By Kasey Cornwell
The Wednesday night blockbuster between the Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush and the Geelong Lady Supercats saw Rush get redemption for their loss in round 1.
Rush took the win 65 – 62 in a tough physical game, with both teams obtaining high foul counts. Co-captain Abbey Wehrung starred with 19 points, 8 rebounds, and veteran Kristy Rinaldi contributing 10 points and a stellar 12 rebounds.
The game was tight all the way to the end, with scores neck and neck for the majority of the game. The Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush maintained composure in the dying seconds to keep the lead. Head Coach Peter Cunningham thought there was still some wobbles to iron out from the side in the last minutes of the game, but is sure this is something the team will learn and can definitely see improvement in their ability to close out matches.
The team was tentative to start the game and Cunningham was quick to notice this and called an early time out. He stressed that the team needed to lift and focus on pushing the ball down the court strongly and he thinks that the team really took this on board. Cunningham can see that the defence has improved out of sight and emphasized that this was the key factor in keeping the Rush in front at the final buzzer.
The Rush managed to keep some of the Lady Supercats to lower than average totals across many key statistics. Kristy Rinaldi managed to keep Alex Duck to 9 points and Kasey Burton kept WNBL player Rosie Fadijevic to 6 points and notched up 12 rebounds herself. The team finished the game with a total of 47 rebounds to Geelong’s 39.
The team has more understanding what each player’s defensive roles are and now that there is a few things set in place, Cunningham has the confidence that the players understand when things are working and what needs to change. Cunningham noted that while Shanae Greaves got fouls early, she continued to work hard on the court, despite some tight calls not going her way.
Cunningham was pleased with the output from young forward Molly Matthews, who contributed 16 points and 5 boards. “Molly had an outstanding game”, playing with confidence. After noting all the individual performances Cunningham emphasized that the Rush cannot rely on individual performances alone, needing to have confidence in each other to be able to get the job done.
Ballarat Rush will rest easy knowing that Coach Cunningham is incredibly proud of the team and happy that they’ve got the result they deserve. He made special mention of his assistant Darren Govan who has spent hours upon hours working with some of the younger players and has now seen his reward on the court.
The Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush are back on court at the Minerdome on Saturday July 5 to take on the Albury/Wondonga Lady Bandits, tip off is 6:00pm.