The Dandenong Rangers have put on a simply scintillating display to overwhelm a gritty The Tradies Canberra Capitals 101 to 62 at the AIS Arena tonight.
Story by Brenden Parnell
It didnít take long to work out just how the Rangers had piled on a league leading ninety points per game to this point in the season. Frenetic full court pressure greeted the Capitals every single time they attempted to bring the ball out of the backcourt right from the tip, mostly designed it seemed to create an extreme stamina and depth examination.
Nonetheless, the Capitals started with a flourish and dashed to an early lead (7-2) that forced the Rangers to blink first and call a time out.
From there the game settled into its accelerated rhythm, the Rangers pushing up the floor and looking to fast break at every opportunity and the Capitals trying to get running ahead of the pressure and recycling an even share of possession through aggressive offensive rebounding.
The Rangers superior scoring options gradually took hold at this point and they established a lead that was only brought back to a single basket at quarter time (21-19) by Michelle Cosierís best Belinda Snell Olympic impersonation from half court at the buzzer.
Any thoughts of an upset were then unceremoniously put to rest by the visitorís second quarter onslaught (31-16) that was simply stunning to watch.
Rangers Coach Mark Wright streamed a seemingly endless supply line of championship and international experience off his bench that piled on the pressure defensively and moved the ball around sublimely at the other end.
WNBA Import Monica Wright punctuated the period with her own buzzer beating triple that left the Rangers 52-35 leaders. Worryingly, the home team had been full of endeavour with some of Cosierís most extended minutes of the season displaying her unique scoring and rebounding instincts.
The Capitals tried just about every strategy available throughout the second half to try to restrict their mounting turnovers (25 for the game) and make a run. They mixed in a liberal dose of zone defence, but play continued to gallop on unabated and the margin ballooned out to thirty points (81-51) by the end of the third period.
Capitals Coach Carrie Graf roamed right through her roster in the gameís later stages with rookies Alex Bunton and Tessa Lavey seeing invaluable minutes in an environment that was about as challenging, pace wise, as the WNBL has ever produced.
Though the scoreboard sting had gone out of the contest, the tempo stayed constant right to the end as the Rangers sent another full forty-minute message to the rest of the league.
Cosier (22 points, 12 rebounds) was inspirational for the Capitals, whilst Wright (20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists), Opals star Jenna OíHea (15 points in just 15 minutes of court time) and human rubber ball Steph Cumming (19 points) were the standouts in an outrageously deep Dandenong outfit.
Dandenong Rangers 101 (Monica Wright 20, Steph Cumming 19, Jenna OíHea 15) defeated The Tradies Canberra Capitals 62 (Michelle Cosier 22, Samantha Norwood 10, Brigitte Ardossi 8)