Suzy Batkovic leads Newcastle Hunters to big win over Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

Suzy Batkovic
Suzy Batkovic

Defending Waratah Basketball League women’s champions Newcastle monstered Manly-Warringah 85-62 at Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday, completing a 61-point turnaround in a fortnight.

Newcastle’s emphatic win came two weeks after Manly had humbled the Hunters 90-52 at Broadmeadow.

Five-time Women’s NBL MVP Suzy Batkovic, who missed the game against Manly on April 29, poured in 41 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and handed off four assists.

Captain Alison Ebzery was another stand-out for Newcastle, registering a 13-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist triple double. Nineteen-year-old Ebzery also had two steals and two blocked shots.

Emily Keith supported Batkovic and Ebzery with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals as Newcastle (3-5) snapped a three-game losing streak with their most complete performance of the season.

“Revenge is sweet. It was a great team win at both ends of the court,” Newcastle coach Mark Gledson said.

“Our scoring was attributable to us getting the ball through hands and putting the defence out of position for easy scores.

“The most pleasing aspect was our team defence starting to work as one.”

Newcastle’s men’s team suffered a fifth straight loss on Saturday, 87-79 to Manly.

The Hunters (2-9) led 23-19 at quarter-time, but Manly took control in the second and third periods to lead 45-39 at half-time and 64-52 heading into the final term.

Five Newcastle players, Jacob Foy (17), Joel Rauch (16), Dane Suttle (13), Lachlan Jackson (11) and Michael Wilson (11), scored in double figures. But Manly dominated under the basket, out-rebounding the Hunters 52-43 and out-scoring them 44-28 in the paint.

The Hunters men’s and women’s teams have a bye this weekend.

Meanwhile, Australian Patty Mills’ San Antonio Spurs start their NBA Western Conference finals series on Monday (AEST) against the Golden State Warriors.

San Antonio dismantled James Harden and Houston 114-75 in game six on Thursday night behind LaMarcus Aldridge's 34 points and 12 rebounds to close out the series, even though All-Star Kawhi Leonard sat out nursing an injured left ankle he hurt in a game-five overtime win.

Golden State have barely been tested this post-season, going 8-0 against Portland and Utah.

The Spurs have lost Tony Parker (leg), but Warriors star Kevin Durant said San Antonio could cope better than most teams without influential players. 

"They're a machine," Durant said. 

"They just keep going at you, no matter who's on the court. They run their system.”