ROUND 5 REVIEW
The 2017 finals schedule is set following the conclusion of Round 5 with the Sydney Metro Blues, Sydney Uni Flames, Be Active Western Stars and Queensland Comets making up the top four.
The Blues will head into the post-season with all the momentum after sweeping the weekend with three victories to take their overall winning streak to nine.
They won by an average margin of 36 points with Cobi Crispin (19.7 points, nine rebounds and 2.7 assists per game) leading the way while Bridie Kean had a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds against the Comets and Courtney Ryan averaged 16 points at 55% shooting.
Georgia Munro-Cook also showcased her versatility, coming off the bench against the Stars to record 23 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists which took her average to 16.3 points, nine boards and 8.7 assists for the weekend.
Thanks to victories over the Stars and Red Dust Lady Heelers the previous day, Sydney Uni had a chance to take top spot if they defeated the Blues but they came up short to finish second.
Liesl Tesch came off the bench and had 22 points in their meeting with the Stars while Sarah Stewart came close to a triple-double with eight points, 12 rebounds and ten assists.
Annabelle Lindsay was again dominant inside, averaging 12 points and 16 boards over the three games while Stephanie van Leeuwen, Hannah Dodd and Tracey Carruthers were all instrumental as the Flames ensured a top-two finish.
Red Dust gave themselves hope on Friday night of snatching a finals position as they upset the short-handed Stars with some impressive defence, holding them to just 35 points in a nine-point win.
Georgia Inglis paced the Lady Heelers with 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Taylah Perry shone with five points, six boards and two steals.
They could not continue their success for the rest of the weekend though as a 20-point loss to the Comets signalled the end of their playoff dreams despite Kathleen O’Kelly Kennedy finishing with an average of 8.7 points and 12.3 rebounds.
Queensland only needed that win over Red Dust to ensure a playoff spot and they did what they had to do with Alison Mosely coming off the bench to tally 14 points, 12 rebounds and three steals.
While it was their only success for the round, Ashley Wardman still impressed with eight points and 5.5 rebounds per game while Shelley Cronau starred with 10.3 points and 9.3 assists including 14 points and 18 dimes in a narrow loss to the Stars.
The Stars did well to claim that win on Sunday after they played through a tough four-game schedule with just six rostered players.
Their chances of a top-two finish dwindled quickly but they could not be budged from third place as Amber Merritt (24.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists) scored 39 points against the Comets to answer Cronau’s big game.
Natalie Alexander, Sarah Vinci and Jocelyn Neumueller provided some relief for Merritt as well at both ends of the court but the Stars will be hoping to get Chihiro Kitada back for the playoffs.
Those finals will begin on Friday, July 28 with the Blues taking on the Flames for a spot in the Grand Final while the Stars will face the Comets.
The winner of that second playoff game will then take on the loser of the first final on Saturday night and the victor in that contest will meet the winner of the first final in the Grand Final on Sunday afternoon.