1,262 fans who packed into the MARS® MINERDOME last night witnessed a triumphant Integra Ballarat Rush double-overtime victory over the Bendigo Lady Braves.
It was always tipped to be a monumental clash – two undefeated arch rivals meeting for the first time in nearly a year. All five of Bendigo’s starters and one of their bench players were WNBL players, while the humble home side contained one WNBL player, an American import, but mostly local players.
Braves outrebounded the Rush 58-33, led by Alex Bunton’s massive 19 rebound hall. Bendigo would also attempt 17 more shots, and score 14 more from inside the key, but Ballarat’s sheer determination and crowd support got them across the line for an 84-82 win.
Ballarat’s Steph Cumming led all scorers with 31 points at 63 per cent, complemented by five rebounds and seven assists. Abbey Wehrung scored 19 with six rebounds, and Kristy Rinaldi scored 15. Nya Mason proved valuable with 11 rebounds to go with her six points.
The Rush are one of two remaining undefeated teams in the South East Australian Basketball League – the other being the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (formerly Australian Institute of Sport) featuring current and future Australian Opals.
With just a three day break since their previous game, the Rush must recoup quickly again to face Frankston on the road this Saturday, before returning to the Minerdome to face Albury-Wodonga on Saturday May 3.
Photos from the game are available at www.facebook.com/BallaratRush