2017 FINALS REVIEW
The Sydney Metro Blues have gone one step further than last year’s silver medal, claiming the gold after sweeping the 2017 WNWBL Finals.
Coming into the weekend with a double chance, the Blues advanced straight through to the Grand Final with a 68-32 victory over cross-town rivals Sydney Uni Flames on Friday night.
Import Courtney Ryan was efficient with 21 points on 10-14 shooting while Cobi Crispin helped the Blues to a 23-6 advantage in points off the bench which she combined with 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Annabelle Lindsay (ten points, 14 rebounds) fought hard in the paint but she was out-matched by Georgia Munro-Cook (14 points, 12 boards) and Bridie Kean (eight points, 14 rebounds, nine assists).
In the other final on Friday night, the Be Active Western Stars used a 20-11 opening term to defeat the Queensland Comets by 13 points.
The Comets fought back to tie the game near half-time but the Stars pulled away again to advance to the Preliminary Final on the back of superb games from Chihiro Kitada (19 points, 22 rebounds, 13 assists) and Amber Merritt (35 points, 15 boards, four steals).
Japanese national player Mari Amimoto did her best to match those two Stars, collecting 22 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists while Georgia Bishop-Cash added ten points in just 14 minutes but they were eventually outgunned at the offensive end.
That meant the Stars advanced to Saturday night where they took on the Flames for a spot in the Grand Final and at three-quarter time, Sydney Uni moved ahead by four.
Sarah Stewart (11 points, eight boards, seven assists) led the charge in the final term though, scoring seven points while Lindsay tallied a second straight double-double.
Liesl Tesch (nine points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists) also arrived in time for the game and provided a huge boost off the bench, falling just short of a triple-double courtesy of a few missed free-throws late.
Kitada and Merritt again paced the Stars, combining for 33 points and 24 rebounds but they shot just 33% from the field as the Flames’ defence carried them into a re-match against the Blues.
Before that gold medal game, the Comets and Stars met again for the bronze and it was a thriller to end their respective seasons.
The lead changed hands five times through the first three quarters and hardly extended beyond five points for either side.
Kitada (20 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists) recorded a second triple-double for the weekend but Amimoto kept the Comets close, draining 3-5 from beyond the arc including a half-court buzzer beater to finish with 22 points, 13 boards and eight dimes.
A flurry in the fourth period proved the difference though for the Stars as Merritt scored eight of her 36 points while Natalie Alexander and Sarah Vinci proved vital as they secured a 66-55 victory.
Ashley Wardman scored 13 points and hit a late shot for the Comets to bring the game within a point but time proved the enemy as the Stars clinched the bronze medal.
In the final game of the season, the Blues were looking to repeat their efforts from Friday night but at quarter-time, their contest against Sydney Uni was tied.
They eked out an eight-point edge at the main break which they held until the last change but had to answer one final run from the Flames as they closed within six with 2:30 remaining.
Crispin (24 points, 17 rebounds) and Munro-Cook (eight and seven) ensured there would be no comeback though, answering another double-double from Lindsay (12 and 14) while Tesch again impressed with eight points, 12 boards, seven assists and three steals.
Coached by Troy Sachs, Sydney Metro were deserving gold medalists after finishing the regular season on top and they ended the season winning 11 consecutive games.
Find all the LiveStats from the finals here and stay tuned tomorrow for a recap of all the individual award winners.