The Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) Grand Final Series is headed for a third and deciding game after Melbourne Boomers edged Townsville Fire 58-57 in game two.
Townsville won game one last weekend. Late last night, the Boomers tied the best of three series with a come from behind effort, winning the final period 15-10, in front of a sell-out crowd at the State Basketball Centre in Melbourne.
Melbourne, down by as many as 14 points in the second half, were led by Australian Opals star centre Liz Cambage (19 points, 9 rebounds), but Tall Ferns forward Kalani Purcell was also hugely influential corralling a game high 10 rebounds, scoring 7 points and adding an assist and a pair of steals.
Purcell had admitted that she wasn’t at her best in game one, playing in her first grand-final in her rookie year as a professional.
“It’s small things that I usually do that I went away from. I would usually sprint down the other end of the court and maybe set a screen for one of the guards but, after watching film and talking to (coach) Guy Molloy, I saw that I kind of went away from that.
“Those small things may not seem like a lot, but in the end they help with the offence and team dynamics,” she said.
Purcell also thought that home crowd support was important and that was evidenced last night as Melbourne outscored Townsville 8-2 in the closing four minutes in front of a raucous crowd.
“A lot of people don’t think atmosphere and the crowd has much to do for teams winning, but I can tell you it has a lot to do with it.
“In those situations, having crowds cheering you really helps you out,” said Purcell.
For Townsville Micaela Cocks, aiming to win her third WNBL title, came off the bench to contribute 5 points and 3 rebounds.
The Tall Ferns guard and her Townsville teammates will have the home support that Purcell talked about in the third and deciding game.
The title decider will be played back in Townsville on Sunday, tip-off 6.00pm (local time), in front of another full house.
The game stats can be found HERE.
2017/18 WNBL Grand Final Series:
Game One: Saturday 13 January, Townsville Fire v Melbourne Boomers. Townsville Stadium, 6:30pm (local time). Townsville Fire won 69-64.
Game Two: Thursday 18 January, Melbourne Boomers v Townsville Fire. State Basketball Centre, 7:30pm (local time). Melbourne Boomers won 58-57.
Game Three (if required): Sunday 21 January, Townsville Fire v Melbourne Boomers. Townsville Stadium, 6:00pm (local time).
More info on WNBL Website http://wnbl.com.au/
and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheWNBL/