Albury-Wodonga’s Lady Bandits came from behind to steal an 81-83 victory over the Carrum Downs Laser Electrical Frankston Blues in Round 12 of the SEABL.
Despite holding a 19 point lead mid-way through the third period, the Blues could not hold off a fast finishing Lady Bandits side who outscored the home side 29-14 in the run home to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Step Reid’s brilliant 31 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals were not enough for the Blues to hold off Albury Wodonga who powered home behind a 31 point and 16 rebounder performance by star forward Emilee Harmon.
The first quarter was not pretty, with both sides combining to shoot less than 30% from the field. With so many missed shots, both sides were pulling down a ridiculously high number of offensive rebounds, of which Frankston had 12 and the Lady Bandits 8 for the term. An early advantage to the home side was quickly evaporated as Albury-Wodonga locked up the scores at 21-all at the first break. Tocarra Ross earned three early fouls including a technical that restricted her time and impact on the court.
Very little changed in the second period apart from Frankston managing to get to the free throw line and lifting their shooting percentages. They converted 14-17 from the charity stripe for the quarter while Stacey Barr, Reid and Sammie Simmons connected from long distance en route to opening up a 12 point half time lead, but with Shereesa Richards forced to the sideline with an injury – one from which she would not return.
Despite the setback, Blues came out with purpose after the break, extending the lead to 19 points courtesy of some good defence and Ross’ injection back into the game. Harmon was doing her best to keep her side in the contest, adding 8 points for quarter as she held narrow the gap to 13 heading into the run home.
Albury-Wodonga continued to chip away at the lead to get the margin back to single digits. With Richards sidelined, and Nankervis fouling out on a moving screen mid-way through the final quarter, the Lady Bandits started to own the paint. Harmon, Kristi Mokube and Olivia Barber combined to tie the game up at 77 with a little over 2 minutes to play. Ross scored for the Blues to edge back ahead, but when Harmon scored and converted a three-point play with 1:05 left, the Lady Bandits had stolen the lead by 3. Barr made both at the free throw line to get back to within 1, but Albury-Wodonga remained firm to register a demoralising 2 point win.
While Reid was the star for the Blues, Barr added 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, but shot a cringe worthy 2-16 from beyond the three-point arc despite going 11-12 from the free throw line. Ross added 13 points in just 14 minutes on court, restricted by foul trouble.
For the Lady Bandits, Mokube added 21 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists in support of Harmon’s big outing. Barber would also finish with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
Both teams shot exceptionally well from the free throw line, going a combined 50-55 from the line in what turned into scrappy contest. They also combined for 42 offensive rebounds out of a total of 92 rebounds for the entire game as each side shot just 36% from the field.
The loss ensures that the Blues remain firmly entrenched at the bottom of the SEABL standings, two games below the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence.