THE Bendigo Braves women regained bragging rights over their arch-rivals Ballarat Rush in their NBL1 battle on Saturday night.
However, in the men's contest the Ballarat Miners consigned the Braves to a 0-4 start to their season at the Bendigo Stadium.
Having lost their previous encounter to the Rush last season, this time the fast-starting Braves women were quick to put the game out of Ballarat's reach with a dominant first half that set up their 95-70 win.
The Braves women were boosted by the inclusion of Opals representative Tessa Madgen for her first game of the season and she had a huge impact first-up.
Coming off a WNBL championship with Melbourne last month, Madgen opened her Braves' season with a dominant 29 point, 15 rebound and six assist performance.
Abbey Wehrung also provided a strong offensive presence for the Braves with 26 points, which included shooting six-of-seven from three-point range.
The Braves women raced to a commanding 50-23 lead at half-time to have the game well in hand at the main break as they improved to 3-1 for the season.
The Braves women returned to the Bendigo Stadium court on Sunday afternoon for a NBL1 Wildcard game against the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence.
The team that finishes on top of the Wildcard ladder will win the position as the sixth team at the inaugural NBL1 national finals to be held later this year.
The Braves won by 19 points, 91-72, led again by a combined 59 points from Madgen (30) and Wehrung (29).
Meanwhile, Ballarat took the honours in the inaugural Steve Kelly Memorial Game against the Braves men on Saturday night.
The tribute game celebrates one of the Braves' greatest contributors, Steve Kelly, who died in October, 2020.
After scores had been level 67 apiece at three quarter-time, the Miners had the better of the final term to pull away for a 91-82 victory.
The Braves unveiled new import Sidy Djitte, with the 208cm centre starting with a double-double of 23 points and 17 rebounds, along with four assists and three blocks.
Jake Lloyd was the Braves' leading scorer with 25 points, including four three-pointers.
The Braves' men and women are on the road next weekend for Saturday night games against the Sandringham Sabres.
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