WNBL Round 14 Review

Credit Geoff Tripp for photography.

Townsville had their stars align with their Big 3 (Cumming, Cocks, Batkovic) coming together to score 67 points combined. The Fire pulled off a terrific 81-68 win over Sydney in front of 1,514 fans on home court. Steph Cumming shot at 60% and finished the game with 27 points and 4 rebounds. Suzy Batkovic pulled in 15 defensive rebounds (19 total) and 20 points, while Micaela Cocks also had 20 points and 7 rebounds. Katie-Rae Ebzery was the best for the Flames scoring 15 points with 5 rebounds and assists. Kathleen Scheer scored an efficient 13 points at the rim.

Townsville pulled away quickly (12-7) with 4 different players scoring early on in the game. Rosie Fadljevic scored a big buzzer-beater to end the period and gave the Flames a 6-point lead at the first break. Micaela Cocks and Steph Cumming scored 9 quick points for the Fire, extending the lead to 12 halfway through the second. Sydney narrowed the lead to 6, thanks to Ebzery finishing an and-1 play as well as Casey Samuels draining a big three. Micaela Cocks drilled another Townsville buzzer-beater to extend the lead to 11 at the half. Sydney continued to come at the Fire, narrowing the score on multiple occasions, but the Townsville star trio continued to extinguish their hopes by creating a 15-point lead with a quarter to spare. The lead reached 18 at one stage in the last quarter and with the win a foregone conclusion, the Fire rode out a 13-point win.

Dandenong started early and won convincingly by 32 points against the Logan Thunder. . Jenna O'Hea scored 25 points, incredibly only missing one shot on 10/11 shooting alongside 6 rebounds. Lellani Mitchell scored 18 points and had 4 assists. Natalie Novosel scored 14 points and picked up 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists. Brigitte Ardossi scored 11 points and secured 7 rebounds. Sarah Graham top-scored for the Thunder with 19 points and 5 rebounds. Tegan Cunningham made 12 points and secured 11 rebounds.

Lellani Mitchell and Natalie Novosel scored 13 straight points mid way through the first quarter, then Jenna O'Hea made the next 5, and by then, the blowout had already begun. The lead found itself at 30 in the second quarter, but if not for Sarah Graham, the lead could have become larger due to a terrific 13-3 Thunder run to end the half. Still up by 20 points with a half to play, the Rangers rested their starters considering that they had a game against Townsville the following night. Jenna O'Hea hit a big buzzer-beater to end the third-quarter and Dandenong saw out the opening-half efforts to earn a big 35-point win.

Melbourne defeated the West Coast Waves by 15 points, a sign that the Waves may finally be on the up with strong recent performances. Melbourne captain Tess Madgen led the way by scoring 19 points, having 8 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. Chelsea Poppens scored 17 points and brought down 9 rebounds. Young star Rebecca Allen played out a 12-point, 10 rebound double-double. Antonia Edmonson led the way for the Waves again with 14 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Gabi Clayton provided a scoring spark off the bench once more with 10 points, assuming the role of the consistent bench scorer the Waves desperately need.

Melbourne started strong, like we all thought they would, opening with a 14-2 lead before seeing the lead dwindle to 9 at quarter-time. Bec Cole scored 7 points off the bench in the second-quarter, opening up a 10-point lead for the Boomers at half-time. The Boomers barely won the third quarter (12-11) in a quarter largely dominated by big defensive efforts. The 9-4 run at the start of the fourth from the Waves struck fear at the heart of Melbourne fans with dangerous signs of a West Coast comeback presented in the period. However, Melbourne finished strong, credit to Tess Madgen and Chelsea Poppens, going 11-2 to end the game.

Adelaide pulled away convincingly against Canberra in a game that should have been closer than an 11-point margin, signalling their intent to reach the heralded top-4 bracket. Laura Hodges was back to her terrific scoring best with 23 points on 77% shooting before being fouled out early in the 4th quarter. Angela Marino scored 16 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Chey Shegog scored 13 points and consumed 7 rebounds, matching up well with the Capitals tall-timber. Alex Bunton had another amazing 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. Abby Bishop and Jess Bibby both scored 17 points for the Capitals.

The first quarter was a battle between each teams best player. Laura Hodges and Abby Bishop went basket for basket early on, combining for 17 of the games 40 first-quarter points. Adelaide extended their lead to 11 when Abby Bishop was on the bench due to foul trouble. Laura Hodges took advantage by scoring 19 points at half-time before Alex Bunton and Jess Bibby narrowed the lead to 4. Carley Mijovic played a crucial role in the third quarter, scoring 5 points alongside some terrific D which lowered Adelaide's lead to 1 with 10 minutes to spare. Either team could have been on top in the 4th quarter with each team exchanging baskets till the last 4 minutes of the game. Adelaide went ahead by 4 thanks to an Angela Marino bucket, then Chey Shegog ended Canberra's hope of victory by extending the lead to what would be a penultimate 11 points.

Dandenong knocked off the Townsville Fire by 15 points, making it two for two on the Sunshine Swing. Alice Kunek was the best player for the Rangers, scoring 15 and rebounding 7. Kayla Pederson and Brigitte Ardossi both scored 14, and Novosel, Mitchell and O'Hea all scored 12. Kayla Standish played a terrific game for the Fire, finishing with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Suzy Batkovic double-doubled again with 13 points and 15 rebounds.

The Rangers won the first quarter in a high-scoring term, winning it 25-21. Townsville took it back to their opponents in the second quarter, opening the quarter with a 6-0 run. Dandenong struck back and thanks to a 10-point Brigitte Ardossi quarter, the Rangers were back up again by 6 at the half before Mia Newley hit an incredible beyond half-court shot to narrow the lead to 3. Dandenong quickly extended their lead to 10 early in the third, running that lead towards an 11-point buffer with 1 quarter to go. Dandenong scored 21 points in the final quarter to run out as 15-point victors.

Bendigo defeated a spirited West Coast team by 28-points. On a night where the Bendigo starters were rested, Elyse Penaluna still top-scored with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Kelsey Griffin scored 10 points, had 6 rebounds and stole the ball 4 times, while Gabi Richards picked up 6 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in limited minutes. Melissa Marsh and Lisa Wallbutton both scored 10 points. From the bench, Darcee Garbin and Gabi Clayton combined to scored 13 points. Toni Edmonson scored 8 points, had 6 rebounds and 3 assists, but surprisingly turned the ball over 6 times.

Lisa Wallbutton unexpectedly scored the first two buckets for the Waves, giving them their biggest lead of the game at 4. Elyse Penaluna equaled the game soon after, before the Spirit were on top of the Waves by 1. An 11-0 run imposed upon by the Richards-Penaluna-Griffin trio allowed the game to break open, leading by 18 at half-time. The margin fell to 14 thanks to the Waves Kiwi duo in Wallbutton and Edmonson with some quick scoring. But against the Spirit and their experience, it wasn't enough. With the Spirit going back to basics by going inside and pulling away with the lead at 24 with a quarter to spare, West Coast couldn't stage a comeback. The benches emptied in the final term, and Bendigo earned their 16th straight victory in convincing fashion.

Round 14 Results

Townsville Fire 81 (Cumming 27, Batkovic 20, Cocks 20) defeated Sydney Uni Flames 68 (Ebzery 15, Scheer 13)

Logan Thunder 62 (Graham 19, Cunningham 12) defeated by Dandenong Rangers 95 (O’Hea 25, Mitchell 18, Novosel 14)

Melbourne Boomers 65 (Madgen 19, Poppens, 17, Allen 12) defeated West Coast Waves 50 (Edmondson 14, Clayton 10)

Townsville Fire 70 (Standish 23, Batkovic 15, Cumming 10) defeated by Dandenong Rangers 85 (Kunek 15 Ardossi 14, Pedersen 14, O'Hea 12, Mitchell 12, Novosel 12)

Canberra Capitals 62 (Bibby 17, Bishop 17, Bunton 10) defeated by Adelaide Lightning 73 (Hodges 23, Marino 16, Shegog 13)

Bendigo Spirit 77 (Penaluna 14, Griffin 10) defeated West Coast Waves (Marsh 10, Wallburton 10)

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