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And that's that, Rds 13 & 15 over

IT always was going to be a big Round 15 in the NBL with Final Four berths at stake but there was plenty going on in WNBL Round 13, which proved mighty unlucky for some.

In the NBL, twin losses by New Zealand sent the Breakers plummetting while South East Melbourne outlasting Illawarra, and Brisbane also winning today has them both still very much in the picture.

The Bullets now boast a 10-11 win-loss record and the Phoenix 9-11. The 36ers are ahead of both in fifth spot on 11-11, courtesy of their win over Melbourne United, which now is 11-10 in fourth.

Cairns' split - beating New Zealand, losing in Sydney - has the Orange on 12-10 in third behind Perth (which routed the Hawks) and the Kings, now 14-8 and 15-6 respectively.

The earlier games in the NBL round were covered hereDROPPING two games this round has slumped New Zealand Breakers to 9-12, leaving them needing to win all of their remaining regular season games to stay in the post-season hunt.

In Auckland today, they started strongly enough against Brisbane but could not sustain the momentum when Lamar Patterson cut loose.

The Bullets had to be seething after losing the "unlosable" game against New Zealand at home and particularly unhappy would have been their All Star import Patterson.

His two crucial errors in the endgame in Brisbane, a turnover and unsportsmanlike foul, undid all of the Bullets' great work and opened the door for Tom Abercrombie to tie the game with two free throws and Scotty Hopson to steal and win it with a 3-pointer on the buzzer.

Patterson was outstanding today with a game-high 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a steal, Brisbane seizing the initiative with a white-hot 34-21 second period.

Cam Gliddon's 14 points came on 100 percent shooting, 5-of-5 from the floor, including 4-of-4 threes. Taylor Braun's 14 came at 71 percent, 5-of-7 with 3-of-4 triples.

And EJ Singler's 13 were achieved on 6-of-7 shooting, with 1-of-1 from beyond the arc, the Bullets shooting at 54 percent and 10-of-21 from long range.

Inside, Matty Hodgson compiled a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double, Brisbane smashing the boards 43-31 to send the Breakers very much back to the drawing board.

IN Wollongong, Illawarra powered out of the starting gates to throw South East Melbourne onto a backfoot before the Phoenix's decisive 29-13 second quarter altered the game's momentum and set up the visitors' 90-82 win.

South East trailed by nine during the second quarter before Kendall Stephens, given his chance, seized it with both hands, delivering a game-high and career-best 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, with 6-of-11 threes.

Stephens sparked a 17-0 Phoenix flight, nailing four triples. And when Illawarra's Sam Froling and Dan Grida gave the home fans voice again by drawing to within a basket, John Roberson poked them in the eye with a 3-pointer and Stephens added two more.

Dane Pineau again dominated in the paint with 14 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting, supplemented with another massive 18-rebound haul.

Froling finished with a double-double for the Hawks (13 points, 11 rebounds) and the more Illawarra plays its young emerging stars, the better it looks.

(Machado 29, Newbill 20, Oliver 14; Oliver 8 rebs; Machado 3 assts) d NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 79 (Loe 24, Hopson 18, Abercrombie 16; Loe, Abercrombie, Hopson 7 rebs; Hopson 8 assts) at The Sssnakepit, Cairns Convention Centre. Crowd: 4,392
PERTH WILDCATS 99 (Cotton 23, White 17, Norton, Kay 14, Steindl 13; Kay 10 rebs; Cotton 6 assts) d ILLAWARRA HAWKS 77 (Blanchfield 26, Dech 15, Grida 11; Blanchfield 8 rebs; Naar, Glover 4 assts) at The Sandpit, WIN Entertainment Centre. Crowd: 2,532
SYDNEY KINGS 92 (Kickert, Ware 18, Tate 15, Newley, Bruce 13; Tate, Cooks, Bogut 8 rebs; Ware 4 assts) d CAIRNS TAIPANS 83 (Deng 18, Machado 16, Newbill 15, Djeric 14; Oliver 7 rebs; Newbill 7 assts) at The Kingdome, Qudos Bank Arena. Crowd: 10,857
ADELAIDE 36ERS 100 (Randle 23, Griffin 21, Johnson 19, Teys 11; Griffin 11 rebs; Drmic, Teys 4 assts) d MELBOURNE UNITED 86 (Goulding 26, Long 16, McCarron 10; Long 15 rebs; Trimble, McCarron 5 assts) at Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Crowd: 9,034
BRISBANE BULLETS 95 (Patterson 18, Gliddon, Braun 14, Singler 13, Hodgson 10; Hodgson 10 rebs; Patterson, Sobey 5 assts) d NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 85 (Abercrombie, Henry 17, Hopson 14, Ashley 12; Delany 6 rebs; Hopson 6 assts) at The Breakwater, Spark Arena. Crowd: 5,552
SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX 90 (Stephens 20, Madgen 17, Pineau 14, Roberson 12; Pineau 18 rebs; Roberson 7 assts) d ILLAWARRA HAWKS 82 (Blanchfield 15, Froling, Grida, Dech 13; Froling 11 rebs; Naar, Hobson 3 assts) at The Sandpit, WIN Entertainment Centre. Crowd: 3,398

* * *

WNBL Round 13 certainly was unlucky for some, Adelaide shooting 2-of-20 from 3-point land helping to deliver Melbourne a tight road win, Townsville cutting Abby Bishop and immediately winning two games, and the Boomers today squandering a chance to take first place off derby rival Southside.

For the Adelaide-Melbourne, Townsville-Canberra summaries - with the defending champion Caps now losing to the team in last place two weeks in succession - hit this link

IN Melbourne today, The Boomers had the game in their keeping when leading Southside 67-65 inside the final 20 seconds at State Basketball Centre in the battle for the WNBL leadership.

Leilani Mitchell had to foul twice to finally put Stella Beck to the free throw line but despite the small forward having hit a huge 3-pointer during the tense final quarter, she missed both freebies.

Mercedes Russell snared the rebound, got it to Sara Blicavs who handed off to Mitchell, fouled by Monique Conti with 5.4 seconds left in regulation.

Mitchell coolly converted both to send the match into overtime, 67-67.

The Boomers had an unlucky Round 13 with star import playmaker Lindsay Allen ruled out pre-game due to a bump in the match at Adelaide, then losing star shooter Maddie Garrick to "friendly fire" in a head clash. Garrick had eight points and seven rebounds at the time. 

But with Ezi Magbegor (game highs in points, 24, and rebounds, 12), Melbourne won the first three quarters and looked set to break its losing streak to the Flyers.

Overtime started with a spate of turnovers by both teams before Cayla George rebounded her own miss, popped it back in and added a bonus free throw for a 70-67 Boomers buffer.

Mitchell then exceptionally split the Melbourne defence for a tough layup which was followed by a Kalani Purcell turnover, then a Russell turnover.

Toni Farnworth's free throw make bumped Melbourne's lead to 71-69, erased when Bec Cole found Russell going to the hoop.

Farnworth then blocked Mitchell going to the basket - Mitchell earlier had a super block of her own on Conti - but off the inbounds, Russell scored again for a 73-71 Flyers lead.

The Boomers blew a point-blank shot to tie before Mitchell was fouled with 38.6 seconds remaining and swished both for a 75-71 edge.

Beck's drive made it 73-75 with 29.4 seconds left, Southside ran down the clock and Mitchell's late miss was rebounded by Magbegor with under five seconds left. Unfortunately, she was lost in the moment and Melbourne did not get the ball across the line as the siren sounded.

IN Perth, Nadeen Payne's 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, with 3-of-6 threes, paired with Marena Whittle's 19 on 7-of-13 shooting and 3-of-5 threes, powered the Lynx to a 100-81 rout of Bendigo.

Shyla Heal again came off the Spirit bench for a career-high 30 points with 5-of-6 threes, Carley Ernst with an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double against her former club, Perth ahead 32-21 after one and never caught.

The win jumped the Lynx back over Sydney, which lost in Sydney to a rejuvenated Townsville team.

The Flames had their own Round 13 misfortune, losing Tahlia Tupaea to a suspected PCL injury but were gritty and looked headed for a home win before Darcee Garbin uncorked a champagne last quarter.

Garbin scored 11 of her 18 points in the final stanza, assisted on 3-pointers to Tess Madgen and Alison Ebzery, grabbed a defensive board and swatted away an Alice Kunek shot attempt in the last 20 seconds, playing it out to the siren.

Brittany Smart's return helped the Flames and her free throw restored the lead 75-74 at 4:26 left.

But from there it was a Micaela Cocks drive, a Garbin basket and Madgen's 3-pointer in a mini 7-0 run for 81-75 and the Flames were cooked.

Kunek with 30 points and Lauren Scherf with a 16-point, 10-rebound double, kept the game entertaining throughout.

(Cunningham 18, Magbegor, George 14; Garrick 9 rebs; George 7 assts) d ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 69 (Turner 23, Westbeld 18, Seekamp 11, Nicholson 10; Turner 10 rebs; Seekamp 11 assts) at The Lighthouse, Titanium Security Arena.
JCU TOWNSVILLE FIRE 102 (Madgen 26, Vanloo 16, Garbin 14, Carleton 13, Gaze 12, Cocks 10; Carleton 11 rebs; Vanloo 10 assts) d UNI of CANBERRA CAPITALS 69 (Tolo, Nurse 17, Froling 15, Rocci 14; Froling 10 rebs; Epoupa 8 assts) at The Fire Station, Townsville Stadium.
JCU TOWNSVILLE FIRE 83 (Garbin 18, Cocks 17, Carleton 15, Vanloo 13, Madgen 10; Carleton 9 rebs; Vanloo 6 assts) d SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 76 (Kunek 30, Scherf 16, Kuster 12; Scherf 10 rebs; Wilson 7 assts) at The Law Courts, Bryden’s Stadium.
PERTH LYNX 100 (Payne, Whittle 19, Schwagmeyer-Belger 17, Ebzery 14, Mansfield 12; Allen 7 rebs; Ebzery, Mansfield 6 assts) d BENDIGO SPIRIT 81 (Heal 30, Ernst 11; Ernst 10 rebs; Wilson 11 assts) at The Enclosure, Bendat Stadium.
SOUTHSIDE FLYERS 75 (Mitchell 21, O'Hea 19, Russell 18, Cole 15; Russell 11 rebs; Cole 6 assts) d DEAKIN MELBOURNE BOOMERS 73 (Magbegor 24, George 13, Beck 11; Magbegor 12 rebs; Conti, George 5 assts ) in overtime {67-67} at The Boomerang, State Basketball Centre.

Jan 12

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.