WNBL Round 18 Review

Credit Geoff Tripp for photography.

Melbourne produced their absolute best, and with an undermanned side, it proved enough for a 1-point win.

Tess Madgen established her credentials as one of the games premier guards with an inspirational 27 point performance, ending her performance by hitting the game-winning shot with just 4 seconds to go. Bec Allen had 14 points and 5 assists, while Nicole Romeo produced a 14-point and 4-assist game from the bench. Jenna O'Hea, who was trapped in a shoot-out the whole night with Tess Madgen, just missed out on the win, but she did score a whopping 32 points on 12/16 shooting. She also had 8 assists and 5 rebounds. Leilani Mitchell had a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists. Alice Kunek scored 15 points, while Kayla Pederson had 11 and 10 rebounds.

Melbourne was slow out of the block, down 7-2, but the Boomers scored the game's next 11 points to put them in a commanding position. Amelia Todhunter and Nicole Romeo both hit long-range bombs to increase the lead, putting Melbourne up by 7 at quarter-time. Kayla Pederson kept the visitors' game flowing in the second, proving unguardable under the rim, while Jenna O'Hea was her usual best. However, Melbourne were still up by 8. The Boomers took an 11-point lead into the final term, with Tess Madgen scoring 10 points in the quarter. Dandenong quickly put themselves back into a winning position, only down by 4 points with 6 minutes to go. Nicole Romeo and Tess Madgen took on Leilani Mitchell and Jenna O'Hea, going basket for basket. Mitchell hit a long-range 3 to put the Rangers up by 1, however, Tess Madgen had the final laugh in this one. Hitting the winning basket with only 4 seconds to go, she kept their home-finals hope alive.

Townsville produced a commanding performance led by Suzy Batkovic to defeat the Sydney Uni Flames by 16 points.

With 31 points and 17 rebounds, Batkovic led the way with another amazing performance. Micaela Cocks scored 18 points and had 5 assists, while Steph Cumming had a solid game, scoring 12 points and dishing out 7 assists. Katie-Rae Ebzery was again terrific for Sydney, scoring 28 points and dishing out 7 assists. LeSondra Barrett had 13 points and 7 rebounds.

Katie-Rae Ebzery scored 13 points in the first-quarter, going unmatched to lead the Flames towards a 5-point lead at quarter-time. LeSondra Barrett led the charge for the Flames in the second, not Ebzery, where she made 9 points in the term, to extend the lead to 11. However, the second half was all Townsville. They started the half with a blistering 14-0 run, taking a 1-point buffer into the last 10 minutes. Townsville made the last quarter their own, outscoring the Flames 26-11, with Batkovic unguardable under the rim with her commanding size being the difference.

Bendigo was able to defeat the Jenna O'Hea-less Dandenong Rangers by a convincing 18 points in this one.

However, this win came at a cost, with Elyse Penaluna leaving the game early on after twisting her knee. Kelsey Griffin scored 20 points and had 8 rebounds in just 22 minutes. Chelsea Aubry was solid, scoring 16 points and also having 8 rebounds. Also, Sara Blicavs added 10 points from the bench. Alice Kunek led the Rangers with 13 points. Leilani Mitchell scored 12, while Natalie Novosel added another 10.

Leilani Mitchell scored the game's first 5 points, but Dandenong's lead didn't get any bigger. Kelsey Griffin quickly altered the outcome of the first quarter, sending Bendigo into the second with a 23-18 lead. The lead was a whopping 22 at the half-time, stemming from Bendigo's production at the three-point line. The margin made it's way to 30 in the second half, stunning the home crowd who thought they still had a chance for a comeback. Dandenong won the final quarter by 7, but in the tantalizing match-up between the benches of both squads, there was little to takeaway from this game with an 18-point loss.

Adelaide got the better of Mellisa Marsh and the West Coast Waves in her last game in WA, defeating them by 13 points.

Laura Hodges was assertive early in the game, finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Jenni Screen had 15 point and 15 rebounds. Leaving the home crowd with something to be proud of, Melissa Marsh was sensational in her last home game by ending the game with 18 points and 5 assists. Toni Edmonson and Nat Burton both had 10 points each.

West Coast had a fantastic first quarter, winning it 26-17, after Antonia Edmonson nailed late shots in the quarter to extend the lead. West Coast only scored 9 points in the second quarter, thanks to the defensive efforts by Laura Hodges and Lauren Mansfield which put the Lightning up by 6 at the half. Adelaide's stifling defense continued in the second half, forcing the Waves to miss 11 straight shots and only making 4 points in the quarter. Melissa Marsh spectacularly scored 16 points in the final quarter before the home crowd had an emotional and well-deserved send-off.

Townsville dominated from start to finish and after a 36-point performance from superstar Suzy Batkovic, the dream of the home-final is alive. Batkovic also added 13 rebounds and 4 steals. Rachael McCully scored 13 points and dished out 8 assists, while Kayla Standish was impressive off the bench, scoring 15 points. Jess Bibby was terrific off the bench, scoring 20 points alongside 6 assists. Abby Bishop added 15 points as well as 9 rebounds, while Carly Wilson scored 13.

Suzy was dominant early on, beating Abby Bishop in their match-up, taking a 27-10 lead into the first break. The lead reached 19 after a McCully basket, but Canberra doused the flames, containing the lead to as little as 5 at one point before it went up to 8 at half-time. Steph Cumming and Micaela Cocks produced from deep, helping push the lead to 15. Townsville were clear by 18 at 3-quarter time and ended finished with a 22-point win.

Bendigo outdid Melbourne in the 2nd overtime after recording 27 offensive rebounds to record an 8-point win.

Gabe Richards and Kelsey Griffin combined for an amazing 38 rebounds, with Griffin recording 24 points and Richards nailing 20. Sara Blicavs added 19 points and 4 rebounds. Kristi Harrower made the most of her 44 minutes on the court, dishing out an incredible 19 assists. Rebecca Allen top-scored for the Boomers with 20 points. Tess Madgen had a terrific all-rounded game, scoring 20 points, while also having 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Shanae Greaves is proving she's the future of the Boomers, with 12 points and 7 rebounds.

Melbourne took an unprecedented 9 point lead after one quarter, limiting the Spirit to only 10 points. Sara Blicavs and Maddie Garrick combined to score 11 points in the second term and doing so cut the Boomers' lead to 4 at the half. Each squad went basket for basket in the third term with Melbourne's lead intact by 3 with 10 minutes to go. Bendigo's experience proved crucial as they had the lead by 3 with 30 seconds to go. Bec Allen's huge three placed the Boomers in their second overtime in as many weeks. Kelsey Griffin hit two clutch free throws to even the score at 76, then Tess Madgen missed both to send the game into a second overtime. Bendigo dominated the sixth period and ran out with a 6-point win.

Sydney produced a big win over the Logan Thunder, winning the game 71-54.

They were led by Katie-Rae Ebzery's 15 points, as well as 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Alicia Poto scored 13 points and also had 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while LeSondra Barrett had a terrific game with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Kathleen Scheer scored 12 points coming off the bench. Sarah Graham led Logan with 15 points, while no other player scored in double-digits. Natalie Taylor, Mikhaela Donnelly and Emma Langford all finished with 8.

Sydney were quickly 7 points clear in the first, through 5 points from Casey Samuels. Logan clawed back, and at quarter-time, the Flames kept a 5-point lead. Much like the first quarter, the Flames got the early jump on the Thunder. Going on an early 9-2 run before Sarah Graham struck back with a big shot from behind the three-point line which kept her team within 7, the Flames were in control of the game. 4 points was the margin going into the final quarter after Hayley Moffatt and Nat Taylor stepped up their game. Neither team scored easily in the final quarter and within the last 5 minutes, Sydney managed to pull away for a convincing 17-point win.

A week in review, here are the final results of Round 18:

Townsville Fire 87 (Batkovic 31, Cocks 18, Cumming 12, Newley 10) defeated Sydney Uni Flames 71 (Ebzery 28, Barrett 13)

Melbourne Boomers 85 (Madgen 27, Allen 14, Romeo 12) defeated by Dandenong Rangers 84 (O'Hea 32, Mitchell 16, Kunek 15)

Dandenong Rangers 67 (Kunek 13, Mitchell 12, Novosel 10) defeated by Bendigo Spirit 85 (Griffin 20, Aubry 16)

West Coast Waves 57 (Marsh 18, Burton 10, Edmondson 10) defeated by Adelaide Lightning 70 (Hodges 22, Screen 15)

Townsville Fire 90 (Batkovic 36, Standish 15, McCully 13) defeated Canberra Capitals 68 (Bibby 20, Bishop 15, Wilson 13)

Bendigo Spirit 88 (Griffin 24, Richards 20, Blicavs 19, Garrick 14) defeated Melbourne Boomers 80 (Allen 20, Madgen 17, Greaves 12, Todhunter 12, Cole 10)

Logan Thunder 54 (Graham 15) defeated by Sydney Uni Flames 71 (Ebzery 18, Poto 13, Scheer 12)