By Kasey Cornwell
The Ballarat Rush fell just short to the Bendigo Lady Braves, 70 – 80 at the Mars Minerdome on Saturday night.
Joy Burke top scored for the Rush, on 18 points and 17 boards. Kristy Rinaldi was impressive with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Ash Spencer was great with 16 points, 5 rebounds and also 4 assists.
Chloe Bibby was the top scorer for the Bendigo Lady Braves, with 27 points and 9 rebounds. Ashley Rininger had 22 points with 7 rebounds.
The Ballarat Rush, had a slow start to the game defensively, with the Bendigo Lady Braves able to penetrate the defense too easily. Jaterra Bonds came out firing for the home side, with 7 points to her name at the first break. The Rush trailed at quarter time, 17 – 25.
During the second term Ballarat were able to close the gap, thanks to some handy shooting by Ashley Spencer and at the main break saw the Rush cut the Lady Braves lead, and trail by 4, 39 – 43.
The intensity lifted in the third term, and Kristy Rinaldi’s determination was evident on court. Lydia Brooks and Joy Burke were able to combine late in the quarter to cut the lead to 2 points, and at the last break, the Rush trailed by 2, 60 – 62.
The final quarter saw the Rush score only 10 points, whereas the Lady Braves were able to contribute a further 18 points. Ballarat could just not keep up and unfortunately went down to the Bendigo side, by 10 points.
Head Coach Dave Flint thought there were some great signs out on the court Saturday night and there were some great patches of basketball. Flint’s side has only just played their third game, against a side who has played, 6.
The Rush never say die attitude was evident, and Flint thought despite being down 14, halfway through the third, they didn’t quit and ended the term on a 16 – 2 run. Even though the Rush had some good looks in the fourth, as a team they only scored 10 points.
Dave called a time out in the third quarter to remind his side not to quit, and he was impressed when the team took this on board. Flint mentioned that he likes the things he is seeing from this years group, and noted that he has a great core group and the younger players are getting a chance to play, but wants to translate that into wins.
Dave thought Joy played great, shooting the ball at 75% and Flint thought Splash played really well and Kristy hit some shots and worked hard off the ball. Flint noted that it is nice to have 4 of our 5 starters score 14 points or more. Dave Flint also commented that the Rush didn’t play well in the fourth term, scoring just 10 points, I thought that we were in great shape heading into the fourth quarter, but they outscored the Rush, 18 – 6. Flint commented, “you have to make shots late in games, but we didn’t tonight.”
The Ballarat Skoda Rush take on Sydney University Sparks, next Saturday night at the Mars Minerdome, 6 May 2017, tip-off 6pm.