WNBL Round 15 Review

Credit Geoff Tripp for photography.

With only three more weeks to go, here's what happened in Round 15 of the 2013-14 WNBL season:

Sydney sent the West Coast Waves up in flames, Friday night with a strong second half performance to beat their opponents 75-43. Katie-Rae Ebzery was impressive with 15 points and 6 assists. Alicia Poto scored 15 points and had 3 rebounds, while Lauren King chipped in with 13. Antonia Edmonson top-scored for the Waves with 14 points on 35% shooting and contributed with 6 rebounds. Melissa Marsh scored 10 points and Darcee Garbin scored 4 points and 5 rebounds from the bench.

Sydney were quick to give the young opponents a beating, going 12-2 to start the game. However, West Coast pulled back in an instant, scoring the next 10 of 12 points to bring the difference to 2. With the Flames leading by 9 at quarter time, Melissa Marsh displayed her experience by scoring 8 out of her 10 points in the second quarter to make it a 5-point game at half-time. Sydney proved desperate to show up the bottom-place opponents and did so with a terrific defensive quarter, holding West Coast to only 9 points, taking a 14 point lead with 1 quarter to go. Sydney dominated the last quarter, winning 20-2, while West Coast did not score a single field goal.

Melbourne, led by explosive guard Nicole Romeo from the bench, defeated the Logan Thunder by 11 in a fast-paced encounter. Romeo finished with 21 points, on 8/12 shooting from the field, including 3/4 from three-point territory. Chelsea Poppens was terrific in her battle with Emma Langford, scoring 20 points and hoarding in 11 rebounds. Bec Allen played a crucial role with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Emma Langford led the way for the Thunder with a whopping 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, while keeping her team in the game at crucial points. Sarah Graham had 14 points and Tegan Cunningham had 12.

Both teams started slow with each team missing easy baskets throughout the first 5 minutes. Chelsea Poppens put Melbourne on her back, scoring 8 points in the quarter. Down by 4 at the first break, Emma Langford stepped up to the plate in defending Poppens and did extremely well. She scored, rebounded, assisted and forced turnovers in the second period; however, her side were still down 5 at half-time. Poppens scored her 20th point midway through the third, but Langford would end up holding her scoreless for the remainder of the game. Nicole Romeo hit massive shots off the dribble to close the third, putting up a 9 point lead at the third quarter. Langford and Sarah Graham reduced the lead to just 3 before Nicole Romeo iced the game with 8 straight points. Nicole Romeo's fantastic display helped Melbourne finish with a big 11 point victory.

Townsville dispatched Bendigo and made it two for two in the season against the Spirit, beating the team who were previously on a 15-game winning streak, 81-70. Suzy Batkovic was terrific as the Fire's main inside presence, scoring 18 points and having 15 rebounds. Rachael McCully scored an efficient 18 points with 5/7 shooting and hitting 8/9 free-throws. She also had 5 rebounds and 6 assists. All Townsville players managed to score. Gabe Richards was the best player for the Spirit, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Kelsey Griffin also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Kristi Harrower made 20 points and dished 5 assists.

The Fire started strong despite being away from home, starting the game with a 14-3 scoreline. Bendigo came back to end the period only down by 5. Micaela Cocks scored 6 in the second term, while McCully and Batkovic combined for 10. However, Gabe Richards and Kristi Harrower combined for 21 points which contributed to Bendigo winning the quarter 26-25. Townsville's third quarter won them the game as they managed to shut down the Spirit, beating them 25-8 in the period thanks to a strong defensive effort. Bendigo won the final term, but by then it was too late with veteran Rachael McCully leading her side to a fantastic win over the competition's top side.

Adelaide are now three and a half games outside the top 4 with playoff aspirations still intact after a 20-point win over the Logan Thunder. Playing without dynamic guard Jess Foley, Laura Hodges scored 24 points on 69% shooting and also chipped in on the boards with 9. Amy Lewis and Jo Hill both scored 17, while Angela Marino filled that stat-sheet with 7 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Kristin Veal was Logan's best who had a terrific all-rounded, 13-point, 8-rebound and 6-assist game. Natalie Taylor scored 19 points off the bench in impressive manner after only recently returning from injury.

Adelaide pulled away early, leading 6-0 after only 90 seconds. Jenni Screen hit multiple three's, while work on the inside from Laura Hodges and Chay Shegog allowed the Lightning to post a 30-point quarter against the visitors. Hayley Moffatt and Kristin Veal attempted to chip away at the lead, but Laura Hodges who was sensational in the second quarter quickly cancelled their efforts out. Adelaide lead by 10 at the half. Logan was kept out of the game through stellar Adelaide defense in the second half, led by Angela Marino and Laura Hodges, which allowed them to extend the lead to 12 at three-quarter time and finishing on top by 20 at the end of the game. Adelaide assisted on 24 of their 36 baskets, a telling statistic on the big win.

Canberra was a nightmare for the West Coast Waves who have lost their last 19 games. Winning 96-65, the Capitals hit 13/26 three's and Jess Bibby led in this department with 5. She also finished with a game-high 32 points. Carley Mijovic put up a stellar double-double performance with 20 points and 10 rebounds whilst playing just over 20 minutes. MVP candidate Abby Bishop strengthened her credentials by scoring 18 points and consuming 12 rebounds. Unsurprisingly, Antonia Edmonson led the Waves with 26 points on 64% shooting and also finished with 4 rebounds, while Darcee Garbin scored 12 from the bench and Natalie Burton added 9.

Antonia Edmonson led the way early on with 12 first-quarter points, but the Waves still found themselves 6 points behind after one quarter. Edmonson continued to impress with another 9 points in the term, but the Canberra duo of Jess Bibby and Carley Mijovic had 19 and 10 points respectively at the half. Canberra led by 14 at half-time. Canberra extended their big lead in the third quarter to 21 points and shockingly extended the margin to 31 points by the end of the game.

Dandenong's high-octane offense exceeded the 100-point mark for the third time this season, defeating the Townsville Fire by 20 points in the process. Jenna O'Hea top scored for the Rangers with 23 and also added 6 rebounds alongside 6 assists. Alice Kunek scored 21 points, had 4 rebounds and stole the ball twice. Natalie Novosel had a nice game with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Aimee Clydesdale scored 11 from the bench. Suzy Batkovic was, once again, a force for the Fire with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Townsville got good scoring contributions from their bench after losing Rachael McCully to injury in the first quarter. Alex Wilson scored 14 points and Mia Newley scored 12.

Little defense was played in the first quarter; Dandenong lead 30-29 after the first period, thanks to a pair of Alice Kunek three's. Suzy Batkovic dominated the paint in the second, playing her best to put the Fire up by 5 midway through the quarter. Lellani Mitchell made a big three-point play to end the term which altered the momentum and sent the Rangers by 2 at the half. Coming off back to back games, the Fire tired in the third quarter and Dandenong took advantage of this with Kayla Pederson and Alice Kunek combining for 12 in the quarter. Aimee Clydesdale chipped in with crucial baskets to extend the lead to 13 to end the quarter. Alice Kunek scored 9 points in the first 5 minutes of the last quarter, and by then it was done. The Rangers pulled out a 20 point win.

Round 15 Results

Sydney Uni Flames 75 (Poto 15, Ebzery 15, King 13) defeated West Coast Waves 43 (Edmondson 14, Marsh 10)

Melbourne Boomers 74 (Romeo 21, Poppens 20, Allen 11) defeated Logan Thunder 63 (Langford 24, Graham 14, Cunningham 12)

Bendigo Spirit 70 (Harrower 20, Richards 19, Griffin 16) defeated by Townsville Fire 81 (Batkovic 18, McCully 18, Cumming 10)

Canberra Capitals 96 (Bibby 32, Mijovic 20, Bishop 18) defeated West Coast Waves 65 (Edmondson 26, Garbin 12)

Adelaide Lightning 88 (Hodges 24, Hill 17, Lewis 17) defeated by Logan Thunder 68 (Taylor 19, Veal 13, Graham 10, Moffatt 10)

Dandenong Rangers 103 (O'Hea 23, Kunek 21, Novosel 17) defeated Townsville Fire 83 (Batkovic 25, Wilson 14, Newley 12)