WNBL Semi-Finals Review - Bendigo Books A Final At Home

So, what happened in Week 1 of the WNBL Finals?

That was like Ali vs Frazier, blow for blow" - Townsville assistant, Mark Alabakov

Well, Townsville pulled out victorious in an encounter that, according to Mark Alabakov, "was like Ali vs Frazier, blow for blow". Townsville rode out as winners with a 5-point lead in what could have gone down as the game of the season. The young, defiant Boomers simply did not measure up to get the W from this one.

Meanwhile, Bendigo defeated the Dandenong Rangers by 9 points in front of a vocal and young crowd. They were led by Kelsey Griffin who dominated the Dandenong Rangers in spectacular fashion. Moving forward from the loss, the Rangers will have a preliminary final against Townsville at home later this week.

photo credit: Ryan Wick via photopin cc

Townsville defeated the Melbourne Boomers by 5 points in a trademark grit and grind encounter.

Suzy Batkovic, as usual, was impressive in this game; she scored 24 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out 5 assists. Mia Newley also contributed to their offense, adding 15 points off the bench. Rachael McCully was stunning with 14 points and 7 assists; she also made it to the line 12 times, nailing 10 of those shots. Rebecca Allen proved that she's a budding superstar of the women's game with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks to her name. Tess Madgen scored 13 points and 7 assists, while Bec Cole nailed 11 points of her own.

Amber Hegge was fantastic in the first quarter, limiting Suzy Batkovic's impact, while Rebecca Allen scored 10 points in the period. However, the Boomers still found themselves down by 3 at quarter-time. Townsville would extend the margin to 6 points twice, but Melbourne fought back each time, resulting in a 1-point margin at the half. Hayley Munro proved big in the third quarter, hitting two massive triples to give the Boomers the smallest of leads to go into the last quarter. Yet, Townsville's experience proved too much; Micaela Cocks and Suzy Batkovic lead the way in the last quarter, and the Fire kept their home crowd happy by pulling out as victors from this encounter.

Bendigo booked their spot in the Grand Final with a superb 9-point win over the Dandenong Rangers.

Kelsey Griffin was easily the Player of the Game, captivating the crowd with a 19-point, 16 rebound performance which also included 3 blocks. Kelly Wilson and Kristi Harrower both scored 14. Harrower also finished the game with an impressive 10 assists. Gabe Richards was fantastic scoring 13 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Jenna O'Hea did all she could to keep the Rangers in it with 16 points of her own. Alice Kunek was spectacular with 13 points and 7 rebounds. Brigitte Ardossi provided a nice spark with 12 from the second unit.

Brigitte Ardossi proved to be a huge spark off the bench in the first quarter, giving the Rangers something they so dearly lacked. She had 10 points in the period and helped her team to a 6-point lead at the first break. Kelsey Griffin came alive late in the second, scoring 8 quick points to even the scores at 38 at the half-time break. Kelly Wilson killed the momentum Dandenong had early on in the quarter by scoring 9 points in 5 minutes to put the Spirit up by 6 after the final intermission. Kristi Considering that it could be Harrower's last season of basketball, she made sure the Rangers never got back into the game by producing a big do-or-die performance in the last quarter to be one step closer to the ultimate prize.

We started off really great but we fell away, we need to be able to play 40 minutes of great basketball to beat a talented side like Bendigo" - Jenna O'Hea

Get ready for a fiery encounter between Townsville and Dandenong this week, with the Finals' series looking a lot like it was last year.

Semi-Final Results

Townsville Fire 78 (Batkovic 24, Newley 15, McCully 14) defeated Melbourne Boomers 73 (Allen 22, Madgen 13, Cole 11)

Bendigo Spirit 71 (Griffin 19, Harrower 14, Wilson 14) defeated Dandenong Rangers 62 (O'Hea 16, Kunek 13, Ardossi 12)

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. Stay tuned for more exciting WNBL news, right here, at the Pick and Roll.