Team Sky were eventually too strong for The Suns prevailing 94-77 in the first of the Women’s Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam semi-finals at Atlas Place on Saturday.
Olivia Bell scored six of The Suns first 10 points as they kept pace with Team Sky in the opening exchanges. Sky was led by Deena Franklin and Georgia Henare (two triples), to lead narrowly, 27-23, at quarter time.
A three from Tiarna Clarke and a couple of nice baskets from Claire McCurran helped The Sun’s cause but a dozen first half points from Annabelle Jenkins helped propel Sky to a handy 51-42 half-time advantage.
The Suns played with just six players and the lack of bench strength began to tell in the third quarter as Zara Jillings (twice) and then Henare found time and space to knock down three point efforts. Those triples plus six points in the quarter from Breanna Jones stretched Team Sky’s lead to 76-54 at the third break.
Forward Kelcy Ballantyne battled valiantly for The Suns and the Westlake guard duo of Clarke and Rosie Davidson helped ensure the lead didn’t blow out but ultimately Team Sky had too much depth and quality, booking a place in next Saturday’s final with a comfortable victory.
Suns 77 – Clarke 19, Ballantyne 19, McCurran 15, Bell 8.
Team Sky 94 – Jenkins 24, Jones 16, Franklin 14, Henare 12, Jillings 10.
As expected the Storm were far too strong for The Sparks in the second semi-final, dominating from start to finish to win 103-43.
Tabitha Jenkins and Milomilo Nanai combined well all game in the frontcourt and they scored the first ten points for the Storm as they opened a 16-6 lead extended to 37-18 by quarter time.
Rebecca Hughes scored 7 first half points for The Sparks but they were unable to keep pace with the Storm who were out of sight by half time with a 61-27 lead.
The third quarter became an embarrassment for the Sparks, but for a late three from Anna Lacey they would have remained scoreless in the period and trailed 75-30 ahead of the final 10 minutes.
The Storm boasted seven players in double figures and will head into next week’s final full of confidence having lost just one game in the six weeks round robin phase of the competition. However that loss was against next weeks opposition – Team Sky.
Storm 103 – Hannah Turton 18, Jordan Hunter 16, Nanai 15, Kate Lacey 14, Jenkins 12.