WNBL: Flames win in overtime as Mitchell stars

The spread of players at Sydney are fast emerging as one of the strongest teams in this league, as they overcame the powerhouse that is Bendigo in a thrilling overtime match by 7 points.

Leilani Mitchell was exquisite for the Flames with 18 points and 11 assists in playing more than 44 minutes for the point guard. She was joined by the dominance of Jennifer Hamson (17 points and 10 rebounds), the brilliance of both Asia Taylor (16 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists) and Belinda Snell (16 points and 3 rebounds). Mitchell’s presence was felt from start to finish as her quick-witted skills were too much for Bendigo.

It was no easy task though, as Kelsey Griffin and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe took it right up to the Flames for the entire match. Griffin finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds and singlehandedly got the game into overtime, while Raincock-Ekunwe totalled 22 points and 12 rebounds.

The Perth Lynx withstood a late surge from the Townsville Fire, who shortened a 15 point deficit halfway through the final term to eventually be beaten by 4 points.

Antonia Edmondson was brilliant for Perth, and saved the day with a much needed steal in the dying moments that ended the Fire’s hopes. Edmondson capped off her night with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while stalwart Sami Whitcomb had 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

The Lynx also showed off their newest recruit in Brianna Butler, known as a sharp shooter after making 129 three-pointers as a senior at Syracuse University to set an NCAA Division 1 record. Butler will sure fit right in at Perth, who combined banked a solid 15 three-pointers at 44% for the night.

Kayla Standish had her best game yet for this season, with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Mia Murray was also excellent with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, and Natasha Cloud was solid at the point with 9 assists.

Dandenong were given a fright on Saturday night, as Adelaide saw themselves in front at the first break. However their luck didn’t last long, as Lauren Scherf, Sara Blicavs and Steph Cumming ruined their chance of an upset as they championed a 77-64 victory, putting the Rangers in top spot.

It was veteran Laura Hodges who stood out for the Lightning with 18 points, joined by Colleen Planeta who has managed to string together some very solid games. That was about it for the Lightning, as their lack of height continues to provide them with big problems. They lost the rebounding count by 20, and allowed the Rangers to get 19 offensive boards.

Scherf was the key inside for the Rangers, totalling 21 points and 12 rebounds to top score for the match. Blicavs was phenomenal, bringing the Rangers 17 points and 16 rebounds, while Cumming had 16 points.

Coming from 10 points down, Canberra went on a 14-2 run to open the second half against Perth and eventually run over the line by 5 points.

Marianna Tolo led the Capitals to this huge win as the tall forward provided a little bit of everything, finishing off with an excellent 25 points at 81% shooting, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Too had some help from her entire starting 5, who all produced good performances to secure this comeback win. Mansfield was good for the entire 40 minutes she played, alongside Jazmon Gwathmey who finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds.

Sami Whitcomb yet again set the stadium alight with 36 points, Carley Mijovic was the closest to her with 17 points.

Tolo’s standout performance against the Lynx was awarded with this round’s Player of the Week. Check out her highlights below:

Whilst Adelaide weren’t able to get a win this weekend, they showed plenty of signs against two teams at the top of the table. They faced the monstrous Bendigo at their home court and it was yet again Laura Hodges doing everything for the Lightning. She top scored for the entire match with 20 points and 10 rebounds, with Colleen Planeta the next best for Adelaide with 9 points and 6 rebounds.

Bendigo’s spread proved too good, and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe was again at the front and centre with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Blake Dietrick had a breakout game with 14 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists at the point. It was Bendigo’s efficiency that won them the game, as Adelaide put up more field goals than them and actually won the rebounding count but were plagued by missed shots.

Check out all the action from Round 8 here:


Round 9 Previews

Perth Lynx vs Townsville Fire

With these two sides continuing to bring games right down to the wire, expect no differently as they meet on Friday night. Perth have the edge at their home court, but expecting a fired up Townsville to be heading west.

Key Match-Ups:

Carley Mijovic vs Kayla Standish

Canberra Capitals vs Melbourne Boomers

It will be interesting to see how the break has benefitted the Boomers, as they have been in solid form but are just missing out on the wins. Will need to find some rebounders to counteract the Capitals but the return of Maddie Garrick should boost their spirits as well.

Key Match-Ups:

Lauren Mansfield vs Brittany Smart

Adelaide Lightning vs Townsville Fire

Will be a tough task for the Lightning to face up against the Fire, but their trip to the west may force some tired legs, giving Adelaide a glimmer of hope.

Key Match-Ups:

Laura Hodges vs Suzy Batkovic

Dandenong Rangers vs Sydney Uni Flames

Both teams are hitting their strides at the moment and this is shaping up to be a big match. The Flames could make a huge statement at Dandenong’s home court, but it’s largely protected.

Key Match-Ups:

Aimie Clydesdale vs Leilani Mitchell

Melbourne Boomers vs Sydney Uni Flames

Both teams will meet each other for their second match of the round to make for an interesting contest. Sydney will have the upper hand with height, but Melbourne aren’t to be underestimated. Their recent losses have been credible given the small margins.

Key Match-Ups:

Alice Kunek vs Asia Taylor

Bendigo Spirit v Dandenong Rangers

It’s always a show when these two teams at the top of the ladder meet. They match up really well against each other and will bring this one down to the wire yet again.

Key Match-Ups:

Kelsey Griffin vs Sara Blicavs

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