With the Integra Ballarat Rush still in the midst of a push to secure a spot in finals, this weekend’s Round 12 match-up becomes vitally important to their finals campaign. They take on their rivals, the Geelong Lady Supercats, this Saturday from 6pm at the MARS® MINERDOME.
The Lady Supercats have proven themselves as a formidable opponent within SEABL. Key wins over top teams such as Dandenong and Kilsyth have shown that Geelong is a side not to be taken lightly. Conversely, narrow wins over lower-ranked teams (Canberra, Sandringham) proves that they are a team apt to lose their focus and have an off-night. As the top-scorer for Geelong seems to change from night to night they are a team with scoring threats in every position, and will challenge the Rush to maintain a strong defensive effort throughout the night.
Sara Blicavs leads the charge for the Lady Supercats. Averaging 17.1 points and 7.1 rebounds each game, Blicavs is interchangeable within the Geelong system, which can prove troublesome for opponents. With three other starters averaging double digits in points, Blicavs receives plenty of assistance from her teammates on offence. Tenacious guard Alex Duck is the most consistent of the Lady Supercats in providing support for Blicavs, averaging 14 points a game, and acting as a spark for the team when the offence tends to get stagnant or the defence complacent. Ballarat being able to offensively contain Blicavs and Duck will be a key component in obtaining the win and becoming one step further to their goal of making it to finals.
Steph Cumming continues to be outstanding for the Rush. Second in the league in scoring with 22 points a game, Cumming has fit into the Rush system seamlessly, and works hard to get her teammates involved as well, averaging a remarkable 4.3 assists per game. Young local Abbey Wehrung and import Nya Mason have also lifted their games as they are both averaging 12.2 points a game. Wehrung’s ability to control the pace of the game has proven beneficial to the Rush offence, making sure to get everyone involved, while also keeping the defence on their feet with her lightning-quick coast-to-coast drives. Mason’s powerful post presence takes offensive pressure off of her teammates on the perimeter, but is also of use to the Rush defence, as she is leading the team in rebounds at 7.5 a game. Captain Kristy Rinaldi is also having a solid season to date, averaging 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds each game, not to mention the ability to hit key shots in crucial moments of the game. Sophie Alexander, although sidelined early in the season due to a shoulder injury, is starting to make a positive impact within the Rush system. With the starting five putting up impressive numbers, and the young locals in Kasey Burton, Bronte Clark and Ash Stonehouse providing a spark off the bench, the Rush have a strong chance to get over the line against a tough Geelong opponent.
The Lady Supercats are coming off of a massive win in Round 11 against the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits, and will have a lot of confidence and momentum as they come into the Minerdome. The Rush would love the support from an energetic crowd to help them get the win and move closer to securing a finals spot. Tip-off starts from 6pm at the MARS® MINERDOME, followed by the GMHBA Ballarat Miners, taking on the Geelong Supercats at 8pm.