Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits pay dearly for bad start

Emilee Harmon drives past Gabe Richards. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Emilee Harmon drives past Gabe Richards. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

TOO big, too fast, too good.

The Knox Raiders proved a class above the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits on Saturday night, running out 91-55 winners at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre.

A 20-3 run to open the game effectively decided the outcome and although the Lady Bandits fought valiantly, they were never able to reduce the deficit by any appreciable margin before fading badly in the final quarter.

Chief destroyer for the Raiders was powerhouse pivot Gabe Richards who, despite the best efforts of Lauren Angel, simply did as she pleased.

Richards racked up 33 points and 12 rebounds and had plenty of help from fellow Opals representative Kelly Wilson, who did plenty of everything while tallying a near-triple double of 17 points, 10 boards and seven assists.

For Albury-Wodonga, Emilee Harmon was again a tireless workhorse, scoring 23 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

But there just wasn’t enough help, with only Angel (11) and Sophie Kleeman (10) barely cracking double digits.

Import Rachel Maenpaa was again quiet with just five points in only 20 minutes of playing time.

And Montana Farrah-Seaton had a game she’d prefer to forget, tallying just two points and misfiring on 11 of her 12 attempts.

Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger admitted there wasn’t much his players could do to prevent the Raiders’ offensive onslaught but was disappointed in their own poor shooting.

“I thought we did a pretty good job on Kelly (Wilson),” Ballinger said.

“But Gabe was just phenomenal, just her workrate and that allows her teammates to be the players they are.

“I just think we could have been better tonight.

“I felt we regressed offensively; we were very stagnant.

“We didn’t move the ball for the entire first quarter, although it did get better.”