WNBL 2014/15 Round 16 Review
|Steve Chalmers||Feb 9, 2015|
In what was a terrific week of WNBL basketball, the race to the final four is well and truly coming down to the wire. As results from this weeks games set up a massive final round, we reflect back on how this all came to fruition with the near perfect weekend from the Melbourne Boomers, to the statement game the Townsville Fire showed to the competition.
The Round 16 review, in full, up next:
Lightning upset Flames for three on the trot
A surprising Lightning squad had come out to play for pride yet again on Friday night, defeating the Sydney Uni Flames 72-60 and putting a real dent in their playoff hopes in the process.
It may have been the Flames who jumped out of the blocks and looked the goods early on, however Adelaide's sudden resurgence had the home side in control even before the half.
In what was the Lightning's final home game of the season, which, in turn, meant it was Jenni Screen (6 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists) and Jess Foley's (9 points, 2 steals) final time out on the court in Adelaide, the team had one goal at hand and that was to send their two teammates out on a high.
That they did, punishing a sloppy Flames team in the final quarter, keeping them to just seven points to run out 12 point winners.
Laura Hodges was again excellent on the offensive end, leading the team in scoring with 20 points to go with her eight rebounds. Alex Bunton was the spark that they need off the bench, scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds in her 15 minute effort.
In a disappointing night for the Flames, Kate Oliver topped the team with 19 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Leilani Mitchell just couldn't get anything going finishing 0-7 from the field for two points and three assists.
Adelaide 72 (Hodges 20, Bunton 14, Marino 10)
Sydney Uni 60 (Oliver 19, Ebzery 11, Moffatt 7)
Fire torch Capitals in statement game
In the blowout game of the week, it was yet again the Townsville Fire who were victorious in a 94-67 win over the University of Canberra Capitals.
With Lauren Jackson shut down for the remainder of the season, the Capitals weren't able to find anything to lean on in terms of leadership to get themselves back into the game, nor post a respectable scoreline.
After again encountering a close opening term, which ended with the visitors taking the most slender of advantages into the first break, the Caps weren't able to replicate anything near that for the remainder of the game.
Canberra were unable to record more than 15 points in the final three quarters, while allowing their opponents to do what they pleased on the other end; topping 20 points in each stanza.
Cayla Francis was far too good for any opponent the Caps threw at her, recording 28 points, 15 rebounds to go along with a pair of steals and a pair of blocks. Suzy Batkovic was the next best with 20 points and seven rebounds.
As Abby Bishop (23 points, 7 rebounds) tried her heart out and Steph Talbot (17 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) did as much as she could to lend a hand, the Capitals didn't have enough size to contain the Fire which ended in defeat.
Townsville 94 (Francis 28, Batkovic 20, Cumming 16)
UC Capitals 67 (Bishop 23, Talbot 17, Veal 10)
Heroic Boomers defeat rivals Dandenong
The Melbourne Boomers have kept their season alive, downing their in-form rivals Dandenong Rangers 88-76 at the State Basketball Centre on Saturday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Michelle Couling Photography
As the Boomers got the jump on their opponents in a highly entertaining first quarter, the home side never looked back as the young and determined side had only one goal on their minds.
Despite Penny Taylor's (29 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals) hot shooting in the opening half, Melbourne were able to stick it out and rely on her teammates to make the wrong play. This successful plan then forced Taylor into some unconvincing shots whilst the rest of the team attempted to make up a double digit deficit in a matter of minutes down the stretch.
This rushed game plan from the Rangers was somewhat unfamiliar territory for the visitors, which allowed the Boomers to contain their lead right up until the end.
Rebecca Allen topped her magnificent week with a game to back up her new contract signing in the WNBA, with 27 points, six rebounds and four steals, the current Opal was the best player on the court, despite having great help from her teammates.
Tess Madgen (17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) and Laurie Koehn (15 points, 3-4 3PT) kept the scoreboard ticking over in a offensive display.
For the Rangers, Alice Kunek (21 points) and Cappie Pondexter (17 points, 8 rebounds, 8 turnovers, 4 steals) attempted to keep the ball rolling, however couldn't get enough from the rest of their teammates who were quite disappointing on the day.
Melbourne 88 (Allen 27, Madgen 17, Koehn 15)
Dandenong 76 (Taylor 26, Kunek 21, Pondexter 17)
Flames back on track with win in the west
The Sydney Uni Flames have come back out of redeemed themselves after the Friday night demise and scored a 93-85 victory over the bottom placed West Coast Waves.
To keep their season alive, the Flames were in desperate need to claim a win and while it may not have been pretty, they got the job done and that's all the counts when it's all said and done.
Katie-Rae Ebzery led all scorers with 22 points, although Pairs Johnson (20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks) wasn't too far behind.
After a poor opening game, Leilani Mitchell rectified that with immediate impact which ended her night with 14 points, six rebounds and eight assists.
The majority of West Coast's action came from off the bench, as Louella Tomlinson (16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Deanna Smith (15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) kept the home side in the game during the early stages, along with keeping the scoreline respectable at the conclusion.
West Coast 85 (Tomlinson 16, Smith 15, Graham 10)
Sydney Uni 93 (Ebzery 22, Johnson 20, Samuels 14)
Melbourne heartbroken as Spirit's OT fightback too much
In one of the most incredible finishes to a WNBL game all season, the Bendigo Spirit have prevailed over the Melbourne Boomers in a game you probably would have to see to believe.
Despite the Spirit controlling the match for the majority of the first three quarters, a burst out of no where by sharp-shooting Laurie Koehn (20 points) had the Boomers turn a seven point deficit into a double digit lead within the opening minutes of the final quarter.
With the Boomers leading by five points with just seconds remaining, Sara Blicavs (10 points, 5 rebounds) was fouled on a three point shot. Blicavs then proceeded to make the first two freebies and deliberately miss the third, allowing the Spirit an opportunity at an offensive rebound.
That rebound came and was subsequently tipped out to none other than Belinda Snell (22 points) sitting at the three point line to score a game tying three point bomb on the buzzer to have the game locked at 73.
A stunned Boomers outfit couldn't reapply their pressure in the extra period, allowing Kelsey Griffin (20 points, 15 rebounds) to score the first six points of the overtime, a deficit Melbourne couldn't recoup.
The 89-84 defeat now has three teams tied all at 10 wins and 11 losses, as Melbourne, along with the University of Canberra and Sydney Uni all battle for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Bendigo 89 (Snell 22, Griffin 20, Richards 14)
Melbourne 84 (Madgen 22, Koehn 20, Thompson 8)
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