NBL1 West Players of the Week – Round 7

WITH the weekend recently wrapping, another round of National Basketball League (NBL)1 West has also concluded, delivering some more cracking contests around Western Australia.

The seventh round of the 2024 season saw 18 games take place over the span of Friday and Saturday, with most games decided by 10-plus points as the contending sides flex their muscles as the halfway point of the fixture approaches.

There was also an abundance of excellent outings from some of the competition’s biggest names with some eye-catching statlines produced across both the men’s and women’s divisions.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at the standout performances from both divisions, after some big numbers were posted over the weekend. This time, Joel Murray and Emma Gandini take out the honour for both divisions after stuffing the stat sheet over the weekend.

Joel Murray (Mandurah Magic) vs. Goldfields Giants

42 points, seven rebounds, six assists, one steal

Murray continued his red-hot start to the season as the Magic claimed a 13-point win over the Giants at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.

It was an armwrestle for much of the contest, with the momentum changing hands over the first three quarters. The Magic held a five-point buffer heading into the fourth quarter, before Mandurah kicked into gear in the last term, outscoring the hosts 28-20 to storm home and claim a 107-94 victory.

Murray was a defining factor in the contest, providing valuable offence and outworking the defence across all four quarters. For the third time this season, he was the best player of the NBL1 West Men’s round, and would be one of the contenders for MVP come season’s end.

From the field, he shot 12/20, doing particularly well from inside the arc where he attacked the rim and appeared unaffected by the defence’s efforts to close out whenever he had the ball.

Murray did his best work from the charity stripe, drawing contact on the drive and keeping Mandurah’s score ticking over consistently. From the free throw line, he shot 16/17 and maintained plenty of composure.

Having been one of the most impactful players of the 2024 season, Murray showed his value to Mandurah with another match-winning performance.

Emma Gandini (Rockingham Flames) vs. Eastern Suns

20 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, eight steals, one block

Gandini had one of the most impressive statlines of the fixture as the Flames produced a big win over the Suns at Ray Owen Sports Centre on Saturday night.

The Flames looked the better side from the get-go, jumping out to a 12-point lead in the first quarter and never surrendering their advantage. Rockingham simply did as it pleased despite being on the road, and Eastern could not get going, falling to the tune of 46 points as the Flames firm their championship credentials.

Gandini did a bit of everything in her side’s massive win, flirting with a quadruple-double in what could have been an extremely rare feat.

She poured in 20 points on 8/18 shooting from the field, and trailed just her teammate in Georgia Pineau in terms of offensive output.

On the glass, Gandini was also one of the game’s top performers, taking advantage of the opposition’s poor efficiency on the offensive end and pulling down 12 offensive boards and 14 rebounds overall for the match.

She made sure to share the love as a playmaker, combining well with Pineau in the post to record a game-high eight assists and between the pair, it was simply too much for the Suns defence to try and contain.

Defensively, Gandini ensured she was always switched on and created plenty of transition baskets with her active hands, recording a whopping eight steals and constantly forcing Eastern into turnovers.

It was a tremendous two-way performance from Gandini, who was involved everywhere and demonstrated how dangerous this Rockingham team can be when she is firing at this calibe.

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