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Penaluna leads way in back-to-back wins

HOT HAND: Elyse Penaluna starred in the Bendigo Lady Braves victories against Hobart Chargers and Launceston Tornadoes. Picture: BILL CONROY

TALENTED forward Elyse Penaluna showed how vital she will be in the Champions IGA Bendigo Lady Braves play-offs push in the weekend’s basketball double in Tasmania.

Penaluna achieved a team-high of 26 points in Friday night’s win in Hobartand followed up with 17 points in Saturday’s clash with Launceston.

Stand-in coach Bernie Harrower was rapt with Penaluna’s play and the team’s effort to achieve a clean-sweep in the latest round of the South East Australia Basketball League season.

“This was another massive weekend for us in terms of moving up the ladder and earning a home final,” Harrower said.

It was the second week running where Bendigo beat a team which had a superb record at home.

Hobart’s tally at home was 6-1 ahead of the round 14 clash.

After starting this season playing with Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence, Penaluna rejoined the Lady Braves earlier this month.

Her first game back in the Bendigo colours was at Sandringham.

Penaluna’s play in attack and defence was a key feature of the Lady Braves wins against the Chargers and Tornadoes.

“Elyse showed just how good she is,” Harrower said.

“She dominated at Hobart. It was not just some big baskets, but her defensive play was a standout.

“Elyse can be a shot-blocker and some of the deflections became steals for us.”

Bendigo won a hard-fought duel withHobart.

The Chargers led 18-14 at quarter-time before Bendigo struck back to win the second term, 21-12.

Bendigo held a one-point lead at the start of the final term.

Hobart charged to a six-point buffer, but Bendigo struck back through the play of Stacia Robertson, Penaluna and Kerryn Harrington.

A three-pointer by Hobart’s Kathleen Scheer was answered with a basket by Harrington from beyond the arc.

Another three by Harrington put Bendigo in front.

When Wilson’s three capped a Penaluna defensive rebound the Braves led 64-58 at just over two minutes to play.

A great contest ended in a 66-64 victory for Bendigo.

Penaluna racked up 26 points and 11 rebounds.

The Australian Opals forward had great support from Kelly Wilson, 16 points and seven rebounds; Robertson, 14 points and 16 rebounds; and Harrington, 10 points.

Strong defence was a feature of Bendigo’s win against Launceston.

The Lady Braves led 35-32 at half-time and went on to win 80-53.

Best for the Lady Braves were Kelly Wilson 25 points; Robertson, 21 points and 13 rebounds; Penaluna, 17 points and 11 rebounds; Harrington, 14 points.

The Lady Braves are 10-7 and three wins clear of Frankston in the play-offs race.

Bendigo is at home next Saturday to play Canberra from 6pm.

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