Taylor Lee’s dagger three sinks Supercats
The Powerade Frankston Blues have earned their first win of the season in thrilling fashion, coming from behind to steal a 1 point win over the talent-laden Geelong Supercats.
Steph Reid came up big in the second half for the Blues, scoring 12 of her game-high 18 points in across the final two terms as she helped her team chase down a 14 point deficit to set the stage for Taylor Lee’s big shot.
After WNBL star Sara Blicavs put the Supercats up by 2 with under a minute left, Lee responded in the best possible fashion, found wide open on the right wing and duly drained a dagger three to put the Blues ahead by 1. Jazmin Shelley’s drive on the next possession was thwarted as the Blues came up with the defensive stop, before holding on to earn a pulsating 65-64 victory in a game where the fans were on the edge of their seats.
While Reid also dished out a game-high 7 assists with 6 rebounds, she received great support Lee and sharpshooting import JoAnna Smith. Lee finished with 14 points and 5 rebounds, with Smith pouring in 17 points and 8 rebounds in an impressive performance.
Blicavs was Geelong’s best in amassing 16 points and 16 rebounds in playing the full 40 minutes, but the Supercats were missing WNBL rising stars Zitina Aokuso and Ezi Magbegor, the latter who was drafted to the WNBA this week, with both attending an Opals training camp on the Gold Coast. The Blues were missing players of their own, with import Shereesha Richards yet to complete her playing duties in Spain, home grown star Courtney Wilkins not expected back from US College until May, and forward Milica Ivanov still sidelined by injury.
The early signs did not look good for the home side, with Geelong starting the game on a 6-0 run behind Ebon Rolph and Jazmin Shelley. Veteran centre Tegan Fowler came up with the score inside to help get things moving for the Blues before Smith drained her first three-pointer of the night and Reid scored her first bucket to tie the scores up at 8. Lee was looking dangerous, hitting a triple of her own on the right wing to edge her team ahead by 1 point. But a score by Blicavs and then a three-pointer by Isabelle Brancatisano put the visitors up by 4 points at the first beak.
Early scores by Shelley and then Rolph extended the margin to 8 points, with the Supercats depth starting to show through. When Blicavs scored, Geelong were threatening to blow open the game, but back-to-back three-pointers by Reid and Kassie Boorer stymied their momentum as the margin closed back to 3. Isabelle Bourne got in on the act to drain a three of her own for the visitors as the tempo lifted a gear, with Brancatisano scoring 5 points straight to ensure Geelong led 31-24 at half time.
Geelong came out in the second half with early intent, as star duo Shelley and Blicavs combined to push the margin out to 13. Smith drained a timely three of her own, as the intensity started to lift for the Blues. While Shelley and Blicavs continued to keep the Blues at bay, the tide was starting to turn. Smith’s energy at both ends was infectious, and when she was fouled while shooting from beyond the arc, she made all three to ignite an 8-3 run for the Blues. Lee and then Reid started to capitalise offensively, as the home side looked to take control of the game.
Saraid Taylor opened the scoring in the final term to have the Blues within 4, but Shelley hit a three as the Supercats tried to keep the Blues at bay. Reid came up with the tough drive and was fouled, converting the three-point play to have the crowd well and truly involved. Bourne continued to fire for the Supercats, but the Blues then unleashed an 8-0 run capped by consecutive Reid scores that had Frankston take the lead for the first time since early. Rolph returned fire for Geelong, and together with Blicavs, set up a thrilling finish.
Smith scored at both inside on a drive and then made two at the free throw line to keep the Blues in front with 3 minutes to play. Geelong were dominating the offensive boards, but coming up empty handed. Blicavs looked to take over the game down the stretch for Geelong, scoring on two straight possessions to put her side back up by 2 with under 1 minute remaining, setting the scene for Lee’s big shot before the Blues held on for the thrilling win.
Despite being out-rebounded by the Supercats, the Blues outscored their opponents 30-26 in the paint behind their dribble penetration led by Reid, Lee and Smith. However the important work of Taylor (7 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals) should not be underestimated, with the forward doing a fantastic job in limiting the impact of Blicavs.
While Geelong were led by Blicavs, they had four other players score in double figures. Bourne was efficient in compiling 15 points and 8 rebounds, Shelley added 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists, and Rolph 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots [Game Center].
With their first win of the season under their belt, Frankston next head to Bendigo on Thursday night before returning home on ANZAC Day eve for the traditional clash with rivals Dandenong on 24 April. Geelong will return home to host Eltham next Saturday.