ROUND 2 REVIEW
The Be Active Western Stars and Sydney Metro Blues have gained some separation in the top two positions on the ladder after successful weekends in Round 2 of the 2016 WNWBL season.
The Stars repeated their heroics from Round 1, continuing their unbeaten run with four straight victories.
Leading by just five points at three-quarter time on Friday night against the Minecraft Queensland Comets, the Stars finished strong with a 20-8 final term to run out comfortable winners.
They then survived a thrilling comeback from Kilsyth Cobras the following day as they cut what was an 18-point lead to just seven although time was not on the Cobras side.
Fighting through fatigue later that day, the Stars proved too good for the Blues in a strong defensive performance as they held their opposition to 35 points and 31% shooting from the field.
In their final clash of the weekend, the Stars won every quarter against the Sydney Uni Flames in another dominant performance to officially install themselves as Championship favourites.
Following her Round 1 Player of the Week performance, Amber Merritt was again outstanding with a double-double average of 23.5 points and 11.5 rebounds to go with 5.3 assists and 2.5 steals.
Import Chirhiro Kitada was also superb, recording double-doubles in every contest to finish with 21.5 points and 15.5 boards per game.
In combination with Merritt, they are the most damaging offensive duo in the league while oppositions cannot forget about Natalie Alexander and Georgia Inglis who can also do damage.
While the Blues did fall to the Stars in their match-up, they were able to get past the Flames, Comets and Cobras in between that loss.
With an average winning margin of 15 points, Cobi Crispin paced the side with 17.5 points per game while Bridie Kean (14 points and 11.5 rebounds) went close to a triple-double in their clash with Kilsyth, finishing with 14 points, ten boards and nine assists.
Their 26-point loss to the Stars shows they have work to do but another 3-1 weekend has seen them move three games clear in second place.
The Cobras are not the team they were in 2015 but oppositions will take their match-ups for granted at their own peril with Alice Hammond (13.5 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals) a menace at both ends of the floor.
She has been aided by Leanne Del Toso who averaged 16.3 points and 11 boards while Shelley Chaplin dished out seven assists per game to go with 14 points although turnovers have been an issue for her with 4.5 per contest.
Getting off the bottom of the ladder, the Comets recorded their only win for the weekend against the Flames although their average losing margin for Round 2 was just nine points.
Mari Amimoto was the star for the Comets, collecting 26 points and 12 rebounds in their victory while Shelley Cronau and Georgia Bishop-Cash (off the bench) were both active.
The Flames had a forgettable round and now own a 1-7 record with points off turnovers their major concern.
Sarah Stewart held her own in the paint but enhanced shooting percentages from Hannah Dodd and Tracey Carruthers will improve their chances in future rounds.