Southside off to flying start in WNBL

Darren Snowdon
·2-min read

The Southside Flyers demonstrated why they have been tagged as WNBL title favourites after crushing the Bendigo Spirit 102-60.

With former league MVP Liz Cambage leading the charge, the Flyers sounded an ominous warning to the rest of the competition on Thursday through their dominant 42-point win at Townsville Stadium.

Having signed for Southside after opting out of the recent WNBA season in the United States, Cambage recorded 19 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes to stamp her class on the contest.

"The more we play obviously we will get used to everyone and with Lizzie coming in, she's a huge person for us," Sara Blicavs said about Cambage's Flyers debut.

"We're just learning to work off her and I think we are really doing a good job with that."

The Flyers boast superior talent and depth compared to Bendigo but Blicavs (17 points, 12 rebounds) was most pleased with the effort produced in their season opener.

"For the first game, you just want to do all the effort things - rebounding, running, defending, that was really our goal today and I think we pulled it off," she said.

The off-season focus has been on last season's grand finalists after adding Cambage, Stephanie Blicavs, Rachel Jarry and Monique Conti to a roster already containing Opals stars such as Blicavs, Jenna O'Hea and Leilani Mitchell.

But for Blicavs, just getting back on court after a long delay provided the most excitement.

"We are obviously from Victoria so we've been in lockdown for about six months and the Flyers haven't played a game since the grand final in March - we were just eager to get out here," she said.

Ahead by 10 points after one quarter, the Flyers erupted for 34 points in the second period to lead 56-30 at halftime - the statistics leaning heavily in Southside's favour for field goal percentage (63-27), assists (16-5) and three-pointers (7-2).

The Spirit refused to throw in the towel after halftime, with Carly Ernst (16 points, seven rebounds) and captain Tessa Lavey leading by example, but they were unable to chip away at the Flyers' sizeable lead.

Holding an 80-47 advantage after three quarters, Flyers coach Cheryl Chambers was afforded the luxury of resting Cambage in preparation for Saturday's clash with the Melbourne Boomers.