WNBL Round 17 Review

Credit Geoff Tripp for photography.

Dandenong crucially extended their gap over Melbourne to 2 games after defeating the West Coast Waves by a whopping 38 points. Dandenong were led by Alice Kunek who ended the game with 25 points. Jenna O'Hea scored 22 points and also added 4 assists. Natalie Novosel had 14 points, contributed 6 assists alongside 5 massive steals. Leilani Mitchell had 13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Darcee Garbin had her most impressive game for West Coast thus far with 21 points from the bench. Toni Edmonson once again played well for the Waves, finishing with 14 points and 5 rebounds, while Melissa Marsh scored 10 points and had 8 rebounds.

West Coast gave the visitors a run for their money early on, leading 14-13, until Alice Kunek scored 8 points late on in the first which allowed the Rangers to pull away by 8. The second quarter saw the Waves even out the quarter's score, going 16-16, particularly with Darcee Garbin having a fantastic 10 minutes. Dandenong obliterated the Waves in the second half with a strong 20-6 run early in the third which sealed the fate for the Waves who thought they had a chance against the more favoured opposition.

Canberra defeated Melbourne by 14 points, taking advantage of the big gap in the middle left by Chelsea Poppens due to injury. Abby Bishop scored a career-high 29 points whilst adding 9 rebounds. Jess Bibby and Nicole Hunt scored 19 and 11 respectively off the bench, while Alex Bunton had 7 points and 14 rebounds. Rebecca Allen had 21, while Rebecca Cole scored 13. Tess Madgen was solid, scoring 12 points and having 8 rebounds. Additionally, Amelia Todhunter contributed 12 points and 6 rebounds from the bench.

Abby Bishop scored 7 points to open the game and as a result of lacklustre defense from both sides, the two teams easily found open shots throughout the quarter. Canberra took a 5-point lead into quarter-time. Canberra rained 3's all over the Boomers' defense in the second quarter, however Melbourne still had the game within 4 at half-time. Abby Bishop spearheaded Canberra's offense coming out of the break, leading her side to an 11-point lead. That lead was back down to 5, after some Tess Madgen heroics; however, the last quarter was all Canberra with the Capitals extending the lead early and never looking back.

Bendigo were lead by Chelsea Aubry and Kelsey Griffin in their win against Sydney, earning themselves a win by 9 points. Coming off the bench, Kelsey Griffin had an inspirational game with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Furthermore, Chelsea Aubry hit 4 big three's, en route to 19 points with 8 rebounds. Elyse Penaluna had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Rohanee Cox was the best player for Sydney with 21 points and 6 rebounds to her name. Katie-Rae Ebzery scored 18 points and had 4 rebounds. Kathleen Scheer had an important 14 points coming off the bench.

Penaluna scored Bendigo's first 8 points and with Kelsey Griffin scoring 6 later, the Spirit were up by 3 at quarter-time. Sydney grabbed the lead after an 8-2 Bendigo start with Rohanee Cox leading the comeback. Aubry and Kelly Wilson hit big shots from downtown, bringing the Spirit back up by 5 at half-time. Bendigo found themselves with an 11-point lead in the third, giving them ample breathing space in that quarter until Sydney once again struck back. Narrowing the gap back to 4 thanks to the efforts of Casey Samuels and Kathleen Scheer off the bench. However, Kelsey Griffin and Kristi Harrower managed to maintain the lead in the 4th, eventually ending the game with a 9-point lead.

Adelaide kept their Finals' hopes alive, even if it is for just 1 more game, defeating the Logan Thunder 77-71. The scoring was balanced for the Lightning; 5 players scored above 10. Laura Hodges top-scored, finishing with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Jenni Screen had 12 points and 9 rebounds, while veteran Jo Hill was superb with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals. Chey Shegog and Nadeen Payne both scored 10 from the bench. Sarah Graham was unbelievable for the Thunder, lighting up the home-crowd by scoring 26 points. Tegan Cunningham backed her up with a solid 12 point, 6 rebound and 2 steal performance.

Adelaide started well, jumping out to an 8-0 lead. However, Sarah Graham found her form, with the Lightning ahead 18-16 at the break. Graham hit another big long-range bomb to give her Thunder their first lead at 23-22, but the Lightning finished well. Thanks to Jenni Screen, the Lightning lead by 5 at half-time. Laura Hodges showed why she is so highly regarded around the league, dominating the interior early in the 3rd. However, Logan didn't give up easily, fighting back on multiple occasions despite the 10-point gap they had to overcome with only 10 minutes to play. Logan were within three points late in the game; however, Natalie Taylor and Sarah Graham both missed shots which could have changed the outcome of the game. Jo Hill produced the daggers from the free-throw line to set the Lightning up by 6 after 40 minutes.

Dandenong defeated the Canberra Capitals by 9 points, off the back of a 25-point performance from phenom-guard Leilani Mitchell. Mitchell's 25 was made even better by her 6 assists and 4 steals. Kayla Pederson was fantastic, scoring 21 points and notching 9 rebounds. Alice Kunek had 18 points and 5 boards, while superstar Jenna O'Hea had a solid 13-point, 6-rebound and 4-assist Sunday afternoon. Abby Bishop and Natalie Hurst combined to score 50 of Canberra's 80 points. Abby Bishop had 26 of them, while she also stacked up on rebounds, with 17. Nat Hurst had the other 24, alongside 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Carley Mijovic scored 17 from the bench.

Canberra struggled to get out of first gear with Dandenong piling on the game-defining first 15 points of the match. Despite the pressure, Canberra fought back with 7 points from Abby Bishop to trail by 9 at quarter-time. Dandenong took an 11-point lead into the half, stemming from efforts by Leilani Mitchell and Kayla Pederson which saw them both combine for 29 points. Dandenong extended their lead again early in the second before Canberra narrowed the margin, however the Capitals could only bring it down to 16 at the end of the third quarter. The gap was closed to 6 points after Natalie Hurst came alive from three, but it didn't get any closer. The Rangers had a comfortable win in this one.

Townsville held Adelaide to only two points in the second quarter, opening up the match for a Fire win and also the chance of a home final. Steph Cumming was terrific with 19 points and 5 rebounds, while Suzy Batkovic put together another double-double with a 16-point, 15-rebound performance. Mia Newley added 10 points from the second unit. Laura Hodges is making a late-charge for MVP candidacy by putting 26 points and 12 rebounds on the board whilst playing all 40 minutes. Angela Marino scored 10 points and Jenni Screen had 7 points alongside 5 rebounds.

Hodges was not only fantastic in the first quarter but throughout the first half. She scored 9 points to end the 1st, limiting the Fire to a slender 2-point lead at the quarter. Adelaide had a 2-point lead at the half with Hodges scoring 13 in the second. Mia Newley then contributed with 8 points of her own. Adelaide's only score came 27 seconds into the third by Jenni Screen, but were then held scoreless through stifling defense of Townsville. This led to the game opening up to a 14-point lead in favour of Townsville. Townsville held strong in the last 10 minutes, cementing a Finals' spot in the process.

Round 17 Results

Dandenong Rangers 99 (Kunek 25, O'Hea 22, Novosel 14) defeated West Coast Waves 61 (Garbin 21, Edmondson 14, Marsh 10)

Melbourne Boomers 74 (Allen 21, Cole 13, Madgen 12) defeated by Canberra Capitals 88 (Bishop 27, Bibby 19, Hunt 11)

Logan Thunder 71 (Graham 26, Cunningham 12, Langford 8) defeated by Adelaide Lightning 77 (Hodges 14, Screen 12, Hill 11)

Sydney Uni Flames 70 (Cox 21, Ebzery 18, Scheer 14) defeated by Bendigo Spirit 79 (Griffin 20, Aubry 19, Penaluna 13)

Dandenong Rangers 89 (Mitchell 25, Pedersen 21, Kunek 18) defeated by Canberra Capitals 80 (Bishop 26, Hurst 24, Mijovic 17)

Townsville Fire 78 (Cumming 19, Batkovic 16, Newley 10) defeated Adelaide Lightning 65 (Hodges 26, Marino 10)

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