The ups and downs of a WNBL season in the hub

By Lance Jenkinson

The first week of hub life on the court in Queensland was a rollercoaster ride for the Southside Flyers in the WNBL.

From the highs of opening night, to the disappointment of the Melbourne derby, and back to winning ways on Sunday – the Flyers’ fans watching back in Melbourne experienced the whole gamut of emotions.

If two-from-three ain’t bad, then Flyers can be content with how week one of this short-and-sharp season went, as they soared into third place on the ladder prior to last night’s (Tuesday’s) game against Adelaide Lightning [played after this paper went to print].

The season opened for Southside last Thursday in an all-Victorian affair against the Bendigo Spirit.

The Flyers were in command from the outset and never relented, winning each quarter convincingly en-route to a 102-60 win at Townsville Stadium.

Having enjoyed a buffer for most of the game, Flyers coach Cheryl Chambers even got some valuable minutes into the bench, with nine players enjoying double figure minutes on the court.

Flyers star Liz Cambage put up 19 points in just 20 minutes, while Sara Blicavs produced a well-rounded 17 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals.

After a day off to enjoy the season-opening win, Southside’s attention turned to the derby against the Melbourne Boomers.

It was all going swimmingly for the Flyers early in the game, holding a 10-point lead at quarter-time and leading by as much as 13 in the early stages of the second period, but that was where the joy ended.

Once the Boomers wrestled away momentum and took the lead in the game, they never looked back.

The Flyers looked shell-shocked as the Boomers totally dominated the second half.

Cambage was the standout for Southside with 24 points and 18 rebounds, but it was a lone hand.

The Flyers had no answers to the dominance of Boomers Cayla George and Tess Madgen, who each registered 24 points.

The beauty of so many games – 14 squashed into a tight five-week period – in such a short space of time is that any loss can be atoned for quickly.

Southside licked its wounds and got back to its winning form on Sunday, trumping Sydney University Flames 99-72.

It was a hard-fought victory for the Flyers, taking three quarters to shake off the persistent Flames before dominating the final period.

Rebecca Cole shot an incredible 73 per cent to finish with 27 points (including four three pointers) to be the Flyers’ top contributor.

Cole impacted on both ends of the floor with a plus-minus of +23.

Flyers captain Jenna O’Hea scored 19, while Blicavs capped off a strong first week with 14.

With a further three games between now and Monday, the Flyers’ spot in the WNBL pecking order will quickly begin to emerge.

SOUTHSIDE FLYERS – RESULTS

Thursday: Bendigo Spirit 60 lt Southside Flyers 102

Saturday: Melbourne Boomers 89 d Southside Flyers 72

Sunday: Southside Flyers 99 d Sydney University Flames 72

Fixtures

Tuesday, 5.05pm (last night): Southside Flyers v Adelaide Lightning (Townsville Stadium)

Thursday, 6.05pm: Southside Flyers v Townsville Fire (Townsville Stadium)

Saturday, 6.35pm: Southside Flyers v Perth Lynx (Cairns Pop-Up Arena)

Monday, 5.05pm: Southside Flyers v University of Canberra Capitals (Cairns Pop-Up Arena)

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.