NBL1 Women’s Round 15 review: Braves make a statement as Cobras secure fourth

THE final round of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 Women’s competition is done and dusted, with the top eight locked up ahead of the start of finals in a fortnight. Bendigo Braves sent a message to the rest of the competition with a comprehensive 30-point win over second placed Geelong Supercats to lock up the minor premiership. The Braves’ only loss had come at the hands of the Supercats, and from the outside it was clear to see they were keen to post a big win. They won all four quarters on their way to victory, albeit against a Geelong side missing Sara Blicavs and Ovie Magbegor. Instead it was Gabrielle Richards (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Kelly Wilson (21 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks) who dominated, while Gabriella Turner (23 points, five rebounds and three assists) also had a say in the proceedings for the winners. In their NBL stars absences, Isabella Brancatisano had her best game to-date, picking up 16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Ebony Rolph helped herself to 15 points, 10 rebounds and six steals with both players registering double-doubles.

In the standalone game on Friday night, Waverley Falcons locked up a top eight spot courtesy of a 34-point win over Hobart Huskies to secure the finalists for season 2019. The visiting side also won each of hte four quarters on their way to an imposing 97-63 win over the bottom four side. Renae Mokrzycki had a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds, while Tegan Cunningham (12 points, 10 rebounds) picked up a double-double, and Kelly Bowen (12 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists) was also important in the victory. For the Huskies, Ellie Collins (19 points, two rebounds, three assists and two blocks) was the standout scorer, while Tayla Roberts (10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Kylie McCauley (nine points, seven rebounds and two assists) were both prominent off the boards. Waverley then moved into seventh spot on the table courtesy of a 22-point win over Launceston Tornadoes. Carley Ernst picked up 21 points and nine rebounds in the big win, while Mokrzycki (19 points, nine rebounds), Cunningham (15 points, seven rebounds), Bowen (10 points, nine assists, three steals and 13 rebounds) and Jessica Bygate (11 points, six rebounds) had great presence off the boards and on the scoreboard. Launceston’s Stephanie Gardner topscored for her side with 19 points and four rebounds, while Micah Simpson (16 points), and Sarah O’Neill (14 points, five rebounds) also tried hard throughout the game.

Dandenong Rangers’ weekend saw them just cling onto a finals spot, dropping both games, albeit against top four sides in Kilsyth Cobras (23 points) and Ringwood Hawks (three points) on consecutive days. In the big loss to Kilsyth, it was a slow start of 17 points to the Cobras’ 43 that all but sealed the Rangers’ fate, with Sarah Boothe having a night out by feasting on 28 points and 23 rebounds, shooting at 72.2 per cent from the field, as well as six assists. Clare Camac was the next highest points scorer for the Cobras with 17, as well as five assists and three rebounds, while Alison Downie picked up a double-double thanks to 12 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. For the losers, Colleen Planeta did the bulk of the damage picking up a double-double herself courtesy of 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Rebecca Cole was the next highest scorer (12 points, seven rebounds. In the loss to Ringwood, Planeta again did all she could with 25 points, nine rebounds and three bocks, while Cole recorded 23 points and six rebounds. For the Hawks, they shared the points around as Ella Ogier (16 points, 11 rebounds) was the best of them, ahead of Cassidy Mihalko (15 points, eight rebounds and three steals) and Danni Bone (14 points, nine rebounds and six assists).

A team who enjoyed a much better weekend was Eltham Wildcats, downing Nunawading Spectres by seven points, then toppling Melbourne Tigers by 21. Whilst it was not enough to make finals due to Waverley claiming both wins, the Wildcats finished their season on a high with back-to-back wins to sit ninth on the table. Against Nunawading it was Alice Kunek (27 points, nine rebounds and six assists) who stood tall), but she was joined by Chelsea Schweers (18 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals), Vanessa Panousis (13 points, four rebounds and four assists) and Chelsea Brook (11 points, nine rebounds and four assists) as other double-figure scorers. Nunawading had a couple of important scorers, with Maddie Garrick (20 points, six rebounds) leading the way, although Kathleen Scheer (18 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks) was best on the court. Rachel Brewster (13 points, nine rebounds) and Rebecca Pizzey (12 points, nine rebounds) came agonisingly close to double-doubles. In the comfortable win over Melbourne, Schweers had a team-high 23 points, while Margaret Mulligan was the standout with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Kunek (17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Brook (15 points, eight rebounds and three steals) were productive for their sides. For the Tigers, Monique Conti finished her consistent season off on the right note with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Kasey Burton (15 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals) was the other Tigers’ player who stood tall.

Ballarat Rush also enjoyed a win over Melbourne Tigers on their way to a narrow five-point victory. Chanise Jenkins had 24 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and four steals in the win, while Olivia Hackmann (19 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals) and Hsi-le Bao (13 points, 10 rebounds) were other Rush players to reach double-figure points. Conti was again the standout for the Tigers with 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, while Katie Budgen picked up some of the slack with 21 points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals, and Kasey Burton helped herself to a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds, as wells four assist, four steals and two blocks.

Knox Raiders finished the season with an on-the-road win against Albury Wodonga Bandits. The Raiders posted a 98-84 victory, winning three of the four quarters to do it comfortably in the end. Abbey Wehrung (22 points, two rebounds, six assists and two steals) and Bec Ott (21 points, five rebounds and four assists) both troubled the scorers quite a bit, while Lauren Scherf picked up a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds). For the Bandits, Jessie Edwards was the top player with 25 points and seven rebounds, while Emilee Harmon (17 points, six rebounds) and Cherise Daniel (15 points, five rebounds) were both productive players on the court.

In the other two games, Southern Sabres suffered two losses to finish off a disappointing season, going down to last placed Diamond Valley Eagles by 19 points, before suffering a narrow one-point loss to Frankston Blues. Diamond Valley’s Shelby Cheslek (25 points, 12 rebounds) and Anneli Maley (21 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and three steals) were dominant against the Sabres’ side, with Rachel Jarry (24 points, nine rebounds and six steals) doing all she could, while Amy O’Neill (14 points, eight rebounds and two assists) was the next best. In the narrowest of overtime losses, O’Neill was again prominent for the Sabres, registering 22 points, five rebounds, 10 assists and four steals, while Tenaya Phillips (24 points, five rebounds and three steals) and Ella Batish (20 points, six rebounds) were also busy. For the Blues, Shereesha Richards hauled her side across the line thanks to a mammoth 40-point, 14-rebound and seven-assist game, leading the way ahead of Saraid Taylor (19 points, 10 rebounds) who picked up a double-double as well, while Courtney Wilkins (14 points, seven rebounds) and Taylor Lee (13 points, six rebounds and four assists) were the next best.

Round 15 results:

Hobart Huskies 63 defeated by Waverley Falcons 97
Geelong Supercats 58 defeated by Bendigo Braves 88
Kilsyth Cobras 81 defeated Dandenong Rangers 58
Diamond Valley Eagles 88 defeated Southern Sabres 69
Albury Wodonga Bandits 84 defeated by Knox Raiders 98
Ballarat Rush 84 defeated by Melbourne Tigers 79
Eltham Wildcats 80 defeated Nunawading Spectres 73
Launceston Tornadoes 77 defeated by Waverley Falcons 99
Southern Sabres 96 defeated by Frankston Blues 97
Dandenong Rangers 68 defeated by Ringwood Hawks 71
Melbourne Tigers 72 defeated by Eltham Wildcats 93

Final ladder:

1 Bendigo Braves 19-1
2 Geelong Supercats 17-3
3 Ringwood Hawks 15-5
4 Kilsyth Cobras 14-6
5 Knox Raiders 14-6
6 Nunawading Spectres 12-8
7 Waverley Falcons 11-9
8 Dandenong Rangers 11-9

9 Eltham Wildcats 10-10
10 Albury Wodonga Bandits 9-11
11 Frankston Blues 9-11
12 Ballarat Rush 8-12
13 Melbourne Tigers 8-12
14 Basketball Australia CoE 6-14
15 Hobart HUskies 6-14
16 Southern Sabres 4-16
17 Launceston Tornadoes 4-16
18 Diamond Valley Eagles 3-17

Week 1 finals:

Bendigo Braves vs. Kilsyth Cobras
Geelong Supercats vs. Ringwood Hawks
Knox Raiders vs. Dandenong Rangers
Nunawading Spectres vs. Waverley Falcons

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