Warrnambool Mermaids defeat Werribee Devils in 2018 Big V elimination final

WARRNAMBOOL Mermaids are eager to flex the defensive strength which ended Werribee Devils’ season in their best-of-three Big V semi-final series against Mildura Heat.

The Louise Brown-coached Mermaids produced a 59-48 elimination final win at the Arc on Saturday to book a date with the Heat.

They will host them in game one on Saturday night before travelling to Mildura for game two and, if needed, game three the following week.

“Mildura are one of the best offensive teams in the competition and we’re one of the best defensive teams so it’s going to be a really tough battle,” Brown said.

“They’re a really good team and we match up quite well on them. We’ll prepare ourselves as best we can this week.

“It would be nice to get that first win at home so you can go there with one win under your belt.”

The Mermaids’ frenetic defence was on display against the Devils before a fourth-term lapse.

They were six points up at the main break and built a decisive buffer in the third quarter, to be 16 popints clear.

“Defensively I thought we were great tonight, at half-time they only had 19 points,” Brown said.

“We just struggled to score a little bit. The game was physical early and we struggled to get into a little bit of a flow.

“Once we started to get a bit of a run, they got in a bit of foul trouble and one of their players actually got injured which was really unfortunate for them but we were able to get on a bit of a run and break the game open a little bit in the third quarter.

“They had 19 points at half-time and we let them have 18 in the last quarter but luckily we had ourselves in a good enough position offensively going into that last quarter.”

Guard Holly Greene finished with a team-high 17 points off the bench and “really kept the game ticking for us in the second and third quarters”.

Amy Wormald (15 points) and Katie O’Keefe (12) also hit the scoreboard.

Carly Pulling was instrumental with her defensive acts, grabbing four steals playing the entire 40 minutes.

“She was fantastic. She got up the floor and really put a lot of pressure on their ball handlers which was really good,” Brown said.

Brown, who played 13 minutes, is hopeful the Mermaids will be at full strength next weekend.

“Molly (McKinnon) did her ankle on Thursday at school basketball so she didn’t play tonight,” she said.