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WNBL: Melbourne win blockbuster, Sydney add another 2 under their belt
Round 5 of the WNBL was action-packed and once again showed that there is no one clear favourite for the title, and ended with a massive Melbourne Cup eve crowd of more than 3,000 in the local Melbourne derby.
Canberra opened the round by travelling to Sydney to take on the Flames. From the get go, Sydney had the game in control with a 22-9 first quarter lead. Canberra struggled to find some points to score and were massively out-rebounded inside 56-39. It was a standout performance from Asia Taylor (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Belinda Snell (16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals) who both combined to inspire the Flames win. Jordan Hooper was great for the Capitals, scoring 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Dandenong are building up their resume to include winning close games coming from behind as a specialty, as they took home a win from Adelaide by 2 points in overtime 83-81. It was a solid performance from both teams, with Adelaide leading for most of the game. The Rangers were able to grind out the win with some momentum lifting moments late in the game. Both Steph and Sara Blicavs were vital in the dying moments of overtime with some big steals. Sara Blicavs was the Rangers’ best as she dominated this game all over the court with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 steals.
Abby Bishop tried her best for the Lightning with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists and Nicole Seekamp also put in a huge effort with 18 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Steph Blicavs finished her night on 14 points, 4 assists and 2 steals and Tayla Roberts was also good for the Rangers with 16 points and 6 rebounds.
Perth Lynx gave their home crowd something to really cheer about with a huge win over ladder-leaders Townsville 87-68. Perth led from the start with a lot of intensity, and despite a shaky third quarter were able to hold strong on their lead.
Alice Kunek was on fire with 25 points, and Sami Whitcomb (18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) and Courtney Williams (16 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals) were also in fine form for the Lynx.
Suzy Batkovic and Cayla George were again the Fire’s best, as Batkovic finished on 24 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists while George finished on 11 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks.
The Capitals tried their best to rectify their loss earlier in the round as they faced Sydney again, this time at their home court. Canberra came out with intensity, especially on the defensive end however the Flames experience got them over the line in the last quarter and Sydney came out on top 81-72.
Asia Taylor helped lift the Flames momentum, especially in the last half as she finished on 29 points and 7 rebounds. Belinda Snell was reliable as usual, playing out the whole game to finish on 14 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals.
For the Capitals, Nat Hurst performed well with 13 points and 8 assists, and Keely Froling was impressive especially on the defensive end. Froling finished on 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
Bendigo have strung together an inspirational effort to claim a 71-66 point win against the Melbourne Boomers. The Spirit came out of the blocks firing, and an impressive first half held them in good stead for the remaining of the game. The Boomers looked like they might be able to come from behind in the third quarter, which saw them keep the Spirit to just 3 points for the entire quarter. However Kelsey Griffin (13 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 blocks), Rachel Banham (17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) and Gabe Richards (13 points, 4 rebounds) strung together a solid game to ensure this one went Bendigo’s way.
In some unfortunate news for the Spirit, their leader Kelsey Griffin is having to undergo hip surgery and is going to miss the remainder of the season. It's a massive loss for Bendigo and someone who cannot be replaced on and off the court.
Maddie Garrick put in some good work for the Boomers with 18 points, and Liz Cambage racked up some numbers with 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Townsville were quick to bounce back from their earlier loss in the round with a thumping win over Adelaide by 42 points. Townsville were quick to make their mark on the game, scoring 27 in the opening quarter and keeping the Lightning to just 9. There was a great spread of performers for the Fire who were all led by stalwart Suzy Batkovic who finished on 20 points and 7 rebounds. Kelly Wilson was damaging on the point with 10 assists and Cayla George was massive on the inside with 11 points.
The Fire were also shooting at an incredible 50% from the field compared to Adelaide’s 27% shooting percentage. It was a tough day at the office for the Lightning and it will probably be a game they’d rather forget. Abby Bishop tried hard with 11 points, but she was up alone against two towers who were in fine form for Townsville.
The WNBL Round 5 was finished off with one of the games of the season, with the Boomers hosting Dandenong on Melbourne Cup Eve. The blockbuster game rolled in 3,157 fans to watch what was an epic game. Dandenong got off to a great start and managed to control the tempo of the game. However a surging Liz Cambage wasn’t ready to roll over, and an inspired final quarter effort by the tall led the Boomers to a 3 point win. Cambage finished on 27 points and 7 rebounds. Rebecca Cole was also vital in the final quarter, scoring 12 points and 2 rebounds.
For the Rangers, Steph Blicavs was impressive with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, and Kayla Pederson (11 points, 9 rebounds) and Sara Blicavs (12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists) were also dominant.