Tag: Kiera Rowe

Draft Central’s Top 10 2019/20 WNBL memorable moments: #7 – Southside’s flying first season

WITH no basketball for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we look at the brighter side of the sport that brought plenty of memories throughout the 2019/20 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season. Over the next couple of weeks we will countdown Draft Central‘s Top 10 memorable moments from the season. Some are individual events, others are season views, and even a couple are decisions that panned out for the better. Today we continue with number seven, with the competition’s newest side – rebranded from the Dandenong Rangers – having an impeccable first season that came close to making history.

#7 Southside Flyers stunning first WNBL season under rebrand

In a fresh rebrand, Southside Flyers looked to include more of the region outside of Dandenong from the previous Rangers’ side that in its own right had been quite impressive through the WNBL. In at number seven for our countdown, we look at the Flyers’ first season in the competition. While the minor premiers ultimately fell short of the top prize, there was plenty to celebrate in season 2019/20. They finished top of the table comfortably (with a 17-4 win-loss record), and then went on to win both their semi-finals to advance through to the Grand Final Series. Whilst both games were thrillers against the reigning premiers, University of Canberra (UC) Capitals, it was not to be, bowing out in the final game of the season.

In our last countdown we noted how impressive Mercedes Russell has been averaging a double-double per game, but equally important were the likes of Rebecca Cole, Sarah Blicavs, Jenna O’Hea and Leilani Mitchell. Both O’Hea and Mitchell had joined the club from rival organisations to form a formidable starting five that was hard to top. Add in the youth of Anneli Maley and Kiera Rowe, and the importance of Aimie Clydesdale off the bench, and the Flyers had a really strong squad as a whole. While they were not able to get the chocolates in the end, they really made life difficult for the opposition and it showed in the end result of a minor premiership and grand final.

Top 10 WNBL 2019/20 moments countdown so far:

#10 – Ezi Magbegor wins second Rookie of the Year award
#9 – Bendigo Spirit breaks road drought
#8 – Mercedes Russell stars in debut season
#7 – Southside’s flying first season

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 season team preview: Southside Flyers

A NEW name, new coach and new-look side, the Southside Flyers are ready to live up to their name and fly into the 2019/20 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season. The team formerly known as Dandenong Rangers switched to a region-based name over the winter and announced in July that former Sydney Uni Flames head coach – Cheryl Chambers – would replace Larissa Anderson who stepped down in February. On paper, the side is stacked with talent, but it will be interesting to see just how much the Flyers can gel, particularly early in the season.

Finished: 5th (as Dandenong Rangers)
Wins: 9
Losses: 12
Points: 18
Percentage: 93.54%

Last season:

Given the vastly new-look side and new recruits, it is too difficult to judge this season on last, but the Rangers were certainly competitive throughout, but eventually fell four games short of finals action. They were the best of the rest in terms of non-finals teams, and with some added talent and experience, not only to the starting five, but the bench as well the depth looks as enviable as any side in the competition. Rebecca Cole (17.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.0 steals) and a fit Sara Blicavs who only managed the six games last season in the WNBL but lit up the NBL1 competition for Geelong Supercats, both recommitted to the new side. As did Stephanie Reid who broke the NBL1 points-scoring record with a massive 50 for Frankston last season while Kiera Rowe and Rebecca Pizzey also signed on. The key outs were Tessa Lavey and Carley Ernst who both headed to Bendigo, while WNBL Defensive Player of the Year in 2018, Kayla Pedersen retired.

New recruits:

The huge inclusion is that of Melbourne Boomers’ Jenna O’Hea with the Opals star crossing to the state rivals after just the three games last season. Joining her is title-winning Capitals’ guard Leilani Mitchell, who averaged double-figure points and was a playmaker for her side across 20 games in the regular season, seven of which she started. While talented up-and-comer Anneli Maley earned a contract and American, Mercedes Russell joined the side. After brilliant seasons in the NBL1, Louella Tomlinson has come down from Bendigo, while Aimie Clydesdale has switched to the Flyers from the Lightning.

Star player:

Mercedes Russell. It was hard to pinpoint one star player in this side, with the easier option being the known quantities across the court, but Russell is a player who can add some serious talent to the side, averaging 7.5 points and an impressive 6.1 rebounds – a fairly even balance up both ends – in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) for Seattle. At 198cm, good luck to any opposing player trying to stop here.

NBL1 Women’s Round 13 review: Bendigo Braves make it nine in a row

THE Geelong Supercats cleaned up their first game of the NBL (National Basketball League)1 for Round 13, against the Ballarat Rush – defeating the home side 82-70. The game opened very much in Geelong’s favour (19-10) but took a turn in the second and third with Ballarat snaring consecutive 23-point terms, compared to 19 and 17 for Geelong. Though the Supercats struck back in the fourth with a decisive 27 points to 14, defeating the Rush by 12 points on the road. Zitinia Aokuso recorded a double-double for the Supercats with 24 points, 16 rebounds and four assists. She was supported well by teammates, Alex Duck (18 points, two rebounds and three assists), Isabella Brancatisano (16 points and five rebounds) and Sara Blicavs (13 points and 15 rebounds), who all pulled up strong in the paint. For the Rush, Georgia Amoore was a standout – recording 19 points from 25 minutes in the loss. Hsi-Le Bao managed a double-double in the loss with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Olivia Hackmann (13 points and six rebounds) and Chanise Jenkins (13 points, five rebounds and seven assists) also proved pivotal throughout.

In Ballarat’s second outing, the Rush managed to snare a 72-64 victory against the travelling, Hobart Huskies. The win places Ballarat (thirteenth) one position higher than Hobart (fourteenth) who are nursing consecutive losses in Round 13. Jenkins again proved dominant for the Rush, putting up a double-double with 24 points, four rebounds and 11 assists. Teammate, Lucy Cochrane, also managed a double-double, finishing with 10 points and 15 rebounds alongside Bao who pulled big numbers off the rebound (16). Laura Taylor also impressed from 18 minutes, recording 11 points and five rebounds, with Hackmann (14 points, six rebounds and three assists) also proving impressive. In the loss, Ellie Collins was immense with 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists, as was Nikki Greene (14 points and 12 rebounds) who managed a double-double. Despite the result, this game marked a huge improvement for Hobart when compared with their 52-102 loss against the fifth-placed Kilsyth Cobras at home. The Huskies were blitzed in all terms by the visitors, recording a low of seven points to 24 in the third term, with none of their players cracking double-digits on the scoreboard. Lauren Nicholson dropped 40 points, five rebounds and two assists in the win, with Klara Wischer (15 points, six rebounds and five assists) and Sarah Boothe (11 points, six rebounds and two assists) also proving impressive. For Hobart, Sharna Thompson managed nine points, four rebounds and two assists but only hit two of 11 from the field. Tayla Roberts (eight points and four rebounds) and Collins (nine points, six rebounds and three assists) also proved important.

Kilsyth’s time in Tasmania presented complete success after finishing their second outing in a 85-63 win over the Launceston Tornadoes. The loss marks eight consecutive defeats for the Tornadoes – currently nursing the largest losing streak and the worst home record in the league. Kilsyth continued to build an impressive away record (6-3-0), earning three consecutive wins as we enter Round 14. Guard, Kara Tessari, lifted plenty from her usual 10-point average, snaring 20 points, three rebound and five assists, alongside fellow guard, Nicholson, who recorded 19 points, five rebounds and three assists – slightly under her usual average. For the Tornadoes, Sarah O’Neill was impressive across her 35 minutes, earning 20 points with her teammate, Stephanie Gardner, also impacting with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists.

Following on from their victory over Ballarat which opened the round, the first-placed Geelong Supercats faced the Ringwood Hawks and suffered an uncharacteristic 78-70 loss. The rebounding Hawks proved better at every turn, taking a 41-30 lead into the main break, with Geelong managing a small resurgence in the second half but failed in catching the Hawks by the end of the game. Antonia Farnworth had a huge game with 29 points, six rebounds and five assists in the win. Teammates, Cassidy Mihalko (15 points, four rebounds and four assists) and Megan Mullings (10 points, three rebounds and two assists) also proved pivotal in the win. For the Supercats, Blicavs (20 points, seven rebounds and five assists) had a big performance again, with Aokuso managed a double-double again with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, alongside Ebony Rolph who lifted with 17 points and five rebounds in the loss.

In one of the tightest games of the round, the Eltham Wildcats snared an impressive 84-80 win over the Albury Wodonga Bandits on the road. The game was close from the first whistle, with Albury taking a one-point lead (41-40) lead into the main break before adding just one more point to it by the end of the third term. Eltham kept close throughout – with a 29-23 final term closing them out to snatch a tight win from the Bandits. Alice Kunek was huge in the victory, recording a double-double from 26 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Chelsea Brook (19 points and 11 rebounds) also managed a double-double, with Chelsie Schweers (17 points) and Margaret Mulligan (13 points and seven rebounds) also standing out for the Wildcats. The Bandits had big performers in Natalie Hurst (26 points, four rebounds and three assists), Cherise Daniel (19 points, 13 rebounds and five assists) and Jessie Edwards (16 points, 12 rebounds and three assists) – the two former both managing double-doubles in the loss.

The Frankston Blues hosted their first game for the round, winning 75-69 over the Melbourne Tigers. The Blues led all terms except the last, where they tied 22-22 to take out a six-point victory. The loss drops the Tigers to 12th and puts them in real danger of slipping further. Shereesha Richards dominated for the Blues, recording a double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds. JoAnna Smith also impressed, lifting from 11-point average to snag 22 points and five rebounds in the win. For the Tigers, Kasey Burton led scoring with a double-double, recording 16 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Teammates, Monique Conti (12 points), Louella Tomlinson (12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists) and Brianna Gray (12 points and four rebounds) also proved effective despite the loss.

In a similarly tight affair, the Frankston Blues suffer a loss to cross-town rivals in the Southern Sabres in a 93-98 thriller at Frankston Basketball Stadium. Despite the Blues opened the game with pure dominance, shutting the first term down 32-17 – taking a 51-40 lead into the main break. The Sabres bounced back in the third and fourth terms, outscoring the Blues 57-42 to win the game. Forward, Rachel Jarry, led scoring for the Sabres with 27 points, three rebounds and five assists. Her teammates, Morgan Riley (22 points, six rebounds and three assists) and Ella Batish (11 points, six rebound and six assists) assisting well on both ends in the win. The Blues boasted big performances from Richards (30 points, 12 rebounds and four assists), Smith (25 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Courtney Wilkins (17 points, eight rebounds and four assists).

The Bendigo Braves continued their nine consecutive win streak with a 90-68 victory over the Diamond Valley Eagles. The Braves currently boast the largest streak in the league in second position, and despite being matched well in the first term (24-24), added another victory comfortably with big second (21-10) and third term efforts (25-14). Rebecca Tobin recorded an impressive double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds from just 24 minutes. Her teammates also held up well in the win, with Bianca Dufelmeier (17 points and four rebounds), Tess Madgen (15 points, four rebounds and six assists) and Gabrielle Richards (12 points and eight rebounds) all combining well on the floor. For the Eagles, Shelby Cheslek dominated under the ring, dropping 19 points with 13 rebounds. Alex Wilson (13 points, three rebounds and seven assists) and Hope Terdich (12 points and five rebounds) also assisted well in offence despite a poor result.

The third-placed Knox Raiders have gone down at home against the Nunawading Spectres (84-101) in a high-scoring affair at State Basketball Centre. Despite opening up the first term 27-20, the Knox Raiders were simply outgunned by the Spectres, conceding two 30-point terms for the game. Kathleen Scheer did it all in the victory, amassing 23 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, coming close to triple-double territory. Maddie Garrick finished similarly with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists, alongside teammates, Rachel Antoniadou (18 points, seven rebounds and four assists), Kiera Rowe (15 points, six rebounds and five assists) and Rebecca Pizzey (13 points, 12 rebounds and four assists) who damaged well on both ends. For the Raiders, Marena Whittle was standout, recording 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists, alongside Maddison Wild who also impressed with 18 points and four rebounds.

In the final game of the round, the Waverly Falcons best cross-town rivals, Dandenong Rangers, in a 77-66 victory. The Rangers kept close at the main break – trailing 38-34 before losing touch in the final term. In the end, the Rangers were let down by weak defence, allowing 28 points from second chances to 10 in the loss. Tegan Cunningham finished just out of double-double territory in the win with 29 points, nine rebounds and two assists, alongside Carley Ernst who snared 14 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. For the Rangers, Rebecca Cole led with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists, followed close by Aimie Clydesdale who had 19 points and three rebounds in the defeat.

Round 13 Results:

Hobart Huskies (52) defeated by Kilsyth Cobras (102)
Bendigo Braves (90) defeated Diamond Valley Eagles (68)
Frankston Blues (75) defeated Melbourne Tigers (69)
Albury Wodonga Bandits (80) defeated by Eltham Wildcats (84)
Ballarat Rush (72) defeated Hobart Huskies (64)
Knox Raiders (84) defeated by Nunawading Spectres (101)
Ringwood Hawks (78) defeated Geelong Supercats (70)
Launceston Tornadoes (63) defeated by Kilsyth Cobras (85)
Frankston Blues (93) defeated by Southern Sabres (97)
Waverly Falcons (77) defeated Dandenong Rangers (66)

NBL1 Women’s Round 9 review: Supercats juggernaut continues to purr as four of top five extend winning streaks

THE remarkable run for Geelong Supercats, Bendigo Braves, Knox Raiders and Kilsyth Cobras continued in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 women’s competition over the weekend, with the respective sides extending their winning streaks to 11, five, five and seven games respectively. The most impressive of all winning streaks was the Supercats, who made it into double figures with back-to-back wins in the Apple Isle. The Supercats knocked off Hobart Huskies on Friday night by 28 points, before downing the Launceston Tornadoes in a 14-point win. In the victory over the Huskies, it was Ezi Magbegor (24 points, seven rebounds and two blocks) and Zitina Aokuso (20 points, 11 rebounds and two assists) who hit the scoreboard, but Sarah Blicavs (12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists) and Alex Duck (eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals) were key off the boards. Hobart’s top players were Sharna Thompson (14 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Ellie Collins (14 points, five rebounds and two assists). In the Launceston victory, Aokuso piled on 25 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while Magbegor (19 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks), Duck (17 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and two steals) and Blicavs (13 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals) were again prominent. For the Tornadoes, Stella Beck picked up a double-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and five blocks to be the home side’s best, while Rebeca Abel (20 points, four rebounds) and Stephanie Gardner (15 points, four rebounds and four assists) were also impressive.

Melbourne Tigers had an impressive win over Albury Wodonga Bandits after trailing at quarter time to win 78-59 on Sunday afternoon. Monique Conti posted 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Louella Tomlinson added 14 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists and four blocks. Molly Matthews had 13 points and six rebounds, as Kasey Burton was also productive with 11 points and nine rebounds. Cherise Daniel was the top points scorer on the night, sinking 29 points for the Bandits along with three rebounds and two assists, while Jessie Edwards picked up a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Bandits also fell victim to a red-hot Nunawading Spectres with the visitors getting up by 10 points, 83-73 at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre. Daniel did her best with another impressive shooting effort, sinking 19 points and picking up three rebounds, while Edwards (17 points, seven rebounds) and Natalie Hurst (12 points, six rebounds) were others who stood tall in defeat. For the winners, Kathleen Scheer posted a double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Kiera Rowe and Rachel Antoniadou both registered 14 points. Eliza Chilcott had a memorable all-round game with 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win.

Second placed Bendigo Braves picked up another two wins with a 25-point victory over Southern Sabres on Saturday, before doubling up with a win on the road against Ringwood Hawks, 72-60 to make it five consecutive victories. In the win over the Sabres, Kelly Wilson top scored with 21 points, five rebounds, 10 assists and six steals in a massive game both ways, while Rebecca Tobin was equally as impressive, sinking 21 points and picking up nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Tessa Lavey was the key playmaker with 11 points, 12 assists and three rebounds in the win. For the Sabres, Tenaya Phillips was the top points scorer with 21, as well as three rebounds and three assists, while Rachel Jarry was also impressive with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. A 14-4 third term set up Bendigo’s 12-point win over Ringwood after leading by just three at the main break. Wilson again had a big game with 21 points, four rebounds and eight assists, while Tobin picked up 15 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Lavey (12 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals) was also impressive. For the Hawks, Antonia Farnworth was the top scorer with 16 points, while ending the match with five rebounds, six assists and two steals. Danni Bone (10 points, six rebounds and three assists) was the other Hawk to reach double figures.

Knox Raiders snapped up Dandenong Rangers’ third spot with a 76-65 victory to continue their winning run of five consecutive victories, while handing the Rangers their third consecutive loss following a 9-1 start to the season. Lauren Scherf was best on court with 33 points and an unbelievable 26 rebounds – 21 of which came off the defensive board to deny the Rangers of many offensive second chances. She also had four assists, with teammate Abbey Wehrung leading an equal game-high seven assists, as well as 15 points and four rebounds. Marena Whittle was the other Raider with a double-double, picking up 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Colleen Planeta stood up in defeat for the Rangers, posting 25 points and eight rebounds, while Rosie Fadljevic managed 11 points and seven rebounds in the loss.

The other big winner on the weekend was Kilsyth Cobras, holding off a determined Eltham Wildcats by two points, before having a more comfortable 20-point victory over Waverley Falcons the day after. The Cobras set up the narrow win over the Wildcats with a 21-11 first term, and while the Wildcats won each subsequent quarter, still fell two points short in the 69-67 defeat. The win made it the Cobras’ seventh consecutive victory after being a remarkable 1-4 to start the season. Lauren Nicholson was the star for the winners with 25 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Kara Tessari was the other player to reach double figures with 10 points, four steals and two assists. Klara Wischer (eight points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals) and Emily Fryters (four points, nine rebounds, three assists and four steals) had a strong defensive presence. Vanessa Panousis top scored for the home side with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Abbey Ellis had 14 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in the loss. In the big win over Waverley, Nicholson again did the bulk of the scoring with 20 points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals, but it was more evenly spread this time with Tessari (15 points, two rebounds, four assists), Alison Downie (13 points, two rebounds and three steals) and Taylor Mathers (10 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals) all reaching double-figure points tallies.

A one-point loss at the hands of Ringwood Hawks ultimately stopped Ballarat Rush having a remarkable six-game winning streak, after taking care of Frankston Blues in an equally tight two-point win. There would have been some seriously tense moments in the Rush coaching space after trailing by by three points at the final break against Ringwood. The Rush hit hard in the final term, winning it 15-13 but ultimately falling short, 76-75. Cassidy Mihalko (24 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals) and Megan Mullings (22 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks) were the two dominant scorers for the Hawks, while Farnworth had a handy nine points, eight rebounds and five assists in the win. For the Rush, Olivia Hackmann was a standout, posting a game-high 30 points, as well as 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Chanise Jenkins (18 points, eight assists, two rebounds and two steals) was the other Rush player to stand up in the tight contest. It took until overtime for the Rush to finally dismiss Frankston Blues in an 89-87 victory, but it was worth the wait. Hackmann again was superb, posting 32 points and seven rebounds, while Jenkins (16 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Hsi-le Bao (12 points, 11 rebounds) were also impressive in the win. For the Blues, Steph Reid posted 25 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals in another big game, while Taylor Lee had 24 points, three rebounds and six assists. Shereesha Richards‘ 14 points and 11 rebounds was a strong effort, as was Saraid Taylor‘s 19 and four.

In the final match to be covered over the weekend, Frankston notched up an 18-point victory over Diamond Valley Eagles. The result came before the heartbreaking loss to the Rush, having started strong to lead by as much as 20 points at the final break for the Eagles won the last term. Richards had a big game with 25 points and 11 rebounds – seven defensive – while Lee had 12 points, 11 assists, four rebounds and two steals in a double-double effort. For the Eagles, Anneli Maley again was the star for the Eagles, scoring 23 points and amassing a massive 19 rebounds – 14 defensive – while Hope Terdich picked up 15 points and nine rebounds in the loss.

Results:

Hobart Huskies 62 defeated by Geelong Supercats 90
Launceston Tornadoes 71 defeated by Geelong Supercats 85
Diamond Valley Eagles 81 defeated by Frankston Blues 99
Bendigo Braves 95 defeated Southern Sabres 70
Eltham Wildcats 67 defeated by Kilsyth Cobras 69
Albury Wodonga Bandits 73 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 83
Ballarat Rush 75 defeated by Ringwood Hawks 76
Knox Raiders 76 defeated Dandenong Rangers 65
Ringwood Hawks 60 defeated by Bendigo Braves 72
Frankston Blues 87 defeated by Ballarat Rush 89
Waverley Falcons 49 defeated by Kilsyth Cobras 69
Melbourne Tigers 78 defeated Albury Wodonga Bandits 59

Weekend wrap: WNBL – Round 5

THE Boomers are starting to find form at the end of Round 5, while the Flames are still without a win. There’s concerns over Suzy Batkovic and Townsville, but hope for the Lynx, who look to continue their hot winning streak.

 

Melbourne Boomers (96) defeated Sydney Uni Flames (79)

Given their run so far, not many people would have picked the Flames to take out this win away from home, and unfortunately for Sydney fans, they would have been right. On paper, the Boomers were much more impressive heading in and coming out of this game, having 77 shot attempts compared to 57, matching the Flames’ shots inside the arc and doubling their shots both scored and attempted from the outside. Cayla George dominated for the Boomers with 27 points and eight rebounds. She shot well from range at 80 per cent and nailed all five of her free throws. Steph Talbot was also pivotal with 20 points and seven rebounds, along with Lindsay Allen’s 16 points, three rebounds and five assists. For the Flames, Alex Bunton played well with 20 points, eight rebounds and eight from eight free throws, but her efforts weren’t enough to see her team over the line. Despite cleaning up their efficiency, the Flames’ relentless play style seems to have fallen by the wayside in its place. This team are yet to find the right balance to take on the rest of the competition.

Perth Lynx (71) defeated UC Capitals (65)

In an extremely close affair, the Lynx secured their spot atop the ladder after defeating their competition in the UC Capitals. The teams shot evenly throughout the game with the Lynx hitting 18 shots inside compared to the Capitals’ 19, and five shots from the foul line compared to nine. Though in the end, it was the Lynx’s 40 per cent shooting from range and 10 successful shots which made the biggest difference. Despite having more attempts, the Capitals only hit six of their shots and continued to try despite their shown reliability on the inside (38 per cent). Perth’s most damaging player was Brittany McPhee, who scored 19 points with six rebounds, closely followed by Alison Schwagmeyer’s 15 points and six rebounds. But for the day, the best player by a mile was easily Kelsey Griffin. She knocked down 30 points with 10 offensive rebounds and eight defensive rebounds, earning herself a double-double. For the day, she shot at 44 per cent and hit six of seven shots from the foul line. Though despite her own and Kia Nurse’s (22 points and four rebounds) efforts, the Capitals were greatly let down by a lack of team coverage.

Adelaide Lightning (99) defeated Dandenong Rangers (74)

After one of the easier starts to the season, Dandenong continues to slip further down the ladder following its loss to Adelaide. Under the lights of the Titanium Security Stadium, the Rangers seemed a little out of their element compared to Adelaide’s composure and cleanliness. The Lightning shot at 57 per cent, hitting 38 of their 66 shots, while the Rangers went 27 from 70 at 38 per cent. The Rangers lost on the rebounds, 42 to 30, but despite giving away more free throws, managed to hit 14 apiece. For the Lightning, Nia Coffey starred with 21 points, seven assists and seven free throws from 10 attempts. Equal great or close second, Lauren Nicholson, scored 20 points, four rebounds, six assists and shot at an amazing 85 per cent, hitting six from six at range. For the Rangers, Rebecca Cole hit 27 points, with the next best score coming from Kiera Rowe’s 10 points. At a glance, this appears to have been Dandenong’s trouble, with the load being carried solely by a single player. For comparison, there were five players for the Lightning who all scored more than 10 points, with not a single player shooting under 50 per cent. The Rangers were just greatly outgunned.

Bendigo Spirit (66) defeated Sydney Uni Flames (64)

The Spirit remained determined to continue their home win record coming up against the Flames, defeating the visitors by two points. Despite leading for most of the game, the winless Sydney failed to withstand a final quarter onslaught from Bendigo and now enter Round 6 still without a win. The Flames hit 21 of their 59 shots compared to the Spirit’s 22 out of 63, beat them on the rebounds (42-39), but again appear to have let themselves down with sloppy defence, allowing 18 shots from the foul line. For Bendigo, there were a few standouts in Nadeen Payne (14 points, six rebounds and three assists), Natalie Hurst (12 points and two rebounds) and Rebecca Tobin (11 points, seven rebounds and four assists). Besides these three, there weren’t many more players for the Spirit that stepped up, so its impressive they split the load so well. For the Flames, Brittany Smart led with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists, followed closely by Ally Wilson with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. Similarly, the Flames also had a small handful of contributors and lacked some coverage.

Townsville Fire (70) defeated by Melbourne Boomers (78)

The Boomers continue to increase the gap between the top four and bottom four with a win over the Fire at the end of Round 5. With stats even across the board, it was the Boomers’ 30 field goals compared to the Fires’ 26, and an enormous final quarter run which put them over the line. With a neck injury forcing Suzy Batkovic out for a lot of the game, other names were forced to step up for Townsville. Darcee Garbin scored 13 from seven shots, Zitina Aokuso hit 12 with five rebounds, and Micaela Cocks scored 10 with seven rebounds. For Melbourne, Allen had another huge performance with 29 points, three rebounds and six assists. She shot at 71 per cent from the field and earned six shots from the foul line. George and Talbot worked well under the ring, earning six rebounds apiece, while Maddie Garrick lifted to sink 17 points of her own. Melbourne is not known for winning in Townsville, so this victory may come as a shock, but there’s no telling how the game would have panned out if Townsville had Batkovic at her best.