Roy Ward on the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits’ maiden victory, plus this week’s big plays and the media wrap-up
For us to change, you got to change.
First year Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits coach Michael Brookens didn’t mince words to his players after they started the season with three straight losses.
Brookens wants the Lady Bandits to evolve from the club that has had too many losing seasons to one that can hold its own at SEABL level.
With his team having a long break between their Anzac Day game and Saturday’s clash with Ballarat Rush, Brookens and his players shared some home truths with each other then went through a mini preseason.
The result of the extra work and a little heartache was the Lady Bandits scoring their first win of the season with an 88-71 win over the Rush on Saturday night.
“I challenged each player individually because I felt like I wasn’t getting what was advertised,” Brookens said.
“We spoke some truths and the girls gave some input about the cohesiveness of the team and communication between some line-ups.
“In the two weeks we went back to basics, to discipline areas and went through our offences – it was re-learning everything.
“When we got on court Saturday night I think it helped us, we executed well, got the shots we should get and won the game.”
The Lady Bandits’ three key players in Kristina Baltic (18 points, nine rebounds), Rachel Maenpaa (19 points) and WNBL signing Teyla Evans (17 points) all played leading roles in the win.
“We are trying to change a lot of things and the culture of the team is one of them,” Brookens said.
“We can’t lean on losing as an excuse, this isn’t the same team as other years so it was good to see our hard work come to fruition on the floor – it will give the players more belief and staves off any frustration from setting in.”
Evans showed some positive signs in a very limited role as a development player for Dandenong Rangers WNBL side this past season and Brookens said his young star was slowly learning how to be a leading player.
“Teyla has got a beautiful shot, she’s athletic but she’s still got a bench player’s mentality,” Brookens said.
“She is learning how to play that lead role and have confidence in playing it.
“She benefitted from playing with Penny Taylor and Cappie Pondexter as she learned a lot about how to be a successful leader but it’s different when you have to apply those lessons in real time.
“But she knows I have confidence in her ability and she learns from every experience.”
As for life in the border region and developing the area’s local talent- Brookens said both were going well.
“The weather is warmer than Melbourne and there is a lot less traffic so I’m loving it- especially how everyone in both cities gets behind the team,” Brookens said.
“The local players have grabbed hold of the concept of professionalism.
“I told them they were the one consistent thing in every Albury-Wodonga team and for it to change they needed to do something different than what they’ve always done.
“They have been shooting four times a week, getting in the weight room and we need them to do that so we can start leaning on them to play big minutes.”
The Lady Bandits also have under-16 players training with the team on Tuesdays to begin the development process earlier- Brookens also sees a big future for two teenage talents.
“We also have two young girls from Wangaratta in Olivia Storer and Carly Purso who both have plans to go to college in the US next year,” Brookens said.
“They are going to be a force to reckon with in the future.”
*Hobart Lady Chargers import Kathleen Scheer dominated the paint against Canberra Capitals Academy with 25 points and 20 rebounds on Saturday. Her teammate Amy Kame was again leading the way with 23 points, five boards and six assists.
*Dandenong Rangers point guard Aimee Clydesdale is known for her speed and her defence but on Saturday night she brought out her scoring with 32 points on 13 of 19 shooting in a win over Sandringham.
*Dandenong post player Jacinta Kennedy continued to star with 25 points and 10 rebounds against the Sabres.
*Kilsyth Cobras’ duo Steph Cumming and Cassandra Sant both scored 23 points in their clubs win over Frankston while Sarah Parsons (13 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists) flirted with a triple-double.
*Blues forward Kelly Bowen scored 31 points and pulled in 11 rebounds despite her side’s tough night out.
*Brisbane Lady Spartans post player Emma McDonald scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a tight win over the BA Centre of Excellence.
*Geelong’s Alex Duck took charge in her club’s clash against Nunawading with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists as the Supercats took an impressive win.
*Albury-Wodonga import Kristina Baltic scored 18 points and pulled in 12 rebounds as they beat Ballarat Rush who also got 18 points from Abbey Wehrung.
SEABL media links
*Geelong Advertiser’s Wes Cusworth reports on the Lady Supercats’ win over Nunawading. Report, picture: http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/sport/local-sport/lady-supercats-depth-key-to-victory-over-nunawading/story-fnjuhs0b-1227358970787
*Border Mail’s Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) reports on the Lady Bandits win over Ballarat. Report, pictures: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3085001/albury-wodonga-lady-bandits-first-win-no-shock-for-chirpy-brookens/?cs=10
*Prime News reports on Lady Bandits’ first win. Video: https://au.prime7.yahoo.com/v1/news/a/-/national/28071213/first-win-for-lady-bandits-video/
*Ballarat Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@Melanie_Whelan) reports on the Rush’s loss to Albury-Wodonga. Report, picture: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3084954/outplayed-rush-has-coach-concerned/?cs=63
*Leader newspaper’s Megan Hustwaite (@MeganHustwaite) reports on Kilsyth coach Sam Woosnam’s baby and the Cobras win. Story: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/sport/the-good-news-gets-better-for-kilsyth-with-seabl-coach-sam-woosnam-welcoming-a-baby-girl/story-fnglemo4-1227358779886
*The Examiner’s Phil Edwards on Launceston Tornadoes’ win in Lauren Mansfield’s 50th game. Story, picture: http://www.examiner.com.au/story/3082741/mansfield-celebrates-milestone-in-style/?cs=96
*Great picture gallery by The Examiner from Launceston v Canberra Capitals academy. Gallery: http://www.examiner.com.au/story/3083618/seabl-tornadoes-v-canberra-photos/?cs=96#slide=17
Roy Ward (@rpjward) is a freelance sports writer who has covered the NBA, NBL, WNBL, SEABL and Big V during his career. He will be filing weekly columns on the SEABL men’s and women’s competitions during this season. For feedback or suggestions send Roy a tweet or email him at email@example.com