WNBL: Asia Taylor dominates for the Flames
With another big weekend of WNBL done and dusted, we take a look at all the action from Round 6 and what’s coming up in Round 7.
The Sydney Uni Flames opened up round seven with a clash against the a struggling Melbourne Boomers. Sydney Uni burst away in the opening term to open up a 10-point lead. However, Guy Molloy’s team weren’t giving up, finding the ability to fight back to bring the lead back to within a basket to end the first half. The spirited Boomers weren’t able to finish the game off in that same fashion though, as the Flames stars proved too good led by import forward Asia Taylor.
The entire starting five for Sydney were able to generate double figures in scoring, with Taylor dominating in an epic performance of 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Taylor earned herself this round’s Player of the Week for her spirited performance that put the Boomers away.
The WNBA import has been a weapon for Sydney so far this season; check out her highlights from Round 6.
The Perth Lynx were able to edge a game clear on top of the table after beating Adelaide by 12 points. It wasn’t as comfortable a victory as they would of hoped, with big credit to the Lightning for putting up a brilliant effort without star Laura Hodges.
The Lightning looked well and truly in this one, but a poor second quarter put them too far out of contention as Sami Whitcomb exploded with 23 points, four rebounds and three assists. It was pleasing to see Tessa Lavey get back into rhythm as well after some time with injury, finishing with 14 points for the night.
Credit must be given to the Lightning however for an outstanding performance. Led by Colleen Planeta who came out of the woodwork with 24 points, nine rebounds and two assists, it’s pleasing signs for the Lightning who have been unable to secure a win yet; hopefully this performance is the sign of something on the horizon.
Dandenong turned things right around from last week, this time getting a big win over the University of Canberra Capitals in Traralgon. The Rangers were able to get off to a good start, leading at half time by 21 points and putting the sword into the Capitals all night. Stephanie Cumming was again in great form, this time making 18 points, five rebounds and five assists, supported by her teammates Aimee Clydesdale and Jacinta Kennedy who both finished on 12 points.
The Rangers clearly changed up their defense on Lauren Mansfield after she tore them apart last week, limiting her effectiveness but she was still able to pick up 10 points, six rebounds and four assists. But it was Canberra’s poor shooting overall and solid defense by the Rangers that had this game all wrapped up.
Townsville are now to the WNBL what Hawthorn is to the AFL - proven experts at finishing off and closing tight games. The Fire overcame Bendigo by two points, then the next day it was Melbourne, again by just two points.
As expected, it was not going to be easy for Townsville to beat the almighty Bendigo on their home court. But somehow, yet again, they managed to bring home the unthinkable by two points. Stalwart Suzy Batkovic was the one who stepped up once more, able to get to the line to seal the game in the final moments.
Batkovic was Townsville’s best, with 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists as Bendigo’s bigs weren’t able to keep up with her. Natasha Cloud was also solid in stepping up while point guard Kelly Wilson sat out due to injury, notching up 12 points, two assists and three steals. Bendigo’s best was no surprise, with Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe with 20 points and 10 rebounds, alongside Kelsey Griffin with 15 points and seven rebounds.
As soon as the Melbourne and Townsville match was underway, Alice Kunek meant business. The Boomers’ star forward was hitting them from everywhere as Melbourne blitzed Townsville in the opening term. Point Guard Brittany Smart was running rings around the Fire, finishing up with 19 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Smart also had the opportunity to level the game in the dying moments and send it to overtime, but was just unlucky with the shot.
However, as usual it was Suzy Batkovic to save the day for Townsville. She bustled her way through the key to grab the rebound and inch the Fire in front by two points with 34 seconds to go, and their outstanding defence meant the Boomers were unable to get the right shot up in time. Batkovic’s fellow bigs Kayla Standish (16 points) and Darcee Garbin (15 points, 7 rebounds) were both excellent, providing energy and run when the Fire needed it most.
Check out all the highlights from Round 6.
Round 7 Previews
Perth Lynx vs Bendigo Spirit
It’s not wise to go against the Lynx at home, nor Bendigo after a brutal 2 point loss. This match could be one for the ages, as our two top teams finally meet on Friday night in a tough one.
Sami Whitcomb vs Kerryn Harrington
Adelaide Lightning vs Bendigo Spirit
A tough double header on the road for Bendigo will send them to Perth and then Adelaide for this match. After the Lightning’s spirited performance in Round 6, they could be able to do the unthinkable in this one if Bendigo have a tough game against Perth. That said, Bendigo are champions and it’s doubtful they will let this one slip.
Colleen Planeta vs Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe
Canberra Capitals vs Townsville Fire
Townsville are on a roll, securing some tough wins against solid opposition and will be aiming to do no different when they head to Canberra to take on the Capitals. Canberra are coming off a bad loss to Dandenong, so expect them to be all guns blazing in this one.
Marianna Tolo vs Suzy Batkovic
Dandenong Rangers vs Melbourne Boomers
After the last match these two faced, expect a high intense, exciting match between our cross-town rivals again. Melbourne are edging closer and closer to that victory, and Dandenong were able to hit some form in Round 6.
Steph Cumming vs Alice Kunek
Sydney Uni Flames vs Townsville Fire
It’s possible we could see another overtime match again as both of these teams continue to deliver strong performances across the board. Their rosters are filled with some of our league’s best, meaning the pattern of under 2-point games between them is likely to continue if they both deliver their best.
Asia Taylor vs Mia Murray