#WNBL20 Round 10 Wrap
Christmas came early for the Chemist Warehouse WNBL with Round 10 delivering more than Santa with a full sleigh.
Ladder-leader Southside Flyers, missing stars Jenna O’Hea and Mercedes Russell, suffered just their second defeat of the season, going down to a super impressive Sydney Uni Flames side, now riding a wave of confidence.
It was the perfect weekend for coach Katrina Hibbert and her Flames, defeating Bendigo in Bendigo then capturing the Flyers scalp. The pair of wins now has Sydney level on wins with fourth-placed Adelaide Lightning.
The UC Caps got the win as their superstar Kelsey Griffin watched on from the sidelines in a moonboot. Perth Lynx now has consecutive wins to its name after knocking off the Fire in Townsville. Last but not least, Melbourne Boomers were too good for the Lightning in a scrappy game to complete the round.
Sydney Uni Flames 88 d Bendigo Spirit 81
This Thursday night clash launched a big weekend for both teams, with Sydney taking on the first-placed Flyers and the Spirit off to Canberra to face the second-on-the-ladder Caps later in the round.
It was Sydney who kicked off Round 10 in style. Just 5 points separated the sides last time they met in Round 7 at Bendigo Stadium and this, too, was a tight tussle.
The Flames had 3 more turnovers but their shooting from the field (52%) was superior.
Alice Kunek (20 points, 6 rebounds) and Jessica Kuster (20 points, 7 rebounds) fuelled the Flames with Lauren Scherf (12 rebounds) falling 1 point short of a double-double.
For the Spirit, Carley Ernst (20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) produced a solid all-round game, while Kelly Wilson, in her 200th WNBL game for the Spirit, scored 19 points.
UC Capitals 76 d Bendigo Spirit 66
No Kelsey Griffin? No worries for the Capitals who notched an important victory in the absence of their star and co-captain, who will be sidelined for up to 6 weeks with an ankle injury.
Stepping into the starting 5, and Griffin’s shoes, young gun Keely Froling conjured a magnificent career-best display with 30 points, at 61 per cent from the field, paired with 10 boards.
For Bendigo, Demi Skinner’s team-high 15 points again highlighted why she is one of the best young players in the league and a shining light for the Spirit in what is proving to be a disappointing campaign.
Perth Lynx 82 d Townsville Fire 77
A tough victory over the Fire has breathed life back into the Perth’s rollercoaster campaign.
Ariel Atkins played her best game for Perth with a game-high 16 points, Katie-Rae Ebzery (15 points, 6 rebounds) remains the heartbeat of her side with Marena Whittle, Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger and Nadeen Payne all filling the stat sheet.
Despite the defeat, pleasingly for coach Shannon Seebohm and the Fire all starters scored in double figures led by Abby Bishop’s monster 18 points and 16 rebounds.
Sydney Uni Flames 86 d Southside Flyers 79
The Flames signalled their intentions with a fast start, going on a 7-0 run to start the game at Dandenong Stadium.
Kunek dominated the second half to finish with the impressive stat line of 27 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Colleen Planeta scored 20 points before going down with a knee injury and Ally Wilson registered 12 points plus 9 assists.
With 2 changes to their starting 5, the Flyers struggled to find rhythm at both ends of the floor in the absence of 2 of their biggest play makers. Sara Blicavs (23 points, 9 rebounds) and Leilani Mitchell (18 points, 8 assists) led the home side’s stat sheet.
Melbourne Boomers 66 d Adelaide Lightning 57
This may have been a clash between top 4 sides but there won’t be a highlights video of this contest.
It wasn’t pretty but ultimately it was a win for the Boomers who needed to rebound after last round’s loss to Perth. The result also saw Melbourne take the season split.
Game MVP Lindsay Allen (22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) was sensational and wowed the home crowd. Ezi Magbegor (16 points, 10 rebounds) was fantastic as Opals coach Sandy Brondello watched on from the stands.
It was a one-woman show for Adelaide with Brianna Turner (19 points, 11 rebounds) seemingly doing it all at both ends for the majority of the contest while Steph Talbot (15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists) came alive in the third quarter after a luckless first half.