A PASSING masterclass from veteran guard Kelly Wilson was the catalyst for the Bendigo Braves’ big win over the Hobart Chargers in the NBL1 South Women over the weekend.
The two teams went head to head at Red Energy Arena in Bendigo on Saturday night, and it was always going to be a tall order for the Chargers to slow down a red-hot Bendigo side. The Braves came into the match unbeaten after seven games, and while Hobart had shown promise during its three wins, it would have to knock off the form side of the competition.
The Braves’ winning streak continued courtesy of a complete four-quarter performance from the home side. Bendigo jumped out to an early double-digit lead, and maintained momentum for the entirety of the match. The Braves won all four periods and maintained their position at the top of the table, while the Chargers slipped to a record of 3-5.
While there were a number of factors that got the Braves to an ideal result, but none stood out like the presence of Wilson, who was marvellous for the winning side.
Bendigo Braves (110) def. Hobart Chargers (76)
Kelly Wilson – 11 points, seven rebounds, 19 assists, two steals
Wilson was a machine for the Braves, playing a crucial role in igniting the team’s offence, which was its biggest strength in the victory.
She was at her damaging best when it came to setting up her teammates, using her IQ, execution and years of experience to keep her side rolling on the offensive end. Unsurprisingly, her 19 assists were the most of anyone on the court, continuing to stamp her authority as one of the best passers in the country.
The likes of Megan McKay and Cassidy McLean benefited from Wilson’s exquisite passing, with both players making the most of the good looks they received, each posting 25 points on some pretty efficient shooting.
She was able to constantly create scoring opportunities with pinpoint passes that seemingly eluded the defence every time. Despite a whopping assist total, Wilson turned the ball over just once remarkably, taking care of each possession in excellent fashion, which made it difficult for Hobart to get many points in transition to get its game going.
Although her shots from the field were not as frequent as the likes of McKay and McLean, Wilson was still quite efficient. She nailed four shots on five attempts, taking advantage when the defence peeled off to try and pick off a passing lane. Wilson was also able to drain a three-pointer, which showcased the damage she could do if she chose to be a bit more selfish and put up a few more shots.
She was also handy on the boards, using her experience to get in clever positions and pull down seven rebounds, despite being undersized in comparison to some of the bigger frontcourt players.
It was a vintage performance from one of the country’s best passers, who used her skills in that domain to pick apart the Chargers’ defence and set up her teammates in some extremely good positions.