The WNBL Round 11 had all of it; upsets, nail-biters, thumpings and a milestone match for an Aussie veteran.
Canberra kicked off the round continuing their winning ways, banking a win in Bendigo against the Spirit. Nat Hurst led the way for Canberra with 18 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists. The Capitals found their rhythm in this one, with 5 players scoring double figures including Mistie Bass with 15, Jordan Hooper and Lauren Scherf with 12 points each. Rachel Banham tried hard for Bendigo with 20 points, 6 assists and Gabe Richards did well with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
Despite a scare from the Rangers who took it right up to the Flames, Sydney were able to hang on by a thread and clim a 5 point win on Thursday night. Belinda Snell dominated in her 299th game, scoring 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.The Rangers just weren’t able to make an impact inside the paint. Carley Mijovic did well to grab 10 rebounds but it wasn’t enough to combat the 42 rebounds made by Sydney that gave them far more opportunities. Jennifer Hamson was huge for the Flames inside, with 17 points and 14 rebounds to her name.
The 17 point margin didn’t represent the close battle between Perth and Adelaide, but as they have done so many times this year – the Lynx found a way to win and extended the margin. Courtney Williams has gone from strength to strength this season, leading up to an insane performance where she scored a huge 41 points to get the Lynx over the line. Kayla Standish was also good for the Lynx with 16 points, alongside Sami Whitcomb who scored 13 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Abby Bishop put in the work for the Lightning with 20 points, and Nicole Seekamp continues to rack up the numbers with her 18 point and 7 assists game.
It was easy work the Flames who hosted Bendigo in Belinda Snell’s 300th WNBL game. Sydney came out on top as 33-point winners in a thumping effort. Alex Wilson dominated the game with 21 points and some brilliant offensive moves, and Jennifer Hamson continued her good form with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Snell was kept unusually quiet in her milestone game, but managed a healthy 10 assists to help her team. There wasn’t much to be excited about for the Spirit, except Betnijah Laney who continues to perform well for the understrength side, she finished on 13 points.
The Rangers ventured to Townsville to take on the Fire and despite again another good effort, Townsville were able to edge out the win. It was a win led by none other than Suzy Batkovic, who with her 25 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists dominated. Cayla George was also impressive for the Fire with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Carley Mijovic continued her good form with 22 points, and captain Steph Blicavs tried hard with 17 points.
The highly anticipated match up between the Boomers and the Lynx definitely didn’t disappoint, going right down to the wire at the State Basketball Centre which saw Perth finish 3 points ahead. It was another brilliant combination from Courtney Williams (26 points, 6 steals) and Sami Whitcomb (28 points, 7 assists, 2 steals) who both dominated the floor. Liz Cambage was huge with a massive 38 points and 15 rebounds. In the end, Melbourne gave the ball up just a few too many times which opened it up for Perth. With these two teams tipped to go very deep into the post-season and the high intense pace of the game, fans were given a snippet of what this season’s playoffs are going to look like.
To finish off the round, no one expected what was to be a nail biter or a game as Canberra hosted Adelaide, but the Capitals but up a huge fight and came out on top as 1 point winners. Canberra were without captain Nat Hurst and still managed to get the job done thanks to some reliable free-throw shooting from Jordan Hooper. It was goal for goal in the final term and Canberra were able to just hang in there. Mistie Bass top scored for the match with 21 points, and Kate Gaze (14 points) and Jordan Hooper (11 points) added some sparks for their team. Aimie Clydesdale and Colleen Planeta tried hard for the Lightning, scoring 18 points a piece and maintaining a fast pace. The Capitals have now hit three wins in a row as they start to find their rhythm after a tough losing streak.