The Jayco Rangers officially secured 2nd place on the WNBL Ladder and home court advantage in the 16-17 Semi Finals, beating Perth Lynx on Saturday and finishing a great regular season off in style.
The Rangers snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the visitors, 81-59, in the final round of the home-and-away season to set-up a series battle with last season’s runner-up.
Perth then had to travel up the Calder to visit Bendigo Spirit in a tough back-to-back but just couldn’t get the job done, with the loss securing home court advantage for Dandenong in the upcoming best-of-three series.
Dandenong coach Larissa Anderson praised her team’s great defence in its return to form.
“If you want to run you’ve got to play defence, it’s as simple as that. Perth had so much fire power so to keep any side below 60 in the WNBL, especially a finalist and a dynamic team like Perth, is huge,’’ she said.
“To my girls credit they’ve really called each other out on things we need to improve on, the last month has been challenging but it’s really allowed us to have a good look at what we needed to do to get back to where we were.”
Sara Blicavs (20 points, six rebounds and three steals) dominated for Dandenong at both ends of the floor in an MVP display.
“Her game just keeps stepping right up to a new level. We’re calling on her defensively, we’re asking her to get rebounds, we’re asking to score,’’ Anderson said.
“If you look at where she scored against Perth nothing was the same. She hit a three then she put it on the floor then she put a post move then she’d get an offensive board. Sara’s really opening up her repertoire as a player and it’s fantastic.”
Steph Cumming combined 19 points with four rebounds and three assists, while Nat Novosel had 18 points and seven rebounds coming off the bench.
For Perth, league MVP favourite Sami Whitcomb scored 17 points and grabbed five boards.
Anderson said while the Rangers had the season split on the Lynx that would mean nothing in post-season action.
“We’ve had three really convincing wins but finals are a whole new ball game,’’ she said.
“The positive for us is we showed really good signs on Saturday night, they’ll feel like they can do better but there is a lot we feel we can do better too,’’ she said.
A fantastic result Rangers fans, a fitting reward for a stellar season! We will now host Perth in Game One of the WNBL Semi Finals series this Saturday at 6:30pm in what’s sure to be a nailbiter. We’ll need YOU there cheering us on in this one!
WNBL SEMI FINALS – GAME ONE
Jayco Rangers vs. Perth Lynx
Saturday February 25th
Tip Off – 6:30PM