WNBL Round 13 Review

Credit Geoff Tripp for photography.

Bendigo has done it again. Somewhere, somehow, the league leaders of the competition managed to push out a stellar 3-point win in Canberra. After leaving it till late, with a 24-12 last quarter effort, Kristi Harrower was outstanding distributing the ball with a stellar 14 assist performance. Kelly Wilson proved to be an underrated contributor with a nifty 18 point, 5 rebound, 4 assist stat-line. Gabe Richards and Kelsey Griffin both scored 18 points with 6 and 5 rebounds respectively. Abby Bishop continues to push for an All-Star spot at the 5 with another big 19 point, 10 rebound double-double. Meanwhile, Nicole Hunt easily exceeded her season average of two points per game after she scored 24 points, also hitting 6 three's at a clip of 60%. Meanwhile, Nat Hurst was held scoreless, while Jess Bibby only scored 7 from the bench.

Alex Bunton started strong for the Capitals with two quick baskets, while Nicole Hunt warmed up from the perimeter to give the Capitals an early first quarter lead. Gabe Richards picked up crucial offensive rebounds so her side was only down by 3 at quarter-time. Bunton and Hunt once again extended the lead for Canberra, before it was pushed back to 3 at the half. Canberra came out strong after the break with Abby Bishop going to work on offense and Nicole Hunt continuing to be a presence from deep, earning a 9 point lead into the last. Thereafter, Kelly Wilson single-handedly evened the scores at 71 after hitting two big three's and making key defensive stops. Down by 3, Kristi Harrower executed the offense perfectly. She started off by scoring a much needed basket, then sending the ball to Richards who scored, and finally setting up Kelsey Griffin for a game-winning three-point play.

Logan defeated the West Coast Waves by a measly 4 points, all thanks to a 10-point fourth quarter comeback initiated by Toni Edmonson. Logan only played 7 players for the game and were lucky not to be beaten by a determined West Coast side. Logan were lead by Tegan Cunningham who had 15 points and 7 rebounds. Holly Smith scored 11 points from the bench on 5/6 shooting. The Thunder were pressured into turnovers all throughout the game; Emma Langford alone had 7, while the whole team had 22. Antonia Edmonson was utterly amazing once again for the Waves scoring 20 points, alongside 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Putting up such an impressive stat-line almost gave her team the win, but Logan managed to stay in it. Also, Gabi Clayton had another nice scoring burst from the bench with 12 points.

The Thunder started like we all expected them to, finding a 9-4 lead early on in the game. However, West Coast narrowed the lead back to one before the Thunder regrouped and extended their lead to 13 at quarter-time. Both teams would go basket for basket in the second until Kristin Veal hit a big three, while Sarah Graham added with a long-range two for a 16 point half-time lead. West Coast came back at the start of the third after Shani Amos and Mellisa Marsh made their shots, looking to push their way back into the game. Logan were up by 14 going into the final term, but Gabi Clayton gave the Waves the presence they missed after being inserted early in the fourth. She hit another crucial three to bring the lead down to 9. Toni Edmonson then started the Waves run, narrowing the lead down to 4 with consecutive baskets. The gap became a 2-point differential after a Nat Burton basket, but Sarah Graham nailed the daggers from the free-throw line, ending the game with a meagre 4-point lead.

Adelaide produced their best performance of the year, easily, as they knocked off the title-contending Dandenong Rangers by 20 points. Jenni Screen had her best game of the year, knocking down 24 points on an amazing 86% from three. Chey Shegog scored 15 points and had 15 rebounds from the bench, while Angela Marino and Jess Foley both scored 13 points each. Lellani Mitchell was the best performer for the Rangers with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Jenna O'Hea had 12 points and 7 rebounds, while Alice Kunek scored 11 points.

Jenni Screen scored 8 in the first quarter, including two big trey's to give Adelaide an unprecedented 5 point lead. Jenna O'Hea and Lellani Mitchell weren't going to let Screen have any of it. The Rangers were down by 2 at quarter-time but the Lightning dominated in the second period. They won the 27-10 in that period where Jenni Screen, Jess Foley, Laura Hodges and Angela Marino all had a go at the more experienced Ranger side. Dandenong reduced the lead to 13 at a stage in the third, but the quarter was dominated by Laura Hodges and Chay Shegog inside, giving the Lightning a 16 point lead with 10 minutes to go. Jess Foley and Jenni Screen scored more three's and put Dandenong out of the game for a 20 point win.

Canberra got their win for the weekend in an away game, defeating Sydney Uni by 7. Abby Bishop continues to dominate opposing teams with another big performance, chalking up 27 points and 12 rebounds in the game. Jess Bibby was back to her old, fantastic scoring form with 17, while Alex Bunton, Nicole Hunt and Carley Mijovic all scored 10 points. Rohanee Cox was the best performer for the Flames with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Alicia Poto scored 18 points as well, while Lauren King and Katie-Rae Ebzery both scored 13 and 12 points respectively.

Abby Bishop scored the first 5 points of the game and joined forces with Carley Mijovic to score a combined 17 points in the term, taking a 9 point lead into the 2nd. The lead then reached 12 for the Capitals, thanks to contributions by Alex Bunton and Carly Wilson. Rohanee Cox went on to score 9 straight points and put her side back into the game, with Sydney Uni down 7 at the half. Abby Bishop and Rohanee Cox each went basket for basket in the third term until Jess Bibby shot a big three to give her side a 4 point lead with a quarter to go. Alex Bunton scored 6 points in the last quarter to extend Canberra's lead to 5, while Bibby slotted the final points for the Capitals to put the game out of reach for the Flames.

Bendigo showed the entire WNBL community that they are the best defensive team in the league, limiting Melbourne to a paltry 49 points on Saturday night. The Spirit's point share was spread across the entire team; 10 of 12 players who made their way onto the court each contributed to the scoreboard. Gabe Richards led Bendigo's pack of scorers with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Elyse Penaluna scored 10 points and 6 rebounds whilst playing limited minutes, and Sara Blicavs scored 12 points from the bench. No player on the Boomers' squad scored in double-digits in a disappointing display which saw them shoot at a terrible 26% from the field. Amelia Todhunter and Tess Madgen both top-scored for the Boomers with 9 points each on a day where nothing else went right.

Melbourne's start wasn't as bad as the end of the game where the score was 11-10 at one point in the first quarter. Gabe Richards and Sara Blicavs then really brought it to the Boomers' lackluster defense, extending their lead to 10 at quarter-time. The Boomers were held scoreless for almost 8 minutes while Bendigo pushed their lead up to 23. The third quarter was the Boomers' only redeeming period which saw them going 23-23 against the sturdy Bendigo defense in the quarter, bringing the difference back to 16, courtesy of Chelsea Poppens and Amelia Todhunter. Bendigo cruised towards victory after a 18-7 final term, winning their 14th straight game.

Round 13 Results

Canberra Capitals 81 (Hunt 24, Bishop 19, Bunton 16) defeated by Bendigo Spirit 84 (Griffin 18, Richards 18, Wilson 18)

West Coast Waves 65 (Edmondson 20, Clayton 12, Marsh 8) defeated by Logan Thunder 69 (Cunningham 15, Langford 15, Smith 11)

Adelaide Lightning 84 (Screen 24, Shegog 15, Foley 13, Marino 13) defeated Dandenong Rangers 64 (Mitchell 19, O'Hea 12, Kunek 11)

Sydney Uni Flames 77 (Cox 18, Poto 18, King 13) defeated by Canberra Capitals 84 (Bishop 27, Bibby 17, Bunton 10, Hunt 10, Mijovic 10)

Bendigo Spirit 83 (Richards 13, Blicavs 12, Griffin 11) defeated Melbourne Boomers 49 (Madgen 9, Todhunter 9, Allen 7)

Stay tuned for the preview of Round 14 of the WNBL here at The Pick and Roll!