Panousis steers Sharks to crucial win
With the 2022-23 WNBL season fast approaching, numerous Sydney Flames stars continued their NBL1 solid form around the country.
In the NBL1 East competition, Flames recruit Vanessa Panousis poured in 19 points, seven assists, three rebounds and two assists as Sutherland defeated the league-leading Border Bandits 89-80, to record their fourth straight win.
The second-placed Sharks will look to extend their winning run during this weekend’s final round double-header against Illawarra and Newcastle.
Moving to Queensland and Flames trio Tiana Mangakahia, Shyla Heal and Kalani Purcell excelled over the weekend.
The first two appeared for the Wizards in their loss 81-70 to Brisbane, before resting in their club’s 62-58 win against USC Rip City.
In that victory, Mangakahia tallied 25 points (including five triples), six rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Heal added 13 points, four boards, four dimes and two swipes.
Those results see the Wizards finish the season in fifth, securing them a spot in this Saturday’s semi-final against Brisbane – tipping off at 6pm at Auchenflower Stadium.
Another Flame that will feature in this Saturday’s NBL1 finals will be Kalani Purcell and her Southern Districts Spartans, who downed North Gold Coast 94-77 in the final round.
In that win, New Zealand-born Purcell recorded 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and one steal, to secure the Spartans second spot on the ladder.
Next up for Purcell’s side is a quarter-final showdown with USC Rip City.
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Elsewhere in NBL1 South, 39 points and 17 rebounds from Keely Froling weren’t enough for her Launceston Tornadoes, who fell to Sandringham 87-76.
The seventh-placed Tornadoes will look to rebound in this weekend’s Tasmanian derby with Hobart at the Kingborough Sports Centre.
While two points, three rebounds, three steals and an assist from Keira Rowe helped Knox edge Mount Gambier 75-68, for their fourth straight win.
The final round sees the Raiders play a double-header, pitting them against Ringwood and Keilor, ahead of next weekend’s finals.
Finally, despite 25 points, eight rebounds, three assists and one steal from Emma Clarke, Perry Lakes were ousted 82-72 by Lakeside at Bendat Basketball Centre.
Clarke’s final regular season fixture will be on Saturday against Eastern Suns.