Round 8 saw the Powerade Frankston Blues tackle their first double-header of the season, and they successfully navigated their way past both Hobart and Ringwood to register back-to-back wins for the first time this NBL1 season.
On both occasions it was Steph Reid leading the Blues to victory. The dynamic point guard delivered two consecutive 20 point games as her team first blew out the Huskies on Saturday night at home, before doing the same to the Hawks on Sunday afternoon at The Rings.
With the two wins, the Blues improve their record to 4-7 and look to have turned the corner following the recent additions of 2018 team MVP Shereesha Richards and returning college star Courtney Wilkins who joined the team this past week.
In front of a vocal home crowd on Saturday night, the Blues had the better of the Huskies early. Yet Reid was having an uncharacteristic night first half, missing shots she would normally make and throwing some arrant passes, allowing the visitors to stay in touch trailing by just 4 points at half time. Yet in the third period it was all Frankston, with Reid scoring eight of the Blues first 11 points of the term to help put some distance between them and the Huskies. Hobart had obviously not read the scouting report on Wilkins, as the forward hit two three-pointers and scored 8 points for the term. Triples to JoAnna Smith and Taylor Lee saw the lead pushed out to 19 points at the last break. With Richards and Wilkins extending the lead even further, head coach Jess May cleared her bench, allowing 10 of the roster of 12 to get on the scoresheet as the Blues ran out to a convincing 94-75 win.
While Reid poured in an equal game-high 20 points with 6 assists, JoAnna Smith quietly compiled an impressive 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. With Wilkins adding 12 points (5-7 FG) and 6 rebounds off the bench in her debut, the former Buffalo stars had delivered a combined 48 points. Richards also was a force, adding 13 points (4-6 FG) and 9 rebounds, while Saraid Taylor chipped in with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals [Box Score].
Best for the Huskies was Sharna Thompson who posted 20 points, 3 assists and 5 steals.
Having been able to rest their stars in the big win against the Huskies, the Blues opened strongly against the Hawks and quickly had them on the back foot courtesy of a 22-8 opening term with Reid and Wilkins causing havoc. While Ringwood steadied in the second term, the Blues would extend their lead to 18 points at half time, with Lee pouring in 10 points including two triples.
Reid and the Blues continued to put the Hawks under pressure after the break, with the guard draining a three to open the scoring. While Ringwood through Cassidy Mihalko and Megan Mullings fought back to win the quarter 19-17, it would not be enough. Frankston continued to hit from beyond the arc, with Reid and Lee firing away, and Richards getting it done in the paint, the Blues cruised to a 86-66 road win.
Reid was one of four Blues to score in double figures, adding 21 points on 4-7 three-pointers with 4 assists. Taylor (9 rebounds) and Richards (8 rebounds) both gathered 15 points each, with Lee displaying her all-round game with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals [Box Score].
Best for Ringwood were Mihalko with 18 points and 8 rebounds, with Mullings clocking up a 16 points, 10 rebound double-double with 2 steals and 4 blocked shots.
With two straight wins and building confidence, the Blues will aim to maintain their momentum when they travel to Diamond Valley this coming Saturday. They will then return home the next day when they host the Ballarat Rush as part of a double-header with the men. May’s Blues will like their chances against the last-placed Eagles, while the Rush only have four wins against their name just like the Blues. Two wins will have her side approaching a 50 per cent record and possibly even start believing that a playoff run may be possible.