Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits: Double thrashing as coach laments lack of effort

ALBURY-Wodonga Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger has blasted his team’s effort after another weekend of disastrous results for the struggling club.

The Lady Bandits were abysmal in a 96-50 beatdown from Nunawading Lady Spectres on Saturday night before “improving” the losing margin yesterday against Dandenong in a 79-55 thrashing.

In both games Albury-Wodonga endured lengthy offensive droughts, scoring just 16 points in the first half against the Lady Spooks and tallying just five in the third quarter against Dandenong.

Ballinger acknowledged there was a marked defensive improvement yesterday but said the overall effort wasn’t good enough.

“I feel better about the score against Dandenong but there were still too many periods where we didn’t move the ball,” Ballinger said.

“It’s frustrating we go for so long without scoring and it’s all too common for us.

“This has been the culture for 18 months and at this level you just can’t do that.

“We got some defensive stops today and that was pleasing, but it’s like playing 17 holes of golf really badly and then hitting one good shot on the 18th.”

On Saturday night, the Lady Bandits had no answers to a balanced Nunawading attack led by Alanna Smith’s 22 points.

With such a dearth of offensive options it was no surprise Albury-Wodonga had just one player notch double-digit scoring — import Emilee Harmon with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Offensively, it was a similar story against the Lady Rangers yesterday afternoon, although US import Rachel Maenpaa managed her best game for the team this year.

The Wisconsin native led all scorers with 17 points and also hauled down a game-high 15 rebounds, while Harmon battled foul trouble to add 12 points and eight boards.

Dandenong’s depth of talent was again the deciding factor, with Lauren Scherf (16 points) and former Lady Bandits guard Amelia Todhunter (14) leading the way.

The Lady Bandits head to Sandringham next weekend, having defeated the Lady Sabres for their lone victory of the season in round three.

“Everyone is frustrated right now,” Ballinger said.

“Until we play a team game, we’re going to be in that rut offensively.

“To hold a good team to 79 points is encouraging, hopefully they’ll use that knowledge and really attack Sandringham.

“Rachel (Maenpaa) was much better today, hopefully that translates going forward.

“In past games, if she hasn’t been scoring, she hasn’t found ways to help, but along with her scoring today, she found ways to contribute, on the boards and elsewhere.”