WITH the weekend finally arriving, basketball fans around Australia were treated to another match in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) schedule. Things kicked off with a clash between the Melbourne Boomers and the Townsville Fire at the State Basketball Centre on Friday night. The Boomers entered this clash as favourites, given they have been performing strongly of late, while the Fire have shown signs of inconsistency throughout the season, which has prevented them from moving up the standings. As expected, it was a big win for the home side, with Melbourne prodicing a terrific performance in the first three quarters, cruising home to a whopping 28-point triumph in front of their home fans.
One of the big reasons for this excellent performance (particularly on the offensive end) was the output of Carley Ernst, who delivered a terrific performance off the bench to pour in a game-high 22 points in just 20 minutes of action.
Ernst entered the match with just under five minutes remaining in the first term, and she notched up her first stat by pulling down a board after a miss from the Fire. Soon after, the Boomers looked to get her sharpshooting skills involved, with Lindsay Allen finding her for her first three of the game. Ernst chimed in again for another bomb from downtown as Melbourne stretched its lead to double-digits heading into the first break, with the home side clearly on top.
She kicked off the second term with some good work on the defensive end, swatting an attempted three by Townsville’s Stephanie Reid, displaying some excellent defensive hustle. She got reward for this effort, when she made her way down the other end of the court and nailed the shot from behind the arc. It took less than a minute for Ernst to strike again and nail her fourth three-pointer of the game. She headed to the bench after this for a well-earned rest to close out a dominant first half of action.
Ernst spent much of the third term on the bench, with her side well and truly in the box seat for this clash. She came back onto the court with just three minutes remaining for the period. As she had done all game, she was able to break away from the defence and find herself open for three, thanks to a handy pass from teammate Tess Madgen, which marked her fifth triple of the game after three quarters of play.
She kicked off the final quarter in style, once again combining well with Madgen to sink a nice jumpshot, this time from inside the arc. After a quick stint on the bench, Ernst was able to shake her defender once again and remarkably nail her sixth three-pointer of the contest. There was no stopping her from behind the arc, nailing six of her seven attempts from this area. She capped off her night with a turnaround jump shot to take her points total to 22, and finish an excellent performance.