Despite a strong first half, the Integra Ballarat Rush ran out of steam in the second half, resulting in a loss to the Geelong Lady Supercats Saturday night at the MARS® MINERDOME, 51-74.
Defence would be the key focus for the Rush heading into this match-up, as they are averaging over 70 points allowed by their opponent for the season. To start, the effort was there, as they managed to hold the Supercats to a 12-point first quarter—a remarkable feat for the Rush as Geelong is a team with scoring options in every position. The focus would remain strong after the first break, as Ballarat continued to stifle the Geelong offence and hold them to a 14-point second term, heading into the main break with the lead, 30-26.
However, the Supercats became relentless in their scoring efforts, and although a 3-pointer from Kristy Rinaldi to start the third quarter seemed like it would boost the Rush to extend their lead, a three-point field goal from Geelong captain Cortney Williamson would incite a 22-4 Supercats run to end the third quarter. The Rush would head into the fourth quarter down by 11.
The Supercats run would not end in the final term, as they scored eight quick points to start the fourth quarter, furthering their lead. With four minutes to go, both teams cleared the court of their starters, as the game was out of reach for the Rush, and they would go down, 51-74.
Sara Blicavs stood out in the contest. With 17 points and eight rebounds, she led the charge for the Geelong offence and caused many problems for the Ballarat defence. She was supported by guard Alex Duck, who had 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists in the Supercats victory.
Consistent scoring seemed to be a problem for Ballarat, as they shot a dismal 30% from the field. Kristy Rinaldi was leading scorer for the Rush with 13 points, and Abbey Wehrung was not far behind her with 12 points. Steph Cumming was uncharacteristically quiet on the night, scoring 10 points, far below her season average.
Noteworthy is the effort of the young locals that were able to see court time and make their mark on the game. Bronte Clarke displayed a tenacious defence that rattled Geelong point guard, Williamson, while also keeping the Rush offence alive with four points, two assists and four rebounds. Ash Stonehouse is continuing to come off the bench and produce for the Rush as well. With six points and four rebounds, Stonehouse made her presence known in the paint. Ryleigh Haire, Lydia Brooks, and Molly Mathews also saw their first few minutes of court time for the season, which is a great sign for the future of Rush basketball.
The Rush return to the MARS® MINERDOME this Sunday as they will take on the Knox Raiders from 12pm, followed by the GMHBA Ballarat Miners, taking on the Knox Raiders from 2pm.