NBL1 Women’s Round 11 review: Ringwood Hawks swoop into top four

RINGWOOD Hawks have snatched a top four spot in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 Women’s competition, following back-to-back wins over Round 11, and helped by losses to both Kilsyth Cobras and Nunawading Spectres. The Hawks triumphed over Eltham Wildcats and Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (CoE), both by 11 points. In the win over Eltham, it was the first half that set up the victory, moving to a 13-point lead by half-time, before overcoming a challenge in the third term, then settling to run out 85-74 winners. Megan Mullings posted 22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in the win, while Danni Bone helped herself to 20 points and seven assists, as Cassidy Mihalko also performed strongly (16 points, eight rebounds and two steals). For the Wildcats, there were two players who did the majority of the scoring with Chelsea Schweers (26 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Vanessa Panousis (19 points, six assists) the key players for the home side. In Ringwood’s victory over the CoE, it took a last quarter domination to overcome a determined opposition, trailing by four at the final break before a 23-8 last term saw the home team get over the line, 75-64. Mihalko topscored with 22 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Bone posted up another 20 points, three rebounds and five assists, and Mullings (17 points, nine rebounds and two assists) was prominent again. For the CoE, Lily Scanlon registered 16 points, three rebounds and two steals, while Agnes Emma-Nnopu was the losing side’s best, picking up a double-double thanks to 15 points and 11 rebounds, as well as three assists.

The weekend was not a complete loss for the CoE however, with the young up-and-coming side jumping off the bottom of the table courtesy of an upset two-point win over Melbourne Tigers. They controlled play in the first half, opening up a 14-point lead by the main break, and while the Tigers hit hard in the second half, the CoE maintained their composure to post a 66-64 victory. Scanlon was terrific up the scoring end with 20 points, while Sara-Rose Smith (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Emma-Nnopu (12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks) were strong off the boards. Monique Conti was once again the standout for Melbourne, posting a game-high 21 points as well as four rebounds, three assists and five steals, while Louella Tomlinson (17 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and four blocks) picked up a double-double, and Kasey Burton (14 points, five rebounds and two steals) was busy.

After four consecutive losses, Dandenong Rangers’ win against Frankston Blues must have tasted sweet, downing the reborn Blues side by nine points. Colleen Planeta had a mammoth game, picking up a double-double and was everywhere on the court with 38 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals, while Aimie Clydesdale (17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists) came close to her own double-double, and Taylah Gilliam (16 points, two rebounds and four assists) was also consistent in the drought-breaking victory. For Frankston, Steph Reid continued her good season form with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Shereesha Richards impressed with 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in the defeat.

Equally important in terms of ladder positioning over the weekend was Waverley Falcons whose season remains with a pulse – albeit a faint one – after downing now cellar dwellers, Diamond Valley Eagles, as well as an upset victory over Nunawading Spectres. In the seven-point win over the Eagles, the Falcons had to come from two points down at the final break to run over the top of the home side and secure the victory in a tight contest. Carley Ernst posted 28 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks in the win, while Tegan Cunningham helped herself to 20 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Alex Wilson (20 points, five rebounds and six assists) was prominent for the Eagles, while it was no surprise to see Anneli Maley (16 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals) best on court for the losing side and picking up another double-double. In the huge upset over the Spectres, it was a 17-9 third quarter that set up the 62-52 victory, as Cunningham (16 points, five rebounds, two assists and four steals) topscored in the low-scoring victory, while Ernst (13 points, nine rebounds) was the other Falcon to reach double-figure points. Rachel Brewster was the only Spectres’ scorer of note with 18 points – at 70 per cent from the field – as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

At the other end of the table, Knox Raiders’ strong season continued with back-to-back wins in Round 11 in their trip down south to the Apple Isle. They recorded victories over Hobart Huskies (34 points) and Launceston Tornadoes (32) to remind the top two sides of what they are capable of on their day. Against the Huskies, they won every quarter on their way to a big win, led by Lauren Scherf (21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks) picking up a double-double, as did Marena Whittle (15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks), while Bree Whatman finished the game with 15 points. For the Huskies, Ellie Collins (22 points, six rebounds and five assists) and Tayla Roberts (17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks) were impressive, but had too few help, picking up almost 80 per cent of the team’s points, as well as almost half the rebounds and assists, as well as the only three blocks. Scherf was completely dominant in the Raiders’ massive win over Launceston on Saturday, posting 27 points, 23 rebounds and two assists, while Bec Ott finished with 29 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Stella Beck was the standout player for the Tornadoes, sinking 29 points as well as picking up 13 rebounds, two assists and five steals. The Tornadoes had a rough weekend in terms of fixturing, also going down to the raging machine that is Geelong, losing 89-57. Ezi Magbegor had a game-high 22 points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks in the victory, while Jazmin Shelly was the other high scorer with 20 points, two assists and three steals, as Geelong rotated players around against the bottom four side. Beck (14 points, 10 rebounds and five steals) picked up a double-double, while Brittany Hodges (12 points, five rebounds) did all she could in the loss.

In other results, the weekend was great for Albury Wodonga Bandits fans, while the news was less pleasant for Ballarat Rush supporters as the two sides picked up contrasting results from their two games. The Bandits downed the Southern Sabres, 87-79 in their first game on Saturday, with Molly Rice (18 points, nine rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks) impressive, as as Jessie Edwards (13 points, eight rebounds), Natalie Hurst (16 points, six assists) and Cherise Daniel (16 points, five rebounds). Rachel Jarry was a lone star for the Sabres, sinking 30 points to go with her 10 rebounds and five assists in a prominent double-double effort. In a 19-point win over Ballarat Rush, the Bandits again shared around the points with Emma Mahady (23 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Hanna Zavecz (20 points, 11 rebounds) joining the party as Edwards (26 points, nine rebounds) and Daniel (18 points, 11 rebounds and three assists) were dominant again. Olivia Hackmann stood tall for Ballarat, registering 22 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Hsi-le Bao finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Chanise Jenkins (13 points, eight assists, three rebounds and two steals) was the other Rush player who had an impact in the forward half.

In the Rush’s other game, they went down to second placed Bendigo Braves in a 10-point defeat. Despite leading at quarter time, the Rush could not stop the Braves in the second term, heading into the main break facing an 11-point deficit, and could not recover from there. Kelly Wilson continued her strong season for the Braves, posting 20 points, two rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Rebecca Tobin (18 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocks) was unstoppable off the boards. Gabrielle Richards (13 points, eight rebounds and three assists) was also impressive for the winners, while for the Rush, Bao (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Laura Taylor (11 points, seven rebounds and three assists) were the two standouts. In the other game for Round 11, Nunawading Spectres ended Kilsyth Cobras’ good form of late, knocking them back outside the top four with an important 78-71 victory. The Cobras slipped to seventh such is the evenness of the competition, with the Spectres maintaining sixth after Ringwood leapfrogged the Spectres and Rangers into fourth courtesy of their extra game over the weekend. In Nunawading’s victory, it was Kathleen Scheer who stood tall with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Rachel Antoniadou (17 points, nine rebounds and three assists) and Rebecca Pizzey (13 points, five rebounds and three assists) were also productive. For the losers, Klara Wischer (26 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals) laid claim to best-on-court, while Lauren Nicholson was again strong across the game, posting 18 points, five rebounds and two assists despite the defeat.

Round 11 results:

Geelong Supercats 89 defeated Launceston Tornadoes 57
Hobart Huskies 50 defeated by Knox Raiders 84
Melbourne Tigers 64 defeated by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 66
Dandenong Rangers 86 defeated Frankston Blues 77
Southern Sabres 79 defeated by Albury Wodonga Bandits 87
Bendigo Braves 81 defeated Ballarat Rush 71*
Kilsyth Cobras 71 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 78*
Diamond Valley Eagles 76 defeated by Waverley Falcons 83
Eltham Wildcats 74 defeated by Ringwood Hawks 85
Launceston Tornadoes 63 defeated by Knox Raiders 95
Ringwood Hawks 75 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 64
Ballarat Rush 81 defeated by Albury Wodonga Bandits 100
Nunawading Spectres 52 defeated by Waverley Falcons 62

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