Western Stars Go Undefeated in Round Four of the WNWBL
The first game on Friday night was the highly-anticipated first-versus-second encounter between the Sydney Uni Flames and Western Stars. And the clash didn’t disappoint, with the Western Stars getting home by seven points. Cobi Crispin and Amber Merritt did the damage for the Stars, both players picking up double-doubles – 17 points and 13 rebounds; 14 points and 13 rebounds respectively – as they showed why they will be tough to beat come finals time. The Flames had plenty of contributors as well, with Liesl Tesch the standout with 17 points and 15 boards, but it wasn’t enough to get the home side over the line.
Fans didn’t have long to wait for the second big clash between the Goudkamp Gladiators and VIC Dandenong Rangers. The bottom two teams were looking to notch a much needed victory and it was the Rangers who got their weekend off to a flier with an impressive 13-point win. Leanne Del Toso (14 points and 13 rebounds) and Kathleen O’Kelly Kennedy (15 points and 14 boards) were huge for the Rangers, leading the squad to the big win. Mari Amimoto’s 26 points was a monster effort in a losing side, signs she was looking for a big weekend.
The action moved to Saturday evening, where the bottom sides had their first crack at the league-leaders. First up was VIC Dandenong who clashed with Sydney Uni. A big first half from the Flames set up the solid victory over the gallant Rangers, outscoring VIC Dandenong 32 to 20 by the half, and they didn’t look back. The Rangers worked hard to stay in the contest, but ultimately fell by 17 points.
In Saturday’s second encounter, The Western Stars were simply too strong for the Goudkamp Gladiators, running away with a 20 point victory. Cobi Crispin was unstoppable for the Western Stars, finishing the game with 32 points and a mammoth 24 boards. Mari Amimoto followed up her big first game with 28 points and nine boards of her own, but the Stars simply had too many answers as they also remained undefeated for the round heading into the final day of play.
Sunday was the big day on the fixture, with four epic clashes to finish off the round, offering teams one last dig at some wins before finals time.
The Western Stars continued their impressive form with a strong 16 point win over VIC Dandenong. The Rangers led at the first change, but things dried up offensively in the second as the Stars regained the ascendency. Still with a chance heading into the last quarter, a huge 25-point final term from the Western Stars sealed the win. Amber Merritt finished with39 points and 18 monster boards. Shelley Chaplin was good for the Rangers, finishing with 22.
The Stars took this form into their final clash for the round, as they simply over-powered the Goudkamp Gladiators by 31 points, finishing the round undefeated. They had four double-figure scorers, with Merritt continuing her impressive form with 28 points for the game. Cobi Crispin double-doubled with 22 points and 12 boards. Mari Amimoto continued to fill the bucket, finishing with 26 for the Gladiators.
An upset was brewing, and it was delivered by the VIC Dandenong Rangers, who accounted for the Sydney Uni Flames by 11 points. Holding the home side to just 44 points for the match, the Rangers 55 point total was enough for a comfortable victory. Shelley Chaplin was again solid offensively, finishing with 22 points and the rebounding domination of Del Toso (14 boards) and Kennedy (15 boards) was telling.
Following the shock defeat, the Flames took their frustrations out on the Goudkamp Gladiators, accounting for the bottom side by 27 points in the final clash of the round.
The Western Stars leave the round sitting pretty on top. The horror weekend for the Flames sees them slip to second, while VIC Dandenong Rangers walk away with two big wins from four and with a great deal of confidence heading into finals time. The Gladiators couldn’t add to their win column in round four, but they’ll get their chance on the 10 September, when the finals tip off.