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Yeah, Naz as Boomers bolt to Game 3 semi

ON the cusp of elimination, down Opals Olympian Sara Blicavs (leg) for the rest of the season and Tall Ferns centre Penina Davidson (calf), Melbourne not only dug deep but practically buried Southside 88-67 in Game 2 of their WNBL best-of-three semi final series, Naz Hillmon perfect from the floor.

In setting up a Game 3 series decider on Wednesday, Hillmon's 22 points came on 3-of-3 shooting from the floor, including 1-of-1 3-pointers, and 15-of-15 from the free throw line where she repeatedly was sent by baffled Flyers unable to keep sight of her.

Jordin Canada's 21 points came on 67 percent shooting and was accompanied by five rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Tera Reed (12 points at 60 percent) and Keely Froling (12 points, 3 fouls) were disciplined and worked hard all night to execute Chris Lucas' game-plan which somehow managed to neutralise Southside's obvious talent and height disparity.

Lauren Jackson (21 points at 56 percent), Mercedes Russell (15 at 58) and Carley Ernst (11 at 63) still stood out as much as their obvious height advantage suggested they should.

But the Boomers were super-disciplined in not additionally fouling any of them so that while all three did get to the stripe, they shot four free throws between them.

It was a masterclass in focus and playing your role, Aimie Rocci again sharp for 11 points and great defensive hustle and Monique Conti, while off with her shooting (1-of-9) found other ways to contribute, securing a finals career best nine rebounds.

To round out Melbourne's small-ball rotation, Kristy Wallace produced an invaluable 24 minutes as the Boomers weathered the best Southside could muster which both tactically and physically was far from enough.

Whingeing instead of winning, the Flyers' shot selection - particularly Bec Cole (2-of-11) and Maddi Rocci (1-of-6) - left a lot to be desired and Game 1 wildcard Jasmine Dickey was never a factor.

Flyers coach Cheryl Chambers spent more time complaining than adjusting, the Boomers 35-29 clear at halftime.

Threes by Jackson and Maddi Rocci to start the third quarter tied it at 35-35 but Melbourne went 27-17 for the rest of the quarter, then steadily built on its 10-point buffer in the last.

Jackson dragged them into contention early but baskets by Froling and Canada blew out the lead and Southside was out of ideas.

Other than whingeing about the officials, of course. That remained a constant.  


GAME 2: MELBOURNE BOOMERS 88 (Hillmon 22, Canada 21, Reed, Froling 12, Rocci 11; Conti, Hillmon 9 rebs; Canada 5 assts) d SOUTHSIDE FLYERS 67 (Jackson 21, Russell 15, Ernst 11; Jackson, Russell 6 rebs; Mitchell, Rocci 6 assts) at Melbourne Sports Centres. Crowd: 2,892

Game 1: SOUTHSIDE FLYERS 90 (Jackson 20, Mitchell 18, Dickey 16, Rocci 15; Ernst, Russell, Rocci 8 rebs; Mitchell, Russell 5 assts) d MELBOURNE BOOMERS 86 (Froling 23, Conti 16, Canada 15, Reed, Rocci 11; Froling, Hillmon 7 rebs; Canada 11 assts) at Melbourne Sports Centres. Crowd: 890

Series tied 1-1

WITH a 1-0 lead after controlling Game 1 of their semi final in Townsville, Perth at home today needs to close this out, as winning again in Far North Queensland seems too big an ask.

Working hard to ensure a decider will be Perth stalwart and now Fire star Sami Whitcomb, so big in Game 1 but now even more important with her team's back to the wall.

Mar 3

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