Photo courtesy of Dandenong Rangers.
Perth Lynx have extended their winning streak to nine to sit clear on top of the ladder while a sweep of the weekend for the Jayco Dandenong Rangers keeps them in contention for a top-four spot.
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames 74 def. by MAC Adelaide Lightning 77
Adelaide got the jump on the Flames, leading by nine at quarter-time but by the main break, the home side had fought their way back to tie things up. From there, the lead changed hands nine times but for every shot that Sydney Uni knocked down, Adelaide had an answer and time eventually ran out for the Flames. Nicole Seekamp (22 points, six assists) and Aimie Clydesdale (17 points, five assists) combined for 20 points in the fourth term to help counter the exceptional performance of Jennifer Hamson (25 points, 17 rebounds including eight offensive) while Abby Bishop added 16 points and ten boards.
Cheryl Chambers, Flames coach: “[Last week] was a big win for us. Maybe we came down too far. [Adelaide] damaged us in the first period and then we just couldn’t execute under pressure.”
Jayco Dandenong Rangers 78 def. JCU Townsville Fire 59
Coming into the contest as underdogs, Dandenong surprised everyone with a 12-3 start to the game and they then shut down Townsville with a 20-6 second term to have the game won by half-time. The Fire hit just eight shots by the main break before Suzy Batkovic finished with 19 points and nine rebounds while Mia Murray scored 16 points off the bench. They could not stop Carley Mijovic though who had 18 points and 16 boards while Steph Blicavs (14 points), Laia Palau (13 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals) and Tessa Lavey (12 points) all notched double-figures.
Carley Mijovic, Rangers: “We knew we had nothing to lose, we got up and going early and that is what set the momentum for us. We just need to come into every game like we did tonight, we have to be ready to come up against the other team’s best.”
Claudia Brassard, Fire coach: “Life on the road is never easy, but both times we’ve played Dandenong here they’ve been on the back of two losses and very desperate and I don’t think we matched that desperation.”
Perth Lynx 89 def. University of Canberra Capitals 76
Desperate to end their losing streak against the hottest team in the league, the Caps looked good with a 16-point lead just prior to half-time. They could not maintain that pace though as Perth charged home with a 50-25 second half that included a 13-point run from Courtney Williams by herself to start the fourth term which give the Lynx complete control. Williams finished with 25 points, ten rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block while Sami Whitcomb (22 points) did most of her damage early as she kept the home side in it. Jordan Hooper was the standout for the Caps with 20 points while Abbey Wehrung returned to the team with 13 points on 3-4 three-point shooting but the defeat meant they have now suffered their second worst losing streak in club history.
Andy Stewart, Lynx coach: “I don’t know that we’re worried about being the top team, but we are worried about playing good basketball. We’re starting to play a whole lot better sort of basketball.”
MAC Adelaide Lightning 74 def. by Perth Lynx 89
In a clash of fourth vs. first, Perth made it nine consecutive wins as they overcame another double-digit deficit in the opening half to cruise home. Williams and Whitcomb were unstoppable again, combining for 41 points, seven assists and four steals while Kayla Standish contributed 17 points in another strong performance. The Lightning had five players hit double-figures and Bishop (12 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) and Ruth Hamblin (13 points, ten boards) tallied double-doubles.
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames 85 def. by JCU Townsville Fire 88
Hurting from consecutive losses and the absence of their starting point guard, Townsville resolved themselves for a very important win to stay in the top two on the ladder. Clutch free-throws from the visitors proved the difference down the stretch while Mikhaela Donnelly stepped in for Kelly Wilson with six points, six rebounds and five assists and the usual suspects starred in Batkovic (26 points, ten rebounds), Sydney Wiese (15 points, four assists) and Cayla George (14 points). Katie Ebzery was tireless all day with 21 points for the Flames but the defending Champs have now dropped four of their past five.
Cheryl Chambers, Flames coach: “We just can’t afford to be losing matches like that or we will find ourselves in trouble. Townsville’s backs were against the wall in that one and they showed how bad they wanted it.”
Claudia Brassard, Fire coach: “I was proud of the way we fought it out. It’s been a tough and demanding road trip, we’re looking forward to getting home, but we held our nerve and we made plays when it mattered.”
Bendigo Bank Spirit 67 def. by Jayco Dandenong Rangers 75
The lead never hit double-digits for either team in a close contest but the Rangers slowly pulled away as the game went on to make it two wins in a row. Steph Blicavs had 19 points and seven assists to pace four starters that scored 10+ including Kayla Pedersen (14 points, 12 rebounds). For the Spirit, Betnijah Laney had 18 points and Gabe Richards tallied 13 points with eight boards.
Simon Pritchard, Spirit coach: “It’s those three and four minute lapses that are hurting us. We called timeouts during that third quarter to try to stem the flow but we just went too short against their zone and didn’t make them play defence for long enough.”
Deakin Melbourne Boomers 92 def. University of Canberra Capitals 72
Melbourne claimed a resounding victory following a 13-0 start to the game as Liz Cambage shot 16-18 from the field for 38 points and 13 rebounds while Jenna O’Hea and Maddie Garrick scored 13 points each. Nat Hurst (21 points) paced the Caps who did trim a 31-point deficit down to 14 before the Boomers ran away again late to move back inside the top four.
Guy Molloy, Boomers coach: “It was an awesome first half. The goal was to win the third quarter but we had a few foul issues and then we started turning the ball over a lot. It was a bit frustrating that off the bench we didn’t sustain the pace.”
Paul Goriss, Caps coach: “We started very slow and I don’t think it was execution, we started slow defensively as well. We didn’t stick to the game plan and they made us pay.”
Amanda Lulham of the Daily Telegraph wrote about Adelaide’s thrilling Wednesday night victory: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/swoop/wnbl-adelaide-lightning-beat-sydney-uni-flames-7774/news-story/9f7c3cda0650d0a4a100c160372ed727
Lulham then covered Townsville’s important win over Sydney Uni from Saturday: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/swoop/suzy-batkovic-celebrates-opals-recall-by-leading-townsville-past-sydney-flames/news-story/7663acfb64df032ddb9c9d61608e0c75
The Rangers kept their finals hopes alive on Wednesday with a stunning defeat of Townsville report Roy Ward for The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/basketball/dandenong-rangers-back-in-finals-hunt-with-big-win-over-townsville-fire-20171129-gzvipj.html
Caden Helmers covered the Caps’ continued woes for The Canberra Times: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/sport/act-sport/wnbl-canberra-capitals-fall-to-clubs-second-worst-losing-streak-against-perth-20171129-gzvnq5.html
Craig O’Donoghue of The West Australian wrote about the sacrifice of a couple of athletes and the healing basketball family when Perth took on the Caps on Thursday night: https://thewest.com.au/sport/basketball/lost-friends-and-sick-children—the-wnbl-game-that-highlighted-athletes-sacrifices-ng-b88677738z
Jon Tuxworth reported on Kelly Wilson’s luckless run of injuries after the guard suffered a broken thumb: http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/sport/wilson-injury-compounds-fire-slump/news-story/5bb7287b5663c88cc90556d7c882712b
Roy Ward wrote about the Boomers snapping into action in a crushing defeat of Canberra for The Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/basketball/wnbl-melbourne-boomers-snap-into-action-with-dominant-win-over-canberra-capitals-20171202-gzxgi9.html
Luke West covered the mental lapse that hurt the Spirit in their loss to Dandenong for The Bendigo Advertiser: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/5095953/rangers-break-away-from-spirit-with-10-0-run-in-third-quarter/?cs=80
Basketball Australia announced the Opals’ squad for their first camp ahead of the Commonwealth Games which had every WNBL club represented: http://wnbl.basketball/blog/news/opals-announced-first-camp-commonwealth-games/
Catch up on all the news around the league via the Basket Case podcast here: https://www.spreaker.com/show/basket-case
You can also listen to Megan Hustwaite’s WNBL podcast here: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-wnbl-show/id1292447514?mt=2#episodeGuid=85fa7997-cdbf-463a-ba63-6880c78e48f9