WNBL: Dandenong on top after brilliant weekend

The Dandenong Rangers climbed to the top of the WNBL ladder following a brilliant weekend in which they accounted for both the Sydney Uni Flames and Bendigo Spirit.

The Melbourne Boomers got off to a flying start against the Capitals, blitzing the home team by 11 points in the first quarter. However the Boomers hopes of an upset were quickly swept away, as the Capitals gained back 9 points in the 2nd, and then Melbourne’s hopes were crushed as they could only find 8 points in the 3rd to Canberra’s 27.

The Capitals blew the game out to eventually win 83-59. The unity of Mikaela Ruef, Lauren Mansfield and Marianna Tolo seems to be working a treat for the Capitals as they combined for a huge 68 points. Ruef dominated with a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Mansfield had 22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Too finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds.

Brittany Smart provided some highlights for the Boomers, finishing up with 21 points and 4 rebounds. Rebecca Cole and Alice Kunek were also solid, but the Boomers absence inside the paint was evident against the Capitals dominant talls.

Sami Whitcomb has yet again led the Lynx to a brilliant home victory over the Townsville Fire. The explosive guard brought in 25 points (including 7 3-pointers), 3 rebounds and 4 assists to bring Perth to an 80-73 win. Townsville veteran Suzy Batkovic was instrumental in making a case of this game, bringing in 25 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists.

The game was kept close throughout, but Perth managed to keep their noses just in front throughout and held on till the end. Carley Mijovic was solid from the field with 20 points, while Townsville’s Kayla Standish (16 points, 8 rebounds) and Mia Murray (12 points, 7 assists) tried their best for the losing side.

It wasn’t all downhill for Townsvile over the weekend, as they turned it around against Adelaide to take home a comfortable victory 72-54. Mia Murray top scored with 26 points, while Batkovic was again phenomenal with 18 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Laura Hodges was again the stalwart for the struggling Lightning with 15 points and 7 rebounds.

Batkovic’s brilliant weekend earned her Round 9’s Player of the Week. Check out all her highlights below:


A brilliant second half by the Dandenong Rangers led to an emphatic victory over the emerging Sydney Flames, with tall forwards Sara Blicavs and Ally Malott leading the way to a 91-83 victory. Mallot finished on 22 points, while Blicavs had 19 points and 8 rebounds. Rangers guard Amelia Todhunter blindingly played out of her height with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The Rangers were sharp, committing just 8 turnovers for the night with a healthy even spread of contributors making an impact.

For the Flames, Australian veteran Belinda Snell was exceptional and sharp as she has been for so long. Snell cleaned up with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, followed by young forward Alex Wilson on 20 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

The Boomers late surge wasn’t enough to overcome Sydney down in Melbourne, as the Flames secured an 80-71 win for their second match of the round. It was little Leilani Mitchell who was huge, bringing in 25 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists, followed by Jennifer Hamson with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Alice Kunek was on fire for the Boomers with 21 points, but her side got beaten again on the inside. The Boomers’ new Canadian recruit Kalisha Keane showed promising signs in her debut game with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.

The highly anticipated match between Dandenong and Bendigo definitely delivered, as the Rangers headed north to sort out who finishes on top of the ladder after Round 9.

It kicked off as close as expected, with just 6 points in it at half time. The Rangers then came out firing after the main break, scoring 23 and keeping the Spirit to just 11. Bendigo fought back in the last, but weren’t able to close in on the lead that Dandenong secured, with the Rangers winning 77-69.

With no surprises, Nayo Raincock Ekunwe (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Kelsey Griffin (19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) dominated for the Spirit, while center Gabe Richards also largely contributed from the inside, finishing on 19 points.

For the Rangers, Steph Cumming was dangerously good, racking up 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Sara Blicavs (20 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) was also a major factor for the Rangers who again were poised and sharp as a unit.

The win over Bendigo capped off an exceptional weekend for the Rangers who now sit in a healthy position at the top of the table of the WNBL ladder.

Catch all the highlights from Round 9 here:


Round 10 previews

Canberra Capitals vs Sydney Uni Flames

Should be an interesting match up for these two, both have stars at the guard and centre spot but thinking Sydney’s depth will take them the whole way in this one.

Key Match-Ups:

Lauren Mansfield vs Leilani Mitchell

Adelaide Lightning vs Dandenong Rangers

Can’t predict anything other than the predictable as the number 1 position takes on last position, and while Adelaide have been showing promising signs in tough losses, the Rangers are in unbelievably good form and won’t lose this game.

Key Match-Ups:

Laura Hodges vs Jacinta Kennedy

Sydney Uni Flames vs Bendigo Spirit

Wondering how both teams will bounce back from their losses against the Rangers in Round 9, but looking forward to these two dominant sides battle it out.

Key Match-Ups:

Belinda Snell vs Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe

Townsville Fire vs Melbourne Boomers

The Boomers proved they could beat the Fire back in Round 6, but fell short by just 2 points. If they can bring that same attack they brought in that game, giving them a chance to knock off the Fire. Won’t be easy though with Suzy Batkovic in absolutely firing form.

Key Match-Ups:

Natasha Cloud vs Brittany Smart

Perth Lynx vs Dandenong Rangers

These two haven’t met since Round 2 at the Rangers home court, where Dandenong won by 20 points. Perth are very strong at home and Dandenong are in great form.

Key Match-Ups:

Sara Blicavs vs Carley Mijovic