SEABL: Rangers zero in on historic triple

Conference champs: Dandenong Rangers women celebrate their SEABL east conference title on Saturday night. Picture: Ted Kloszynski

By Roy Ward

DANDENONG Rangers want to seal their place as the most successful team in South East Australian Basketball League women’s history when they play for a third straight championship this Saturday.

The Rangers women won their third straight east conference title in thumping fashion on Saturday night with an 86-47 win over Geelong Supercats at Dandenong Stadium to book their place in the championship game.

Once again they will face Knox Raiders, the team they beat in last year’s decider, although this time it will be at the Raiders’ new home court, the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South on Saturday at 1pm.

Clare Papavs and Steph Cumming were equal leading scorers with 14 points each in the win over Geelong.

Papavs said her side was focused solely on taking its place in league history. ‘We are focused and ready to go,” she said after the conference title win.

“This group of girls adore each other and we know this is probably the last time we play together so we want to win and go down in history as the best team there has been.”

In the win over the Supercats, the Rangers came out focused on stopping Supercats star Deanna Smith and their crowding defence gave none of the Supercats any freedom as they kept the visitors to just six points in the opening term and 23 in the first half as they opened a 20-point lead during the second term. The Rangers also forced the Supercats into 25 turnovers.

Smith ended the game with just six points on 1-10 shooting while Cortney Williamson led the visitors with 11 points. Papavs said the Rangers worked all week on stopping Smith.

If the Rangers claim the SEABL championship they will join the club’s D League sides and the Rangers WNBL side as championship winners in 2012.