The Geelong Cougars delivered a top-four shake-up, upsetting the Wilson Storage Southern Saints 50-44.
The ninth-placed Cougars opened up a handy lead at half time off the back of shooting efficiency from goaling pair Alice Teague-Neeld (22 from 25) and Elle Rice (28 from 31). Challenged hard in the third quarter with the Saints levelling at three quarter time, the Cougars took full advantage in a nerveless final quarter for the upset win.
Kath Knott showed why she is just about the best shooter in the VNL at the moment, leading City West Falcons to a comfortable 64-43 win over Boroondara Express.
Knott’s 39 goals from 40 attempts, was complimented by Steph Tyrell (25 from 29) while Chloe Watson at wing defence was damaging on the counter against an Express side that never recovered from conceding 21 goals in the first quarter.
Melbourne University Lightning shook the monkey from their back, holding on for a 33-32 win over Peninsula Waves.
In a game riddled with errors, the Waves were left to rue a torrid night in the shooting circle, putting up nine more shots than their opponents. With the lead changing hands all match, the Lightning were able to hold their nerve when it mattered and avoided their fifth draw of the season.
DC North East Blaze registered one of the more important wins for their season with a solid 54-41 win over the Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels.
Two goals to the better at the first change, the Blaze were rarely troubled after quarter time, as goal shooter Simone Nalder’s 31 goals from 34 attempts led her side to a win puts a game and a half’s breathing space on their third place position.
Monash University Storm shook off some early-game jitters to their first win in three games over the ACU Sovereigns.
After a slow first term, Storm applied the pressure for the next three quarters led by wings Lil O’Sullivan and Nat Tommasini, while Janelle Lawson (35 from 40) finished on the front end to top off a strong performance.
The Saints fell back on a complete team performance to account for the Cougars for a 50-44 win.
While Cougars’ giant goaler Ruby Horton managed 36 goals from 45 attempts, the Saints’ efficiency left Geelong in their wake, resting on an 11-goal half time lead to cruise to victory.
It was the top-two clash that lived up to every expectations, but it was the Falcons who emerged victorious over the Express, 41-38.
The win now assures the Falcons of the minor premiership, barring any last-season slip-ups, as both sides traded leads on multiple occasions. Georgia Berry’s 23 goals from 26 attempts coming on at quarter time proving to be pivotal.
Peninsula Waves kept their top four spot safe for another week with a battling 41-28 win over the Lightning.
After stuttering in a second quarter that resembled a comedy of errors, the Waves’ 14-7 third quarter opened up a double-digit lead that assured a hard-work victory.
The Blaze kept themselves in the hunt for a top four berth; with a resounding 52-25 win over the Ariels.
On from the outset and conceding just 10 goals in the first half, the Blaze ended the game powerfully on the back plethora of scoring options led by Julia Allen (23 from 25).
The Storm recovered a slow start and some last quarter nerves to post a crucial 40-37 over the Sovereigns.
With the outside finals chance still a viable option, the Storm were well led by Melissa Perez and defender Madelaine Byrne, plus Shae Gee’s 16 goals form 24 attempts to grab the win.
19 & Under
In a top-four fight, the Cougars held off a strong finish from the Saints to record a much-needed 39-35 win.
With the matches result set to determine second place, the Cougars at one stage led by eight goals before having their lead cut to two goals at three quarter time. Despite 31 goals from 39 attempts from the Saints’ Madeline McNab, the combined effort of Hannah van Gemst (21 from 26) and Mary Waldron (18 from 24) help Geelong across the line.
A strong second half has guided the Falcons to a solid 54-44 victory over the Express off the back of Amelia Brock’s 48 goals from 56 attempts.
The Express match the ladder-leading Falcons for the entire first half, before the table toppers broke the game open with a 15-9 third quarter to set up the win.
The Lightning grabbed their first win in almost six weeks, defeating the Waves 45-41.
Down on personnel, it was a brave performance by the Lightning with no reserves, goaling pair Shelby Strong (21 from 27) and Hayley Mathews (24 from 29) steered their side to the win.
The Ariels ended the Blaze’s hopes for top four, but their own alive with a 42-36 win.
Well led by Danielle Phillips (28 from 32) on the front end, the Ariels were given an almighty fright when they saw an 11-goal half time lead reduced to two goals in the early stages of the last quarter. The Blaze were unable to eat into the margin further, with the Waves eventually holding on.
The Sovereigns went a step further to booking themselves a debut spot in the finals, beating the Storm 52-36.
Following a close first quarter, it was all the Sovereigns from thereon as shooting pair Abbey Ryan (24 from 29) and Sacha McDonald (22 from 25) led from the front for an important win.