Round 12 saw the final four locked in, with a nail-biting overtime thriller resulting in Perth, Townsville, Sydney and Melbourne securing a spot in the post season.
Bendigo claimed a spirited win over the Rangers, fighting back to win at 64-47. After being held to just 8 points in the second term, Bendigo came out of the main break with a point to prove and held the Rangers to just 2 points in the final quarter, clearing the path for them to win. Nadeen Payne and Rachel Banham made 16 points a piece, and Betnijah Laney had 15 points. Gabe Richards also had a big game with 13 points and 11 rebounds. For the Rangers, Tayla Roberts and Carley Mijovic were the best with 12 points each.
Canberra hosted Townsville on Thursday evening, and the Fire proved just too strong holding on to a 99-66 point win. Suzy Batkovic was brilliant with 21 points and 8 rebounds, and Michaela Cocks was also damaging with 18 points. Darcee Garbin had a big role to play off the bench and performed well with 23 points. Townsville also had the strength of Cayla George inside the paint with 14 points and 9 rebounds. For the Capitals, Mistie Bass was solid with 18 points, alongside Jordan Hooper with 11 points.
Adelaide claimed a huge 4 point victory over the Melbourne Boomers in front of their home crowd as they fought to keep their finals hopes alive. Abbey Bishop led the way for her fellow Lightning with 22 points and 8 rebounds. The win was slowly grinded out by Adelaide, helped by the performance of both Nicole Seekamp and Colleen Planeta scoring 12 points a piece. Liz Cambage was good for the Boomers with 21 points and 16 rebounds, and Jenna O’Hea tried hard with 11 points, 8 rebounds with 5 assists.
Canberra ventured to Dandenong with a purpose, and despite a scare in a rampaging Dandenong outfit hoping for a comeback, the Capitals were able to hang on to their lead and claim a 4 point win. Steph Blicavs top scored for the match with 17 points and 7 rebounds, and was impressive in the Rangers’ fight back despite battling illness, to try and get in front. Both Kate Gaze (14 points) and Maddison Rocci (10 points, 5 assists) were the leaders for Canberra on the night.
It was a heated battle between Perth and Melbourne on Saturday afternoon, and the Boomers were without star Liz Cambage making the task that more difficult. Perth prevailed in the end, quite comfortable at 84-66. Courtney Williams continued her dominant form with 19 points and 7 assists, alongside Sami Whitcomb who scored 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Alice Kunek was also impressive with 12 points. Jenna O’Hea tried hard for the Boomers with 15 points and 6 assists.
There was plenty on the table when Sydney and Adelaide clashed on Saturday evening. The Lightning had to win to knock Melbourne out of the finals race and keep their hopes alive, but the dream didn’t turn into a reality. In an overtime thriller, Sydney won 104-97. Asia Taylor was the best on court with 35 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Jennifer Hamson was huge inside with 19 points, 9 rebounds and Katie-Rae Ebzery was dynamic with 18 points and 7 assists. The Lightning fought ferociously hard, with Aimie Clydesdale scoring 28 points and 6 assists, and Abby Bishop with 24 points an 14 rebounds.
It wasn’t a great result for Bendigo, who lost 120-62 against Townsville who were just given too many opportunities to claim an easy victory. Darcee Garbin was the star of the show with 30 points and 6 rebounds, alongside Batkovic with 17 and Cayla George with 16. The Fire just had more depth in their side and were too strong for the Spirit. Rachel Banham gave a great effort with 16 points.