OUT-PLAYED and out-sized. This was always going to be a massive assignment for Ballarat Rush in the South East Australian Basketball League.
But Rush coach Peter Cunningham said his players were never emotionally good enough on Saturday night to defeat Dandenong.
The SEABL women's east conference leader made its 23-point win at the MARS Minerdome look easy.
There was not faulting Integra Rush's effort. They even recovered from a struggling start to push back to nine points short of the Rangers by half-time.
Cunningham says the game followed a disappointing week of training and, immediately post-match, was already planning ways to change-it-up this week.
"We made great plays and then would miss, say, a lay-up and they would go down and score. We would make and turnover and they would score. they made did it easy," Cunningham said.
"We're very disappointed.
"We didn't train well. Training was ordinary and scrappy...I don't think effort was bad, we tried hard.
"Like North Melbourne (AFL) coach Brad Scott says, when pushed we fall over."
Rush needs a spark.
There is no let up in competition and the tall, experienced rivals just keep coming with a road trip to Bendigo on Friday night and hosting duties to Brisbane on Saturday night.
The Rangers sported a wealth of Women's National Basketball League experience, including Amelia Todhunter (13 points), Lauren Scherf (15 points, 12 rebounds) and former Australian Opal Jacinta Kennedy (18 points).
Rush captain Kristy Rinaldi (12 points, seven rebounds) did a lot hard, physical work for her team and nailed big shots.
Rush star Steph Cumming was contained to 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists on the back of her SEABL player of the week award.
Cunningham said his team struggled to adjust to referee calls, most noted in the Rangers 20 free throws (15 coverted) compared to Rush's one shot from the line. Rush made 19 fouls to the Rangers' six.
American Nya Mason was received her fourth foul in the second quarter, leaving Ash Stonehouse and young gun Kasey Burton to battle the Rangers taller, more experienced players inside the paint.
It was never a fair battle.
*Ballarat Miners failed to find a match for dynamic Dandenong duo Daequon Montreal (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Tony Lewis (23 points, 13 rebounds).
The Rangers broke free of the GMHBA Miners in the second half to claim a 14-point win at the Minerdome on Saturday night.
Scores had been locked 45-all at half-time.
It adds more importance to the Miners games with Bendigo and Brisbane looming ahead this weekend.