Ballarat Rush get their first home win!

By Kasey Cornwell 

The Ballarat Rush took the win over the Sandringham Lady Sabres on Saturday night, 77 – 71. Centre Joy Burke was instrumental in the win, with an outstanding 34 points and 18 rebounds. Local favourite Abby Wehrung made 14 points and 6 boards and Ashleigh Spencer took 12 rebounds and hit 7 points. Sandringham’s top scorer was Elidh Simpson on 20 points.

The first quarter’s scoring took some time to get going, with both sides failing to make the most of their shots, and scores were low. Kristy Rinaldi opened the scoring for the Rush a mere 13 seconds into the game, however from then on there was little scoring from the sides. The Rush ended the first quarter, down 3 points, 15 – 18.

The game was tight early but once the Rush were able to utilise their height advantage they took control of the game. Joy Burke really came into the game late in the second quarter, getting into good positions in the paint and receiving some great passes from her teammates. Rush entered the main break with a handy 10 point lead (44-34)

The third term really showed how the Rush were trying to use their height advantage to get the better of the Sandringham forwards. Despite Joy Burke being double-teamed, Rinaldi, Molly Matthews and Wehrung were able to get good passes into the key for easy baskets. Even after Kasey Burton went down late in the quarter with a suspected knee injury the team held together and maintained the lead. The final break had the Ballarat Rush up by 4, 55 – 51.

At the beginning of the final quarter Ballarat looked determined to get their first home win on the board. Despite the first 3 shots missing, the Rush never gave up on the rebound and in the first 5 minutes of the term Joy Burke had hit 11 points from solid offensive plays, and extended the lead to 11. The Ballarat Rush managed to hold off Sandringham’s fight back to end the game 6 points up, 77 – 71.

Head Coach Dave Flint, said after the game that his team’s ability to bring everyone into the game was effective. He was impressed with what Joy Burke brings to the group, and how she can be used inside. He stressed that Burke creates great space for the guards.

The first quarter Flint thought that they played defensively well but needed to find a way to score. Unforced errors was Flint’s reasoning for this, but he was suitably impressed at the team’s ability to turn that around and now head into their bye weekend, 2 and 2.

The combined effort from Ballarat on Saturday night was important for Flint, he was happy with having such a great game from the tall Burke, a solid game from Abby and 7 points a piece from Rinaldi and Spencer.

Dave Flint and the Rush have the next week off and will return to the Minerdome on Sunday May 1 against Brisbane, hopefully with Kerryn Harrington on the floor.

Click here to see all the stats from Saturday nights win.