The Dandenong Jayco Rangers consolidated their recent wins and fourth place on the ladder with a convincing 16-point win over the Townsville McCafe Fire at Dandenong Basketball Stadium this afternoon.
Although the Rangers struggled in the first quarter against the Fire’s offensive attack led by Rachael Flanagan (18 points) and Amy Lewis (12) they finished strongly, taking the game 70-54.
The Rangers played a strong team-orientated game with all players contributing, led by Kathleen MacLeod with 14 points and nine assists, Alison Downie (13 points) and Lauren King (12 points).
In a run-and-gun start to the game Townsville fired-out to a 10-4 lead, Dandenong having no answer for Lewis’ speed and baseline cuts. After a time-out Dandenong increased their defensive intensity and with MacLeod running a more patient offence and Abby Bishop strong inside, the Rangers were able to narrow the gap to 14-17 at the quarter.
Early in the second period Jess Foley’s strong drives to the basket for six points gave Dandenong the lead. From there the Rangers powered away with a run of baskets, out-scoring the Fire 23-10 to take a 37-27 lead into the main break.
Bishop picked up her fourth foul early in the third forcing her to sit out much of the quarter. Flanagan and Lewis took advantage and applied their offensive pressure to chip away at the Rangers’ lead to within three points.
Alison Downie’s return to the floor brought much-needed strength in defence and her athletic offence lifted the Rangers to re-gain their composure and take a seven-point lead into the final period.
A three-pointer from Downie in the opening seconds of the final quarter provided the impetus for a Dandenong charge with Downie adding another five, and six from Lauren King to take an unassailable 14-point lead mid-way into the term, and a 70-54 final score-line.
Dandenong Rangers 70 (Kath MacLeod 14, Alison Downie 13, Lauren King 12) defeated Townsville Fire 54 (Rachael Flanagan 18, Amy Lewis 12)
By Alison Power