WNBL: Dream run for the Flames as they take top spot
A dream weekend for the Sydney Uni Flames have situated them in top position, with the only team who has a guaranteed finals spot.
Image Credit: Sydney Uni Flames
The Flames initially had their sights set on Canberra, and delivered by taking home a nail biting 2 point victory, 77-75.
Belinda Snell was everywhere and more as she totalled a massive 30 points, alongside 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Dead sharp shooting in attack from Snell caused many issues for Canberra, as she went 12-18 from the field at 66%. Leilani Mitchell added her usual class with 16 points and 5 assists, while Asia Taylor was physical with 13 points and 7 rebounds.
Marianna Tolo and Lauren Mansfield both scored 16 points for the Capitals, with Mansfield’s 8 assists proving damaging from the point. Mikaela Ruef also did what she could for Canberra, giving 15 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists for the day.
However it wasn’t enough, as Sydney’s expertise in close games was proven yet again as they fought back from an early deficit to put this crucial win over Canberra in their back pocket.
But that wasn’t it for Sydney, as they later took down Townsville by 1 point. Cheryl Chambers has clearly instilled something in this team to deliver in close games.
The Flames were out for revenge on their overtime loss to the Fire earlier this season, and they capitalised.
Coming from 9 points behind in the fourth quarter, Leilani Mitchell top scored for the Flames with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals while teammate Belinda Snell also caused some headaches with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists.
Suzy Batkovic dominated with 21 points and 7 rebounds, alongside a solid game from Mia Murray (15 points) and Micaela Cocks (13 points), but they couldn’t make it over the line.
Snell’s impressive performance earned her this round’s Player of the Week, a true testament after fighting back from injury. Check out all her highlights below:
Sara Blicavs went above and beyond for Dandenong on Australia Day eve, leading them to a 12 point victory over Melbourne. Blicavs’ 25 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists capped off an impressive win for the Rangers who overcame an aggressive Boomers side.
As usual, Steph Cumming also impressed with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Alice Kunek led the way for Melbourne with some sharp shooting, totalling 17 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
A late run allowed Perth to an easy 20 point win over Adelaide, with Sami Whitcomb proving too capable yet again.
The sharp point guard for the Lynx brought in 23 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 steals.
Equaling her score was Lightning’s veteran Laura Hodges, who’s attack on the field gave Adelaide some really strong moments. However alongside Whitcomb, Antonia Edmondson (14 points) and Tenaya Phillips (13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists) provided the healthy attack that Perth needed to take the win.
Perth also took home a fantastic win over Dandenong, 87-77, capping off a great weekend.
Whitcomb again led the way with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists as she continues to lead the competition in scoring. Brianna Butler and Ruth Hamblin also had solid breakout games against a strong opposition, bringing in 12 points a piece.
For the Rangers, Natalie Novosel top scored with 20 points and Ally Malott provided support with 18 points. However several missed opportunities stood in Dandenong’s way of this one and it was Perth who showed off in front of their home crowd.
Bendigo ended their losing streak with a close win over the unlucky Boomers, who can’t seem to catch a break.
It was a scrappy match that ended up being won inside the paint, Bendigo’s obvious strength over Melbourne.
A forceful Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe took the game in her own hands, making a statement with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists. Her friends in Kerryn Harrington (13 points, 3 assists) and Gabe Richards (12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists) also made themselves known throughout the game.
Alice Kunek, Rebecca Cole and Olivia Thompson all finished on 15 points a piece.
Catch all the highlights from Round 16 below:
Round 17 Previews
Adelaide Lightning v Canberra Capitals
The Capitals should take this one home, especially after a difficult-to-swallow 2 point loss over the weekend - they should come out firing.
Laura Hodges v Marianna Tolo
Dandenong Rangers v Townsville Fire
Interested in this game - both suffered damaging losses on the weekend and will be desperate for a win. Dandenong have the upper hand at home but Townsville travel well.
Sara Blicavs v Mia Murray
Perth Lynx v Canberra Capitals
Will expect a tight game between these two who have both been in form. Perth have big advantage being at home.
Sami Whitcomb v Lauren Mansfield
Bendigo Spirit v Townsville Fire
Bendigo are stronger at home, and perhaps their latest win will unleash the beast that’s been hiding. But Townsville aren’t to be underestimated.
Gabe Richards v Suzy Batkovic
Melbourne Boomers v Sydney Flames
Sydney should make easy work of this, but the Boomers have been playing in solid form and should be able to give them a good scare.
Alice Kunek v Belinda Snell