By Kasey Cornwell

The Ballarat Rush outclassed Albury Wondonga at Mars Minerdome on Saturday night, with a 41-point win over the Lady Bandits. Kerryn Harrington was instrumental with 31 points and Joy Burke was strong with 24 points and 6 rebounds. Co-captain Abbey Wehrung had 11 points along with 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

The win was important to the Rush on Saturday night, to top off Kristy Rinaldi’s 250th game, and she contributed a handy 12 points and 7 rebounds to the team.

Albury Wodonga’s leading scorer was captain Molly Rice on 26 points and 7 boards, and Rebecca Guglielmino had 16 points and 4 rebounds.

The Rush came out firing and did not allow Albury Wodonga to score until the 5 minute mark. Harrington was impressive with 15 points to her name in the first quarter, and Ballarat were shooting 68% from the field. At the first break the Ballarat Rush were up by 21 points, 32 – 11.

In the second term Ballarat maintained their lead, and if possible looked even more composed in their offences. Ballarat’s ball movement was clean and efficient and in turn they were able to impact the scoreboard accordingly, and entered the main break with a 29-point lead over the Lady Bandits, 61 – 32.

The third term saw Ballarat increase their lead further, their defensive pressure was great with Burke and Wehrung working hard to get the defensive rebounds. At the final break the Rush had a sizable 34-point lead, 85 – 51.

Ballarat maintained poise in the final term and were able to continue scoring, extending the lead to 41 points, disposing of the Lady Bandits quite easily. The exciting Ashleigh ‘Splash’ Spencer added 13 points 8 rebounds to Ballarat’s final score.

The Rush played strongly in the key, notching 50 points in the paint to Albury Wodonga’s 28.

Head Coach Dave Flint was incredibly pleased with his side’s efforts Saturday night. He knew that when he put the team together at the beginning of the season that they were capable of playing such nice basketball, and he is excited with how well they have come together. He has noticed that everyone on the Rush, is focused on how to play better together and this creates more opportunities for the team contributions to be shared equally.

To have 5 players score 10 or more points is great, said Flint but he is also impressed with how well Abbey Wehrung played a selfless game, with 8 assists and being so tough off the bounce. Kerryn Harrington had her season high for points on Saturday night and Flint thought she shot the ball great and played some tremendous defence.

Flint’s ability to get Eliza Roughead, Sophie Alexander and Lydia Brooks some more court time, with the side playing so well and extending a sizable lead “Its nice to see some of them that haven’t got a lot of court time get a chance to play tonight” It is testament to these players, how well they were able to slot perfectly into the structures, and even increase the lead when on the court in the last term.

Defensively, number 1 for Flint is for his side to guard their matchup and he thought his side did this well Saturday night. Flint noted that sometimes with such a big lead, it can be hard to maintain it, he set his side a goal at the final break, to keep Albury Wodonga under 70 points, and for his team to get over 100 points. His side did both of these things and managed to win each term easily and he was very pleased with the Rush’s effort.

Flint has a goal to be the best team in the competition, and while he acknowledges hat he is not sure what point in the season that will be at, but he is pleased with their progress. He knows the side has a big game Sunday against Frankston and then must travel to the in form Brisbane the following week.

Flint is confident, his team can play the big games and get their 10th win for the season in Frankston on Sunday.

The Ballarat Rush returns to the Mars Minerdome on Sunday July 31 to take on Dandenong. Tip off at 12:00pm, followed by the Ballarat Miners taking on the Melbourne Tigers.