Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits' losing ways can’t go on: Ballinger

Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger.
Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger.

A DISASTROUS weekend SEABL road double has Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger openly questioning his future with the club.

After a 95-54 hammering from the Geelong Lady Supercats on Friday night, the Border outfit was again put to the sword next evening in a 99-65 beatdown by the Knox Raiders.

The double demolition leaves the Lady Bandits at the foot of the East Conference ladder with a 1-4 record but it's the manner of the defeats that has Ballinger weighing up his options ahead of the league’s Easter break.


In four losses Albury-Wodonga has been beaten by an average of 43.25 points per game, with last week’s surprise win over Sandringham the lone highlight of its season so far.

“I know this can’t continue,” Ballinger said.

“And it all stops with the coach; you can’t keep losing by 40, by 70, and not have a little think about it, it’s human nature.

“When you lose like this, you have to (consider your future).

“You have to look at yourself first; what are you doing as a coach to rectify that?

“So today and tomorrow is all about me, the coaching staff, coaching style and gameplan and then we’ll look at the players and talk with them.

“We’re almost a quarter of the way through the year, we’ve got a break, it would almost be silly not to review everything.

“If you were 5-0 you might review a little bit less.

“But we have to review numerous aspects and that starts with the coaches and filters down to the players.”

Of particular concern is the side’s inability to stop teams in transition, especially after a horrendous first quarter against Knox that saw the Raiders pile up 37 points.

Ballinger said it was “completely unacceptable” the Border club allowed their hosts to score 61 points in the first half and shoot well above 60 per cent from the field.

“We couldn’t stop the ball in transition and they scored way too often from that,” Ballinger said.

“Giving up 61 in a half is completely unacceptable and letting a team shoot above 60 per cent is something that should never happen in a basketball game.

“We just can’t afford to give up 95-100 points every game, we need to shave off about 30 points in the next two weeks.”

New US import Emilee Harmon was again a shining light for the Lady Bandits, racking up a tidy double-double of 19 points and 15 boards after compiling 14 points and 14 rebounds against Geelong.

With fellow countrywoman Rachel Maenpaa (six points, seven rebounds) still easing back from pre-season ankle surgery, the onus is on Harmon, Lauren Angel and Montana Farrah-Seaton to produce big numbers every night.

Ballinger admitted his team needed to get smarter with its shot selection.

“We showed against Sandringham we can play well,” Ballinger said.

“When we take good shots it sets us up defensively much better.

“When we rush our shots, we end up with a lot of people in no-man’s land and everyone misses their assignments.

“We need to drastically improve; if we can’t keep the ball in front of us ... that’s the most alarming feature for me.”