THE Hobart Lady Chargers withstood a second-quarter fightback from the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits to record a comprehensive 95-63 SEABL win at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre on Saturday night.
Outscoring their hosts 50-30 in the paint, the Tasmanian club posted its 11th victory of the season and condemned the Lady Bandits to a 16th straight defeat.
A balanced scoring attack had six Hobart players post double-digit point totals, with Australian Opals forward-centre Cayla Francis leading the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Kylie McCauley added 21 points and nine boards off the bench as the Chargers enjoyed a 52-37 advantage on the glass.
For Albury-Wodonga, import superstar Emilee Harmon again worked tirelessly for 25 points and 16 rebounds and guard Sophie Kleeman continued her recent vein of good form with 17 points.
But they were the only noteworthy offensive contributors, with Tenille Collins (eight points) and US forward Rachel Maenpaa (seven points) providing limited help.
Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger admitted the team’s poor start meant it was always playing catch-up against a significantly more talented lineup.
“Our start really wasn’t good and the effort exerted to get back in the game really showed about half-way through the third quarter,” Ballinger said,
“And there was a flow-on effect to that in the fourth quarter when we only scored seven points.
“They have too many quality players to give up an early lead like that.”
Both teams started brightly enough but Alb-ury’s inability to get back in transition started to bite and by the end of the first quarter the visitors had established a comfortable 32-15 margin.
Instead of crumbling further, the Lady Bandits surprisingly reeled the margin back to single digits — 49-41 — by half-time.