THERE was no way Ballarat Rush was going to let this match slip – Rush fought Bendigo, a roster stacked with national league experience, all the way for victory in double-overtime last night.
Rush’s Steph Cumming chalked up eight points in the sixth period and sealed a two-point win before a roaring crowd at the Mars Minerdome against an arch-rival and early South East Australian Basketball League dominant force.
Three times Integra Rush has defied popular opinion to win matches in which most SEABL followers had written them off.
The backbone to Integra Rush’s win was relentless defensive pressure, a cool and calculated approach when each play re-set, and some sharp shooting.
A towering Bendigo outfit smashed Rush on the boards – to half-time it was 26-9 – but Rush stuck with the Lady Braves with a clever offence attack.
Bendigo kept biting. An impressive Kerryn Harrington three-pointer with 11 seconds to play in regular time leveled scores with Rush.
Lady Brave Rosie Fadljevic converted deep in the fifth period to take the game into double overtime.
Key Braves Alex Bunton (17 points, 19 rebounds) and veteran guard Chantella Perera (19 points) and Rush tall Nya Mason (11 rebounds) were fouled off by the time the match moved into a sixth stanza.
Cumming’s classy play polished off the Rush win. She finished with 31 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
Young guard Abbey Wehrung impressed with her relentless pressure in more than 44 minutes on the floor.
Wehrung chalked up 19 points, including four big three-pointers from four attempts to three-quarter-time, and six rebounds.
In a rollercoaster second half, Rush surged ahead in the third period to claim a five-point lead by the break before the Lady Braves found momentum with an unanswered 10-point run to start the fourth.