Round 1 Wrap

October 14, 2019 | WNBL news

THREE blistering minutes.

That’s all it took for reigning Chemist Warehouse WNBL champion UC Capitals to swing into action, lift their defensive effort and turn a deficit into a lead in Sunday’s Grand Final rematch against the Adelaide Lightning.

After unveiling their title in front of a strong home crowd, the Caps outscored the Lightning 33-13 taking a 10-point buffer into three quarter time after trailing by the same margin at the main break.

The home side going on to win, 90-83, their 12th consecutive victory in Canberra, coach Paul Gorris says returning to the cornerstone of their game was defining for the Caps.

“We were really disappointed with the way we were playing defensively and to give up 55 points in the first half was unacceptable by our group,’’ he said.

“We pride ourselves on our defence, it’s something we practice a lot and we have our own game targets, team targets that we want to hold the opposition to and Adelaide were way over what we wanted to give up. We had a lack of communication and weren’t sticking to our scout, we needed to address those areas at half time and we turned it around in the second half.”

Injury meant superstar Kelsey Griffin had just a week lead-in to Round 1 but it didn’t look like it as she led from the front with 22 points and 22 rebounds in just under 39 minutes. Import Kia Nurse sunk 28 points and Keely Frolling (22 points, 11 rebounds) produced a career-best display.

“We can get caught up just expecting that from Kelsey but it’s unbelievable the work she’s done in the off-season to get right for Round 1, she’s had a week of practice,’’ Gorris said.

“Keely, what’s she done with 3×3 she’s growing in confidence and becoming a well-rounded player. She can be a star of the WNBL, she’s still got a way to go but she’s on the right track.

“And everyone knows what Kia brings to our group but she had seven rebounds too and I think has come back an even more well-rounded player after another season in the WNBA.”

Gorris also praised the performance of French point guard Olivia Epoupa.

“Her stat line was 1/8 but eight assists and seven rebounds was huge for a point guard, we didn’t bring her into be a big scorer we bought her into be a play maker.”

Lauren Nicholson finished with 32 points after bursting out of the blocks for Adelaide.

Adelaide Lighting 89 defeated Sydney Uni Flames 79

The Lightning lit up the start of #WNBL20 taking the win over the Flames in an entertaining tussle on Friday night.

Adelaide import Crystal Langhorne announced herself with a dazzling 20 points and 13 rebounds, Chelsea Brook (19 points) was a stand out, while Steph Talbot (12 points, five assists, two rebounds) returned home to Adelaide in style and captain Nicole Seekamp contributed 11 points and eight assists.

Sydney’s Colleen Planeta racked up 30 points and 11 blocks against her former side and Lauren Scherf hauled in 17 boards alongside 10 points.

Southside Flyers 81 defeated Townsville Fire 72

The league’s newest outfit etched their way into the history books with a promising win over the visiting Fire.

Leilani Mitchell (21 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals) and captain Jenna O’Hea (19 points, eight rebounds, three assists) didn’t suit up during pre-season games but it didn’t matter as they guided the Flyers home in front of a crowd of 1282. Import Mercedes Russell registered 12 points and four rebounds and took the honours as the club’s first WNBL scorer.

The Fire’s Canadian import Bridget Carleton (20 points, seven rebounds) impressed, Tess Madgen compiled 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Darcee Garbin (16 points, seven rebounds) had a busy night in the absence of the concussed Abby Bishop.

Melbourne Boomers 87 defeated Bendigo Spirit 72

The Boomers travelled to Bendigo and took full advantage of a new-look Spirit side missing import centre Becca Tobin.

Ezi Magbegor (13 points, seven rebounds) and Cayla George (12 points, nine rebounds) made their presence felt while reigning All-Star 5 member Lindsay Allan (19 points, seven assists, six rebounds) showed she’s overcome a knee injury which kept her out of the WNBA. Maddie Garrick (15 points, five rebounds, three assists) and import Sophie Cunningham (11 points, four assists, two rebounds) ensured the Boomers starters all posted double digits.

Spirit import Marte Grays was a standout with 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists, Shyla Heal and Demi Skinner (14 points) provided a spark off the bench and champion point guard Kelly Wilson had nine points, eight assists and five rebounds in her homecoming.

Perth Lynx defeated 79 Sydney Uni Flames 62

The Lynx opened their account with a strong home victory as Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger picked up where she left off in #WNBL19.

The aggressive guard topped the stat sheet with a 21 point-10 rebound double-double and two assists. In her first outing in red, Nadeen Payne hit 13 points and import centre Imani McGee-Stafford (12 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks) made an immediate and exciting impact.

For the Flames, Alice Kunek (15 points), Lauren Scherf (11 points), Colleen Planeta (11 points) and Jessica Kuster (10 points) all reached double figures in the second leg of their weekend.