THE Warrnambool Mermaids overcame a late fightback from a determined Geelong Supercats on Saturday night to extend their winning streak to six games.
A flurry of scoring shots in the last five minutes of the game wasn’t enough to get the Supercats over the line.
They went down by four points 58-54.
The Mermaids got off to a good start, shooting 21 points in the first quarter and keeping Geelong to nine.
The Supercats narrowed the lead in the second quarter, adding 17 points to the board while the Mermaids made eight to hold onto a three-point lead at half-time.
Coach Lester Pickett said establishing the lead early in the game worked well for the Mermaids.
His side only had eight players and began to tire towards the end of the final term.
“Kate Sewell spent 40 minutes on the court and Holly Greene was on for 35, so they were understandably playing with tired legs in the last quarter, but they got us across the line,” Pickett said.
“It was good to not have to chase for the lead.”
Greene racked up 18 points, five turnovers and 10 total rebounds.
Sewell made 14 defensive rebounds, four offensive rebounds, and 12 points.
At three-quarter-time the Mermaids were leading by one point.
Pickett said Geelong placed a lot of pressure on the middle of the court and in the last five minutes scored a few points in quick succession.
“They were rotating 12 players so had some fresh legs,” Pickett said.
“Our girls were understandably tiring towards the last five minutes, and allowed Geelong to get some scoring shots away.
“I think they shot about 10 or 12 points in the last five minutes of the game.”
The Supercats got within two points of the Mermaids, but two free shots to Holly Greene in the dying seconds secured the victory.
Pickett said he was happy how the Mermaids played.
“Any win is a good win,” he said.
“We got off to a good start and held onto the lead for the entire game, not having to chase was important.”
The Mermaids travel to Melbourne on Sunday to take on Hawthorn and Pickett said they were hoping to continue the momentum of the past six weeks.
“We have been on a bit of a roll and it’s always hard to keep that going but hopefully we can get another win next week,” he said.