Boomers overwhelm Flyers in WNBL surprise

·2-min read

If the Southside Flyers believed they were going to have it all their own way in the WNBL this season they got a rude awakening against the Melbourne Boomers at Townsville Stadium.

Trailing by 13 in the second period, the Boomers hit back in style to beat last season's grand finalists 89-72 in a match dominated by the winners' willingness to shoot from distance.

Inspired by Opals pair Cayla George and Tess Madgen, the Boomers landed 16 of their 27 attempted three-pointers for a 59 per cent success rate.

By contrast, the Flyers were successful with just four of their 15 long-range efforts.

Along with superstar Liz Cambage, the much-fancied Flyers can also call on Australia captain Jenna O'Hea along with fellow Opals Leilani Mitchell, Rebecca Cole and Sara Blicavs.

The pre-match talk was all about Cambage, who cut short her contract with the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA after being given a medical exemption due to the pandemic which is rampant in the United States.

She had been outstanding in Southside's 42-point opening win against Bendigo Spirit on Thursday, and racked up 24 points and 19 rebounds in this Melbourne derby.

But the 28-year-old found herself overshadowed by her international teammate and fellow WNBA gun George.

George also piled on 24 points, as did her fellow Boomer Madgen, as she drove her team forward to overturn a 13-point deficit in the second period and set the foundations for a convincing win.

"I found some confidence today, and when you're confident it's easy to hit those shots and take some risky shots," George told Kayo Sports.

"I'm happy with that, but I'm more happy with the win."

After a poor first quarter, a solid second period had Melbourne trailing 40-35 at the halfway stage, and as their confidence grew they took the lead for the first time in the match halfway through the third quarter, Madgen slotting home a three-pointer to put her team 46-44 to the good.

Mitchell restored the Flyers advantage shortly afterwards, but a three-pointer from New Zealand Tall Fern Ashleigh Karaitiana put the Boomers back in front for an advantage they never surrendered.

The result puts them 2-0 following their opening 85-70 win over Sydney Uni Flames on Thursday.

They are next in action against the Perth Lynx in Mackay on Monday, while the Flyers will need to quickly get over their disappointment when they face the Flames at the same venue on Sunday.

"Hopefully we can keep getting better from here," George said.

"It was a hard-fought win. They're a great team, they're the benchmark, but we'll keep progressing and hopefully we can keep improving."