Weekend wrap: WNBL – Round 3

THE competition tightens up as five teams sit at 2-2 after the first four games, with no team emerging as a significant standout. A number of close games began the round, before two huge blowouts ended it, as the Lynx and Lightning respectively cruised to big wins.

 

UC Capitals (78) defeated by Melbourne Boomers (84)

The Capitals came into their clash against the Melbourne Boomers with plenty of confidence sitting with three wins from their first three ball games. The Boomers produced a strong outing in their last encounter to register their first win of the season, so both teams came into the game with plenty of momentum. In a tight contest throughout, it was the Boomers who were able to get the win and continue their resurgence after dropping their first two games. Strong efforts from Ezi Magbegor, Stephanie Talbot and Lindsay Allen were key for the Boomers, with the three combining for 49 points and 17 rebounds as well a strong team defensive performance, as they held the Capitals to their worst shooting performance of the season, shooting just 33 per cent from the field. Kia Nurse and Kelsey Griffin combined for 48 points for the Capitals, but the team struggled to find any other meaningful contributions to combat Melbourne’s strong offensive performance.

Perth Lynx (77) defeated Bendigo Spirit (72)

After a disappointing performance in their season opener, the Lynx came into their Round 3 outing against the Spirit in red hot form, having dominated their past two games. The Spirit had shown promise in their first two outings before falling to their first defeat in Round 3. Asia Taylor starred once again for the Lynx as she continues what has been a great start to the season, scoring a game-high 26 points to pace her side. Teammate, Alison Schwagmeyer also had a strong game offensively with 16 points to go alongside Taylor’s strong performance. The Spirit hung in until the end but ultimately lacked the fire power on the offensive side of the ball, and their poor shooting proved to be their downfall.

Townsville Fire (79) defeated Sydney Uni Flames (76)

In the third straight thriller to open the round, the Townsville Fire played host to the Sydney Uni Flames. The Flames were desperate for a win, having dropped all three of their games to this point, while the Fire were sitting dangerously at 1-2, so a win was necessary in order to keep pace with the best teams in the league. The Flames battled hard all game but were unable to contain Fire’s star, Suzy Batkovic, a common theme for each team who have matched up with her this season. Batkovic produced a double-double with 30 points and 12 rebounds, smashing her season averages of 23 points and 11 rebounds. The Flames had strong games from Brittany Smart (24 points) and Alex Wilson (21 points) but fell just short as they dropped their fourth straight game to open the season. The Fire meanwhile, improved to 2-2 and joined the logjam of teams possessing the same record through four games.

Dandenong Rangers (65) defeated by Perth Lynx (90)

Just two days after their tough victory over the Bendigo Spirit, the Lynx hit the road for a showdown with the Rangers. The Lynx showed no signs of fatigue, as they were able to jump the Rangers from the gun as they cruised to a 25 point win, their third consecutive victory. The Lynx shot the lights out early, led by Asia Taylor once again as she starred with 23 points. The Lynx’s ability to spread the scoring load among Taylor’s co-stars has been key for them in their wins this season, as this time it was Brittany McPhee who was their key contributor, scoring 21 points. Dandenong struggled as a team on both ends of the floor, shooting just 36 per cent from the field and giving up nearly 50 per cent shooting on the defensive end. The Rangers’ loss drops them to their second in as many weeks as they also join several teams with two wins and two losses from their first four encounters.

Adelaide Lightning (91) defeated Bendigo Spirit (63)

The Spirit took to the court for the second time this weekend hoping to avenge their tight loss to the Lynx from earlier in the round. Unlike the Lynx, who were able to avoid a poor performance just two days after their last encounter, the Spirit were lethargic throughout, allowing the Lightning to assert their dominance and record a statement 28-point victory. Five scored in double figures for the Lightning in a balanced team effort. Their ball movement and tenacity on offence was impressive as they recorded 24 assists as well as dominating the offensive glass en route to 15 second-chance points. Nia Coffey was the star once again, as she continues to build on a big start to the year, proving herself among the elite.

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