WNBL Round 19 Review - Bendigo and Townsville Steal Home Finals

Bendigo and Townsville Steal Home Finals

Canberra prevailed over West Coast in their final game of the season, winning the match with an outstanding 23-point lead.

Abby Bishop was the best for the Capitals, finishing with another big 23-points, 12-rebound, 4-assist effort. Jess Bibby came off the bench to score 12 points and also had 4 assists. Alex Bunton was terrific under the rim with 12 rebounds. West Coast, who played the game with only 3 on the bench, were always in for a struggle, but Darcee Garbin made the most of her increased minutes. She was the top-scorer for the Waves with 14 points. Nat Burton scored 10 and had 8 rebounds, while Melissa Marsh scored 8 points and had 5 rebounds in her second-last game.

Canberra took a 22-15 lead into the first quarter, after Abby Bishop spearheaded a 9-2 run to start the game. Alex Bunton played out a terrific game against the Waves. Bunton was responsible for starting another crucial run for the Captials where they went 13-4 in a matter of minutes and took an 18-point advantage into the second half. Nat Burton beat Alex Bunton in the battle of the centers in the third; however, the Capitals were still able to extend their lead to 21. Abby Bishop went to work in the last quarter and with the game's result never in doubt after quarter-time, the Caps pulled out as victors with a 23-point margin.

Logan put Melbourne's hopes for a home-final on the edge after earning an 11-point win in their final home game of the year.

Sarah Graham scored 21 points for the Thunder and also added 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Additionally, Tegan Cunningham scored 12 points and 7 rebounds, while Natalie Taylor added 11 from the bench. Kristin Veal came agonizingly close to a double-double, but ended the night with 10 assists and 9 points. Tess Madgen was spectacular once again for Melbourne, scoring 20 points alongside 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Tess Madgen scored the first 5 points of the game for the Boomers. However, the Thunder were quick to respond and went on a game-changing run, going 27-5 to end the quarter. Natalie Taylor hit from deep to open up an incredible 28-point lead at half-time. Melbourne finally got their senses back in the second half with Bec Allen and Tess Madgen dropping the Thunder lead to 13 points. The Boomers could not get past an 11-point deficit in the final quarter after Logan tightened down on defense.

They shot the ball very well in the first half. We just dug too deep a hole and couldn't get it out of it. We got it back to 11 but it could have been a lot worse." - Guy Molloy

Sydney Uni got the better of the West Coast Waves in Melissa Marsh's final WNBL game.

All of Sydney's starters scored in double-digits with Rohanee Cox leading the way, scoring 19. Lauren King scored 12, Alicia Poto scored 11, whilst both LeSondra Barrett and Katie-Rae Ebzery scored 10 alongside picking up a nifty 4 steals each as well. Darcee Garbin led the Waves with 10 points, but also had 8 turnovers. Marsh had 9 points and 5 rebounds in her final game, while Zoe Harper came off the bench to also score 9.

West Coast turned the ball over 6 times in the first quarter after Sydney Uni started the game by terrorizing the Waves with their defense. The Flames took a 23-16 lead into quarter-time. Sydney should have had a much larger lead throughout the second, but they failed to convert on offense. Yet the Flames found themselves with a 7-point lead to work with one half to spare. West Coast had a glimmer of hope to end their 19-game losing streak, but the Flames would have none of it, going on a 22-3 run to start the third quarter. Taking a whopping 25-point lead into the final period, the Flames clearly outplayed the West Coast side. The Waves managed to stay competitive in the last period with a 15-15 quarter, but by then the Flames were assured a win in this one.

photo credit: Ryan Wick via photopin cc

Townsville eliminated Melbourne from the two-horse race for the home elimination final with both teams coming together to play each other next week once again.

Suzy Batkovic finished with another casual 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Steph Cumming also matched Batkovic's scoring output. Mia Newley and Kayla Standish combined for a valuable 23 points and 14 rebounds from the bench. Tess Madgen continued her fantastic week by scoring 19 points and pulling in 5 rebounds. Rebecca Cole was solid in this one with 12 points and 6 rebounds to her name by the end of the game. Rebecca Allen scored 10 points, but contributed impressively on defense with 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

By scoring the games first 8 points, Melbourne were quick to strike fear into 2000-odd faithful Townsville fans who made their way to the game. However, the Fire came back to a 2-point deficit which they could claw back in 30 minutes. The Fire had a 7-point lead mid-way through, but the Boomers responded. With Madgen's 16 points, the Boomers found themselves down by only 2 at half-time. Townsville dominated the third quarter, ahead by 13 at 3-quarter time to put the game almost beyond doubt. Townsville rode out to a 15-point win thanks to a fantastic third quarter. Both teams will be back in Townsville next week for a do or die elimination final.

Credit Geoff Tripp for photography.

Adelaide sent off Jo Hill in style. The 351-game veteran ended her career with a 6-point win over 2nd placed Dandenong. Angela Marino was the leading scorer for the Lightning with 18 points, while Laura Hodges had 12 points and 8 rebounds. Jenni Screen recorded a terrific 10-point 10-rebound double-double and Chey Shegog and Jess Foley combined for 23 off the bench. The 29-point effort from Jenna O'Hea just wasn't enough despite chalking up 5 assists and 2 steals in the process. Alice Kunek scored 16 with 5 rebounds and 3 steals also to her name. Kayla Pederson and Natalie Novosel combined for 23 points and 15 rebounds.

Adelaide recorded a 4-point lead at the first break after successive scores from Laura Hodges helping to push them ahead. The Lightning found a spark and went on a huge 19-2 run which set open the game in favour of the home side. After leading by 19 at half-time and increasing that to 23 in the third, the Lightning were on a roll despite Jenna O'Hea's hard effort in keeping the lead down to 19 points with one quarter to spare. Dandenong scored the first 15 points of the last quarter, giving the crowd a fright, before Adelaide held them off through Jess Foley and Angela Marino. All until Jo Hill made the last shot in her last game to have her Lightning on top by 6.

''She's had an absolutely outstanding career, she's a testament to women's basketball and women's sport, she's just an amazing athlete.'' - Richard Dickel

Bendigo are entering their Finals' campaign on a positive note after defeating the Logan Thunder by a convincing 27 points.

Gabe Richards led the way en route to a Player of the Week award with 22 points and 13 rebounds, all in 21 minutes and 54 seconds. Chelsea Aubry played well with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Meanwhile, Kelly Wilson also scored 13 points and dished 8 assists, all without Kristi Harrower. Emma Langford was the best for the Thunder, scoring 18 points. Kristin Veal scored 10 points, but also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Tegan Cunningham and Natalie Taylor scored 12 and 10 respectively.

Bendigo's offense was running as smooth as ever. Their inside presence took them to a 29-18 quarter-time lead, however, Logan restructured at the half with Emma Langford finding more of the ball. As such, Logan found themselves trailing by only 12 at half-time. Gabe Richards and Chelsea Aubry left the Thunder for dead in the third, opening the game up to a massive 22-point lead in favour of the Spirit. Bendigo would empty their bench in the last quarter, crucially resting key names in time for the Finals.

Round 19 Results

Canberra Capitals 73 (Bishop 23, Bibby 12) defeated West Coast Waves 50 (Garbin 14, Burton 10)

Logan Thunder 71 (Graham 21, Cunningham 12, Taylor 11) defeated Melbourne Boomers 60 (Madgen 20)

Sydney Uni Flames 79 (Cox 19, King 12, Poto 11) defeated West Coast Waves 54 (Garbin 10, Marsh 9, Harper 9)

Townsville Fire 70 (Batkovic 19, Cumming 19, Newley 13) defeated Melbourne Boomers 55 (Madgen 19, Cole 12, Allen 10)

Adelaide Lightning 88 (Marino 18, Hodges 12, Shegog 12) defeated Dandenong Rangers 82 (O'Hea 29, Kunek 16, Pedersen 13)

Bendigo Spirit 95 (Richards 22, Aubry 17, Wilson 13) defeated Logan Thunder 68 (Langford 18, Cunningham 12, Veal 10 )

For more player stats, do check out FOX SPORTS PULSE.

Don’t forget to check out the ABC Grandstand Sport’s TV schedule for the Finals match-ups or if you’re short on time, the live stats on WNBL.