By Nick Creely
REVIEW – ROUND 1
A slow starting Dandenong Rangers outfit went down to a Liz Cambage inspired Melbourne Boomers to open the 2017/18 WNBL season on Thursday night.
The 26-year-old Australian Olympian and WNBL legend – who hasn’t been seen in the Australian Domestic scene for five years – was at centre stage in front of a capacity crowd at Dandenong Stadium for the Boomers, the team she won a WNBL MVP for in 2011.
A new look Rangers’ side took to the court, but it was the Boomers who got the early jump courtesy of Cambage who immediately got the away side in front with a faultless jump-shot that set the tone for the entire match.
Despite some impressive work only moments later by Rangers’ star Sara Blicavs, the Boomers were shooting hot, and raced out to a commanding 13-29 quarter time lead after the Rangers fought back later in the term but couldn’t quite reel it back in.
It realistically snuffed out any chance of the Rangers pulling off a remarkable comeback, and despite finding their groove in the second term, could only reduce the margin back to 13-points at half time. In a tough contest in the second half, the Boomers always found a second gear despite repeat attempts at a comeback by the Rangers, but the first quarter deficit ultimately proved a bridge too far.
Fresh off her playing her first game with the Rangers, import Kayla Pedersen shared her thoughts about the opening round clash.
“It would have been nice to have a win, but it was alright,” she said post-match.
“They came out really well, and offensively we didn’t really have a flow – I think we really hurt ourselves.”
The Rangers get the perfect chance to bounce back with a grand final rematch against last year’s premiers, Sydney Uni Flames.
The match on Saturday night, with tip-off at 7pm, is expected to have a bumper crowd.
“We’re just going to get after it, get in a few days of practice and then go to Sydney – I think we want a little bit of revenge so, hopefully, we will see a different team against Sydney,” Pedersen said.
DANDENONG RANGERS 13, 31, 43 (61)
MELBOURNE BOOMERS 29, 44, 61 (76)
Sara Blicavs – 17 points, four rebounds and one assist. Stephanie Blicavs – 16 points, six rebounds, six assists. Kayla Pedersen – 10 points, 11 rebounds. Carley Mijovic – Seven points, nine rebounds. MELBOURNE BOOMERS
Liz Cambage – 17 points, six rebounds, two assists. Jenna O’Hea – 11 points, 11 rebounds. Madeline Garrick – 10 points, two rebounds. Rebecca Cole – 10 points, five rebounds, two assists.