Graham Croker
Bulleen Boomers stayed in touch with the Women’s National Basketball League competition leaders when they ground out a tough 75-58 win over the ACUVUE Sydney Uni Flames at the Veneto Club on Friday night.
While the Boomers now sit at 7 and 2 for the season – within striking distance of the top three – the Flames have dropped to 2 and 5, with the task in front of them.
The Veneto Club was no place for the faint-hearted and the Flames gave as good as the got over the first three quarters of a physical encounter, before the Boomers edged ahead in the final term.
Both teams opened full of running and end-to-end basketball made for an entertaining first quarter. Sharin Milner was on song for the Boomers, finding scoring options for herself or feeding inside the paint to Shelley Hammonds.
For the Flames, Lindsey Pluimer was dangerous at any distance from the basket, and Sally Potocki was finding space. A strong final few minutes saw the Boomers lead 23 – 18 at quarter time.
The second and quarters were even affairs, with zone defence at both ends of the floor limiting the scoring options for both teams. The Boomers were able to limit the scoring of Alicia Poto and Eva Afeaki, but Pluimer, Sally Potocki and Rhonda Price were stepping up for the Flames.
The Boomers upped the ante in the final term to grab the vital competition points. They had strong performers in Shelley Hammonds, who notched 21 points and 11 rebounds, Sharin Milner with 16 points and Kylie Reid, who came off the bench to contribute 11 points.
American import Pluimer was again strong for the Flames, shooting 16 points to go with nine boards. She was well supported by Potocki and Price with 11 points each.
Flames coach Karen Dalton has the job in front of her to prime the Flames for a return to the winner’s list when they meet Canberra at the Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre on Friday night. Tip-off is at 8pm.
Bulleen Boomers 75 (Shelley Hammonds 21, Sharin Milner 16, Kylie Reid 11) d ACUVUE Sydney Uni Flames 58 (Lindsey Pluimer 16, Sally Potocki 11, Rhonda Price 11) at the Veneto Club, Melbourne.