Flames claim maiden win, Lightning sweep weekend and Boomers move into second spot
JCU Townsville Fire 93 def. Bendigo Bank Spirit 51
An historic night for Townsville saw them claim their second biggest defeat ever against the Spirit as Suzy Batkovic moved into first position on the all-time WNBL scorer’s list, surpassing Rachael Sporn.
Victory! History made in Townsville as @SuzyBatkovic becomes the greatest scorer in @WNBL history as the Fire secure a 93-51 victory over Bendigo! #FireUpTownsville #HoopsForTroops pic.twitter.com/Wyp9Idiz3m— JCU Townsville Fire (@TownsvilleFire) November 29, 2018
Batkovic was dominant all night, recording 24 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and shutting Becca Tobin out of the game while Micaela Cocks (17 points on 6-8 shooting) and Ally Malott and Zitina Aokuso (22 points, eight rebounds combined off the bench) also impressed.
With a big lead, Alex Fowler was able to make her Townsville debut as well, becoming the 108th player in club history. For the Spirit, Louella Tomlinson (15 points, seven rebounds three blocks) was a rare bright spot.
Jayco Rangers 80 def. by Adelaide Lightning 86
The Lightning claimed the season series against Dandenong, bouncing back from a loss last week to also snap a three-game losing streak.
Following a high-octane first half that saw over 100 points tallied, both teams knuckled down defensively and ensured nothing would come easy down the stretch. Adelaide’s five-point lead at three-quarter time ultimately proved enough although the Rangers did close within two before the visitors held them scoreless for the final two minutes.
Nia Coffey paced the Lightning with 18 points, Kayla Alexander finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds and Steph Blicavs returned to the court with seven points off the bench. That helped to counter Carley Mijovic’s big night of 26 points, nine boards and two steals while Betnijah Laney was sorely missed by Dandenong.
Perth Lynx 88 def. University of Canberra Capitals 84
The top two teams on the ladder coming into this meeting, there was no love lost at the end of a physical and, at times, rough game.
Perth pulled themselves out of a 13-point hole at quarter-time, utilising a 33-18 second term before holding on down the stretch as the Caps closed within a possession on four separate occasions in the last period.
Alison Schwagmeyer top-scored with 22 points and Asia Taylor had 21 up against Kia Nurse (17 points, nine rebounds) and Kelsey Griffin (14 points, 14 rebounds) while Chemist Warehouse Austalian Opals Lauren Mansfield (nine points, three assists) and Leilani Mitchell (16 points, three assists) battled off the bench.
Deakin Melbourne Boomers 73 def. JCU Townsville Fire 67
Melbourne swept the season series against Townsville with a third victory on Saturday afternoon but it was another hard-fought victory as they stumbled late and the Fire never surrendered.
Leading by as much as 18 points late in the third quarter and taking on a side missing Suzy Batkovic with neck soreness, the Boomers only scored 12 points in the final term. However, time was against Townsville in their comeback despite the best efforts of Ally Malott (17 points), Micaela Cocks (14 points) and Zitina Aokuso (12 points, 10 rebounds).
For the victors, four players hit double-figures and nine scored, led by Steph Talbot (16 points) and Maddie Garrick who get them going early before finishing with 15 points while Cayla George did a bit of everything with 11 points, eight rebounds, six assists, five steals.
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames 85 def. Bendigo Bank Spirit 64
Entering the game at potentially their lowest point without starters Ally Wilson and Alex Bunton as well as owning a 10-game losing streak, the Flames put all that behind them in a stunning display to claim their first win of 2018/19.
Brittany Smart (22 points, seven assists), Tahlia Tupaea (16 points, six assists) and Shanae Greaves (eight points, three steals) set the tone, scoring Sydney Uni’s first 19 points as they went on a 21-9 run to open the game.
From there, they never looked back, moving in front by 31 points at one stage before the Spirit won the final quarter thanks to Becca Tobin (20 points) and Nadeen Payne (15 points). The Flames were sensational though, recording 20 assists as a team thanks in part to Belinda Snell (11 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, three blocks) and out-scoring their opponents by 24 from beyond the arc as Sarah Graham (14 points) nailed four three-pointers.
Adelaide Lightning 91 def. University of Canberra Capitals 83
Going in opposite directions coming into this weekend, Adelaide put the noise of off-field issues behind them to claim a sweep of Round 8 while handing the Caps consecutive losses. In a back-and-forth affair early, the lead changed hands nine times before half-time with six points the biggest margin for either team.
However, the Lightning moved in front on a Kayla Alexander (17 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks) jumper on the first possession of the third quarter and from there, they were never headed as Nicole Seekamp (24 points, five assists) and Lauren Nicholson (11 points while holding Kia Nurse to ten points) starred while Colleen Planeta made it six players in double-figures with ten points off the bench. Kelsey Griffin again did all she could for the Caps with 23 points and 12 boards while Kelly Wilson moved into third on the all-time assists list with 11 dimes to go with 13 points.
COMING UP: ROUND 9
Round 9 begins on Wednesday night as the Lightning have a quick turnaround to visit Sydney Uni in a mid-week clash. Adelaide then visit Townsville on Friday night in a battle between two sides desperate to get into the top four.
The broadcast Game of the Week returns to Melbourne for the Boomers' meeting with Sydney Uni at 3pm local time on Saturday LIVE on FOX Sports Australia channel 505 and SBS.