With only one win so far in May, the Integra Ballarat Rush are looking to end what has been a difficult month on a high note as they travel to Albury this Saturday night.
In their previous meeting, the game went down to the wire, with the Rush allowing the Lady Bandits to go on a 13-0 run late within the fourth quarter to get the game within three points with 26 seconds left. In the end, the clutch free-throw shooting by Abbey Wehrung was what ultimately helped the Rush get over the line and obtain the win, despite being without key starters Steph Cumming (dislocated finger) and Sophie Alexander (shoulder).
Although the Lady Bandits average margin of loss totals 26.9 points a game, they have recorded a solid win against the Sandringham Sabres, and have the personnel to well and truly upset a few sides within the competition. They are led by import Emilee Harmon, who is averaging 19.4 points a game, and leading the league in rebounds at 12 each game. Harmon was a terror for the Rush in the first match-up, where she scored 24 points and secured 15 rebounds (seven offensive). Conversely, young Albury local Montana Farrah-Seaton is also a threat for the Lady Bandits, having only one game for the season where she has not scored in double figures. Farrah-Seaton averages 14 points a game for Albury-Wodonga, and has the ability to really take over the game if given the opportunity.
The Rush, despite their struggles, have been showing some positive signs. Local Abbey Wehrung had an outstanding last weekend in Canberra, being the team’s only bright spot against the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence, scoring 23 points in the loss. Similarly, another local youngster in Kasey Burton has been making the most of her minutes, coming off the bench as a scoring and defensive threat to take some of the attention away from the starters.
For the Rush to be able to achieve success this weekend their defense will need to be better than it has been in previous weeks. With Harmon and Farrah-Seaton’s strong capacity to score, they will have to keep the two gunners to below their averages. Equally as important will be a contribution from across the roster. With Steph Cumming leading the team in scoring with 21.6 points a game, and the rest of the starting group possessing the capability to top-score, it would be no surprise if the Lady Bandits also made defense their main focus, which would require an extra offensive effort from the rest of the playing group.
Tip-off is at 6pm Saturday evening at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre before the Miners play at 8pm. The Miners and Rush return to the MARS® MINERDOME to take on Sandringham on Sunday, June 15.