Despite the drop off in temperature, the Sturt Sabres continued to turn up the heat on the Mount Gambier Pioneers women’s side on Sunday afternoon as they showed the ill effects of an unbearable night before to eventually go down to a quality Sabres outfit by a disheartening 41 points.
The Sabres were coming off a dominant 38-point victory the night before against Norwood and their dominance continued early as a combination of Lauren Gibbons and Ruby Porter shot the home side out to a fast 7-1 start. The Pioneers were quick to respond when Amanda Frost found Maddy Wormald for a mid-range jump shot before Mel Russell followed up with another jump shot inside to cut the Sturt margin to two points. This run fuelled a 13-3 run for the visitors and suddenly the Pioneers held an eight-point advantage with 1:35 left in the first term. The Pioneers made the most of their time at the charity stripe and with Frost running the floor like a general, it appeared that the Pioneers were in control of the contest. Sturt managed the final two baskets of the term courtesy of Emily Williamson and carried momentum into the second term despite being down 20-16 at the first change.
Porter got the Sabres going in the second term when she split her free throws then followed up with a clutch mid-range jump shot courtesy of a nice dish from Williamson. Rising star Emily Dawe responded for the Pioneers with her jump shot giving the visitors a three-point buffer. Sturt gained the lead courtesy of two baskets to Danielle Angley and two successful free throws from Porter with the score indicating a 25-22 advantage to the home side. A scoring drought followed where neither side could trouble the scorer for 2:07 minutes before the flood gates opened and Sturt took full control of the match and went on a 26-5 run to lead by 24 points at half time. The Sabres were led by the two way play of Ruby Porter who compiled 12 points, 2 assists and 4 steals in the first half with great support coming from the towering Emily Williamson who lived on the boards for 7 points and 6 rebounds to half time. For the Pioneers, Amanda Frost had 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals and Maddy Wormald provided 5 points and 2 rebounds to the main break.
The Pioneers needed a hot start to the third term but it was anything but as the Sabres continued to pile on the pain with a 14-2 run to open the second half putting the game well and truly beyond doubt as they opened up a commanding 36-point advantage. The Pioneers did not help themselves as their poor shooting and lack of defensive intensity gifted the Sabres the huge lead. The Pioneers were looking for Frost to get them back into the contest but she was having a tough shooting afternoon and could not spark her side. Porter had the hot hand for the Sabres in the third term adding nine points whilst Williamson continued her dominance inside the paint. Heading into the final term the Pioneers were down 77-36 and staring down the barrel of a tough defeat.
The final quarter was all about the visiting side adding some respectability to the scoreboard and Frost took it upon herself to do just that with the opening three points of the term. However, the Sabres were not going to go away and continued to press with contributions from all players. The play of the day for the Pioneers was a slick inbounds pass from Emily Winter to set up Olivia Wormald for the easy layup but at 83-41 there was little cause for celebration. When Natasha Van Der Wolff connected on a long-range effort, the Sabres lead reached 47 points and the Pioneers would need to fight the game out to keep it under the dreaded 50-point margin. But that they did, Winter found her shot from distance, Maddy Wormald followed suit before both Wormald’s added points from the charity stripe to ensure the Pioneers ran out the game on a positive note heading into next week. Despite their best efforts, the Pioneers would fall 95-54 in what was a gallant effort given the intense conditions they had to combat the night before. Amanda Frost again led the way for the Pioneers with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals, Maddy Wormald put up 11 points and 4 rebounds and Emily Winter finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. For the Sabres, it was Ruby Porter with 21 points, 3 rebounds and 5 steals leading the way, Emily Williamson doubled up with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Danielle Angley added 11 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
The Pioneers will look to bounce back when they face the Southern Tigers in a fortnight’s time at home whilst the Sabres will look to continue their winning streak when they face the North Adelaide Rockets at Pasadena next week.