Tornadoes blow past Rangers for ninth straight win
|Grant Richardson||Jun 27, 2015|
With a ninth consecutive victory, the Launceston Tornadoes have the entire competition's attention after defeating the Dandenong Rangers on Saturday night.
In a battle which saw Dandenong, the East's top team, visit the South Conference's third placed side, the lead changed hands eleven times before the final break. Leading by three points at that stage, Launceston held their opponents to 5-16 overall shooting and 0-3 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter to run out 77-69 winners.
The Tornadoes were deadly themselves from the three-point line, hitting 11-18 with Lauren Mansfield (5-8 for 17 points) the main contributor. Mikaela Ruef continued her stunning form with a dominant 32 points, 15 rebounds, six steals and two blocks while Ally Wilson (16 points, nine boards) was also integral.
Leading the league in rebounds, Ruef (13.5) averages over two more per game than any other player while she also sits in the top five for total assists and top fifteen for points (15.9). Launceston have the most representatives in that top fifteen list with Wilson (21 points) sitting fourth, Emilee Harmon (18) twelfth and Mansfield (17) thirteenth.
Included in their current win streak are triumphs over the South Conference leaders Hobart, second placed Kilsyth and defending Champions Brisbane. They average an 18-point winning margin and own the equal second-best road record in the league. Their reliance on their starting five could be a concern but making their defeat of the Rangers even sweeter, the Tornadoes got the job done without the services of Harmon.
From a 1-4 start to the year, Launceston now sit at 10-4 and have not lost since the start of May. They are hot on the heels of Hobart (10-2) and Kilsyth (10-3) and are looking to end a run of four straight seasons without a finals appearance.