Warrnambool Mermaids win game one of Big V semi-final series against Mildura Heat

ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO: Warrnambool Mermaids celebrate winning game one of their semi-final series on Saturday night. Picture: Michael Chambers
ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO: Warrnambool Mermaids celebrate winning game one of their semi-final series on Saturday night. Picture: Michael Chambers

WARRNAMBOOL Mermaids are one win away from the Big V grand final series after producing their best offensive game of the season.

The defensively-minded Mermaids found their scoring rhythm in their 88-65 semi-final game one victory over Mildura Heat at the Arc on Saturday night.

The tally surpassed their previous best of 83. They’ve only produced four 80-plus scores across their 23 games.

Warrnambool coach Louise Brown was thrilled with the Mermaids’ performance, which included a game-high 23 points from experienced guard Katie O’Keefe and 18 points from Holly Greene off the bench.

“It was really unexpected to be honest,” she said.

“I know my girls have what it takes to win but Mildura are a great team so I didn’t expect the margin to be that big but credit to my girls, they came to play tonight.

“In that third quarter they really opened the game up and took it on and did everything I asked.”

SCOREBOARD PRESSURE: Warrnambool Mermaids shake hands with their Mildura Heat opponents. Picture: Michael Chambers

SCOREBOARD PRESSURE: Warrnambool Mermaids shake hands with their Mildura Heat opponents. Picture: Michael Chambers

Brown said the high-scoring was pleasing, particularly against a side which is known as an offensive power.

“That is a massive offensive game for us because we don’t normally score up around the 90s,” she said.

“But we knew we had to keep them under 70 points to give ourselves the best opportunity and I said to the girls at quarter-time that they had 18 and we can’t have anymore quarters like that.

“We really upped it then defensively in the second and third quarters and it put us in good stead going into the last quarter.”

Brown said the Mermaids, who travel for games two and three, shared the load.

“Amy Wormald was awesome. She only had 12 points but she had 24 rebounds and six assists, so it was good to see her contribute in other ways,” she said.

“She is one of our best offensive players but we had a good spread. Alana Strom had 12 points, Abbey (Sutherland) had nine, Carly (Pulling) had five.”