Blicavs fires early to lead Flyers to big dance

IN A thrilling decider to the last remaining WNBL semi-final series, the Southside Flyers have booked a spot in the grand final after downing the Melbourne Boomers by one-point at State Basketball Centre on Wednesday night.

After the Boomers hit back in game two and forced a deciding match, the Flyers held on in dramatic fashion in response to Melbourne’s momentum after half-time. There were six lead changes in the third quarter alone, and the Flyers were forced to come from behind.

A three-pointer deep in the final quarter from Maddison Rocci gave Southside the lead, but the Boomers answered, and it was not until game three inclusion Kayla Thornton nailed a lay-up in the dying stages to give the Flyers a win.

While it was a balanced team performance from the Flyers, which is one of their biggest weapons, a strong start from Sara Blicavs set the tone for the team. If not for her first half performance, Southside may not have ended up getting over the line.

Southside Flyers (73) def. Melbourne Boomers (72)

Sara Blicavs – 14 points, seven rebounds

In their biggest game of the season to date, the Flyers needed one of their big guns to stand up, which is what Blicavs did.

Although it seems a low figure given Southside produced 73 points in the match, Blicavs was still the Flyers’ equal- leading scorer for the match with her 14 points. The victors liked to share the ball and scoring opportunities, but Blicavs was a reliable source of scoring.

Admittedly, it was not her most accurate performance, with the 30-year-old nailing just four shots on 12 attempts, but was a stronger performer from behind the arc. Blicavs shot 44 per cent from downtown, with all of her makes coming from three-point territory, shooting 4/9 from deep.

As mentioned above, Blicavs did most of her work in the first half, firing in the first two quarters to establish Southside as a genuine chance of winning the match. 11 of her 14 points came before half time, which was the most of any Flyer to that point as well.

Blicavs was also able to chime in for seven rebounds, and although most of them came on the defensive end, two were offensive, creating a second chance scoring opportunity for the Flyers. She used her 188cm frame to reach over the opposition and get first hands on the ball after a miss.

Although her influence was quelled in the second half, she still chimed in for her fourth triple, and played a vital role in getting the Flyers into the big dance, where they will take on the Townsville Fire for the ultimate prize.

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