Lady Braves advance to grand final

UP AND ABOUT: The Bendigo Lady Braves are back in the SEABL women's south conference grand final after an impressive semi-final victory on Saturday night.

UP AND ABOUT: The Bendigo Lady Braves are back in the SEABL women's south conference grand final after an impressive semi-final victory on Saturday night.

The Bendigo Champions IGA Lady Braves will host the SEABL women’s south conference grand final after they defeated minor premier Dandenong on Saturday night.

One week after losing to the bottom team, the Lady Braves stunned the Rangers with a dominant performance in the major semi-final.

The Lady Braves won every quarter and eased to a 74-59 win.

“We’re very excited to get the chance to host another conference final,’’ Lady Braves coach Jonothan Goodman said.

It will be the fourth time in Goodman’s five-year reign as coach that the Lady Braves have qualified for the conference grand final.

Goodman said the turnaround in the Lady Braves’ form was all between the ears.

“It’s amazing what we can do when we turn up ready to play,’’ he said.

“Last week we weren’t ready and it hurt us. This week we executed well and got the job done.”

The Lady Braves’ win was built around defence.

They restricted the Rangers  to 27 per cent shooting from the field, including a poor 5-28 from behind the three-point arc.

“Defensively, we keyed into a few of their good shooters and made sure they played on the perimeter,’’ Goodman said.

“We were disappointed to give up 24 offensive rebounds… that’s something we need to work on before the grand final.”

Offensively, the Lady Braves did a better job of sharing the load.

Chante Black was outstanding with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while star guard Kelly Wilson had 13 points , four boards and six assists.

Bianca Dufelmeier added 13 points and Jane Chalmers and Chloe Bibby chipped in with seven points each.

Bibby only played 14 minutes of game time after battling illness the past week. The forward is unavailable for the grand final because of college commitments in the USA.

The conference grand final will be in Bendigo on Saturday, August 26.

The Lady Braves need to win that game to advance to the SEABL championship match.

Their opponent in the south conference grand final will be Dandenong or Launceston.

Launceston advanced to the preliminary final after upstaging Tasmanian rival Hobart 86-82 in the first semi-final.

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