December 17, 2017 | WNBL news

Perth have consolidated their Championship favouritism by extending their winning streak to 13, the Lightning are on the brink of being eliminated from finals contention and the Rangers’ hopes have faded for 2017/18.

Bendigo Bank Spirit 80 def. by University of Canberra Capitals 91

In a battle to stay off the bottom of the ladder, it was a tight contest throughout but the Caps eventually ran away thanks to a 20-10 final term for their second straight win. Every player that hit the court scored, led by Natalie Hurst’s 18 points and five assists while Lauren Scherf (12 points) and Kate Gaze (ten points) starred off the bench. Four starters hit double-figures for the Spirit including Rachel Banham (20 points on 8-11 shooting) and Gabe Richards (18 points, ten boards).


Jayco Dandenong Rangers 65 def. by Brydens Sydney Uni Flames 70

Despite 25 turnovers and foul trouble for Asia Taylor in her return from injury, the Flames eked out an important victory to take the season series and momentarily move a game clear in the top four. Katie Ebzery (20 points) and Jen Hamson (17 points on 7-9 shooting, 14 rebounds- eight offensive and seven blocks) led the way while Belinda Snell also came up with some big shots, knocking down six three-pointers for 20 points! Steph Blicavs (16 points) had a chance to take the game into overtime for the Rangers but her shot came up short in the dying seconds.


Larissa Anderson, Rangers coach: “I couldn’t be more proud of how these girls are dealing with this – take three starters out of any team and it would be tough. I felt like we could have won it, we just had some major brain fades but that is a sign you have kids out there and with our senior players there was probably a little fatigue in that also.”

Belinda Snell, Flames: “The first half we settled for the perimeter shots too much, but in the second half we got inside more and found some looks for Jen Hamson who also pulled in some huge rebounds for us down the stretch.”

Perth Lynx 99 def. MAC Adelaide Lightning 82

Another masterclass from Courtney Williams officially clinched a playoff spot for the Lynx who responded to a four-point half-time deficit with a 57-36 second half. Williams shot 19-25 from the field for 41 points with 16 coming in the third term as she blew the game open while Sami Whitcomb and Toni Farnworth off the bench added 13 each. It was always going to be a difficult task for the Lightning without Natalie Novosel but Abby Bishop was efficient with 20 points on 7-9 shooting, Nicole Seekamp tallied 18 points and Vanessa Panousis made the most of her court time with 11 points in 16 minutes.


Andy Stewart, Lynx coach: “It’s great to win the game, but that was a pretty special shooting display by one young lady. That’s pretty rare that we’d get to witness that- that was very special. On her night, she is the best.”

Brydens Sydney Uni Flames 90 def. Bendigo Bank Spirit 57

The Spirit hung with their opponents through the first half but once again they tired as the content wore on before suffering another heavy defeat on the back of an 18-47 second half. Alex Wilson (21 points) did her damage early while Jen Hamson (17 points, ten rebounds) owned the paint and Belinda Snell (five points, ten assists) celebrated her 300th game in style. Betnijah Laney and Rachel Banham had 13 points each for Bendigo.


Simon Pritchard, Spirit coach: “When it goes bad for us, it all goes bad in one hit. For whatever reason we can’t bear down when things don’t go our way. We just don’t have that much experience.”

JCU Townsville Fire 83 def. Jayco Dandenong Rangers 71

Towsville held off a dogged Rangers side for their first win of the 2017/18 series between the teams. Suzy Batkovic again led the way with 25 points and Cayla George added 17 points and eight rebounds while Carley Mijovic (22 points) and Steph Blicavs (17 points) stood out for the visitors who have now dropped four in a row with playoffs out of reach.


Claudia Brassard, Fire coach: “It was good to be able to finally secure a win against them. We certainly owed them one for the losses we have enjoyed down there, but I thought we did a much better job tonight.”

Deakin Melbourne Boomers 89 def. by Perth Lynx 92

The incredible winning streak of the Lynx was tested to its limits on Sunday but was extended to 13 thanks to two more outstanding performances from their back court duo. Williams (26 points, six steals) set the tone and helped Perth to a nine-point edge at quarter-time while even recording a block on Liz Cambage. The Boomers centre responded though to lead the fightback with 38 points and 15 rebounds and in the final term, they cut the deficit to one possession on six occasions before Maddie Garrick (16 points) tied the game with 2:30 remaining. However, Kayla Standish (15 points) hit a big three to quell the resistance while Whitcomb (28 points, seven assists, two steals) was able to clinch the contest from the free-throw line.


Jenna O’Hea, Boomers: “They are a high-octane offensive team but we let them score too much- we played at their tempo a lot when we need to play our own game.”

Sami Whitcomb, Lynx: “Leading into finals those are the kind of hard-nosed games you love getting. We are on the road, the second game of a double and we had to earn that one and it’s satisfying.”

University of Canberra Capitals 88 def. MAC Adelaide Lightning 87

A topsy-turvy season is back on an upswing for the Caps as they have answered a 13-game losing streak with three consecutive victories. Meanwhile, the Lightning have dropped four of their past five and must now win at least two of their last three to have any hope of finals. Trailing by ten at quarter-time, Adelaide fought back to take their first lead at the end of the third period. Aimie Clydesdale and Colleen Planeta tallied 18 points each to pace four players in double-figures including Sarah Elsworthy off the bench but Jordan Hooper (11 points) was the difference with a late free-throw sealing the win. Mistie Bass led all scorers with 21 and Kate Gaze knocked down two triple’s for 14 points while Maddison Rocci showed her maturity in replacement of ill Natalie Hurst.


Mistie Bass, Caps: “This team has really fought and I’m really proud of them for doing that. Every day we’re trying to get better and we’ve just actually gotten a lot closer over the season through this.”

Media Links

Roy Ward reported on Belinda Snell’s huge performance on Thursday night for The Age:

Ward also analysed the top of the table clash between Melbourne and Perth on Sunday:

Craig O’Donoghue of The West covered Courtney Williams’ scintillating game against the Lightning:

Amanda Lulham of the Daily Telegraph covered Snell’s 300th game:

Turnovers continue to hamper the Spirit wrote Kieran Iles for the Bendigo Advertiser:

Caden Helmers of the Canberra Times discusses the rise of young gun Maddison Rocci:

Catch up on all the news around the league via the Basket Case podcast here:

You can also listen to Megan Hustwaite’s WNBL podcast here: