WNBL Round 11 Review

Canberra's slim chance of a playoff berth are still intact after knocking off the Townsville Fire in an impressive 82-76 victory on the road against top-4 side Townsville. Natalie Hurst played out a tremendous game, scoring a whopping 33 points and bringing down 7 rebounds, while shooting at an astonishing 68% (13/19FG). Abby Bishop had another double-double for the Caps, with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Carley Mijovic and Carly Wilson both helped out contributing 10 points each. Suzy Batkovic stunned the crowd in attendance for the second week running, dominating in all aspects for 26 points and 17 rebounds. Kayla Standish scored 16 points and 7 rebounds for the losing team, while Rachael McCully had 9 assists.

After a tight first quarter, Natalie Hurst scored 5 points in 40 seconds to put the Caps up by 5 at the first break. Abby Bishop extended the Capital lead in the second, where she went on the team's second long individual scoring run, with her 8 points in 2 minutes drawing a 10 point lead, before a late 4 point surge to Suzy Batkovic made there a 4 point difference at the main break. After Batkovic went to work once again with a 3-point play, Nat Hurst gave Canberra the smallest of margins at the 3rd quarter break, after 12 points in the period. The last quarter would prove to be the Batkovic/Hurst show, where the two stars exchanged baskets before Natalie Hurst drew fire, scoring with 30 seconds left to secure an amazing road win for the visitors.

Melbourne pulled off a terrific defensive performance to beat the league's bottom side, West Coast. Bec Allen led Melbourne's scorers with 21 points and 3 blocks, while Chelsea Poppens (16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals) and Tess Madgen (14 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds) both had stellar games. Role player Hayley Munro played terrifically after earning a gig in the starting line-up, scoring 11, while bringing down 5 boards and 2 steals. Antonia Edmonson led the West Coast scoring again with 17, while Natalie Burton had 10 and 4 rebounds for the home side.

West Coast proved once again that they would be able to hang with talented sides in the early going of games, Antonia Edmonson and Melissa Marsh would scare the Boomers of an upset loss in the first quarter, up 15-12, until Tess Madgen and Nicole Romeo made good use of a 10-2 into the first break. Bec Allen and Chelsea Poppens combined well together down low, with the Boomers making good use of this partnership in the 2nd. Allen and Hayley Munro poured in the points before the break to give the away side a 16-point lead at the half. Melbourne's defensive pressure in the second half was out of this world, holding the Waves to 4 points in the 3rd, compared to the Boomers 24. Melbourne would ease towards their 9th win of the season in the third, winning by 31 points.

Dandenong moved past the century barrier in recording a 100-85 win over the Sydney Uni Flames. Lellani Mitchell found herself filling the stat-sheet once again, with 27 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals. Jenna O'Hea was agonizingly close off a triple-double, scoring 18 points, having 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Kayla Pederson (18 points), Alice Kunek (17 points) and Natalie Novosel (11 points) all scored in double-digits. New import LaSondra Barrett had a 18-point, 10 rebound double-double in her first appearance for the Flames. Katie-Rae Ebzery (17 points) and Alicia Poto (17 points) both played well for Sydney.

LaSondra Barrett made the quickest impact imaginable, where she immediately showed why the Flames signed her, dropping in a quick 8 points on a stunned Dandenong team, who found themselves down by 4 at the break. Alicia Poto scored 5 quick points to start the second, to put the Flames ahead by 9, before Lellani Mitchell took over. Ib defense and offense, Mitchell influenced the encounter, with stunning plays to put the Rangers behind by only 1 at the half. Mitchell wouldn't stop there. Nailing a pair of triples, to start the second half, she put her Rangers ahead by 11 in the blink of an eye. The flames would claw back to trail by 4 after Alicia Poto found herself determined to outdo fellow point guard Lellani Mitchell, nailing 3 triples to close the quarter. Sydney started slow in the 4th, and the Rangers capitalized with the remaining members of the starting 5 all scoring baskets in succession, before reaching the 100 mark shortly before the final buzzer sounded.

Melbourne completed the regular season sweep of the Adelaide Lightning, while going 2-0 in their two games this weekend. WNBA import Chelsea Poppens notched together an impressive 26 point, 10 rebound double-double, while Rebecca Cole stepped up her play from the bench with 17 points. Tess Madgen finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Jess Foley had another superb game for the Lightning, scoring 17. Angela Marino scored 11, while dishing out 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Laura Hodges had 10 points and 7 rebounds after returning from an ankle injury that kept her out one game. Melbourne's win pushed them back into third place, and two games ahead of Townsville due to their defeat.

Chelsea Poppens scored Melbourne's first six points of the game and 11 in the quarter, putting the Boomers up 20-13 after the first quarter. Adelaide wouldn't have any of it. Angela Marino and Laura Hodges led the Lightning back on a quick 7-0 to equal the Boomers at 20-20 early on in the 2nd. Adelaide would hold Melbourne to only 6 points in the second, with a nice 30-26 lead at the half. Melbourne would hit the lead after a 9-0 run coming out of the half, setting up a 44-40 lead going into the final term. Adelaide would never recover, and the tired legs of Melbourne would pull out a defiant victory.

Bendigo beat up on the Sydney Uni Flames, using a big 4th quarter to defeat them by a comfortable 23 points. Elyse Penaluna was back to her unbelievable best, leading the Spirit with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. Gabe Richards proved too strong once again on the inside, with 14 points and 5 rebounds and bench played Maddy Garrick had her best game for the season which saw her play extended minutes, scoring 12 points on 5/5 shooting. Sydney's disappointing day was led by Rohanee Cox who scored 10 and had 6 rebounds. Lauren King and Katie-Rae both scored 11 points. New import LeSondra Barrett scored a disappointing 6 points on 1/10 shooting.

Credit Geoff Tripp for photography.

Penaluna dominated from the outset, dominating on each end of the floor to push the Spirit towards a 5 point lead early on. Lauren King would attempt to keep her team in the game with some swift shooting, but Bendigo extended the lead to 10 going into the break. Maddy Garrick pulled something out of nowhere, hitting insane shots to give Bendigo a healthy 16 point lead in the second, before Alicia Poto found range, reducing the margin to 9 at the half. Sydney would start strong, but the experience of Bendigo was always going to get the job done. Going on a 12-4 run to end the quarter, they had an 11 point margin in the favor of them going into the last. Sydney showed their fatigue in the 4th quarter, where the Spirit scored 19 points to Sydney's 9 in the final term.

Logan made up for a lackluster previous week by beating the Canberra Capitals 88-77 in front of the 338 in attendance at the Logan Metro. The Thunder upset the favorites in Canberra, thanks largely to Kristin Veal ( 18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists 4/5 3pt), Sarah Graham (23 points, 5/9 3pt) and Hannah Zavecz (13 points, 12 rebounds) The Capitals on a below-par day, were still led by Abby Bishop, who played an astonishing game, with 27 points and 18 rebounds. Jess Bibby contributed with 27 points off the bench for Canberra.

Logan got the ball rolling quickly, opting for a 9-0 run to start the game to leave Canberra in shock as all Logan's starting 5 got their names on the score sheet before any Capitals could. Sarah Graham found her range from beyond the arc, and would extend the Thunder lead to 10 at end of the first. Abby Bishop and Jess Bibby urged their team to push back into the game and lower the deficit, and with them two leading the charge, the margin was at a slender 3 points at half-time. Holly Smith gave the Thunder a target inside, playing from the bench, Smith scored 14 points on the game. The deficit would remain at 3 after the third quarter. Hayley Moffat hit a two-point jumper to beat the shot clock and put the Thunder ahead by 5 points with 3 minutes to go, and the didn't look back.

Round 11 Results

Townsville Fire 76 (Batkovic 26, Standish 16, Cocks 13) defeated by Canberra Capitals 82 (Hurst 33, Bishop 20, Mijovic 10, Wilson 10)

Melbourne Boomers 87 (Allen 21, Poppens 16, Madgen 14) defeated West Coast Waves 56 (Edmondson 17, Burton 10)

Dandenong Rangers 100 (Mitchell 27, O'Hea 18, Pederson 18, Kunek 17, Novosel 11) defeated Sydney Uni Flames 85 (Barrett 18, Ebzery 17, Poto 17)

Adelaide Lightning 58 (Foley 17, Hodges 11, Marino 10) defeated by Melbourne Boomers 66 (Poppens 26, Cole 17, Madgen 12)

Bendigo Spirit 77 (Penaluna 25, Richards 14, Garrick 12) defeated Sydney Uni Flames 54 (Ebzery 11, King 11, Cox 10, Poto 10)

Logan Thunder 88 (Graham 23, Veal 18, Smith 14) defeated Canberra Capitals 77 (Bibby 27, Bishop 27, Hurst 11)

Which WNBL match up this week was your favourite game, and which player do you think played best?