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Caps, Boomers firing in run to WNBL finals

Canberra and Melbourne have made powerful statements about their WNBL title credentials by comfortably beating the other clubs in the top four in the penultimate round.

Missing the injured Mikaela Ruef, Kelly Wilson and Alex Bunton and hit earlier in the week by the news coach Paul Goriss will be leaving at the end of the season, Canberra (11-4) smashed Perth Lynx 96-80 in Perth on Saturday to knock them off top spot.

Brittany Sykes tallied 32 points, eight assists and six rebounds and captain Kelsey Griffin contributed 17 points,11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals.

Even a 36-point haul from import Jackie Young couldn’t help Perth (9-4), who earlier in the week enjoyed two home wins over faltering Adelaide, 104-79 and 84-73, but play their last three regular-season games away.

The victory boosted Canberra heading into their last two regular-season games away to Adelaide (9-6) and Melbourne.

“Its a really good test for us and to start that three-game away stretch with a big win, I couldn’t be prouder of the group,” Caps guard Jade Melbourne told Kayo after scoring 20.

On Sunday, third-placed Melbourne scored a crushing 72-49 away win over Adelaide, who shot just 29 per cent from the field.

The Boomers (11-5) outscored the home team 15-2 in the final quarter, with the fourth-placed Lightning missing with their last 17 field goal attempts inside the final nine minutes.

Opals player Ezi Magbegor topscored for Melbourne with 23 points, shooting 57 per cent from the field and added 14 rebounds and two blocks in a dominant performance in the 300th WNBL appearance of Boomers captain Cayla George.

Sydney, who won just one of their first 12 matches, made it three successive victories as they followed up their upset win away to Perth last week with two more road conquests to climb off the bottom of the ladder.

They spoilt the final WNBL home game for retiring Southside and Opals star Jenna O’Hea, who topscored with 19 in the Flyers’ 68-66 home loss on Thursday.

In form Keely Froling sparked Sydney (4-11) with 21 points and 10 boards against Southside (4-12).

Froling also scored 18 in a 61-56 victory at Bendigo (6-9) on Saturday, when the Flames were out rebounded 55-41 with their former player Anneli Maley dragging down 16 boards for the Spirit.

Southside snapped their seven-match losing skid on Sunday with a 100-79 away win over Townsville (6-9) with the Flyers registering their biggest winning margin of the season.

Emilee Whittle-Harmon scored 22 and bagged 11 rebounds. O’Hea tallied 21 points and Rebecca Cole 20.

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