THE story of Round 8 rightfully belongs to the Sydney Uni Flames, who broke their 10-game losing streak with an emphatic win over Bendigo. In the process, the Flames handed the Spirit their third consecutive loss. Another in-form team in the UC Capitals dropped both their games this round as well, including one at the hands of a resilient Adelaide outfit, who won both its games on the weekend.
Townsville Fire (93) defeated Bendigo Spirit (51)
The Townsville Fire enjoyed their biggest win of the year, proving they still have what it takes to play a role in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) finals. The Spirit had no answer for Suzy Batkovic’s dominance, Micaela Cocks’ hot form, and the breakout games from Ally Malott and Darcee Garbin. Only two Bendigo players scored in double figures, with Louella Tomlinson (15 points) and Nadeen Payne (11 points) leading the way. Fire coach, Claudia Brassard certainly did her homework as her team was able to restrict Bendigo’s most dominant player, Rebecca Tobin to just two points and three rebounds. Nat Hurst was also starved off the ball, with just six points and three rebounds. Meanwhile, Batkovic led all scorers with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Cocks pitched in with 17 points and two rebounds.
Dandenong Rangers (80) defeated by Adelaide Lightning (86)
On paper, this looked like it was going to be a close match with Adelaide sitting sixth and Dandenong sitting seventh on the ladder. It certainly delivered, with only one point separating the two sides at the half and six points separating them at the final siren. Carley Mijovic played one of her best games for the Rangers this season, contributing 26 points and nine rebounds. Rebecca Cole was up to her usual antics with 21 points, two rebounds and three assists. For the winning side, the two bigs in Kayla Alexander and Nia Coffey dominated, which ultimately became too much for the Rangers to handle. Alexander finished up with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Coffey topped the Lightning scorers with 18 points. Nicole Seekamp was proactive in getting her teammates involved, gathering six assists and leading the way on the court in that department.
Perth Lynx (88) defeated UC Capitals (84)
In a top-of-the-table clash, the Lynx further established their favouritism to win the 2018/19 WNBL title with a gritty win over the Capitals. The away side got out to an early 29-15 lead before Perth responded with a massive 33-point second quarter, compared to the Capitals’ 18 points. From then on, the scoring was quite even, with the Lynx only scoring four more points than the Capitals in the third quarter, and only two more in the last. Eventually, the ladder-leading side prevailed with Alison Schwagmeyer leading the way. She scored 22 points, grabbed five rebounds and three assists in a great all-round performance. Not far off was the dominant Asia Taylor, who scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and five assists. They were two of four players who scored double-figure points for Perth. The Capitals also had four players who scored in double figures, led by Kia Nurse. Nurse was able to score 17 points, snatch nine rebounds as well as two assists. Leilani Mitchell didn’t stray too far away, finishing with 15 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Melbourne Boomers (73) defeated Townsville Fire (67)
Despite Suzy Batkovic only playing five minutes of this game due to her recurring neck injury, the Melbourne Boomers still struggled to shake a gallant Fire outfit. Despite a 61-48 margin at the end of the third quarter, Townsville outscored Melbourne 19-12 in the last term to make the final margin a respectable one. Following on from her promising performance against Bendigo, Ally Malott was the catalyst behind Townsville’s fightback, scoring 17 points and pulling down three rebounds. She was complemented by a convincing performance from young centre, Zitina Aokuso, who stepped up to the plate in Suzy Batkovic’s absence with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Melbourne’s experienced players led the way in this game, with Steph Talbot scoring 16 points and Madeleine Garrick scoring 15 points and pulling down five rebounds. Cayla George led the way in rebounds (eight) and assists (six), while also scoring 11 points.
Sydney Uni Flames (85) defeated Bendigo Spirit (64)
The Sydney Uni Flames finally recorded their first win of the season, and it was in a dominant fashion, beating the Spirit by 21 points. The Flames outscored the Spirit in all but one of the quarters, opening up a 67-41 margin at the end of the third quarter, before Bendigo fought back with a 23-18 point fourth term. Brittany Smart, who has been a key player all season, led the way for the Flames with 22 points, five rebounds and seven assists in a win she thoroughly deserved to be involved in. She was complemented by fellow experienced players, Belinda Snell (11 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and Sarah Graham (14 points, two rebounds). Young gun, Tahlia Tupaea injected her talent into this game with 16 points, three rebounds and a game-high six assists, continuing to improve as the season goes on. After her quiet game against the Lightning, Rebecca Tobin fought back with 20 points and three assists. Payne also bounced back from her mediocre performance on Friday night, scoring 15 points. The Spirit’s three-point shooting let them down in this match, shooting at just 18 per cent compared to Sydney Uni’s 44 per cent.
Adelaide Lightning (91) defeated UC Capitals (83)
Adelaide made it two from two in Round 8, getting an upset win over the UC Capitals to rise up to fifth on the ladder. Just one point separated the two sides at the main break, but it was the Lightning who were able to outscore the Capitals 51-42 in the second half to storm home with an eight-point win. Nicole Seekamp continued to dish off the assists in this game, gathering five to go along with her game-high 24 points. Kayla Alexander continued to dominate under the ring, grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds to complement her 17 points. Kelsey Griffin played an equally good game, but was on the losing side. She grabbed a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds to go with her four assists. Kelly Wilson continued to dominate in the assists department, gathering 11 of them to go along with her six rebounds and 13 points, keeping the Capitals in the hunt throughout the game.