While they have nothing to play for in terms of the playoffs this season and Nunawading are still fighting for a top-two spot, Ballarat proved they can still influence the make-up of the finals with a comprehensive win over the Spectres in Round 13.
The Rush prevailed 70-52 on Saturday night, a day after they fell narrowly to the Caps Academy in overtime but without losing a quarter against Nunawading, the result never seemed in doubt in their second contest.
Hsi-Le Bao (formerly known as Joy Burke), dominated the front court as she utilised her supreme height to record 22 points, 19 rebounds, two steals and a block while Courtney Walker (18 points, seven boards, seven assists) flirted with a triple-double.
Veteran Kristy Rinaldi notched double-figures as well with 16 points and an equal game-high five assists while Claire Constable and Amy Griffin combined for 11 points off the bench.
Sherry Glennie helped negate their influence with 12 points herself for the Spectres and Marena Whittle (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Izzy Chilcott (14 points, ten boards, five assists) had double-doubles each but Nunawading’s defence was what let them down.
They allowed the Rush to shoot 50% from the field and were out-scored by 21 from beyond the arc while the home side also tallied a +11 advantage in team assists.
While they are still going to feature in the post-season, there are a few concerns for Nunawading as they head towards the business end of 2018 on a two-game losing streak.
Things do not get any easier next weekend as they take on Melbourne and Sandringham while the Rush will aim to cause another upset when they visit the undefeated Braves next Friday night before hosting Hobart.
ROUND 13 RESULTS:
A few losses for teams at the top of the ladder has kept the race for the top two wide open after Kilsyth dropped consecutive games and Nunawading fell to Ballarat. Sandringham made the most of their opportunities, upsetting the Cobras with a last-second shot while Diamond Valley have extended their winning streak to seven. Geelong also picked up an important victory against Kilsyth to stay inside the top eight and a split of the weekend for Launceston is good enough at this stage. Dandenong are in free-fall though on the back of four straight losses which has kept the door open for Sydney Uni and Hobart. Bendigo, meanwhile, keep on flying with 16 wins on the trot.
Canberra def. Ballarat 76-75
Diamond Valley def. Hobart 76-68
Dandenong def. by Melbourne 64-86
Geelong def. Kilsyth 66-53
Canberra def. by Sydney Uni 54-59
Albury/Wodonga def. by Hobart 58-79
Ballarat def. Nunawading 70-52
Bendigo def. Launceston 95-81
Frankston def. by Diamond Valley 70-87
Sandringham def. Kilsyth 76-75
Melbourne def. by Launceston 72-94
Andrew Mathieson of The Examiner looked at Launceston’s Sunday win over the Tigers: https://www.examiner.com.au/story/5513211/tornadoes-blow-off-tigers/?cs=96
Ryan Reynolds writes about David Herbert’s confidence in the Supercats’ ability to do damage for the Geelong Advertiser: https://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/sport/local-sport/lady-supercats-coach-confident-geelong-can-do-seabl-damage/news-story/a16849d89c77c76aa3cf58761d5d79a0?login=1
Chris Young of the Border Mail reported on Emma Mahady’s return for the Bandits: https://www.bordermail.com.au/news/business/5511073/emma-mahady-happy-with-fitness-after-albury-wodonga-lady-bandits-return/
Siobhan Calafiore recapped the Rush’s efforts in Round 13 for The Courier: https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/5512987/ballarat-rush-produces-huge-seabl-upset-with-defensive-effort/
Kieran Iles of The Bendigo Advertiser analysed Gabe Richards’ night out for the Braves as they pushed their winning streak to 16: https://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/5513419/bendigo-braves-women-power-way-to-16-0/
For all the latest news, interviews and recaps from the 2018 season, tune in to 88.3 Southern FM with Bruce Mitchell from 9am every Sunday morning: www.southernfm.com.au