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Bulleen set to miss WNBL finals
Adrian Warren
20:28 AEST Sun Jan 20 2013

Perennial WNBL powerhouse Bulleen look almost certain to miss the finals for the first time in five seasons after losing at home to fourth-placed Townsville.

The Fire (10-8) bounced back from a 80-72 loss to ladder-leaders Bendigo (17-2) on Friday to score a hugely significant 78-65 victory against fifth-placed Bulleen (7-12) the following night.

The Boomers led by 14 in the second quarter, but hit just two of 16 three-point attempts and scored only 20 points in the second half, on their way to a sixth straight loss.

Bulleen have played in the last four grand finals, but coach Tom Maher conceded the odds were against his side making the playoffs, with them trailing Townsville by three wins, with the Boomers having five games left and the Fire six.

"It is difficult. While it's statistically possible, you've got to stay with it," Maher said.

"We shot ourselves in the foot. While we did play well in the first half, they played way better than us in the second half.

"We didn't handle their physicality and their guys dominated inside and we just weren't good enough."

Townsville coach Chris Lucas rated the win in Bulleen as probably the Fire's best team performance of the season.

"We had five people in double figures and to be down by 14 points in that third quarter and come through and win the game, a 27-point turnaround, I'm just rapt for the girls," Lucas said.

"This year compared to last year, I think the difference is that last year we weren't able to beat teams above us and this year so far we have beaten Bendigo and Adelaide.

"Our destiny is still in our own hands and the opportunity to crack the finals, which I think is a credit to our own team."

Dandenong (16-3) and Adelaide (13-6) head the pack chasing Bendigo, who benefited from a 29-point, 11-rebound performance from centre Gabrielle Richards against Townsville.

Import Monica White scored 23 and guard Kathleen MacLeod 22, as Dandenong weathered a third-quarter comeback by Canberra (6-13), to score a 98-73 away victory.

The Rangers and Spirit have each won their last six games.

Laura Hodges posted 20 points and 12 rebounds, as Adelaide scored a thumping 97-61 home win over Logan.

Laurie Koehn scored 22 and Kristen Veal 20 as Logan (7-12) maintained their slender finals hopes with an 84-62 away win over West Coast (3-15) on Sunday.


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