The Dandenong Jayco Rangers and the Bendigo Bank Spirit were both vying for third position and needing a win today to secure it.
The result was going to come down to who wanted it most, with the Spirit defeating the Rangers 67-56. Kristi Harrower led her team with 16 points and 10 rebounds, assisted by Kelly Wilson with 11 points and four assists. The Rangers had no answer for Bendigoís accuracy from beyond the arc, making only four to the Spiritís 13 threes.
The Rangersí Tracey Gahan kept her teamís hopes alive with a strong presence in the paint at both ends, pulling down 14 rebounds and scoring 12 points.
Abby Bishop, having scored 11 points in the first half picked up her fourth foul early in the third, restricting her impact on the game to finish with 14 points for the match.
The Spirit had no answer for Bishop inside as the Rangers opened with an 11-nil lead. Gabrielle Richards entered the game playing strong interior defence, taking away the Rangersí ability to get the ball inside.
Bendigo chipped away at the lead with four baskets coming from behind the arc, to go into quarter time one point down 18-17. Bendigo lifted the tempo of the game with aggressive play from their guards to take the lead on a three from Wilson and secured it with another from Tess Madgen.
Gahan and Steph Cumming fought hard but the Rangers were unable to claw back the lead, ending the half with Bendigo leading 34-30.
Kelly Wilson bagged yet another three, extending the Spiritís lead to nine points, a gap which Dandenong was unable to close. In the final term Dandenong scored only nine points as the Spirit denied them any structure in their offence.
Bendigo 67 (Harrower 16, Wilson 11, Magden 10, Edmondson 10) defeated Dandenong 56 (Bishop 14, Cumming 12, Gahan 12, Foley 12)
By Alison Power