Blues hold off Centre of Excellence for second win
After a week break due to the Queen’s Birthday weekend, the Carrum Downs Laser Electrical Frankston Blues hosted the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence.
After accounting for the next-generation of Australian stars in Canberra just 3 weeks earlier by a whopping 40 points, the Blues women were made to work hard across the entire 40 minutes. They were able to see off every challenger to register just their second win of the season, earning a closer than expected 4 point victory.
Shereesa Richards was the most dominant scorer in the game, delivering game-high 25 points (11-19 FG) with 8 rebounds and 2 steals. She received great support from Tocarra Ross and Stacey Barr who both added 14 points, while Steph Reid chipped in 12 points with 8 assists.
In a see-sawing first half, it was the CoE who gained early control of the contest courtesy of some hot-shooting from Taylor Mole who drained two open three-pointers. The Blues looked to use their physical size advantage through Richards who looked ominous in scoring inside the paint. Barr’s aggression on offense had the visitors in early foul trouble, taking advantage of that at the free throw line to keep things locked up.
The Blues employed a full court press that at times had the CoE on the back foot, forcing a number of turnovers that had the Blues threatening to open up the game before half time. However the CoE youngsters were not overawed, clawing their way back into the contest before Mole dialled long distance just before the siren to lock the scores up at 43 apiece at the main break.
The third and fourth quarters were almost a mirror image of the first half. Ross was money from mid-range and would go on to score 9 points in the third period alone. Mole remained on target as she connected on another triple, with Isabelle Bourne and Isabel Palmer also becoming more prominent for the visitors, with the latter ensuring it was just a 2 point margin heading into the final term.
When Mole hit back-to-back treys the CoE had edged ahead by 4, and the Blues could have been forgiven for feeling a little shaky given their inability to close out games this season. Yet the steady play of Barr, Richards and Reid soon had the Blues back in control as they looked to steady the ship despite a three-pointer by Kobe King-Hawea.
A Richards three-point play put the Blues ahead for good with 5:02 to play, although the Coe never gave up. Despite leading by 7, the CoE made one last run at the Blues courtesy of some great plays by Bourne and Palmer. Reid headed to the charity stripe where she converted 2-4 inside the last the last 15 seconds to seal the much-needed win.
While Richards was a scoring force inside the paint, Barr continued her outstanding season to add 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals to go with her 14 points. She combined well with Reid who also came away with 3 steals to complement her 8 assists and 12 points. Best for the CoE was Mole who poured in a team-best 22 points including 6-9 from beyond the three-point line. Eliza Hollingsworth and Bourne were next best with 14 and 13 points each.
Frankston’s full court press forced 20 turnovers while they only gave up 9 themselves, earning 16 more shots from the field for the game, while converting 17-25 from the free throw line compared to just 10-13 from the line by their opponents.
The Blues next head to Geelong for Round 11 where they will hope to gain revenge for their Round 9 loss to the Supercats before returning home a week later when they will host Albury-Wodonga.