By Kasey Cornwell
Ballarat Rush get a huge win on their home court. 58 – 53 over the Launceston Tornadoes. Abby Wehrung starred with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Kerryn Harrington made 12 points and 5 assists and Joy Burke finished the game with 14 rebounds and 7 points.
The first period, was a low scoring affair with the Rush trailing Launceston 8 – 11 at the break. Both sides’ defensive pressure was up and this made it hard for either side to score.
Scoring picked up in the second term despite both teams shooting at 25% or below. The defensive pressure from the Rush increased even more, rebounding was high, with Ballarat leading the count 23 – 21. The Rush were able to keep Launceston’s key players, Alex Wilson and Mikaela Ruef to 5 points and 7 points respectively. At the main break the Ballarat Rush lead Launceston 22 – 16.
Early in the third, Launceston’s Alex Wilson bringing her team back into the game, cutting Ballarat’s lead and taking a 5-point lead in about a minute. The Rush quickly took notice and the physicality increased, Kristy Rinaldi made her presence felt, dropping 3 point shots and grabbing defensive boards. Abby Wehrung dominated on the score board, taking back the lead and quickly increasing it to 6 points.
In the final term Ballarat maintained a small lead, until halfway through the term, when Alex Wilson’s 3 point jump shot cut the lead to 2. Ballarat and Launceston continued to go almost score for score, to move the home crowd to the edge of their seats. The Ballarat Rush held on to win by 5 points, 58 – 53.
Kristy Rinaldi was also a strong performer on the court with 4 points and 6 rebounds, and Ashleigh Spencer was a great team player with 2 assists, 7 rebounds and 8 points.
Coach Dave Flint thought it was a gutsy win by his team, and knows that Launceston has a really good team, and to be able to hold them to 16 first half points is a huge accomplishment.
Launceston did make things difficult on the Rush and Flint was aware that Launceston had done their homework on the Ballarat game style, but felt that his side was also able to make elements of the game tough on their opponent.
While shooting wasn’t great from the Rush on Saturday night, with the side shooting 36% from the field, Flint was impressed with how his side managed to stick to their game plan despite the poor shooting. The defence played by Ballarat is what Flint contributes to the win.
Getting the win, especially in such close conditions is huge for the Coach, and this brings the Rush up to their fourth straight win and their third win at home. Flint and the side want to win in front of the home crowd, and is happy with how their win loss record is tracking.
Flint was full of praise for Ashleigh Spencer, who did a great job on Launceston’s Mikaela Ruef, keeping her to 4 from 12. Joy Burke took 14 rebounds, which contributed to the side wining the rebound count by 7 (43 – 36). Abby Wehrung’s impressive third quarter was what Flint named as the game winner, Wehrung’s shots to take the teams lead to 6 really inspired her team mates.
Dave Flint noted that he and the team have a lot of work to do still, but the result is great for his side at this stage, and he loves how hard they play for their club.
The Ballarat Rush play at home next Saturday 14 May 2016 to take on the Frankston Blues at 6pm.