The Dandenong Jayco Rangers defeated the Sydney Uni Flames 74-59 at the Dandenong stadium on Friday night, in a game dominated by defence.
The Rangers looked strong at the start when they took the lead early and looked like holding onto it. But Sydney had other ideas. Led by Sally Potocki, who shot her only eight points for the game in the first quarter, the Flames took the game up to the Rangers to level at 15 all, then closed out the quarter with a one-point lead.
Kathleen MacLeodís speed and penetration were vital for Dandenong as they swapped baskets with the Flames for the first half of the second quarter, until the Rangers lifted their defensive intensity with Ashley Robinson and Alison Downie (10 points, 6 rebounds) double-teaming the Sydney post players and sweeping the boards. A buzzer-beating three from Downie took the Rangers to a 37-26 lead at the half.
Downie carried on her form in the third making the Rangersí first seven points for the period as the sides continued to swap baskets. Eva Afeaki and Amy Denson were strong inside but Sydney Uni could not overcome the Rangersí defence, committing 25 turnovers and having the ball stolen 11 times.
Although the Rangersí MacLeod left the court injured at the six-minute mark, Tracey Gahan (16 points, 6 rebounds) and Jess Foley (17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals) were reliable offensive weapons, ensuring the Rangers maintained their lead at 55-42 going into the final quarter.
The Rangers continued to make their outside shots, hitting 47 per cent from beyond the arc, and with just three seconds remaining, Steph Cumming finished the game on a high note with a long three, to give the Rangers a 74-59 win.
Dandenong 74 (Jess Foley 17, Tracey Gahan 16, Kathleen MacLeod 12) defeated Sydney 59 (Eva Afeaki 14, Natalie Stafford 14, Amy Denson 13)
By Alison Power