The Be Active Western Stars have installed themselves as clear favourites for the 2018 Championship following Round 3 while the Queensland Comets have moved into a top-two spot.
The Stars hit the road for the weekend to take on the defending Champions in Sydney Metro Blues but the hosts proved no match for the visitors, falling by 30 and 34 points across two meetings.
Some brilliant passing and unselfish play set up the Stars’ first win on Saturday night as they tallied 28 assists on 35 field goals, helping them to shoot 52% from the field in a 75-45 victory.
Georgia Inglis was everywhere with nine points, 14 assists and seven steals and Chihiro Kitada played every minute for 19 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and three steals while Amber Merritt could not be stopped, tallying a double-double herself with 35 points and ten boards.
With just six rostered players, the Blues were always up against it but Georgia Munro-Cook and Kylie Gauci fought valiantly, recording double-doubles themselves to combine for 26 points and 20 rebounds.
Their second contest followed a similar script as Merritt backed up with 31 points and 17 rebounds, aided by strong performances against from Kitada (17 points, 13 boards) and Inglis (four points, nine assists) while Sarah Vinci hit double-digits as well with ten points.
Sydney Metro held firm on the glass, matching the Stars’ rebound count courtesy of Munro-Cook (12 points, 12 rebounds), Jess Cronje (six points, nine rebounds) and Gauci (eight points, six boards, six assists) but they just did not have the offence to match their opponents.
Adding further woes, the Blues then fell out of the top two on the ladder when the Comets defeated the Red Dust Lady Heelers in consecutive games to cap off Round 3.
It was a defensive grind on Saturday night as Queensland opened up a slim lead early but could never get comfortable as the Lady Heelers kept them within arm’s reach.
Leading by only five points at half-time, the Comets pushed that margin out to ten at the final change and then a 15-10 fourth quarter finally put away the determined visitors.
Alison Herring dominated with 21 points and 16 rebounds and Ashley Wardman added a crucial eight points off the bench while Cobi Crispin fell just short of a triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Red Dust were paced by 15 points from Shelley Chaplin and Taylah Parry pulled down ten boards but they were hampered by a short roster in a similar fashion to the Blues and that did not help their chances in backing up the next day against Queensland when they fell, 29-47.
Chaplin (nine points, eight rebounds, seven assists, four steals) tried diligently and Clare Nott recorded eight points, nine boards and four steals but the Lady Heelers did not have the offensive firepower to match Herring or Crispin who combined for a game-winning 32 points and 22 rebounds while Ella Sabljak harassed them with six steals.
Two victories for the weekend has now moved the Comets into second spot on the ladder before the competition breaks for the Kevin Coombs Cup this weekend, held in Geelong, Victoria.
The WNWBL returns on May 12 when the Stars take on the Cobras while the Comets will host the Blues in a battle for second place.