THE NBL1 hosts a number of the biggest names in Australian basketball, and Round 10 of the East Women’s competition saw two of the best WNBL players go lock horns in an engaging battle.
The Sydney Comets headed to Sutherland Basketball Stadium to take on the Sharks in a crucial clash for both sides on Sunday afternoon. The Comets have started the season in fine form, and were looking to stay in the race for top spot, which is getting tense with several sides performing extremely well. On the other hand, the Sharks have been solid over the first portion of the fixture, but are slightly behind the pack in terms of contenders.
In an enthralling match, the two sides produced an extremely entertaining contest, with momentum swinging both ways as the game went on. In the end, the final term decided proceedings, with the Comets outscoring the opposition 33-21 in the fourth, en route to a thrilling 91-85 win.
The biggest talking point of the match was the duel between Lauren Nicholson of the Sharks and Shyla Heal of the Comets, who were also the biggest stars hitting the hardwood for this clash. The pair were trading buckets over the course of the match, showcasing their class and importance to their respective sides.
Sutherland Sharks (85) def. by Sydney Comets (91)
Lauren Nicholson – 43 points, four rebounds, five assists
Shyla Heal – 41 points, four rebounds, seven assists
In one of the best duels of the year in any league around the country, Nicholson and Heal were both on fire from the field, generating an immense amount of offence for both teams in a magnificent scoring showing.
Combining for 84 of the match’s 176 points, the pair were undeniable in impacting the match with their ability to find the bottom of the net. Although Heal got the last laugh with a win, Nicholson was just as impressive.
Both players played all 40 minutes of the match, often matching up on one another in a good old fashioned one-on-one contest. Nicholson and Heal went back and forth on their respective offensive ends, with both players proving to be number-one options.
Nicholson had the upper hand when it came to efficiency, making 13 of her 20 shots in comparison to Heal’s shooting of 10/22. All of the former’s shots came from two-point territory, slicing through the defence to score inside, while Heal had an impact from behind the arc with a whopping seven three-pointers from 13 attempts.
Both players did an excellent job in drawing contact on the drive, and spent plenty of time at the charity stripe. Nicholson produced a whopping 17/19 from the free throw line, while Heal was not far behind with 14/16.
Heal drained the final four free throws of the game to ice the result in clutch fashion, and although she was the one to take home the win, both she and Nicholson delivered exceptional performances.