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WNBL Rd.6 Wrap: Fire up, by 2, twice

DEFENDING WNBL champion Townsville fired up at the weekend with two road wins and both by two points, coach Claudia Brassard discovering the fast track to grey hair.

Bendigo's star import Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe produced a 20-point, 10-rebound double but a big free throw and a calculated miss by Suzy Batkovic at the death salvaged a 71-69 Fire escape.

Amy Kame came off the Townsville bench as the X-Factor, delivering 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals as Natasha Cloud settled into the starting point guard role.

Townsville has lost playmaker Kelly Wilson for upto six weeks with an ankle fracture suffrered in last week's two-point overtime win over Sydney. Brassard has thrown the starter duties to Cloud and yes, the sky's the limit.

With just over four minutes left, Townsville led by 10 and all Bendigo had to show was one field goal for the period and four turnovers. But Raincock-Ekunwe's steal and fast break brought the big crowd to life and a string of threes had the Spirit poised at 69-70.

But with 0.2 of a second left, Batkovic sank her first free throw, then deliberately aborted her second, denying Bendigo any time to spirit a win.

Darce Garbin produced 15 points as Townsville similarly escaped Melbourne's grasp, the Batgirl breaking Boomer hearts with a back-breaking game-winning shot, albeit more conventionally this time. Alice Kunek led the home team, her 21 points including five triples.

Asia Taylor (pictured) enjoyed a solid night for Sydney as it smacked away Melbourne's challenge. Taylor led all acorers with 22 points, plus seven rebounds and seven assists.

Kelly Bowen led Melbourne with 19 points off the bench but the Boomers' 30 per cent field goal (in)accuracy sabotaged its best efforts.

Surprised at home last week by Canberra, a change of scenery did the trick for Dandenong as it smashed the Capitals by 19 at Traralgon.

In control from the tip, Dandenong led by as many as 35 points, Stephanie Cumming leading the way with 18 points, Jacinta Kennedy adding 12 off the bench.

Kate Gaze was joint points leader for Canberra, her 11 the best return since her move to the Capitals.

Marianna Tolo had 11 points and nine boards but was no-where near the presence of last week's Canberra win. Lauren Mansfield, who destroyed the Rangers last week with 29 points, including 4-of-6 threes, was held to 10, with 0-of-4 long bombs.

This time, the Rangers followed the scout.

Hammered by 32 in Perth a fortnight ago, MAC Adelaide Lightning, missing captain Laura Hodges, still shaved 20 points off that margin in the return bout. A 63-75 loss was a far cry from a 63-95 humiliation, especially with the prospects of that being revisited looking very real when the Lynx led 48-30 at halftime.

But Colleen Planeta's 11-point third period in a career-best 24-point game, plus numerous invaluable cameos saw Adelaide even draw within 10 at one stage. Of course, Sami Whticomb (23 points) and Tessa Lavey never were entertaining a shock loss, Kisha Lee also extremely efficient off the bench with 12 points in 17 minutes.



SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 87 (Taylor 20, Boag 16,  Snell 15, Wilson, Mitchell 14; Boag 10 rebs; Snell, Mitchell 8 assts) d MELBOURNE BOOMERS 75 (Bowen 19, Smart, Cunningham 12, Kunek 10; Black 6 rebs; Cole 7 assts) at at The Schoolyard, Brydens Stadium.
DANDENONG RANGERS 82 (Cumming 18, Clydesdale, Kennedy 12; Blicavs 8 rebs; Cumming 5 assts) d CANBERRA CAPITALS 63 (Tolo, Gaze, Ruef 11, Mansfield 10; Tolo 9 rebs; Mansfield 4 assts) at Traralgon Sports Centre.
TOWNSVILLE FIRE 71 (Batkovic 18, Kame 16, Cloud 12, Murray 10; Batkovic 8 rebs; Standish, Kame 4 assts) d BENDIGO SPIRIT 69 (Raincock-Ekunwe 20, Griffin 15, Payne 12; Raincock-Ekunwe 10 rebs; Payne, Harrington 4 assts) at The Goldmine, Bendigo Stadium.
PERTH LYNX 75 (Whitcomb 23, Lavey 14, Lee 12; Hamblin 10 rebs; 3 with 3 assts) d MAC ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 63 (Planeta 24, Good 8; Planeta 9 rebs; Logic 7 assts) at The Weather Bureau, Titanium Security Arena.
TOWNSVILLE FIRE 74 (Batkovic, Standish 16, Garbin 15; Batkovic 8 rebs; Cloud 7 assts) d MELBOURNE BOOMERS 72 (Kunek 21, Smart 19, Cole 15; Smart 7 rebs; Cunningham, Kunek 6 assts) at Fort Knox, State Basketball Centre.


Nov 13

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