WNBL 2014/15 Round 1 Recap

Caps pip Boomers in season opener

The University of Canberra Capitals have beaten Melbourne 69-62 in an up-and-down contest to open the WNBL season for 2014/15.

After a tight first quarter that saw the Boomers gain a two-point advantage, the home side got out to a double digits lead midway through the second term as Rebecca Cole (10 points, 4 steals) and Tess Madgen (19 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists) got busy, pressuring the Capitals into mistake after mistake.

A six-point Boomer lead at the half should have been more if it weren’t for some late buckets to Abby Bishop (15 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists), with the visitors hanging around despite committing 14 turnovers to four.

The game was turned on its head after the long break as the Caps came out firing, turning the deficit into a lead within minutes as Kristen Veal (11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists) began firing from the perimeter.

Both teams traded baskets and the lead in a tight final term, however two massive threes by Carly Wilson (12 points) took the game away for Melbourne, with the second extending her side’s lead to four points with 90 seconds to play.

A brilliant defensive set for the home side went unrewarded with under a minute to play, with Bishop’s tough jump shot as the shot clock expired hitting the rim and fortuitously landing in Wilson’s arms for the easy layup and the final nail in the Melbourne coffin.

Madgen was the best for the Boomers as her teammates struggled, while Bishop and Veal led their side tremendously to celebrate Jess Bibby’s 350th WNBL match in style.

Melbourne 62 (Madgen 19, Burton 14, Cole 10)

University of Canberra 69 (Bishop 15, Talbot 12, Wilson 12)

Rangers shut out Boomers early, take game 1 of local derby

The Dandenong Rangers put on a clinic throughout Saturday’s game with many thanks to their two newest players. Both Cappie Pondexter and Annalise Pickrel slotted right into the side en route to a damaging 22 point victory, 73-51.

Photo Credit: Michelle Couling Photography

While it took Pondexter a little bit of time to set a gauge on the new Aussie hoops, Pickrel started the Ranger surge in the opening quarter. No matter whether it was finding a way to the rim or shooting long two’s, the Boomers had no answer for Pickrel early on as she ended up with 18 points of her own to go along with six rebounds.

When the game was still slightly in the balance during the second term, head coach Mark Wright threw in his best new import in hope to put a fork in the Boomers’ confidence. Pondexter delivered with an array of isolation jumpers, including a nifty ‘and 1’ en route to her game high 20 points.

The Boomers were left stunned as they winced into half time down double digits. However, the game hit breaking point during the third stanza as the Boomers could only muster up six points in the ten minute period. Their 28% field goal shooting telling much of the story throughout the night.

Rebecca Allen was the shining light for the Boomers, with 17 points, nine rebounds and three steals. While her teammates tried to help in as many ways as possible, Tess Madgen recorded six rebounds and six assists; however it was her two points on horrendous 1-11FG shooting which let her down.

Dandenong 73 (Pondexter 20, Pickrel 18, MacLeod 13)

Melbourne 51 (Allen 17, Thompson 10, Greaves 8)

Flames edge Capitals in thriller

Sydney Uni has kicked off their season in fine fashion with a 73-70 away victory of University of Canberra.

The Flames took an early lead on the back of Leilani Mitchell (13 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) and Kate Ebzery (19 points), before Jess Bibby (24 points) nailed three consecutive three-pointers to get her side back into the contest and down by just three at the first break.

A tight second term saw both sides take turns at holding the lead before the visitors wrested by the advantage by the main break, heading into the change rooms with a four point lead.

Mitchell and Ebzery continued to be thorns in the Capitals’ side, continually coming up with points when their side was challenged as the Flames extended their lead to nine points at three-quarter time as the smell of an upset was rife.

As expected, the home side rallied in the final term, coming from 13 points down early as Bibby found her stroke once more after a quiet couple of quarters to get her side within a point.

The Flames answered every challenge at the line in the final 40 seconds, however a miss by Ebzery with four seconds to go left the margin at three and the door ajar for the home side but Bibby couldn’t connect on a long bomb to send the game into overtime and the visitors held on.

Bibby was undoubtedly the star for the University of Canberra, with Abby Bishop (14 points, 12 rebounds) strong again. Ebzery and Mitchell formed a brilliant partnership for the Flames in their first game together while Rohanee Cox (15 points, 8 rebounds) was typically hard working throughout.

University of Canberra 70 (Bibby 24, Bishop 14, Talbot 12)

Sydney Uni 73 (Ebzery 19, Cox 15, Mitchell 13)

Townsville exact revenge on Grand Final defeat to Spirit

Off the back of new Fire star Cayla Francis (22 points, 8 rebounds), Townsville managed to scrape past their recent rivals Bendigo in last year’s Grand Final rematch.

Despite the back and forth action throughout the contest, the Fire managed to secure an early lead which they opened up to double digits late in the first term. For the middle two quarters, the Spirit played lots of catch up basketball, with the likes of Belinda Snell (24 points, 9 rebounds) and the returning Kristi Harrower (5 points, 4 rebounds) making tough outside shots to steer the margin into an attainable deficit.

By the end of the third quarter, the Spirit secured a three point lead and the game was looking like heading to the final few possessions.

Francis was then the one in the spotlight to kick off the final stanza, scoring 12 points in the quarter. A Suzy Batkovic (11 points, 10 rebounds) basket with 25 seconds left on the clock gave the Fire a three point lead, yet giving one final chance to the Spirit. From there, Kelsey Griffin (22 points, 5 rebounds) heaved one up from long range with six seconds on the game clock, yet it was blocked by woman of the moment Francis who sealed the victory.

Townsville 70 (Francis 22, Cumming 12, Batkovic 11)

Bendigo 67 (Snell 24, Griffin 22, Garrick 7)

Waves tie last season’s win record with kick-start victory over Adelaide

West Coast Waves have one win on the board to start the 2014/15 WNBL season, which is exactly the same amount of wins the Waves secured throughout their last campaign. West Coast scored a dominant 92-68 win over the Adelaide Lightning on Saturday night as the WA based team showed their Spring Shield form was no fluke.

The Waves won every quarter with the team pouncing on a weakened Lightning side in both the first and third quarters. Star import Lindsay Moore pushed the tempo with 16 points, five rebounds and seven assists, while she was joined by Sarah Graham with 15 points and eight assists.

As the Waves pushed out to an early ten point lead by quarter time, they had led by as many as 17 late in the term, showing signs of a major blowout so early on in the contest. Louella Tomlinson was everywhere with major impact; seven points, six rebounds, four steals and three blocks.

For the Lightning, Laura Hodges was her usual self with 16 points and six rebounds coming off successful Opals duties. Apart from Hodges, the Lightning shot poorly throughout the contest, which could accustom to a positive influence from the Waves defensive schemes. Jess Foley (2-8FG), Angela Marino (1-7FG) and Kathleen Scheer (2-9FG) are the trio that will be looking to rectify their performances next week.

West Coast 92 (Moore 16, Graham 15, Edmondson 14)

Adelaide 68 (Hodges 16, Langford 12, Marino 9)