February 25, 2023 | Melbourne Boomers news

The Deakin Melbourne Boomers headed to Canberra in their penultimate game of the regular season desperate to regain any momentum heading into the Cygnett WNBL Finals after a rocky month of February.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Mia Murray kicked things off to set the tone offensively, and Tiffany Mitchell was also aggressive as the visitors jumped out to any early 7-0 lead. The Boomers pushed the pace, and a second triple from Murray, plus a Mitchell make from deep, saw the lead balloon. Jade Melbourne stepped up offensively for the Capitals to make inroads, and Canberra closed out the quarter to go into the first break down just two – 22-20 Boomers.

Jade Melbourne continued her offensive push to start the second quarter, and the Capitals took the lead for the first time in the game, forcing a timeout by Coach Chris Lucas. Boomers turnovers led to Canberra points on the other end, and the Capitals well-and-truly had the momentum with an eight point lead forcing a second timeout by Coach Lucas. An astonishing 30-4 run by the Capitals was halted by a Miela Goodchild three, which was quickly followed by her second triple to peg the Canberra lead back to six. The Capitals continued their hot shooting, however, hitting back-to-back threes to make them six-of-twelve on the night from deep. Yet another Goodchild three steadied the Boomers, and Mitchell also hit a three of her own to cut the lead to six once again, but it was the aggressiveness of Jade Melbourne which closed out the quarter and helped the Capitals hold onto a 52-44 lead at the half.

Mitchell came out firing to start the second half, hitting a three and a post-up deuce to bring her tally up to 23 and give the Boomers the start they needed to level the scores at 56. Murray hit again from three, making it three-from-six for her on the night as Melbourne went up by three. It was an arm-wrestle for the remainder of the quarter as neither side was able to gain the ascendency, but it was the Boomers which ultimately came away with the three-quarter time lead – 77-72.

Murray was active early in the fourth, scoring her 17th point to go along with 10 rebounds as the Boomers attempted to extend their lead. Mitchell’s 33rd point gave the Boomers a four-point buffer, and Goodchild hit again from deep to make it a seven-point advantage. Cayla George contorted for an acrobatic two, however Canberra’s talent kept them in the hunt. The Boomers started to gain separation, going up by 10 with just over four minutes to go in the game, however Canberra were unstoppable from three to cut it to just four points with a minute to go. Two clutch free-throws from Leilani Mitchell steadied things, and a stop on defence meant the Boomers had the advantage with time running out for the home team. However, an offensive foul gave the ball back to the Capitals with forty seconds to go, but they were unable to capitalise, and the foul game began as Leilani Mitchell headed to the line again. The Boomers ultimately held on and came away with the win, 103-95.

Mitchell and Murray shone for the Boomers, with 33 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists, and 21, 12 and 4 respectively. George was also solid with 18, 13 and 7.

This win keeps the Boomers in third spot, and will most likely see them stay there unless there is an unforeseen capitulation from the Townsville Fire, which currently sit on top. Should the Boomers indeed remain in third, it would mean a semi-final clash with cross-town rivals, and current holders of the second spot, the Southside Flyers kicking off March 9.

The Boomers now head back to Melbourne for the last game of the regular season as they take on the Sydney Flames at home in eight days. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.