Launceston Tornadoes stars combine well in third term to ice win against Melbourne Tigers

TEAM LAUNCESTON: Coach Derrick Washington spoke highly of the team effort on Sunday. Picture: Scott Gelston
TEAM LAUNCESTON: Coach Derrick Washington spoke highly of the team effort on Sunday. Picture: Scott Gelston

Launceston Tornadoes coach Derrick Washington has heaped praise on his star charges for bouncing back quickly to record a potent 94-72 road win on Sunday over Melbourne Tigers.

Bringing an unflinching edge to the second game of the weekend double-header had been in stark contrast to a subservient 14-point loss to an unbeaten Bendigo Braves.

“I was not too worried about it all,” Washington said.

“We had to come in and just do what we do best.

“I mean like against Bendigo, Ellie Collins just didn’t have her best game, Emma Hayward didn’t have a good game, Paige French’s shots didn’t drop, but [on Sunday] we were hitting shots again.”

From the very tip-off, the visitors never trailed once and built a seven-point lead by quarter-time and were still up by four at half-time.

Then came the fast-pace tempo game that has slowly defined Washington’s tenure.

Shooting off 25 points and stonewalling just eight from the Tigers ensured they headed into the last break with a decisive 21-point lead. 

Washington had been left nodding while also lauding the efforts of his big-game stars to avoid a winless trip.

“Ally Wlson got the tempo going,” he said. “She almost had a triple double again.

“Lauren Nicholson gave her MVP status every game for us. You just know you’re going to get that out of her.”

Wilson was quick to deliver a real blue-collar like game, only scoring 11 points, but grabbing nine rebounds and having a hand in nine assists.

Nicholson followed up her 25 points and five steals at Bendigo with a further 32 points and 12 rebounds.

But Washington reserved special praise for the turnaround from Ellie Collins.

The 19-year-old power forward dismissed her nine-point night on Saturday for 32 points and eight rebounds.

IN THE ZONE: Ellie Collins's shooting ways again proved to be the thorn in the side of the Melbourne Tigers. Picture: Scott Gelston

IN THE ZONE: Ellie Collins's shooting ways again proved to be the thorn in the side of the Melbourne Tigers. Picture: Scott Gelston

“Ellie Collins stepped up again – that’s who I was really proud of because if she keeps playing like this, she is going to be a WNBL player very soon,” Washington said.

“She just had a very good bounce-back game.

“She knows she wasn’t too happy with her performance, but she made it up against two solid Melbourne bigs.” 

Washington just about rolled off every other name. 

From seven rebounds for Courtney Williams to eight vital points from Paige French, right through to Ali Partridge’s defensive hustle.

Lauren Mansfield, who is coming back from a serious ankle injury, shot just seven points, but her passing game and ability to get teammates in order proved invaluable.

“Everyone contributed to this game and the girls really wanted to get this win,” he said. “They really did and I was proud of how they bounced back after playing the best team in the league.”

The Tornadoes have a 11-7 win/loss record that includes 10 of the past 13 games and are just two wins and four spots behind second-placed SEABL rival Kilsyth Cobras.