defencejobs WNBL Round 17 wrap
The 2006/07 defencejobs Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) regular season has now come to a close, with Sydney Uni taking top spot on the ladder after a 77-52 demolition of Canberra on Friday night, while last year’s runners-up Dandenong stormed into the final four after consecutive road wins against Perth and Adelaide. Bulleen, who beat the AIS on Sunday, were relegated to fifth spot and will miss the playoffs.
This week the Rangers will return to Adelaide for the sudden death minor semi-final, while Sydney Uni and Canberra will face off in the major semi final.
The Dandenong Rangers kept their playoff hopes alive on Thursday night with a comfortable 84-63 win over the Perth Lynx in sweltering conditions at Perry Lakes Stadium.
Four Dandenong players netted 12 points or more – Kathleen McLeod (17), Jenna O’Hea (16), Larissa Cavanagh (15) and Cailtin Ryan (12) – to compliment the Rangers 22-to-12 assist count victory.
Perth MVP Carly Wilson (pictured) top scored for the Lynx with 17 points to go with 6 rebounds and 3 assists while Melissa Marsh and Angela Marino contributed 16 points and 11 points respectively.
The Rangers cooled off with a midnight dip at WA’s Floreat Beach before travelling to Adelaide for their do-or-die clash with the Lightning on Saturday night.
The Sydney Uni Flames secured the WNBL minor premiership for the first time in eight years by out-muscling the Canberra Capitals 77-52 in Friday night’s ABC TV Game of the Week.
At their physical best, Sydney Uni beat the Capitals at their own game, stepping up their defence to restrict the defending champions to a 28.8 per cent field goal shooting percentage, compared to their own 44 per cent.
In doing so they snapped Canberra’s undefeated home record for the season and gained a major psychological edge ahead of the playoffs.
Canberra were in foul trouble from the get go and by half time four of their players had amassed at least three fouls - Tracey Beatty, Tully Bevilaqua, Donna Loffhagen and Abby Bishop.
Michelle Musselwhite took advantage for Sydney Uni, scoring a game high 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting to go along with 8 rebounds.
Former Opals captain Trish Fallon tallied 21 points and 5 rebounds while star forward Natalie Porter posted a 14-point, 10 rebound double-double.
Nat Hurst top scored for Canberra with 14 points while Abby Bishop pulled in 13 rebounds, nine of which were offensive.
Finishing first and second, both teams will have two shots at a grand final berth, with the winner of the major semi final earning a week’s rest ahead of the big game.
The Dandenong Rangers completed their late season surge with a nail biting 73-69 win over the Adelaide Lightning at the Distinctive Homes Dome on Saturday night.
Without star point guard Erin Phillips and trailing by 16 points in the final quarter, the Lightning went on a late 12-0 run to seriously threaten the Rangers, until a disputed travelling call against Cherie Smith with 54 seconds remaining took the wind from their sails.
Jenna O’Hea was in scintillating touch for Dandenong, scoring a game high 23 points, while Shelley Hammonds added 17 points and 8 rebounds, including the game-sealing offensive rebound and put back.
Kristen Rasmussen returned to form for Adelaide, contributing 20 points and six rebounds, while Jess Foley scored 16 points. Phillips’ replacement Narelle Lindsay scored 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting with 7 rebounds.
After such a tight encounter, fans should get set for a cracking minor semi final between the two teams this Saturday night in Adelaide.
The Townsville Fire sent Captain Claudia Brassard into retirement a winner following their 92-73 victory over the Canberra Capitals at SeaFM stadium on Saturday night.
Canberra coach Carrie Graf used the game to fine tune her finals roster, with each player spending at least 15 minutes on court.
Townsville were led by Rohanee Cox who posted a game high 27 points to go with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot. She was well supported by Jennifer Crouse, who had 17 points and 8 rebounds, and Brassard, whose 14 points included the final two points of the game.
163cm guard Natalie Hurst top scored for Canberra for the second time in two days with 19 points while Abby Bishop, Jess Bibby and Donna Loffhagen all contributed 11 points.
The win left Townsville with a disappointing 10-and-11 season record and sixth spot on the ladder.
The Bulleen Melbourne Boomers finished their season with a sluggish 74-64 victory over the AIS at the Veneto Club on Sunday afternoon.
The Boomers set up the win with a 42-31 first half, but were never comfortable after point guard Sharin Milner fell heavily in the first minute of the second term and did not return.
The highlight of the match was the duel between world champion defencejobs Opal Hollie Grima (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Sapphires squad member Cayla Francis (18 points, 13 rebounds) (both pictured).
Karen Ashby (14 points) was the only other Bulleen player to post double figures, while for the AIS Marianna Tolo contributed 12 points and Ellie Manou 10 points.
Despite the loss, the week was a major success for Boomers head coach Cheryl Chambers, who gave birth to a healthy baby girl (Georgia) on Tuesday. Congratulations Coach!!
The majority of the AIS team (members of the Australian U19 Gems squad) will now begin preparations for the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championships for Women to be held in the Slovak Republic in July.
THE LADDER: (at the end of the regular season)
1. Sydney Uni (16-5)
2. Canberra (15-6)
3. Adelaide (15-6)
4. Dandenong (12-9)
5. Bulleen Melbourne (12-9)
6. Townsville (10-11)
7. Perth (3-18)
8. AIS (1-20)