The first round of the New Year delivered two jaw dropping upsets, a record individual performance and highlights from Townsville, down to Bendigo and across to Perth.
A week after snapping a 9-game losing streak, the Bendigo Spirit stunned the UC Capitals to kick off Round 12 on Friday night. On Sunday in Adelaide, the Lightning extended their purple patch of the form with a big win over ladder-leader Southside Flyers with Captain Nicole Seekamp writing her way into the league history books.
The court general dished out 20 assists, passing the legendary Kristi Harrower’s record of 19 for the Bendigo Spirit back in 2014. Seekamp also came oh-so-close to a triple-double, scoring 10 points and hauling in 7 boards.
Bendigo Spirit 94 d UC Capitals 90
Teen sensation Shyla Heal took her team on her shoulders and guided them to a massive upset over the defending champs.
Heal sunk a career-high 24 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, continuing a brilliant breakout season.
The experienced quartet of Carley Ernst (19 points, 6 rebounds) Gabe Richards (11 points, 8 rebounds), Tessa Lavey (10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Kelly Wilson (9 assists, 7 points, 5 rebounds) were pivotal and enjoyed every moment of the win.
For the Caps, Marianna Tolo (26 points, 17 rebounds) and Keely Froling (22 points, 11 rebounds) posted double-doubles, Kia Nurse had 17 points and 5 assists while Olivia Epoupa again flirted with a triple double (11 assists, 8 rebounds, 8 assists).
Adelaide Lightning 87 d Townsville Fire 61
After a 2-0 weekend in Round 11, the Lightning continued their winning ways on the road, this time over the Fire.
Chris Lucas would have been delighted with this team performance, as highlighted on the stat sheet with Brianna Turner (17 points, 7 rebounds) top scoring. Lauren Nicholson added 13 points, Steph Talbot (12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) and Seekamp (8 assists 7 rebounds, 6 points) produced all-round displays and Kathryn Westbeld and Chelsea Brook added 12 points each.
It was bigs Darcee Garbin (21 points and 7 rebounds) and Abby Bishop (15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) who did best for the bottom-of-the-ladder Fire.
Southside Flyers 90 d Perth Lynx 75
After a bye in Round 11, it was back to work and back on to the winners list for the Flyers who welcomed back skipper Jenna O’Hea (13 points, 5 rebounds) and Mercedes Russell (15 points, 11 rebounds) with open arms.
Bec Cole set the tempo for the visitors with a game-high 30 points, with Leilani Mitchell banking 18.
As has become standard for Perth, captain Katie Rae Ebzery (20 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) topped the stat sheet. Nadeen Payne and Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger scored 12 points each as Perth slumped to 5-10.
Adelaide Lightning 104 d Southside Flyers 93
The Lightning’s hot form ticked over into the opening round of 2020 with a stunning performance against the Southside Flyers.
The win pushes Adelaide’s season record to 10-6, equal on wins with the Caps, and now four games clear of Sydney Uni Flames (6-10) in fifth position. The defeat, Southside’s third of #WNBL20.
Adelaide established an early lead before gaining greater ascendency in the second quarter.
Turner (25 points, 9 rebounds) was dominant, Nicholson (24 points) at her best, import Westbeld (22 points) reached WNBL career-best numbers, plus Brook (13 points) added her usual valuable contribution off the bench.
For the Flyers, Russell was outstanding with 28 points and 10 rebounds, Sara Blicavs (18 points, 7 rebounds), Cole (18 points) and Mitchell (14 points, 8 assists) all putting the visitors close to a three-figure losing score.
Melbourne Boomers 86 d Sydney Uni Flames 63
Melbourne now sit pretty, and a game clear, in second spot after accounting for Sydney with a four-quarter effort.
The Boomers were in control with a 15-point advantage at half time and continued on their way after the main break.
Guard Maddie Garrick (19 points, 7 rebounds) showed the way for the visitors, with fellow Co-Captain Cayla George registering an 18 point-10 rebound double-double. Lindsay Allen was in early foul trouble but still managed 15 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
While the Flames gained Britt Smart from injury they lost Tahlia Tupaea (knee) early in the contest.
Lauren Scherf (20 points, 9 rebounds) played a big second half, Alice Kunek had 13 points and 7 boards with Ally Wilson adding 9 points, 6 assists and 5 boards.