Melbourne continue their charge up the WNBL ladder with two more wins, while big performances from Belinda Snell and Suzy Batkovic headlined round eight.
Snell, Spirit see off Flames after halftime in top four clash
Bendigo came from behind at halftime to finish all over the top of Sydney Uni in an important 85-74 away win to open round eight.
Sharp-shooting Opal Belinda Snell stole the show against her former side, netting 41 points on 15-of-22 shooting, in the performance of the season thus far.
She was ably supported by Kelsey Griffin (20 points, 8-11 FG), with the pair combining for over 70% of their side’s total score.
Despite being competitive in almost every statistical category, the Flames fell away after the main break and could only add a further 25 points to their score, including just seven in the decisive third term.
Katie-Rae Ebzery (18 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals) and Mikaela Ruef (18 points, 7 rebounds) led the Flames in defeat as they slipped to 6-4 and fell further behind the pace of the top two.
Sydney Uni 74 (Ebzery 18, Ruef 18, Mitchell 12)
Bendigo 85 (Snell 41, Griffin 20, Blicavs 8)
Red-hot Rangers shoot down Waves
Dandenong shot the lights out to comfortably account for West Coast in a 97-80 home win.
The Rangers shot at 54% and 63% from deep as they blitzed the visiting Waves, who still managed to shoot at 50% and 46% from deep themselves but simply couldn’t match the firepower of the star-studded home team.
Penny Taylor starred with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting to go with 6 boards and 3 assists, while Alice Kunek signalled a return to her best with 18 points of her own and Cappie Pondexter added 16 points and dished out 9 assists.
The home side led by just two points at halftime but powered away in the second half to break the resistance of the Waves.
Deanna Smith turned it on for the Waves, finishing with 25 points off the bench, including 5-of-6 shooting from deep, while fellow sharp-shooter Sarah Graham added 22 points on 9-of-11 from the floor.
Dandenong 97 (Taylor 24, Kunek 18, Pondexter 16)
West Coast 80 (Smith 25, Graham 22, Edmonson 12)
Boomers hold off fast-finishing Waves in OT classic
Melbourne and West Coast played out an overtime epic, with the hometown Boomers just getting past the brave Waves 87-84 after the extra period.
The Boomers shot out of the gates to lead 21-8 after one and looked to have the game under control all afternoon; however a double digits lead early in the final term quickly disappeared as the visitors hit top gear late.
Lindsey Moore (5 points, 1-8 FG) missed her first seven shots before sending the game into a fifth period with her only field goal of the night at the buzzer, banking in a deep step-back three to tie up the scores.
The overtime period saw an astonishing 33 points scored between the sides, with Laurie Koehn (13 points) stealing the show for the home side as she nailed three consecutive long bombs to answer the challenge from Deanna Smith (19 points) and Sarah Graham (18 points, 4 rebounds) at the other end.
The Waves had a chance to send it to a second OT as Moore was fouled shooting a three-pointer with just three seconds on the clock, but the import missed the last of them and the Boomers held on to continue their winning streak.
Melbourne 87 (Cole 23, Thompson 18, Koehn 13)
West Coast 84 (Smith 19, Graham 18, Harberts 12)
Spirit blitz Lightning, cruise to victory
A devastating 24-4 first term saw Bendigo run out 81-55 winners over bottom-placed Adelaide to consolidate a spot in the top two.
The visitors didn’t score for the first four minutes of the contest and could only manage two field goals in the first quarter, trailing by as much as 30 points before halftime before salvaging some sort of respectability with by winning the second half.
Belinda Snell was at it again, netting 22 points and grabbing 7 boards to take her weekend tally to 63 points across two games, while Sara Blicavs was also prominent as she finished with 13 points and 6 boards before the benches were emptied and the starters became spectators.
Laura Hodges was easily Adelaide’s best, with the Opals star finishing with 21 points and 5 boards on 8-of-12 shooting, while Angela Marino (15 points, 6 rebounds) was the only other Lightning player in double digits.
The Spirit completed a sweep of the weekend while the visitors suffered yet another humiliating loss and remain in last place with a 2-9 record.
Bendigo 81 (Snell 22, Blicavs 13, Griffin 11)
Adelaide 55 (Hodges 21, Marino 15, Foley 6)
Fire run away from Rangers late to stay perfect at home
Townsville used strong second and final terms to see off Dandenong in a 91-57 victory at home to remain undefeated in their own gym this season.
The undersized Rangers were always going to struggle against Suzy Batkovic and Cayla Francis, and while the latter (15 points, 8 rebounds) was relatively well-held it was Batkovic (22 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists) who wreaked havoc inside, posting monster numbers.
Michaela Cocks also chimed in with an impressive 13 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists from the bench as her side rallied in a 29-16 second term to gain the upper hand before finishing the contest off with a barnstorming 26-9 final quarter to blow the margin out.
Cappie Pondexter (15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) and Penny Taylor (13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) were again the high-scorers for their side but could only combine for a measly 28 points, with Taylor in particular struggling from the floor as she finished the match shooting 5-of-16.
The Rangers dropped to 4-7 to now sit three wins outside the top four and will find it difficult to catch the Flames and Boomers for the final playoffs spot, while the Fire remain clear on top of the ladder as the team to beat.
Townsville 91 (Batkovic 22, Francis 15, Cocks 13)
Dandenong 57 (Pondexter 15, Taylor 13, Pickrel 10)
Struggling Caps fall to red-hot Boomers
University of Canberra continued to struggle without star Lauren Jackson as they fell to the WNBL’s most in-form side, Melbourne, in a 74-59 result.
A day after a gripping home win against West Coast, the Boomers travelled up to Canberra and made the home side look as though they had played the night before, finishing the match with a 26-13 quarter to secure victory.
Despite the defeat, Abby Bishop (24 points, 11 rebounds) was the standout player on the court, however the Capitals star centre fell away after opening the match with 10 points in the opening five minutes of play.
Rebecca Allen stepped up for the visitors to finish with 18 points, while Rebecca Cole (12 points) continued her good form and Tess Madgen (11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) did what she needed to do.
The Boomers are now riding a five-game winning streak and sit fourth with a 7-5 record after a slow start to the campaign, while the Capitals dropped to 4-7 to sit three games out of the finals ahead of Jackson’s return to action later this month.
University of Canberra 59 (Bishop 24, Talbot 10, Bibby 9)
Melbourne 74 (Allen 18, Cole 12, Madgen 11)
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