Monday Nov 2 2015 – It was built up as one of the biggest encounters of the season, and didn’t disappoint! The Deakin Melbourne Boomers defeated Townsville Fire 84-75 in front of a record 1,693 crowd.
With the fans pumping amongst the stands, the Boomers stood tall against a much fancied opponent. A ripping 8-0 run late in the third term set up a thrilling finish as the home side gallantly fought their opponents off in the final stanza to record their third victory of the season.
With six players in double figures, the Boomers stuck to their team plan and executed with perfection. Tess Madgen led the team on the scoreboard with 19 points, as the Boomers struck a cord shooting an efficient 48.5% from the floor.
Madgen had plenty of help around her though, as Alice Kunek (18 points), Maddie Garrick (14 points) and Kate Oliver (11 points) all provided sparks when called upon.
Elyse Penaluna was made to work inside, battling with WNBL’s ‘twin towers’ in Suzy Batkovic and Cayla George. She certainly held her own though, grabbing 14 rebounds along with 12 points – Penaluna teaming up with Oliver to stifle the opposition pairing.
It didn’t all go the Boomers way throughout the evening however; Suzy Batkovic finding the rim on nearly every occasion en route to 32 points and 12 rebounds.
Townsville couldn’t get anyone to run with Batkovic, with ever improving Tamara Tatham (12 points) the only other bright spark for the visitors. In a rare occasion, the Fire went down on the rebound count 27-40.
Boomers head coach Guy Molloy was extremely pleased with how Penaluna fought under the rim.
“We played two big teams that have historically really kicked out butt on the glass. I think she’s had 14 tonight and 14 against Canberra, so her individually effort rebounding was tremendous.”
“I thought we had a really good application to our game plan, and we needed our defence to be extended.
“We’ve been a one-two punch with Elyse (Penaluna) and Tess (Madgen), but we know that we have really good shooters around them. So it’s nice to see Alice (Kunek) get going, Maddie (Garrick) made some huge buckets, Kate’s (Oliver) a talented young post player and then Britt (Smart) stepped up.”
The Fire have now split their weekend after defeating Dandenong on Saturday night – head coach Chris Lucas quoting his team were simply ‘flat’ tonight.
“Really disappointed, I thought Melbourne were more desperate than us tonight,”
“We were a little bit flat tonight, that’s what it felt like. Our energy level wasn’t up and there could be some contributing factors to that.”
For the Boomers, it’s been a massive week – defeating the University of Canberra Capitals on Saturday night, before making it two from two and now sitting with a 3-2 record before heading down the highway to Dandenong for a primetime rival match-up next weekend.