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WNBL: Lightning strikes twice as Adelaide break their drought
The Adelaide Lightning capped off a fairytale weekend where they entered as 0-15, and left 2-15 on an exceptional road double header in Victoria.
Round 14 this season saw the first time in over 10 years the WNBL played out of the Geelong Arena as the Melbourne Boomers and the Lightning both travelled to the west of Melbourne. However, things did not go as plan for the Boomers as Adelaide were quick to spoil the party, banking a 71-67 victory to make it their first for the entire season.
A dominant performance from former Boomer Tayla Roberts that included 22 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals was the inspiration the Lightning needed to bring this one home. Roberts was crucial in late moments of the game to ensure this one was not going to slip through their hands.
Lightning’s Colleen Planeta was also brilliant, totalling 15 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists and 6 blocked shots!
Despite solid efforts from both Maddie Garrick and Alice Kunek with 14 points a piece, the Boomers were out-strengthed inside as Adelaide muscled in 12 more rebounds. Adelaide clung onto their early lead the entire game and were able to hold on right till the end.
Dandenong were hoping to make amends after finishing 2016 on a loss, but the Adelaide Lightning were not going to let that happen. To win against two proud Victorian teams on the road is a tough ask, but it’s incredible what your first win after 15 losses can do for a team’s spirit. Despite all odds, Lightning did strike twice and they overcame top-of-the-table Dandenong.
Again, a dominant performance from Tayla Roberts was the formula to success for the Lightning; scoring 21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals was Roberts, who proved too strong for Dandenong’s bigs.
New recruit and promising young gun Anneli Maley made her mark for Adelaide against the Rangers, totalling 16 points and 9 rebounds. Samantha Logic (13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals) and Colleen Planeta (11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 4 blocked shots) also provided plenty of causes to Dandenong’s woes.
A solid effort from Sara Blicavs with 19 points and Ally Malott with 18 points still wasn’t enough to counteract the Lightning’s early lead.
Tayla Roberts brilliant weekend that led to Adelaide’s first wins of the season awarded her this round’s Player of the Week. Check out her highlights below:
The Townsville Fire made a mess out of the Canberra Capitals, destroying the hapless Caps 93-60 to make it five wins straight as the reigning champions soar to make a finals appearance.
Suzy Batkovic was as dominant as ever with 19 points and 12 rebounds, accompanied by Micaela Cocks who provided a crucial 14 points from the outside. American import Amy Kame made the most of her minutes from the bench and provided a healthy 16 points and 5 rebounds.
Natasha Cloud continues to prove how damaging she can be as the Fire’s point guard, totalling 8 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists. She won’t be alone for long however, as Kelly Wilson had her first minutes since early November which the Fire would be extremely pleased about.
For Canberra, Mansfield top scored with 16 points, followed my Mikaela Ruef with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Fire displayed impeccable offence and out-muscled Canberra on the inside, beating them in the rebound count by 21.
The Capitals were able to turn things around on Sunday evening as they faced the Sydney Flames away from home. A 29-15 first quarter held the Capitals in good stead, but it was not an easy task with the dynamic Flames making their way right back into the game.
A dominant Marianna Tolo led the Capitals to a 76-73 victory on the back of her 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocked shots.
It was Canberra’s outside game and some exceptional shooting that the Flames couldn’t stop. Leading from the front was sharp shooter Kate Gaze, finishing on 18 points from the bench which included a perfect 6 from 6 from the three-point line.
Alex Wilson (16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) and Asia Taylor (12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals) were Sydney’s best, alongside Carly Boag who totalled a nice 15 points and 8 rebounds from the bench.
Perth Lynx sent shockwaves to the rest of the competition when they thumped second placed Bendigo Spirit 108-67. On the back of a huge 34 point effort from MVP front runner Sami Whitcomb, the Lynx never looked in doubt from the get go. Ruth Hamblin had one of her best games yet with a career high 21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 5 blocked shots.
Toni Edmondson played her 200th WNBL game and ranked up 5 points, 5 assists and 2 rebounds.
Perth shot at a nice 56%, and kept Bendigo’s shooting percentage to just 31%. A massive 31 points from turnovers.
Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (17 points) and Blake Dietrick (16 points) were solid.
Round 14 Previews
Adelaide Lightning v Sydney Flames
After an incredible Round 13, the Lightning will be riding a high and heading into this one with full confidence that they are capable to win. Sydney are coming off a bad loss and will be looking to make amens.
Tayla Roberts v Jennifer Hamson
Bendigo Spirit v Sydney Flames
After Bendigo received a thumping from Perth, it’s unlikely they will lose a match at home but Sydney have been the dark horse so far, and may surprise us.
Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe v Asia Taylor
Dandenong Rangers v Melbourne Boomers
Both teams lost to bottom side Adelaide last week and will be raring to fix their mistakes. Dandenong will be a tough side for the Boomers to overcome, they will be dominated on the inside.
Key Match-Ups: Steph Cumming v Maddie Garrick
Canberra Capitals v Townsville Fire
After being given a huge beating from the Fire last weekend, it will be tough to see Canberra lose by that much again. However, the Fire are playing in serious form.
Leilani Mitchell v Natasha Cloud