THIS past weekend saw Round 11 of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) take place across a number of courts around Australia. The action concluded on Sunday afternoon, with the Melbourne Boomers welcoming the Sydney Uni Flames to State Basketball Centre, with the two sides playing out an entertaining clash.
The Boomers entered this matchup as the favoured team, given their performance so far this season has seen them sit comfortably in fourth spot, while the Flames have conversely been unable to fire throughout their 2021/22 campaign to date, but were hopeful of a boilover. This did not come to fruition with the home side able to overcome a slow start to get on top of their opponents in the third quarter and cruise home to a nine-point lead.
Sydney Uni Flames
The match kicked off with the Flames getting out to an early lead in surprising fashion. Kalani Purcell racked up a pair of steals in the opening minutes, as Sydney Uni clearly came out with the intent of punishing their opponents on both ends of the court. The visitors had jumped out to an early eight-point lead midway through the term, and the Boomers’ fears of a shock upset were becoming very real. However, the efforts of Lindsay Allen saw the hosts get themselves right back into the contest, trailing by just two points at the conclusion of the first period.
The Boomers could not have started the second term any better, with Tess Madgen nailing the first shot of the term from behind the arc, and giving her side the lead for the first time since the opening minutes. The first half of the quarter saw some back and forth action, with the two teams trading buckets and the lead multiple times. Back-to-back triples for Madgen saw the Boomers jump out to a five-point advantage, but the Flames were quick to bring this back to two. A late three to Tiffany Mitchell extended Melbourne’s lead to four points to conclude the first half.
Boomer Eziyoda Magbegor drained the first two buckets of the second half, giving her side an eight-point advantage early in the term. Scoring slowed up from here a bit, with both teams putting an emphasis on defence during this time. The deadlock was lifted when Mitchell found her way to the free throw line, and was able to extend the margin. She formed an impactful duo with Magbegor as the pair combined for the next nine Melbourne points. The home side truly got on top of the contest in this time, with the lead out to 14 points heading into the fourth period.
The final term saw the Boomers look to put the game away early, with a quick burst topped off by a Cayla George triple that extended the margin out to 19 points. The Flames began to mount a bit of a comeback as the quarter rolled on, particularly in the final minutes of the match. However, the result was well and truly sealed by that point, as Melbourne cruised home to a big victory.
CLOSING THOUGHTS …
For the victors, Mitchell led the way in the scoring column with 21 points in just 30 minutes of play as she controlled the tempo of Melbourne’s offence with plenty of success. She combined well with Magbegor, who poured in 17 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks as the two wreaked havoc on the Sydney Uni defence. For the Flames, Keely Froling had a game-high 24 points, while Shyla Heal wasn’t too far behind with 21 of her own. Purcell fought bravely as she tried to help her side any way she could with eight points, 16 rebounds, six assists and three steals in an all-around performance.