Tag: Louella Tomlinson

NBL1 South Women’s team summary: Melbourne Tigers

IN light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South Conference has been cancelled this year. As such, while Draft Central intended to do a preview on all teams leading up to the delayed start, it will instead be a team summary from last season and what they might look to improve on for 2021. Today’s edition looks at Melbourne Tigers’ womens side that showed some promise but could not maintain consistency throughout the year with a lot of close losses.

2019 in Review:

Finished: 12th
Wins: 8
Losses: 12
Home: 5-6
Away: 3-6

What went right:

  • Competitive throughout with seven of the 12 losses being single-digit defeats
  • Started solidly with a 5-4 record
  • Blocks (4.5 per game, the best in the competition)
  • Louella Tomlinson’s season

Melbourne had a mixed bag of a season that had little consistency, but there was still optimism for the future despite an 8-12 record. The Tigers only had five double-digit losses, indicating for the most part they were in the game. They started solidly with a 5-4 record from nine matches and with Louella Tomlinson on fire throughout the year, they were able to work hard defensively to remain in the contest. They were the top blocking side in the NBL1 competition, averaging 4.5 per game, which helped them win in low-scoring contests and remain close when losing. Young guns, Monique Conti and Kasey Burton also impressed throughout the season with strong performances and the highest volume points and almost a double-double respectively.

What went wrong:

  • Struggled on the road with just three wins from nine games
  • Won just three of the last eight games
  • Scoring (72.9 points per game, ranked 15th overall and 41.8 per cent two-point accuracy and 70 per cent free-throw accuracy ranked 16th overall)

The season just simply did not quite go to plan for the Tigers, with scoring being the biggest issue. They averaged the 72.9 points per game which ranked 15th overall, and when they did get their chances, they averaged just 41.8 per cent and 70 per cent from the two point range and free-throw line which put them in the bottom three sides. While having Jenna O’Hea for longer than three games would have made a massive difference, the Tigers still struggled on the road with just three wins from nine games and finished the season in disappointing fashion with just three wins from eight games after being in finals contention mid-season.

Louella Tomlinson

The standout performer on the team, Tomlinson’s experience was vital in leading her side throughout the year. In the absence of O’Hea, Tomlinson did the bulk of the damage across the board, recording team-highs in rebounds (10.6), assists (5.1) and blocks (3.5). Playing in 17 of her team’s 20 games, Tomlinson finished the year with a double double average thanks to 16.3 points to accompany her double-figure rebounds total. Like her teammates, Tomlinson’s accuracy could improve, but by sheer weight of numbers she was a dominant performer in an inconsistent side.

Monique Conti

The pocket rocket showed that another season of AFL Women’s football did not slow her round ball abilities as a key player in the Tigers outfit. Despite standing at sub-170cm, Conti still put up big numbers of 20.4 points, as well as 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.4 steals. What set her aside from her teammates was Conti’s ability to drill the long-range shot, with 33.8 per cent efficiency, and a team-high 53 total makes from outside the arc.

Kasey Burton

The versatile up-and-comer had a really promising season in terms of her ability to pad plenty of stats and have an impact across the court. She came close to a double double thanks to 9.8 points and 8.3 rebounds. Alongside that, Burton also picked up 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game, being the only member to start in every single game last season. She was another contributor from long-range with 25 successful makes, though coming at a 28.4 per cent accuracy. Teaming up with Conti, the pair has the ability to be a real damaging duo of the future.

Young Gun:

Katie Bugden

The then 21-year-old managed to play in 16 games and start 10 of those, stepping up with an increased role than what might have been initially expected. In that time she produced an average of 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.9 steals per game and a solid all-round performance. Her shooting accuracy could improve with just 37.4 per cent from two-point range and two from 23 when it came to three-point range. Her experience from being a starter so often will give her confidence going into 2021.

Christmas list for 2021:

Another shooter or two. The Tigers had a clear deficiency in the scoring department, certainly in terms of both volume and accuracy. Throwing in an additional player who can average double-figure points would be a huge acquisition, and getting someone of O’Hea’s quality to play for a full season could be the difference between finals or not.

Summary:

The Melbourne Tigers have plenty to work on for the future with a number of areas that could improve for 2021. They have a good core of players and some really talented youth prospects coming through the ranks who could be set for more court time in the season ahead. While they need to tweak their ability to score, the Tigers were good at stopping shots, and had plenty of reasons to be pleased with aspects of the way they played.

2019/20 WNBL season review: Southside Flyers

IN their inaugural season since changing their name to the Southside Flyers the girls in blue proved they were one to watch immediately making a name for themselves as a real powerhouse in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). The Flyers made it all the way to grand final but stumbled at the final hurdle going down in both matches unfortunately putting a dampener on otherwise a good start to the franchise.

Ladder: 1st (Runners-up)
Win-loss: 17-4

The Flyers were impressive in front of a home crowd recording eight victories at home from a possible 11 games, however it was their ability to win on the road that made them even more daunting. Southside made it nine from 10 away at home highlighting just how damaging they can be in any environment. From Round 1 the newly formed team had a real aura about them claiming convincing wins going on a six-game winning streak before running into trouble against eventual premiers in Round 6. They flexed their muscles against top four side in Melbourne Boomers with a hard-fought seven point victory in the early stages while also showing that they had the ability to mix it with the best downing UC Capitals in Round 9.

They claimed the minor premiership credit to their impressive season but it is fair to say that the Flyers will be disappointed they did not take home the silverware going down two and three points respectively in the grand final series against UC Capitals. They showed their ability to prevail in the close matches getting over the line in both semi-finals against Adelaide Lightning to move through to the grand final but simply could not generate enough scoring power to upset the reigning premiers.

The Flyers had no shortage of stars across the court, with four players averaging double digits in points scored showcasing just how deadly their attacking unit was throughout the season. Rebecca Cole led the way with a team-high average of 16.8 points per game, with import Mercedes Russell not far behind with 16.7 and falling just short of a season average double-double with 9.7 rebounds per game. Russell was a real playmaker for the Flyers and played a whopping 22 games for the season showcasing her durability and reliability consistently able to have an impact. Opals duo Leilani Mitchell and Jenna O’Hea both played major roles in the Flyers dominance with the two combining to be a formidable force. Despite only standing at 165cm Mitchell averaged 15.9 points per game along with a team-high 5.3 assists showcasing her ability to create opportunities to hit the scoreboard. O’Hea did not skip a beat making the move from the Boomers to cross-town rivals downing 14.1 points a match while also making her presence felt off the backboards with 4.9 rebounds a game. Sometimes overshadowed by her teammates, Sara Blicavs played a good support role for the Flyers with the 189cm forward able to hit the scoreboard with an average of 13.5 points and seven rebounds per game. While the Flyers had a wealth of A-class players the likes of Louella Tomlinson and Aimee Clydesdale will be hoping to lift their load if they are to go one better next season.

All in all, it was a comprehensive season for the Flyers who will be licking their lips ahead of the 2020/21 season if they can keep their list together and gain more support from their second tier players.

2019/20 WNBL season review: Bendigo Spirit

IT was a case of new faces, same story, for the Bendigo Spirit during the 2019/20 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season, with the side fortunate to not finish on the bottom of the ladder after having a few bumps along the way.

Ladder: 7th
Win-loss: 5-16

This season for Spirit was categorised by fresh faces. Recruiting so many players, it was almost a completely new line-up from last year. To go with this brand new roster, the Spirit brought in a brand new coach in Tracey York. But with new faces came the issue of key old names missing, such as 2018/19 leading scorer, Nadeen Payne who left to join the Perth Lynx, along with Marena Whittle. The Lightning acquired Natalie Hurst while the Flyers grabbed Louella Tomlinson, and Jessie Rennie left for the USA. Nevertheless, Spirit was able to bring in Tessa Lavey and Carley Ernst from Dandenong Rangers, Shyla Heal from Perth and Kelly Wilson from Canberra. The Spirit also picked up Kasey Burton from Melbourne, and Marte Grays from the USA as their final piece for what was a chaotic offseason. Yet with so many fresh faces came very little team chemistry as the Spirit finished second last, again. But even with such an uncharted roster, a winning culture would surely be set as long as the team was captained by Wilson, or so was thought. Fresh off winning the NBL1 MVP for the Bendigo Braves, putting together 19.3 points, 10.5 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals a game, the Spirit were optimistic about their chances. But their dysfunction went far beyond a lack of common bond among players.

Rebecca Tobin, Spirit’s best player from last season, looked to have taken her game to the next level when playing in the NBL1, averaging 16.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per game from 15 matches. However misfortune would follow as Tobin was sidelined after a knock to the head during a training session right before the season. Playing just a third of the season, Tobin would only average 8.3 points a game. This would be a massive factor for what was certainly a derailed season. Placing in the bottom two in both steals and blocks per game, while also being second in turnovers, the Spirit simply struggled defensively. The side’s concentration on bringing in new players this season instead of building up last season’s combinations ultimately proved to be their downfall, with the changes on court falling short from expectations.

The Spirit had a very tough schedule to begin the season, playing seven teams that would make the playoff across their first eight games. It was not exactly the fairytale story Gabe Richards wanted to end her career on. A two-time champion who wore the Bendigo Spirit uniform for almost every season the Spirit has been alive in the WNBL, her presence will be sorely missed. However the torch may be in the hands of new recruit, Shyla Heal, who by all standards had a breakout season. Daughter of Australian basketball legend, Shane Heal, Shyla was expected to be a key contributor from the jump, learning from the more experienced players, her role was initially about being the spot up shooter in the offence. But at only 18 years of age, she put the league on notice and led her team in points per game with 12.1. Definitely a player to follow, who will not only be the Spirit’s franchise player, but maybe one day the face of the league.

WNBL 2019/2020 preview: Round 3 – Boomers and Capitals face-off in undefeated battle

THREE teams remain undefeated heading into Round 3 of the Women’s NBL and will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the table. On the other end of the scale both Townsville Fire and Sydney Uni Flames have failed to register a win so far and will hoping to edge their way off the bottom of the ladder.

MELBOURNE BOOMERS v. UC CAPITALS
Friday, October 25
7:30pm

Both sides will be riding high heading into the match-up with an unblemished record. The reigning premiers have three wins on the trot while the Boomers have notched up two wins from their two games making for a high intensity battle on Friday night. The Capitals welcomed back co-captain Mariana Tolo last week and with another game under her belt will be hoping to have an even bigger impact to keep her sides undefeated start to the season rolling. Other key players such as Kia Nurse, Kelsey Griffin and Keely Froling will be hoping to flex their muscles given their scoring prowess for the Capitals. If they can unleash early it will go a long way in setting up another possible win. But the Boomers will be wanting to maintain top spot on the ladder with Cayla George and Ezi Magbegor influential across the boards. George is their leading points scorer with 36 for the season so far while Lindsay Allen is no stranger to the scoreboard either amassing 12 points last week in the win.

SOUTHSIDE FLYERS v. BENDIGO SPIRIT
Saturday, October 26
5:00pm

The Southside Flyers are the other side in the competition to have not dropped a game so far this season and will be wanting to keep that momentum going. Bendigo secured their first win of the season last week against the Perth Lynx and will be seeking to keep that streak running. The Flyers have a host of key players that could cause havoc for the Spirit with Jenna O’Hea the most impactful of the lot already boasting a tally of 60 points for the season. Leilani Mitchell has proved to be a handy inclusion in the side making her presence felt both on the on scoreboard and off it racking up 10 assists, six rebounds and 14 points last week. Mercedes Russell has not skipped a beat so far this season while the likes of Sara Blicavs and Louella Tomlinson are pivotal to the Flyers line-up. The Spirit have their fair share of game changers such as Marte Grays, Carley Ernst and Tessa Lavey but must get on top early if they are any chance to stop the Flyers.

PERTH LYNX v. ADELAIDE LIGHTNING
Saturday, October 26
6:30pm

Perth and Adelaide have both had a relatively inconsistent start to the season and will be aiming to get some structure and momentum into their gameplay this round. Perth are coming off a loss while Adelaide prevailed by 20 points last match and will be drawing on that confidence heading into the clash. The Lightning currently sit in fourth spot while Lynx are hot on their tail in fifth making for exciting battle. The likes of Lauren Nicholson and Stephanie Talbot lead the way for the Lightning with their on-court presence and ability to go to post. Crystal Langhorne has proved to be a deadeye with ball in hand making no mistake sitting at 80 per cent from field goals and 100 per cent from three-point range. Lynx are led by scoring machine Alison Schwagmeyer with the ball all but guaranteed to go through the hoop when she has ball in hand amassing a whopping 65 points so far this season. Imani McGee-Stafford and Nadeen Payne have proved to be a dynamic duo with the two not afraid to back themselves and hit the scoreboard.

SYDNEY UNI FLAMES v. UC CAPITALS
Sunday, October 27
2:00pm

In their second game for the round, the UC Capitals will need to make the most of their opportunities despite playing the bottom of the ladder Sydney Uni Flames. With a short turn around expect the Capitals to hustle hard and look to their big game players to stand up under the pressure. Meanwhile the Flames will be hoping to capitalise on their oppositions weakness and exploit them with speed and fast breaks to catch them off guard. French import and Capitals star, Olivia Epoupa had a stand out game last week and will be looking to replicate her efforts again this week with seven steals, eight rebounds, four assists and 13 points. Teammates, Froling, Griffin, Nurse and Tolo will also be hoping to keep their winning ways afloat. Flames duo Colleen Planeta and Alice Kunek have had a profound impact for their side so far this season given their points scoring ability and general game sense with 55 and 48 respectively for the year. Jessica Kuster is another handy player notching up a double-double last round despite the loss with 10 rebounds and 16 points. Tahlia Tupaea cannot be underestimated with her ability to hit the scoreboard and cleverly crafted passes.

TOWNSVILLE FIRE v. MELBOURNE BOOMERS
Sunday, October 27
4:00pm

First meet seventh in what is shaping up to be an interesting contest between the Boomers and Townsville Fire. The Boomers will be heading into their second game of the round and while they currently sit undefeated have only played Bendigo Spirit before this round. This could be the time for the Fire to strike having pushed sides but fading away in previous encounters. Townsville have a number of important players that can wreak havoc if let off the hook early with Darcee Garbin, Abby Bishop and Tess Madgen able to use their experience to hurt the Boomers. Youngster Bridget Carleton will be hoping to continue her hot start to the season while Christina Boag is yet to miss a shot sitting at 100 per cent from field goals. Melbourne will be wanting to maintain their composure and not get frazzled by the Fire pressure. Expect Sophie Cunningham to play a major role for the Boomers having already locked away 29 points while Monique Conti has shown she can have an impact when brought on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southside Flyers (81) defeated Townsville Fire (72)

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

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

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

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

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

UC Capitals (90) defeated Adelaide Lightning (83)

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

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

DC Medal Leaderboard:

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

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.

2019/20 WNBL season team preview: Bendigo Spirit

A NEW season and a new head coach for Bendigo Spirit, who finished bottom two last season in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). With previous coach Simon Pritchard‘s contract not renewed, the Spirit opted to hire Adelaide 36ers assistant coach, Tracy York to take the club forward. The Spirit have had plenty of changes over the off-season with recruits and departures, in a bid to chance the side’s fortunes for the 2019/20 WNBL season.

Finished: 7th
Wins: 7
Losses: 14
Points: 14
Percentage: 89.15%

Last season:

It was overall a disappointing year for the Spirit, winning just 33 per cent of their games and finishing seventh overall for the WNBL season. Nadeen Payne was the highest points scorer, averaging 13.3 per game to go with her 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists, but she has since departed the club for Perth Lynx, along with Marena Whittle. Natalie Hurst has also moved on to Adelaide and will be a huge loss, while Louella Tomlinson (Southside Flyers) and Jessie Rennie (USA) have also moved on. With so much change at the club, they will be looking for the inclusions to have an early impact and shape up the season from a strong start.

New recruits:

They spared no expense in going on a huge recruiting drive to build up the Spirit team again, bringing in Tessa Lavey and Carley Ernst from Dandenong Rangers, Shyla Heal from Perth and Kelly Wilson from Canberra. After averaging just the seven points per game last season in the WNBL, but the 4.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists, Wilson had a big year for Bendigo Braves, putting together 19.3 points, 10.5 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals in the NBL1. Ernst (Waverley Falcons) and Lavey (Braves) were equally as influential across the season, and could be quality inclusions this season. Gabrielle Richards was a revelation last season for the Braves in the NBL1, and now has a chance to use her work off the boards (14.1 points and 9.2 rebounds) in the big league. The Spirit also picked up Kasey Burton from Melbourne, and American Marte Grays, while Alicia Froling was signed before being released after an injury mid-year.

Star player:

Rebecca Tobin. While much has been spoken about the comings and goings of the Spirit, Tobin re-signed with the club after entering free agency and will be aiming to build on her performances at the Braves in the NBL1, where she averaged 16.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per game in 15 matches. Last season in the NBL, Tobin averaged 10.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.7. assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks and is a steadying influence in a side where much change has occurred.

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 12 review: Top eight gap widens

THE gap between the top eight and bottom 10 in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition has increased, with Albury Wodonga Bandits’ victory over Frankston Blues, and losses to both Melbourne Tigers and Eltham Wildcats making it a six-point differential between the Bandits and Tigers. The Bandits proved to be more than a handful for the Blues, winning three of their four quarters on the way to a comfortable 22-point victory. Jessie Edwards had a night out with 32 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while Cherise Daniel (17 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals), Emilee Harmon (13 points, nine rebounds and five assists), Emma Mahady (14 points, four rebounds and eight assists) and Natalie Hurst (15 points, two rebounds and five assists) all made it a dominant performance by the Bandits’ starting five outfit. For Frankston, Taylor Lee (24 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Shereesha Richards (21 points, nine rebounds) were the two that stood up in the defeat.

The win was important for the Bandits considering Melbourne had knocked off Launceston Tornadoes the night before. The Tigers came from five points down at half-time to run out eight-point victors courtesy of a 13-point second half advantage. Louella Tomlinson topscored with 28 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and four blocks in a huge effort, while Monique Conti was also impressive with 23 points, three rebounds and two assists, as was Briana Gray (15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks). Stephanie Gardner was the dominant player on the court, sinking 31 points for the home side, while also recording 11 rebounds and four assists. Stella Beck had 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in the other player to pick up a double-double for the Tornadoes. Melbourne could not have the same luck in the match against Hobart Huskies, ruing a slow start that saw them 13 points down at quarter time, before hitting back but falling five points short in a five-point defeat, 86-81. Kasey Burton was the key scorer for the Tigers in this game with 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Molly Matthews had 17 points and six rebounds, and Tomlinson picked up another 11 rebounds to go with her nine points. For the winners, Jennifer Schlott continued her great season with 34 points and six rebounds, while Nikki Greene picked up a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Sharna Thompson (21 points, five rebounds and four assists) and Tayla Roberts (11 points, nine rebounds and two assists) were the other two players who impressed in various areas of the game.

Ringwood navigated its way through a tough round of fixturing to end the weekend how it had started – in fourth spot. The Hawks knocked off Nunawading Spectres in a thrilling five-point win, before going down to Knox Raiders by just three points in an equally tight contest. In the victory, it was a second half comeback by the visitors, shooting 43 points to 33 after trailing by five at the main break. Cassidy Mihalko led the way with 25 points and a field goal percentage of 71.4, as well as nine rebounds and one steal. Megan Mullings picked up a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four steals, while Danni Bone was also prolific with scoring, posting 16 points, three rebounds, three assists and four steals. Rachel Antoniadou was the key scorer for the losers with 18 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Maddie Garrick stepped up to record 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Rebecca Pizzey also picked up a double-double with 12 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, while Kathleen Scheer (12 points, five rebounds and two steals) was solid. In the tight loss to the Raiders, the Hawks could not quite make the up the six-point quarter time deficit, cutting it back to three by the final break. Mullings did all she could with another double-double thanks to 27 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, while Mihalko (14 points, four rebounds) and Amanda Meinking (11 points, 15 rebounds) were also superb. For the winners, Marena Whittle dominated with 26 points of her own as well as nine rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Bec Ott (12 points, four rebounds and four assists) and Bree Whatman (11 points, three rebounds, seven assists and two steals) were others who finished the game with impressive numbers.

Nunawading recovered from the Ringwood loss to notch up a huge 30-point victory over Diamond Valley Eagles. The visitors never looked like losing the contest, as they had six players record double-figure points. Pizzey (12 points, 11 rebounds) picked up another double-double for the weekend, as did Scheer (12 points, 12 rebounds), while Chelsea D’Angelo was the key playmaker with 19 points, six assists and four rebounds, while Garrick (19 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals) and Antoniadou (18 points, four rebounds and three assists) were also big in the impressive win. For the Eagles, Shelby Chesiek was the standout player with 22 points, nine rebounds and two steals, while Hope Terdich had 11 points and six rebounds in the loss. The Eagles also suffered a loss to Ballarat Rush, going down 84-68. Chanise Jenkins (26 points, six rebounds, nine assists and five steals) and Hsi-le Bao (25 points, 10 rebounds and two assists) combined for 51 points in a dominant effort up the scoring end for the Rush, while Olivia Hackmann (15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals) was also consistent across the board, and Lucy Cochrane busy off the boards with 11 rebounds – eight defensive. Alex Wilson was the busiest Eagle on the night, picking up 14 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals, while Terdich (14 points, six rebounds and three steals), Chesiek (six points, 11 rebounds and three assists) and Geraldine McCorkell (12 points, five rebounds and four assists) also tried hard in the match.

The top side had to work for it, but title favourites Geelong Supercats got the job done on the road against Southern Sabres, 66-59. The Supercats did enough in the first half to open up a nine-point lead and hold off the Sabres in the second half on their way to a seven-point triumph. Sara Blicavs (23 points, 12 rebounds and three steals) and Zitina Aokuso (17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals) both picked up double-doubles while Rachel Jarry (13 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two assists) and Amy O’Neil (14 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals were the two standout players from the losing side. In the Sabres’ loss on the road against Waverley Falcons, a disappointing middle two terms led to the visitors going down 82-73. Tenaya Phillips (26 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and four steals) was the clear best for the Sabres in the loss, while Jarry was the other prominent scorer with 12 points and seven rebounds. For the Falcons, Kelly Bowen (23 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and three steals) and Tegan Cunningham (17 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two steals) picked up double-doubles, while Renae Mokrzycki helped herself to 15 points, four rebounds and four steals.

In the last couple of games, Kilsyth Cobras kept their top four hopes alive with an important 19-point win over Dandenong Rangers, while Bendigo Braves dominated Eltham Wildcats to make it difficult for the Wildcats to recover for finals. Kilsyth were on fire from the opening term, racing out to a 10-point quarter time lead and were never headed from there, triumphing 80-61. Sarah Boothe posted a double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds as well as four assists and five steals, while Lauren Nicholson was another dominant force for the Cobras, finishing with 23 points, four rebounds and two assists. For the Rangers, Taylah Gillam topscored with 19 points, as well as four rebounds and three assists, while Colleen Planeta helped herself to a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds in the loss. In Bendigo’s massive 96-60 win over Eltham, the Braves handed the Wildcats their fifth consecutive loss, leaving them two games adrift of the top eight. Rebecca Tobin posted a massive double-double of 22 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three blocks, while Kelly Wilson (19 points, six rebounds and 14 assists) also collected one. Gabrielle Richards (16 points, seven rebounds) and Tessa Lavey (14 points, four assists and three steals) also impressed throughout the match. Kiara Mountford (16 points, six rebounds), Dyani Ananiev (14 points, three rebounds) and Vanessa Panousis (10 points, seven rebounds and three assists) were the top players for the Wildcats.

Round 12 results:

Launceston Tornadoes 79 defeated by Melbourne Tigers 87
Dandenong Rangers 61 defeated by Kilsyth Cobras 80
Southern Sabres 59 defeated by Geelong Supercats 66
Nunawading Spectres 73 defeated by Ringwood Hawks 78
Eltham Wildcats 60 defeated by Bendigo Braves 96
Hobart Huskies 86 defeated Melbourne Tigers 81
Albury Wodonga Bandits 98 defeated Frankston Blues 76
Ballarat Rush 84 defeated Diamond Valley Eagles 68
Diamond Valley Eagles 74 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 104
Knox Raiders 73 defeated Ringwood Hawks 70
Waverley Falcons 82 defeated Southern Sabres 73

NBL1 Women’s Round 11 review: Ringwood Hawks swoop into top four

RINGWOOD Hawks have snatched a top four spot in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 Women’s competition, following back-to-back wins over Round 11, and helped by losses to both Kilsyth Cobras and Nunawading Spectres. The Hawks triumphed over Eltham Wildcats and Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (CoE), both by 11 points. In the win over Eltham, it was the first half that set up the victory, moving to a 13-point lead by half-time, before overcoming a challenge in the third term, then settling to run out 85-74 winners. Megan Mullings posted 22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in the win, while Danni Bone helped herself to 20 points and seven assists, as Cassidy Mihalko also performed strongly (16 points, eight rebounds and two steals). For the Wildcats, there were two players who did the majority of the scoring with Chelsea Schweers (26 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Vanessa Panousis (19 points, six assists) the key players for the home side. In Ringwood’s victory over the CoE, it took a last quarter domination to overcome a determined opposition, trailing by four at the final break before a 23-8 last term saw the home team get over the line, 75-64. Mihalko topscored with 22 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Bone posted up another 20 points, three rebounds and five assists, and Mullings (17 points, nine rebounds and two assists) was prominent again. For the CoE, Lily Scanlon registered 16 points, three rebounds and two steals, while Agnes Emma-Nnopu was the losing side’s best, picking up a double-double thanks to 15 points and 11 rebounds, as well as three assists.

The weekend was not a complete loss for the CoE however, with the young up-and-coming side jumping off the bottom of the table courtesy of an upset two-point win over Melbourne Tigers. They controlled play in the first half, opening up a 14-point lead by the main break, and while the Tigers hit hard in the second half, the CoE maintained their composure to post a 66-64 victory. Scanlon was terrific up the scoring end with 20 points, while Sara-Rose Smith (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Emma-Nnopu (12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks) were strong off the boards. Monique Conti was once again the standout for Melbourne, posting a game-high 21 points as well as four rebounds, three assists and five steals, while Louella Tomlinson (17 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and four blocks) picked up a double-double, and Kasey Burton (14 points, five rebounds and two steals) was busy.

After four consecutive losses, Dandenong Rangers’ win against Frankston Blues must have tasted sweet, downing the reborn Blues side by nine points. Colleen Planeta had a mammoth game, picking up a double-double and was everywhere on the court with 38 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals, while Aimie Clydesdale (17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists) came close to her own double-double, and Taylah Gilliam (16 points, two rebounds and four assists) was also consistent in the drought-breaking victory. For Frankston, Steph Reid continued her good season form with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Shereesha Richards impressed with 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in the defeat.

Equally important in terms of ladder positioning over the weekend was Waverley Falcons whose season remains with a pulse – albeit a faint one – after downing now cellar dwellers, Diamond Valley Eagles, as well as an upset victory over Nunawading Spectres. In the seven-point win over the Eagles, the Falcons had to come from two points down at the final break to run over the top of the home side and secure the victory in a tight contest. Carley Ernst posted 28 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks in the win, while Tegan Cunningham helped herself to 20 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Alex Wilson (20 points, five rebounds and six assists) was prominent for the Eagles, while it was no surprise to see Anneli Maley (16 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals) best on court for the losing side and picking up another double-double. In the huge upset over the Spectres, it was a 17-9 third quarter that set up the 62-52 victory, as Cunningham (16 points, five rebounds, two assists and four steals) topscored in the low-scoring victory, while Ernst (13 points, nine rebounds) was the other Falcon to reach double-figure points. Rachel Brewster was the only Spectres’ scorer of note with 18 points – at 70 per cent from the field – as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

At the other end of the table, Knox Raiders’ strong season continued with back-to-back wins in Round 11 in their trip down south to the Apple Isle. They recorded victories over Hobart Huskies (34 points) and Launceston Tornadoes (32) to remind the top two sides of what they are capable of on their day. Against the Huskies, they won every quarter on their way to a big win, led by Lauren Scherf (21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks) picking up a double-double, as did Marena Whittle (15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks), while Bree Whatman finished the game with 15 points. For the Huskies, Ellie Collins (22 points, six rebounds and five assists) and Tayla Roberts (17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks) were impressive, but had too few help, picking up almost 80 per cent of the team’s points, as well as almost half the rebounds and assists, as well as the only three blocks. Scherf was completely dominant in the Raiders’ massive win over Launceston on Saturday, posting 27 points, 23 rebounds and two assists, while Bec Ott finished with 29 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Stella Beck was the standout player for the Tornadoes, sinking 29 points as well as picking up 13 rebounds, two assists and five steals. The Tornadoes had a rough weekend in terms of fixturing, also going down to the raging machine that is Geelong, losing 89-57. Ezi Magbegor had a game-high 22 points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks in the victory, while Jazmin Shelly was the other high scorer with 20 points, two assists and three steals, as Geelong rotated players around against the bottom four side. Beck (14 points, 10 rebounds and five steals) picked up a double-double, while Brittany Hodges (12 points, five rebounds) did all she could in the loss.

In other results, the weekend was great for Albury Wodonga Bandits fans, while the news was less pleasant for Ballarat Rush supporters as the two sides picked up contrasting results from their two games. The Bandits downed the Southern Sabres, 87-79 in their first game on Saturday, with Molly Rice (18 points, nine rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks) impressive, as as Jessie Edwards (13 points, eight rebounds), Natalie Hurst (16 points, six assists) and Cherise Daniel (16 points, five rebounds). Rachel Jarry was a lone star for the Sabres, sinking 30 points to go with her 10 rebounds and five assists in a prominent double-double effort. In a 19-point win over Ballarat Rush, the Bandits again shared around the points with Emma Mahady (23 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Hanna Zavecz (20 points, 11 rebounds) joining the party as Edwards (26 points, nine rebounds) and Daniel (18 points, 11 rebounds and three assists) were dominant again. Olivia Hackmann stood tall for Ballarat, registering 22 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Hsi-le Bao finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Chanise Jenkins (13 points, eight assists, three rebounds and two steals) was the other Rush player who had an impact in the forward half.

In the Rush’s other game, they went down to second placed Bendigo Braves in a 10-point defeat. Despite leading at quarter time, the Rush could not stop the Braves in the second term, heading into the main break facing an 11-point deficit, and could not recover from there. Kelly Wilson continued her strong season for the Braves, posting 20 points, two rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Rebecca Tobin (18 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocks) was unstoppable off the boards. Gabrielle Richards (13 points, eight rebounds and three assists) was also impressive for the winners, while for the Rush, Bao (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Laura Taylor (11 points, seven rebounds and three assists) were the two standouts. In the other game for Round 11, Nunawading Spectres ended Kilsyth Cobras’ good form of late, knocking them back outside the top four with an important 78-71 victory. The Cobras slipped to seventh such is the evenness of the competition, with the Spectres maintaining sixth after Ringwood leapfrogged the Spectres and Rangers into fourth courtesy of their extra game over the weekend. In Nunawading’s victory, it was Kathleen Scheer who stood tall with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Rachel Antoniadou (17 points, nine rebounds and three assists) and Rebecca Pizzey (13 points, five rebounds and three assists) were also productive. For the losers, Klara Wischer (26 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals) laid claim to best-on-court, while Lauren Nicholson was again strong across the game, posting 18 points, five rebounds and two assists despite the defeat.

Round 11 results:

Geelong Supercats 89 defeated Launceston Tornadoes 57
Hobart Huskies 50 defeated by Knox Raiders 84
Melbourne Tigers 64 defeated by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 66
Dandenong Rangers 86 defeated Frankston Blues 77
Southern Sabres 79 defeated by Albury Wodonga Bandits 87
Bendigo Braves 81 defeated Ballarat Rush 71*
Kilsyth Cobras 71 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 78*
Diamond Valley Eagles 76 defeated by Waverley Falcons 83
Eltham Wildcats 74 defeated by Ringwood Hawks 85
Launceston Tornadoes 63 defeated by Knox Raiders 95
Ringwood Hawks 75 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 64
Ballarat Rush 81 defeated by Albury Wodonga Bandits 100
Nunawading Spectres 52 defeated by Waverley Falcons 62