By Kasey Cornwell
The Ballarat Rush fell just short of the Nunawading Lady Spectres on Saturday night. The Spectres had a 10 point win, 67 – 77. Ashleigh Spencer starred for the Rush with 17 points and 7 rebounds and Abbey Wehrung was dominant on 19 points. Joy Burke was also instrumental with 12 rebounds and 9 points.
Joy Burke and Abbey Wehrung combined to quickly open the scoring with the first quarter not even 5 seconds in. Kerryn Harrington and Ashleigh Spencer ran the offences well and Joy Burke used her height in the key well. Despite this, Nunawading were sleek and had a 3 point lead over the Rush at the first break, 19 – 22.
Kasey Burton put her name on the scorers list early in the second quarter and levelled the scores on 22. Joy Burke continued to be handy under the basket, getting to the ball, and impacting Nunawading’s scoring. The Spectres shot the ball efficiently and pushed away late in the term to enter the main break 18 points ahead of Ballarat, 28 – 46.
Entering the third period, Rush had committed 11 turnovers to the Spectres 2 and subsequently had 18 points to chase. A three point shot from Abbey Wehrung started the chase and Kerryn Harrington and Kristy Rinaldi were instrumental in running the offences. Ballarat’s defence also improved within this quarter and they were able to end the term with a small 6 point deficit, 51 – 57 and shooting the ball at 43%.
Early in the final term, Joy Burke committed her fourth personal foul, so this altered the Rush’s structure slightly. Offensively Abbey Wehrung was phenomenal, and was able to respond and reduce Nunawading’s lead early in the term. Despite the desperation from the side to take the win from Nunawading, they fell 10 points short and the Spectres took the win, 67 – 77.
Coach Dave Flint, did not think that his side shot the ball that well tonight. The Spectres ended the first half on a 20 – 2 run, he thought this was where the game was lost. Flint made mention that the Rush are the best 3 point shooting team in the league, and for this game his side only shot 5 from 23 from beyond the arc.
Flint felt the second half was a lot better, at half time he noted that Nunawading were on pace to score over 90 points, and his side were able to hold them to under 80 points.
11 turnovers in the first half certainly hurt his side, said Flint but he was impressed that Ballarat limited the turnovers to 3 in the last half and this showed his side’s composure and ability.
Despite having two narrow losses at home in a row now, Flint is optimistic because he is pleased with how his side plays the game. He knows that this season it is a really tough competition, and already Ballarat have faced up against many of the top teams.
The Rush will hit the road next week, looking for another win against Launceston, and return to the Mars Minerdome on Saturday June 4 to take on Hobart, tip off at 6pm.