The Pioneers women’s side dominated North Adelaide on Saturday night as they exacted revenge for their round one defeat at the hands of the Rockets, eventually prevailing by a resounding 25 points. Having pushed the Rockets all the way in their season opener, it was the addition of import Pachis Roberts who joined the side recently that was the missing piece in the Pioneers puzzle with her efforts at both ends of the floor outstanding.
Roberts got the Pioneers going with the first bucket of the night and set the tone for what would be a strong start for the home side with the Rockets still nursing bus-lag early on. Amanda Frost had naming rights on the first quarter as she owned it with a stunning 17 points for the quarter, outpacing the entire North Adelaide team 17-13. The star import was simply unstoppable and it didn’t matter whether it was a foul shot, a mid-range jump shot or a long-range effort, Frost sent the Ice House into meltdown. Tayla Corrigan was one shining light for the Rockets as she led from the front with seven of the Rockets 13 first quarter points but it would do little to lift her side as the Pioneers strolled into the first break with a commanding 12-point advantage.
Shutting down Frost had to be the Rockets primary objective if they were going to maintain pace with the Pioneers, and to their credit they did just that, restricting Frost to just two points for the term. Despite shutting down Frost, the Rockets were not expecting a cameo from Emily Winter who bobbed up with 10 second term points to give her side a slight one-point advantage for the second term. Once again Corrigan toiled hard for North Adelaide and took her tally to 15 points and 7 rebounds to half time. Despite somewhat of a fight back from the Rockets they struggled to shutdown the Pioneers three-point scoring as the Pioneers caught fire, shooting 4/6 (67%) from distance in the second quarter as they headed into the main break with a 45-32 advantage. Despite a quiet second term, Amanda Frost led all scorers with 19 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds, Pachis Roberts had 12 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals and Emily Winter chimed in with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. For the Rockets, aside from Corrigan it was Samantha DeFrancesco who played the supporting act with 8 points and 3 assists to half time.
North Adelaide needed a hot start to the third term to get themselves back into the contest and they achieved just that as the visitors put the Pioneers on the back foot with an 8-2 run that cut the margin back to a manageable seven points. The Pioneers needed to respond and they found immediate answers from Frost who scored the next seven points of the game and suddenly their lead was back out to 14 points. DeFrancesco countered for the Rockets with a much-needed trey but it would be three straight drives to the hoop from Maddy Wormald that would break the hearts of the Rockets faithful as the young gun fired up her team and established a daunting 18-point differential. A late basket from Mariah Seals saw the Pioneers head into the final change with the score showing 61-45.
North Adelaide had to do everything right in the final term if they were going to come back and upset the Pioneers and when Abigayle Mader hit money from mid-range the door was left slightly ajar. Winter was not having anything to do with a Rockets comeback and slammed the door shut with another splashed three robbing the Rockets of any momentum. That basket sparked an 8-0 Pioneers run and the game was as good as over with the home side leading by 22 points. Frost and Winter had ice running through their veins from distance, connecting on 10/19 (52%) of their long-range attempts. Whilst we have come to expect such a performance from Frost, it was the x-factor of Winter that sparked the Pioneers in what was her finest game in Pioneers colours this season. With the bench emptied and the game in hand it was time for the Pioneers to celebrate a famous victory against last season’s premiers with the final score showing 87-62 in their favour. Amanda Frost further staked her claims as league MVP with 34 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals, Emily Winter put up 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals and Pachis Roberts contributed 19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. For the Rockets, Tayla Corrigan played her heart out with 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists but only Samantha DeFrancesco provided any form of support with 13 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds.
Both teams will now enjoy the week off for Easter before the Rockets match up with Southern Tigers on Anzac Day at home and the Pioneers travel to Adelaide to face Forestville on April 27 at Wayville.