IN a SEABL season filled with humiliations, the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits just might have finally hit rock bottom at the weekend.
Following on from Friday’s 95-61 road hammering at the hands of Bendigo, the Lady Bandits yet again started slowly against Dandenong and yet again paid a massive price in a brutal 109-38 smackdown at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre on Saturday night.
Dandenong raced out of the blocks, establishing an early 15-3 advantage that was never remotely threatened, their hosts shooting an anaemic 26 per cent from the field for the game.
A third quarter meltdown that yielded just four points left the Border outfit trailing by an incredible 55 points with one stanza to play merely served to rub salt into an already gaping wound.
And yet, somehow, Albury-Wodonga nearly repeated the same insipid effort over the final 10 minutes, adding just five points to score a grand total of nine points for the second half.
Shellshocked Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger was at a complete loss as to his team’s inept display.
“We’re in a dark place,” Ballinger said.
“A really dark place.
“The club is hurting right now.
“I don’t know, they (Dandenong) did whatever they wanted.
“We couldn’t do anything to stop that tide.
“Nine points in a half, a 71-point loss ... yeah.”
Albury-Wodonga was smashed in every statistical category, outscored 56-12 in the paint and losing the rebounding battle 45-26.
Once again it was left to star forward Emilee Harmon to provide any semblance of resistance, the Ohio State alum top-scoring with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lady Bandits were without US forward Rachel Maenpaa, who has been ruled out for the rest of the SEABL season after she fractured a finger in the home defeat to Hobart two weeks ago.
Dandenong enjoyed an embarrassment of scoring riches, led by Jacinta Kennedy’s 27 points, with Lauren Scherf adding 23 points and 15 boards and Clare Papavs chiming in with 13 points.
“At half-time I said our biggest problem was effort and talk,” Ballinger said.
“If you don’t have the effort to back up the talk, then it’s pointless.
“We tried to get their heads back into it and that worked a treat.
“I don’t think they gave up; bad things happen, we can’t score and we couldn’t stop them.
“Right now I’m just a little bit stunned.”