In their first game in front of a home crowd the Dandenong Rangers notched up their fourth win, defeating the AIS 87-52.
Kathleen Macleod was again amongst the top scorers for the Rangers, along with Abby Bishop, and Steph Cumming
Tayla Roberts, Rebecca Cole and Gretal Tippett were standouts for AIS.
The young AIS players signalled they were there to play from the tip-off, going hard after the ball in what was a physical and aggressive quarter from both sides. Five early points from Alex Bunton put the AIS one up against the rangers at 5-4, but they were quickly overtaken by the depth and years of experience of the new Rangers team and Dandenong moved to 13-7 halfway through the first period.
Rangers coach Mark Wright ran a high rotation of his bench with no player having more than 25 minutes of court time. Steph Cumming made an immediate impact for the Rangers when she was subbed on in the last three minutes of the first quarter. The AIS were unable to contain the Rangers who ran away to take the lead 24-9 at the first break.
In the second, the AIS lifted their game, matching the Rangers basket-for-basket in spite of Ashley Robinsonís efforts rejecting their shots and the teams went to the change-rooms with the Rangers leading 44-29.
The AIS came out of the blocks quickly with two unanswered baskets and got the lead down to nine on the back of a Rebecca Cole three. From there Dandenong powered away with Bishop and Macleod piling on points and the Rangersí experience cranking up the pressure against the AIS to take the game to 68-44 at the final change.
The AIS were not prepared to back down with Cole and Gretal Tippett (10 rebounds) taking the ball strong to the basket whenever they could make an opening, but their efforts were thwarted by the long arms of Ashley Robinson who proved to be impassable in the paint with 7 of the Rangersí 8 blocks for the game.
In the final stages Wright emptied the bench and the Rangers ran out comfortable winners 87-52
By Alison Power
Photography by Stewart Chambers