THE Bendigo Braves women have stormed into a second straight SEABL national championship game following a 29-point drubbing of Kilsyth Cobras in tonight’s (Saturday) preliminary final in Melbourne.
A remarkably even team performance, with all five starters scoring in double figures, ensured a convincing 93-64 victory for the Braves.
It was coach Megan Moody’s team’s 22nd win from 23 games this season.
Their only blemish was a qualifying final loss to Launceston Tornadoes, the team the Braves will play in next Saturday’s final at the State Basketball Centre in Melbourne.
The Braves conceded the first five points of the game, but were sparked into action by a trio of three-pointers in the opening term from guard Kara Tessari to lead by one point at quarter time.
It was largely one-way from there, with the Braves outscoring the Cobras, who were playing on their home court at Kilsyth Sports Centre, 26-17 in the second quarter and 26-11 in the third.
The Braves rounded out a powerful performance by outscoring the Cobras 23-19 in the final term to earn their way into the championship game for the second straight season.
Bendigo won the assist count 26-11, aided largely by Kelly Wilson, who had a game-high 15 to match her 15 points.
Gabe Richards and Ash Karaitiana led the scoring with 17 points each, while Nadeen Payne tipped in 16 points to go along with her 10 rebounds.
The Braves dominated the boards, winning the rebound count 43-31, led by Richards with a game-high 12.
Tessari finished with 14 points, while back-up guard Bianca Dufelmeier provided plenty of spark off the bench with 10 points and five rebounds.
For Kilsyth, Jasmine Gill top-scored with 14 points, but a strong Braves defence was able to restrict 2017 season MVP Angela Beadle to just 10 points and two rebounds.
Meanwhile, Launceston booked its spot in the grand final with a 10 point win against Nunawading Spectres.
The Tornadoes, led by their star Lauren Nicholson (26 points, 12 rebounds), won 75-65.
Alex Wilson scored 23 points and had 13 rebounds, while Ellie Collins finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
The Tornadoes defeated the Braves 84-77 in week one of the finals at Bendigo Stadium, squaring the ledger between the two sides this season at one win apiece.