubles, as Griffin (20 points, 12 rebounds three assists and two steals) and Payne (20 points, 12 rebounds and four assists) achieved the feat, while Teyla Evans managed the 13 points and four rebounds. Playing their first game of the round, the Sabres’ Amy O’Neill finished with a team-high 20 points, as well as eight assists, five rebounds and three steals. She was complemented by Jenna O’Hea (10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Cassandra Hill (11 points, two rebounds and two assists) in the loss.

Picture credit: Ian Knight Photography

2021 NBL1 South preview: Round 3

ONCE again Frankston Blues play host in our National Basketball League (NBL)1 South women’s match of the round, coming up against an equally stacked side in Launceston Tornadoes, whilst in the men’s we take a look at the Melbourne Tigers playing host to the Hobart Chargers, with both sides sitting at 1-1 heading into Round 3.

WOMEN’S:

Both Frankston Blues and Launceston Tornadoes are undefeated playing in a combined five games in the women’s competition this season. The Blues are sitting pretty at the top of the table with three wins from three games, while the Tornadoes have not dropped a fixture in their opening two matches. Darcee Garbin is leading the league in total points, with the 26-year-old forward putting up 27.7 points, 2.7 assists and 8.3 rebounds per game, shooting at 51.7 per cent from the field. Add to the fact she has hit the 30-point mark twice – in the wins over Nunawading Spectres and Dandenong Rangers – Garbin has proven to be a lethal threat all over the court.

Despite Garbin’s obvious shooting threat, the most balanced player on the side may well be another WNBL talent in Tessa Lavey, who is not that far off a whopping triple-double average. Pulling in 18.3 points, 8.3 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game, Lavey has not wasted any time acclimatising from the AFL Women’s to the basketball court. As the leader of the back court, Lavey is able to transition the ball forward to set up Garbin, and on both occasions has at least eight assists and at least seven rebounds from her first three games. She did have six turnovers last match, so it might be an area she looks to improve, but overall, she is hard to stop. Three other Blues to keep an eye on include Taylah Giliam (12.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists), and rising talents Saraid Taylor and Ella Batish who both average 6.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Perhaps the only player in better shooting form than Garbin is the far and away leader, Keely Froling. The WNBL sharp shooter has been unstoppable this season, dropping a whopping 35 points per game at 62.5 per cent efficiency from the field. What makes her even more damaging is her ability to live off the boards, with 20.5 per game, and then setting up five baskets per match through assists. She has only played the two games to Garbin’s three, but in those two games has put up 42 and 28 points, and also 22 and 19 rebounds respectively. Add in the three and four steals, and Froling can do it all. She did produce seven turnovers to her two from the first match, so again will be an area she looks to sharpen up.

More dangerously is the fact Launceston will unleash WNBL legend, Kelsey Griffin who will join her UC Capitals teammate in Froling at the Tornadoes. Griffin will suit up for the match, and whilst she has not played yet this season, considering what she does at the elite level, expect her numbers to be similar to Froling depending on her minutes. Mariah Payne is benefiting from the talent around her, quietly achieving with 19 points, eight rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while D’Asia Chambers is another one to watch with eight points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists per match in the back court. This game is set to be a massive one with serious elite WNBL talents going head-to-head in what promises to be a must-watch contest.

In other matches, the Tornadoes front up against Sandringham Sabres in a second away fixture, with fellow Tasmanian side Hobart Chargers searching for their first win against both Kilsyth Cobras and Melbourne Tigers. The Tigers play another struggling side in the Diamond Valley Eagles (0-3), while Albury-Wodonga Bandits double-up against Knox Raiders and Waverley Falcons. The Falcons also face the winless Geelong Supercats on Friday night, whilst in other matches, Ballarat Rush play host to Bendigo Braves, Eltham Wildcats take on Nunawading Spectres, Mt Gambier Pioneers tackle Ringwood Hawks, and the Braves face Dandenong Rangers.

FIXTURES:

Geelong Supercats (0-2) vs. Waverley Falcons (1-1)
Frankston Blues (3-0) vs. Launceston Tornadoes (2-0)
Knox Raiders (2-0) vs. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (0-2)
Ballarat Rush (2-1) vs. Bendigo Braves (1-1)
Diamond Valley Eagles (0-3) vs. Melbourne Tigers (1-1)
Eltham Wildcats (2-0) vs. Nunawading Spectres (1-1)
Kilsyth Cobras (1-1) vs. Hobart Chargers (0-2)
Mt Gambier Pioneers (0-2) vs. Ringwood Hawks (1-1)
Bendigo Braves (1-1) vs. Dandenong Rangers (1-1)
Waverley Falcons (1-1) vs. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (0-2)
Melbourne Tigers (1-1) vs. Hobart Chargers (0-2)
Sandringham Sabres (2-1) vs. Launceston Tornadoes (2-0)

MEN’S:

Our men’s match of the round is between Melbourne Tigers and Hobart Chargers in what promises to be a beauty of a contest. The Tigers sit at 1-1 from two games despite featuring in the top four for points, assists and blocks, whilst the Chargers have an equally red-hot shooter on their hands, and also have won just the one game from two matches.

This week the shooting contest will be between Tigers’ Felix von Hofe (30.5 points per game) and Chargers’ Jonathan Mines (28.0). Von Hofe is also averaging the five rebounds per game, but is best known as that pinpoint shooter who can be ever damaging from the back court. Putting up 28 and 33 points per game in his first two matches, von Hofe is one the Chargers must look to contain. Similarly, Mines is averaging the three rebounds and a block, steal and assist per match, putting up 31 and 25 points in his two matches thus far.

Both players have support around them, with Keenan Willie among the top playmakers in the competition. Willie is averaging a healthy 6.0 assists – ranking fourth overall – with his 10.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, shooting at 53.85 per cent from the field for the Tigers. Similarly, Dogukan Elyazar (14 points, four rebounds) and Lachlan Anthony (8.0 points, 1.5 assists and 1.5 rebounds) are others who have contributed for the home side.

For the Chargers, Koen Sapwell (18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists) has backed up Mines effectively, while Jack Stanwix (11 points, five assists) has been a contributing factor in scoring, though he has only played the one game against the Ballarat Miners. The Tigers will be favourites at home in this one, but the match could go either way.

In other matches, the Tigers also travel to face Diamond Valley Eagles, whilst the Chargers lock horns with Kilsyth Cobras in another 1-1 clash. Opening the round the Geelong Supercats host Waverley Falcons, before the Falcons play host to Albury-Wodonga Bandits later on the weekend. The Bandits previously take on Knox Raiders to search for their first win, whilst Dandenong Rangers will look for the same result against Bendigo Braves, who take on not only the Rangers, but the Miners as well. North West Tasmania do the double against Frankston Blues and Sandringham Sabres, whilst two teams with opposite formlines coming into the round in Nunawading Spectres and Eltham Wildcats do battle, as Mt Gambier Pioneers also host Ringwood Hawks.

FIXTURES:

Geelong Supercats (2-0) vs. Waverley Falcons (1-1)
Frankston Blues (2-1) vs. North West Tasmania (1-1)
Knox Raiders (1-1) vs. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (0-2)
Ballarat Miners (2-1) vs. Bendigo Braves (1-1)
Diamond Valley Eagles (2-1) vs. Melbourne Tigers (1-1)
Eltham Wildcats (0-2) vs. Nunawading Spectres (2-0)
Kilsyth Cobras (1-1) vs. Hobart Chargers (1-1)
Mt Gambier Pioneers (1-1) vs. Ringwood Hawks (1-1)
Bendigo Braves (1-1) vs. Dandenong Rangers (0-2)
Waverley Falcons (1-1) vs. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (0-2)
Melbourne Tigers (1-1) vs. Hobart Chargers (1-1)
Sandringham Sabres (1-2) vs. North West Tasmania (1-1)

Picture credit: Daniel Papak

WNBL20 Season Review – UC Capitals

HAVING ruled the WNBL from late-2018 to early-2020, many were disappointed not to see the third three-peat in league history fulfilled by the University of Canberra Capitals. A lot of those who actively follow the WNBL had a glimmer of hope that Paul Goriss and his side might do it again, but it just was not to be.

The Capitals’ fairy-tale ending would fall short in WNBL20 following their Elimination Final loss to the team they knocked out in 2019/20, the Melbourne Boomers. Despite bowing out of this season earlier than they were hoping for, Canberra had a season to be proud of nevertheless.

To begin their campaign, the Capitals put their wrong foot first so to speak kickstarting WNBL20 with a major upset after being defeated by the Adelaide Lightning. Such a loss paired with the fact that their two star imports from last season could not suit up (Kia Nurse and Olivia Epoupa), brought into question just how far this Capitals unit could get.

Canberra quickly re-established themselves as a postseason contender with a bounce-back win against a highly touted Townsville Fire squad, squaring their season record up after Round 1 with a win and a loss under their belt.

A rather uncomplicated and straight-forward outcome over the Bendigo Spirit begun a successful three-game week for the two-time defending champs, most notably in their second game of Round 2 with a dominant 67-50 result over the Boomers in their first matchup. A third victory after their win against the Sydney Uni Flames to wrap up the second week of contests brought Canberra’s record to four wins out of five results, but the club’s exclamation point came at the beginning of the next week.

Once the Southside Flyers started to pick up form early on in the season it seemed like last year’s runners-ups were almost unstoppable, but the Capitals single-handedly sent shockwaves throughout the League at the start of Round 3 after a four-quarter demolition job of the eventual minor premiers by 23 points. Canberra continued their form by stringing together a second-straight undefeated week of games.

The Capitals’ winning streak of seven came to an end following their second meeting with the Boomers and in their closing contest of Round 4, again they would fall, this time to the Fire (Canberra’s only losing round of the season).

After a split in the results of the last round, firstly a win against the Perth Lynx, then a second less favourable result against the Flyers to end WNBL20, Canberra would finish the season on a record of nine wins and four losses (one of three teams to hold this record) and secure third position on points percentage thus setting up a date with the Boomers in the Elimination Final.

In a clash that demanded strong defence from both sides it was Melbourne that was able to stick to their guns that they had relied on all season, limiting the Capitals to just 68 points following their contest. More importantly, the Boomers were able to put 78 points of their own on the scoreboard, knocking out the reigning premiers in one fell swoop.

Top individual performers were various and many for coach Gorris’s side, with Maddison Rocci continuing her astonishing development over the past year averaging 16 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds whilst leading the side in minutes with 29.4 per contest. As a result, Rocci earned All-WNBL Second Team honours solidifying her as one of the competition’s elite. It would be uncharacteristic for Canberra to have a successful season without key contributions from their co-captains Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo. Griffin concluded her season with averages of 12 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals, whereas Tolo’s statistics would read 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.

Surprise standouts included Keely Froling who ranked fourth in the team’s scoring and rebounding departments with 9.4 points per game and 5.7 boards per outing. All of this while WNBL rookie Jade Melbourne turned many heads in her initial season averaging 8.3 points and two assists in 22.8 minutes of play each time out.

While Canberra’s dynasty may well possibly be in its twilight stage, many might wonder what form the roster will shape up to look like in the coming years. With young talent like Rocci, Melbourne, Froling and Abby Cubillo rising through the ranks, the nation’s capital can look forward to a competitive women’s basketball team for the foreseeable future.

Capitals’ reign comes to an end, Boomers advance to prelim

THE three-peat dream for the Canberra Capitals abruptly ended last night as a result of the Melbourne Boomers diligent work on the defensive end, outlasting the reigning premiers 78-68 in Townsville. The win means Melbourne are just one win away from a WNBL Grand Final opportunity.

During the opening five minutes of the game, both sides remained level-headed as the first 20 points of the contest were shared evenly. But the first scoring run went the way of the Boomers, scoring 11 unanswered points to take control of the first period.

Ezi Magbegor’s 10 points in the first was the primary factor that led to Melbourne’s 32-20 lead over the Capitals, but Canberra did not plan on bowing out of their “three-peat bid” after just 10 minutes of play.

As soon as Paul Goriss’s trio of Maddison Rocci, Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo started to click, the Capitals started to earn some success on the floor. Ultimately winning the quarter 15-9 in a more defence-oriented term. Canberra looked to make the elimination final one that would not be decided until the second half, trailing Melbourne by six at the half 35-41.

Magbegor, who went scoreless in the second, headed to half-time with 10 points and three rebounds, while providing much needed consistency inside as the Boomers shot 46 per cent in the first half compared to the Capitals 34 per cent. For the Capitals, Rocci was trying her hand as her team’s main producer with nine points at the half.

Unfortunately for Canberra all of their work from the second quarter was undone in the third, with Melbourne expanding their lead back to 11 points having 10 minutes yet to be played. However, if the Boomers were going to avoid their third-straight semi-final exit in three years, Guy Molloy’s side needed to be on their best form if they were to eliminate the two-time defending champions.

A couple of surprise standouts from each team in the third started to make their imprint on the game, with Boomers’ Izzy Wright holding 11 points and Brittany Smart having 10 of her own at the third intermission.

Even though Canberra limited Melbourne’s scoring early in the fourth, the Capitals were not urgent in their pursuit of points either due to inaccurate shooting and the inability to convert on second-chance opportunities. Drawing back to within eight points with just over two minutes remaining, Canberra tried their best to throw the kitchen sink at Melbourne, while the Boomers made the Capitals sweat for every bucket.

Converting on a fast-break layup following Tess Madgen’s missed bonus free-throws, Smart reduced the deficit to seven. However, two made free throws from Maddie Garrick put the result beyond all doubt in last night’s opener as Melbourne advanced to Friday’s preliminary final while Canberra’s reign in the WNBL came to an honourable end.

Knocking down 44 per cent of their attempts (30-67), the Boomers were able to convert on the majority of their shots while limiting the Capitals to just 68 points, a testament to their moniker of the “League’s Best Defence”. Despite their prominent depth evidenced by their 28 bench points, Canberra now goes home early for the first time in three seasons, with Melbourne emerging superior in various categories such as rebounds, assists and blocks.

Magbegor concluded her performance with a dominant 20-point and 11-rebound double-double effort, while Molloy’s backcourt duo of Garrick (15 points, five rebounds and four assists) and Madgen (13 points, nine rebounds and six assists) proved to be lethal after four quarters. Last and certainly not least, Cayla George dominated on the glass with seven points and 12 rebounds, whereas Wright also notched up 13 points after 40 minutes in her coming out performance of the season.

Although five Capitals players reached double-digit figures, it was not enough to get themselves over the line with Smart leading the way with 15 points off the bench. The WNBL’s sixth highest scorer in Rocci, earned 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds in the loss, while the team’s co-captains in Griffin (12 points and 11 rebounds) and Tolo (10 points and eight rebounds) both made sizeable contributions.

The Boomers will be focusing solely on recovery as they have less than 36 hours to regain their strength in what will be a much-anticipated prelim final on Friday night, bearing in mind the fact that Melbourne are still searching for their first title in more than a decade.

WNBL semi-finals preview

WNBL semi-finals action begins tonight as the Melbourne Boomers and UC Capitals kick things off at Townsville Stadium, with the victor progressing through to the preliminary final. Meanwhile, ladder leaders Southside Flyers take on Townsville Fire later tonight with the winner through to the grand final.

UC Capitals v. Melbourne Boomers

A couple of familiar faces return to the finals fold with the UC Capitals and Melbourne Boomers gearing up for another finals campaign. Both sides are formidable forces that ooze class, composure, and plenty of smarts,  able to work their way out of tricky situations and barely have a bad game. It makes for an exciting clash between the two sides.

There has not been too much time between their last outing with the Melbourne Boomers getting the last laugh and walking away with a six-point victory just over two weeks ago. However, the Capitals are no easy beats and will be hoping to reverse those efforts with the back-to-back reigning premiers a force to be reckoned with each time they step out on court. The Caps have only won two of their past five outings while the Boomers have gone one better, sitting at three wins over their past five performances. Both sides are coming into the final off a loss and will be eager to flip the script and keep their finals dreams alive.

Looking at the statistical breakdown there are plenty of similarities between the two sides, with scoring no problem for either but the difference coming from where they score from. In terms of percentage the Boomers have the upper hand at both the three-point range and in overall field goal percentage – 33.3 per cent to 29.9 per cent and 43.3 per cent to 40.9 per cent respectively. The Caps are prolific in the paint, managing 496 for the season as opposed to 484 while they also have the upper hand when it comes to fast break points (105-73). On the other hand the Boomers make the most of turnover opportunities, nailing 189 points to 183. When it comes to rebounds the Capitals are above and beyond with 514 for the season while Melbourne managed 453.

There is no shortage of excitement machines for UC but it is Maddison Rocci who has really taken the step up this season, averaging a team high 16.2 points along with 3.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals. She is not alone though with Marianna Tolo another commanding presence out on court, averaging 11.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists – highlighting her ability to have an impact in all aspects. It is hard to go past the services of Kelsey Griffin with the forward able to find the basket and score, going at 45.3 per cent from the field and averaging 12 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals. There are a host of other key contributors such as Keely Froling, Jade Melbourne, and Mikaela Ruef, who has proven her star power off the boards on more than one occasion.

The Boomers also have a number of livewires, none bigger than the exciting duo of Ezi Magbegor and Cayla George with the latter named in the All-WNBL First Team. Magbegor has taken another big step forward this season, averaging an impressive 14.8 points a game, 8.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists while also lending her hand on the defensive end with 1.1 blocks. Her partner in crime, George, is not far behind averaging 14.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, not to mention one block and 1.4 steals a game. Tess Madgen is another one to keep an eye out for with her explosive nature to record 14.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists a game. Madeleine Garrick, Kalani Purcell and Ashleigh Karaitiana are others that are able to chime in and keep the scoreboard ticking over for the Boomers.

Southside Flyers v. Townsville Fire

Southside Flyers come into the semi-final against Townsville Fire with a real sense of vengeance having fallen short in the big dance last year and proven eager to make up for their missed opportunities. Boasting a stacked team with plenty of big names, the Flyers will be hoping to assert themselves early and pounce on the inexperienced and youthful Townsville outfit.

The last time these two sides met it was the Flyers who took home the chocolates, downing the Fire by a convincing 24 points while also winning by a similar margin the time before in Round 2. In fact, the Flyers have a pretty good record against Townsville; claiming victories in all five of their past encounters, an area the Fire will be hoping to correct in this semi-final to progress through to the next stage. In terms of current form, the Flyers are on a staggering seven-game winning streak and have no intentions of slowing down while Townsville has managed four wins in its past five appearances.

The Flyers are scoring machines, averaging a whopping 96 points per game credit to their plethora of options that can attack the rim and do so at a high accuracy. Conversely, the Fire only manage 81 points per game and will have to try and shut down Southside if they are any chance to keep up with them. Field goal percentage is another strength of the Flyers, sitting at 51.1 per cent with the Fire converting at 45.6 per cent. They also have the upper hand when it comes to three-point accuracy 43.1 to 34.6 but Townsville is pretty reliable when sent to the charity strip, managing a 74.4 per cent clip as opposed to the Flyers’ 71.7 per cent. Aside from shooting the Flyers are incredibly strong when it comes to blocks, registering 31 more than the Fire (52-21) and also reign supreme in assists (343-214) and steals (126-96). However, the Fire have the upper hand on the rebounding front (508-471) and will be hoping to make the most of their efforts off the board.

Despite missing out on the League MVP there is no denying that the acquisition of Liz Cambage has been influential on the Flyers outfit. The star center is a menace off the boards and a commanding force overall, able to hit the scoreboard with great ease in averaging 23.6 points and 8.2 rebounds each time she steps out on court. However, she is not a lone hand with the likes of Sara Blicavs just as much of a handful given her innate ability to pop up when needed and deliver at a high standard, thanks to her 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game averages. Rebecca Cole is another one that is able to ply her trade for the Flyers, averaging 14.5 points per game, 2.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists each time she steps out on court. Teammates Jenna O’Hea and Leilani Mitchell are also are also crucial cogs for the Flyers and will have to fire if they are to get over the top of Townsville in their semi-final clash.

Townsville will be looking to the likes of Lauren Nicholson an Shyla Heal to lead the way for them from start to finish. Nicholson has been a revelation since joining the club this season with her ability to find the rim really coming to the fore, averaging 18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists an 1.4 steals each game. Further court time for Heal has worked wonders for her basketball ability with the youngster averaging 15.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists making her one to watch in this clash. Fellow youngster Zitina Aokuso is another exciting prospect that can sense the moment and knows how to deliver recording an average of 9.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists. Nadeen Payne is a handy option for the Fire as is Stephanie Reid and Courtney Woods highlighting the amount of depth the club has.

Fire overcome fast-starting Boomers to secure second spot

THE TOWNSVILLE Fire announced themselves as serious finals contenders, downing Melbourne Boomers by six points in an epic contest (70-64). In a fight for top four position, the two sides went head-to-head with the lead ebbing and flowing throughout the game, showcasing what was at stake and the high intensity both sides can bring to the table.

The Boomers got out to a flyer of a start, establishing a seven-point margin at the first break and keeping the Fire to single digits in the opening term. But Townsville showcased its grit and determination, finding a groove in the second term and piling on the pressure to turn the tables on the Boomers, who seemed to have things their own way in the opening period of play. The Fire made light work of Melbourne, notching up 31 points to 17. Things evened out in the second half with both teams establishing their rhythm and unable to be separated, but in the end the Fire had done enough to throw the Boomers and clinch a hard-fought victory.

Accuracy from the field was down for both sides, however the Fire managed to boast a higher percentage – sitting at 42 per cent compared to the Boomers’ 38. The Fire also starred from two point range, converting at a 50 per cent clip in nailing 21 of their 42 attempts, while the Boomers did not have the same luck sitting at 41 per cent. However, when it came to triples, that is where the Boomers impressed nailing eight of their 25 attempts at 32 per cent as opposed to the Fire’s 28 per cent. Shooting statistics aside, the Boomers seemed to have the upper hand in the majority of the other categories; recording a higher rebound count (40-39) and more assists (24-14), highlighting the different way the two clubs go about it on court. They also earned a higher steals and blocks tally (10-7) and (4-2), respectively showcasing their defensive intent but were somewhat costly on the turnover front (16-13).

Lauren Nicholson once again impressed for the Fire, with the guard dropping 23 points at 50 per cent from the field along with four assists, six rebounds and a steal, highlighting her ability to be constantly involved in the action. Teammate Shyla Heal was down on her usual output, only recording the seven points in her 33 minutes on court, however she still managed to have an impact off the boards with five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Kate Gaze was another key contributor with 11 points while Zitina Aokuso starred for the Fire with her 16 points at an impressive 87 per cent from the field. Aokuso also managed seven rebounds, six of which were defensive, along with a steal to cap off an impressive performance from the youngster. Nadeen Payne also chimed in for a handy eight points and seven rebounds to help get her side over the line.

There were three main contributors for the Melbourne Boomers who were unable to generate as much impact as they would have liked off the bench, but still had key figures that were able to keep them in touching distance of the Fire. Ezi Magbegor led the charge for Melbourne, with the forward proving to be a menace and recording a team-high 20 points at an all-round 64 per cent accuracy. It did not stop there for her, amassing 10 rebounds to collect another double-double while also picking up three assists and one steal. The ever-reliable captain, Cayla George was the next best with 18 points across her 36 minutes on court, but she did the most damage off the boards with a staggering 17 rebounds which accompanied her three steals, three blocks and four assists. Tess Madgen also contributed for the Boomers knocking back 11 points while also collecting eight assists and four rebounds.

The Fire look ahead to ladder leaders Southside Flyers in the semi-final on Wednesday while Melbourne faces off against the Caps early in the day.

Flyers flex their muscles with convincing win over Caps

Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

It was always going to be an exciting battle between back-to-back premiers UC Capitals and the star studded line-up of Southside Flyers, but in the end it was the latter that prevailed in a convincing performance to run out with a 19-point victory (82-101).  The ladder leaders are building some serious momentum heading into the finals and are clearly primed as premiership favourites, as shown by their dominant performance on Sunday.

It was a high scoring match from the opening minutes of the game with both sides renowned for their attacking mentality and ability to hit the scoreboard with great ease. The Flyers got out to a handy start and did not look like giving up the lead at any stage, continuously pushing to extend their margin. Despite a better quarter in the second from the Caps nailing 23 points to 20, the Flyers still had the momentum and the lead. But they dealt the most damage in the third quarter when they went on a scoring spree, nailing 32 points to 19 to all but seal the deal. The Flyers had a real sense of desperation and urgency in their gameplay and that showed throughout the game, outscoring their opponents in the final term as well.

Scoring proved to be no issue for the Flyers who managed an impressive 51 per cent from the field, nailing 40 of their 77 attempts while the Caps travelled at a 40 per cent conversion rate. Southside starred from downtown, sitting at a whopping 62 per cent in slotting 18 from their 29 attempts, while it was a different story for the Capitals who only managed a mere 26 per cent from outside the arc. When it came to rebounds UC had things all their own way, recoding 47 to 34 to showcase their strength off the boards, but the Flyers seemed to have their number in all the other aspects such as assists (29-23), steals (6-4) and blocks (5-1). The ladder leaders were also cleaner with ball in hand and treasured possession, only notching up 10 turnovers as opposed to 15 while when it came to points in the paint, the Flyers also had the upper hand recording 42 to 28.

Despite being in the losing side there was no shortage of options with the likes of Marianna Tolo leading the way for the Capitals with her 23 points, six rebounds and two assists. The scoring dropped off after her with Jade Melbourne the next closest with 12 points in a strong performance off the bench. Madison Rocci and Kelsey Griffin were both handy options for the Capitals, combining for 21 points, nine rebounds and three assists while Keely Froling also chimed in with 10 points of her own in her 25 minutes on court. Although Mikaela Ruef did not have a profound impact on the scoreboard thanks to her six points, her strength off the board was unquestionable, reeling in 12 rebounds with eight of them defensive.

Six players all managed double figures for the Flyers with Rebecca Cole headlining the side with her 23 points and eight rebounds. Cole took the game by the scruff of the neck and starred while the ever-reliable Liz Cambage continued her merry way with another dominant performance collecting 18 points at 53 per cent and 12 rebounds. Aimie Clydesdale managed to have an influence thanks to her 13 points, two rebounds and six assists as did teammate Leilani Mitchell who just fell short of a double-double with nine rebounds and 14 points. Sara Blicavs dominated off the bench in a stats stuffing performance thanks to her 16 points, six rebounds and five assists haul while Stephanie Blicavs managed 11 points of her own in the win.

Looking ahead, the Flyers prepare for Townsville Fire in the semi-final on Wednesday while the Caps gear up for Melbourne.

Flames end season on a high

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After somewhat of an up and down season for both sides it was the Sydney Uni Flames that got the last laugh, securing a 26-point victory over Adelaide Lightning (86-60). With both teams out of the running for finals it was a matter of pride and determination which the Flames oozed plenty of as they kicked it up a gear in the final term to really ram home the win.

It was an even start to the game with the Flames and Lightning settling into the action and feeling each other out before Sydney found its mojo in the second term and put on the afterburners. Sensing a blowout, Adelaide turned the tables in the third term, going toe-to-toe with the Flames and scoring 18 points apiece, but that was not enough to worry Sydney who still had a handy buffer. The final quarter of action was where things really started to unravel with the Flames attacking the rim with great ease and piling on the scoreboard pressure thanks to their 29 to 14 point term to notch up their fifth win for the season.

Field goal percentage for both sides was down with the Flames converting at 39 per cent while Adelaide managed 35 per cent. The Lightning had better luck when it came to two point range sitting at 42 per cent while Sydney only managed 37 per cent. The roles were reversed when it came to three-pointers with the victors holding the upper hand, nailing eight of their 18 attempts at 44 per cent while the Lightning only managed 24 per cent. The Flames collected more rebounds (48-41), steals (14-7) and had less turnovers (10-20) while when it came to assists Adelaide impressed with 16-12.

Lauren Mansifeld seemed to have her own ball out on court for the Flames, sinking a game-high 31 points in a dominant shooting display from the guard. She also managed four assists and an uncharacteristic three turnovers. Mansfield was well-aided by Alison Schwagmeyer who recorded 16 points but could have had more had she been more accurate from the field, sitting at 33 per cent while also amassing seven rebounds and two assists. Anneli Maley was a commanding force off the backboards, recording a whopping 15 rebounds, 12 of which were defensive while Lauren Scherf plied her trade sinking 11 points in the win.

Although it was not the way the Lightning would have liked for the game to have gone down, there were a couple of key contributors with Steph Talbot once again leading the way. Talbot had a hot hand converting 22 points at 56 per cent while also dragging down 13 rebounds to record yet another double-double. Alex Wilson was the only other player to reach double figures with her 12 points and proved to be a real playmaker with ball in hand, amassing seven assists and a steal. Abigail Wehrung had an influence on the scoreboard, albeit limited, but still managed eight points in her 32 minutes on court.

UC Capitalise on first half blitz to end Lynx’s season with a loss

UNIVERSITY of Canberra (UC) Capitals showed no mercy during an impressive and dominant first half, leading to a 27-point win over Perth Lynx to set up a top of the table battle for the minor premiership against Southside Flyers. The Capitals dominated the first half with 53 points to 29, then holding firm in the second half to run out 96-69 victors.

The Capitals raced away to a 26-19 lead by the first break, and then hit the half century at half-time courtesy of a one-sided 27-10 second quarter. It meant the Capitals were all but home with a half to play, though the Lynx made it more difficult after the main break. Scoring 23 points to 22, the Lynx actually won the third term, but the Capitals got back on top in the fourth, winning it 21-17 to round out an all-round strong performance.

The Capitals were on top in nearly every area, dominating the rebounds (44-34), assists (27-16) and steals (12-7), whilst also having less turnovers (9-16). They punished their opponents on the counter attack, putting up 25 points to six, while also scoring 18-14 fast break points, and capitalising with 12-5 second chance points. The reigning premiers’ depth had plenty to say with 37 points to seven, preparing themselves for the crunch match with the Flyers.

Maddison Rocci was electric from long-range, hitting four of six triples, and nine of 14 from the field as she knocked up 27 points in just 26 minutes. She also picked up five rebounds, four assists and one steal without turning the ball over. Kelsey Griffin was huge off the boards thanks to 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals, while Keely Froling also picked up 11 points, three rebounds and three assists. Not scoring a point, Abby Cubillo thrived from her first start, dishing off seven assists, as well as recording three rebounds and three steals.

Coming off the bench, Marianna Tolo (12 points, six rebounds) and Mikaela Ruef (11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals) both provided size and experience. Brittany Smart gained the most minutes of the season with 22, scoring nine points, four rebounds and three assists.

For the Lynx, Katie-Rae Ebzery had a night out with 24 points – including three of five from long-range – three rebounds and two steals. Darcee Garbin scored 17 points and seven rebounds, while Ashley Sharp was equally influential off the boards with eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Alex Ciabattoni (six points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals) and Kayla Steindl (seven points, three assists and two blocks) were both strong.

The Capitals finish their season off on the right note on Sunday when they clash with the Flyers, as the Lynx prepare to head home and set themselves for a big 2021.

Flyers snatch unbelievable win against Flames

Southside Flyers’ Sara Blicavs competes for the ball against Anneli Maley. Picture credit: WNBL

SOUTHSIDE Flyers have found a way back from the brink to post a nail-biting four-point win over a plucky Sydney Uni Flames to remain on top of the WNBL ladder heading into the Flyers’ final match of the season. Trailing by nine points with 2:51 on the clock after Lauren Mansfield had drained a triple, the Flyers managed to score the last 13 points of the game with a Sara Blicavs triple with 11 seconds on the clock helping the Flyers hit the front and then last second free throws cementing the narrow 81-77 victory.

It was quite the contest between a side locked into the top two and one that was already out of finals contention, but the Flames showed they could match it with the best on their day. The first half saw the Flames race out to a five-point lead at the main break, then having won the first three quarters, lead by six with 10 minutes to play. At one point, the score was 77-68 with the Flames ahead 17-14 in that last stanza. Somehow the Flyers found a way to win, with Leilani Mitchell having a massive last minute thanks to a defensive rebound off a Lauren Scherf miss, the assist to Blicavs and then finishing the match with two successful free throws to seal the deal.

Both teams had their fair share of little wins on the night, with the Flames surprisingly dominating the usually unbeatable Flyers’ bigs, winning 51 rebounds to 30. However the Flyers were better with ball-in-hand picking up 19-15 assists, 11-3 steals and punishing the Flames for their extra turnovers (21-15) with 25-19 points from turnover. Southside also capitalised off the fast break with 20-4 points. Their accuracy of 57 per cent from the field was much higher than the Flames’ 42 per cent, though the latter managed to hit 10 of 26 triples, much better than the Flyers’ six of 22 which kept the losing side in the game.

Liz Cambage had 24 points and five rebounds in another game-high points performance, aided by the remainder of the Flyers’ starting five who scored nearly all of the team’s points. Mitchell (15 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals) was prolific, while Blicavs (13 points, eight rebounds) was dominant off the boards. Rebecca Cole had 14 points, five assts and four steals, while Jenna O’Hea finished with 11 points and three rebounds. Aimie Clydesdale was the one contributor off the bench for the winning side, scoring two points and had five assists and two rebounds in 22 minutes as the Flyers could not utilise their bench as much as usual.

For the Flames, Mansfield had a massive night out picking up 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Anneli Maley‘s rebounding efforts were out of this world. The former Flyers’ forward showed her team what they were missing, notching up 19 points and 17 rebounds in a huge performance. Alison Schwagmeyer had 14 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Natalie Burton picked up 10 rebounds to go with six points and two assists. Funda Nakkasoglu came off the bench for 11 points to round out the top performers.

Both teams set their sights on Sunday, where the Flyers face off against the Capitals for top spot, and the Flames take on Adelaide Lightning in the final game of the regular season.