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Lightning on Cloud 9: WNBL19, Rd9 Wrap

DISPLAYING the fighting spirit for which players such as Rachael Sporn, Erin Phillips, Jess Foley, Trina Roberts and Sam Woosnam made the WNBL club famous, MAC Adelaide Lightning closed Round 9 early, and with aplomb.

Holding off Sydney in Sydney - the Flames next beat Melbourne in Melbourne so this was no "cert" - gave Lightning their third win in three states in succession, before Adelaide rocked Townsville in Townsville.

Hacing twice squandered bona fide chances at home to put out the Fire, the road win was particularly exciting, Adelaide now on a mini four-win streak to be 7-6 and in the top four.

Dandenong also kept its teetering season alive with a stunning 20-point home win over the league-leading Lynx, Perth coming in off an 18-point home success over Bendigo.

* * *

BENDIGO bolted out of the blocks to lead Perth 19-11 after the first quarter, the Spirit hellbent on saving their season.

But a 29-10 second period response by Perth turned the match on its ear, considering Louella Tomlinson's basket had Bendigo ahead 26-15 with 7:26 left in the quarter.

Nadeen Payne's three didn't even slow Perth's run, interrupting the home team's 8-0 outburst but igniting a further 17 unanswered points to halftime. When Brittany McPhee opened the third with a basket, Perth's run was 19-0, the difference 42-29 and only stopped when Payne hit two free throws at 9:10.

But with Asia Taylor going off for 33 points at 52 percent, nine rebounds, two assists and five steals, Perth was never again going to be troubled. 

* * *

SYDNEY orchestrated the biggest upset of the WNBL season when it clipped the Boomers in Melbourne 65-62.

Having led for much of the way  and by as many as 12 points, the Flames looked headed for a near-miss when Jenna O'Hea's 3-pointer gave Melbourne its biggest lead at 62-58 with three minutes left.

But Tahlia Tupaea had other plans after Brittany Smart's three trimmed it back to a one-point deficit. Tupaea hit an exceptional jumper over Steph Talbot, then iced the win with a super drive to the hoop, the jubilation on the Flames certainly something to savour.

* * *

THE big story in Canberra was the return of Opals centre Marianna Tolo from her second ACL tear and what an impact she had off the bench for the Capitals.

Playing 21 minutes, Tolo had 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting, four defensive rebounds, an assist and two blocks as Canberra torched Bendigo by 31 points.

The Caps shot at a sharp 49 percent, including 19-of-19 free throws to wrap this one and leave the Spirit's season in tatters.

* * *

DANDENONG kept its season alive with a big and crucial home win over Perth, Kayla Pedersen leading the onslaught with a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double.

Ahead 53-45 at halftime, Dandenong produced arguably its best quarter of the year, a 29-8 avalanche that sent Perth crashing to its third loss of the season.

With Sara Blicavs (ACL) due to make a triumphant early return next round, a la Marianna Tolo, the Rangers have returned to contention.

* * *

WNBL Round 9 Results
(Nicholson 26, Seekamp 14, Coffey 12, Alexander, Blicavs 10; Alexander 11 rebs; Seekamp 10) d SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 72 (Smart 14, Greaves 13, Tupaea 12, Panousis 10; Smart 6 rebs; Tupaea 4 assts) at The Law Courts, Bryden’s Stadium.
MAC ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 85 (Nicholson 23, Seekamp 17, Davidson 14, Blicavs 10; Alexander 8 rebs; Seekamp 5 assts) d JCU TOWNSVILLE FIRE 70 (Cocks 17, Malott 14, Garbin, Aokuso 12; Aokuso 9 rebs; Samuels, Cocks 2 assts) at The Fire Station, Townsville Stadium.
PERTH LYNX 86 (Taylor 33, McPhee 20, Ebzery, Schwagmeyer 10; McPhee 10 rebs; McPhee 5 assts) d BENDIGO BANK SPIRIT 68 (Payne 27, Wehrung 16; Tobin 13 rebs; Turner 6 assts) at The Enclosure, Bendat Stadium.
SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 65 (Tupaea 21, Greaves, Snell 14, Smnart 12; Smart 10 rebs; Snell 7 assts) d DEAKIN MELBOURNE BOOMERS 62 (Garrick 14, George 12, Magbegor, O'Hea 11, Allen 10; George 13 rebs; O'Hea 6 assts) at The Boomerang, State Basketball Centre.
UNI of CANBERRA CAPITALS 94 (Tolo 23, Griffin 21, Nurse 16, Rocci 10; Griffin 7 rebs; Wilson 7 assts) d BENDIGO BANK SPIRIT 63 (Hurst 13, Wehrung 12, Payne 11; Tobin 9 rebs; Whittle 4 assts) at Mum’s Kitchen, Canberra Convention centre.
JAYCO DANDENONG RANGERS 96 (Pedersen, Cole 21, Laney 17, Mijovic 16, Jarry 13; Pedersen 11 rebs; Lavey, Cole, Laney 6 assts) d PERTH LYNX 76 (Steindl 18, Taylor 17, Ebzery, Schwagmeyer 11; McPhee 5 rebs; Mansfield 5 assts) at The Ranger Station, Dandenong Stadium.

Dec 9

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