WNBL – ROUND 8
DOUSING the Sydney Uni Flames has Dandenong back in the WNBL winner’s circle after a sensational Saturday night performance.
Putting some ongoing problems behind them, the Rangers have shown they’re a force to worry about as they thrashed the former WNBL ladder leaders by 20 points.
The Rangers came into the match down on personnel, with starters Aimie Clydesdale and Alex Bunton sidelined, and facing the league’s top side after back-to-back losses in a huge month of road-trips.
The bookies would’ve given any price for the hosts’ victory, but the Rangers didn’t let the occasion overwhelm them in a four-quarter demolition of the Flames.
From a 10-1 start, the Rangers gave no inch as the visitors weren’t able at any point to surpass the green-and-gold army.
Dandenong shared the workload at both ends – using ithe full roster to perfection.
They swamped Katie-Rae Ebzery (16 points) and the Flames’ tall contingent before the Rangers charged back up court to knock down its shots throughout the squad.
Eight Rangers had five-or-more point with the spread paying off in particular through the second half as the margin ballooned.
Alex Bunton’s absence allowed centre Jacinta Kennedy (12 points, five rebounds, four assists) a chance to start and subsequently star at both ends.
The Rangers were plus-24 when Kennedy was on court as she negated the Flames’ WNBA-experienced talls Carolyn Swords (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Joslyn Tinkle (0 points).
Kennedy owned the post at both ends, as Swords’ double-double was claimed well and truly after the result was decided.
Amelia Todhunter (nine points, seven assists, seven rebounds) was another to relish her starting opportunity – piercing the Flames’ defences, setting up her team mates before filling out her own stats with a pair of sublime fourth-term treys.
Relishing her return to life at Dandenong this year, Steph Cumming (23 points) continued her mercurial season as she knocked in her sixth 15-or-more outing.
Cumming’s buzzer-beating three to end the half left Sydney Uni well and truly on the back foot and she continued to rattle off her shots while keeping a close eye on Flames’ captain Ebzery.
From all facets Dandenong blanketed the Sydney Uni effort and for Rangers coach Larissa Anderson, it showed no one is safe at the top as the league is too even to allow any mistakes.
“At this standard if any teams have lapses you get punished and we’ve just been punished for lapses over the last couple of weeks,” Anderson said. “That’s where all the girls copped it on the chin this week and I think it would be fair to say they brought it together.
“Our focus was what we could control and we had to go back to defence and throwing a few different things out there and giving it a crack.”
The win keeps the Rangers above .500 with a game in hand on the top four and will hope to push back into finals equation when Dandenong battles Perth at home on Friday before flying to face Adelaide on Sunday.
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