<
>

Opals find WNBL going tough

Many of Australia's world championship silver medal-winning Opals have found themselves on the losing side in an opening WNBL round dominated by away teams.

Mirroring the difficulties home sides had in the first round of the NBL, all four WNBL games were won by the travelling team.

Dandenong guard Tessa Lavey was the only locally based member of the Opals squad in Spain last month to taste victory at the weekend.

Lavey scored 13 as the Rangers recovered from an early 10-point deficit to post a 73-68 away win over defending champion Townsville on Sunday.

Even a game-high 20-points from six-time league MVP Suzy Batkovic couldn't save Townsville, whose other four starters, including Opal Tess Madgen, combined for just 16, with the Fire scoring only 26 points in the second half.

Four Opals couldn't lift Melbourne Boomers to victory, as they were upset 82-72 at home by Bendigo.

While the Australian quartet supplied 48 points - 20 of them from Steph Talbot and WNBA guard Lindsay Allen supplied 18 - it wasn't enough

A 29-5 second quarter in Bendigo's favour paved the way for the upset win, with WNBL debutante Marena (Marena) Whittle topping the Spirit's scoresheet with 21.

Opals guard Katie-Rae Ebzery had a disappointing debut for Perth in their 78-66 home loss to Adelaide.

She scored just three points, all from free throws, and missed all three of her field goal attempts.

WNBA player Nia Coffey logged 19 points and 15 rebounds on her Lightning debut.

One Opal on fire, albeit on a losing side, was centre Alex Bunton.

Back from a stint in Russia, Bunton scored 27 on 10 of 13 field goal attempts on her debut for Sydney in their 97-78 home loss to Canberra.

Canadian WNBA player Kia Nurse led the Canberra charge with 26 points andS Lauren Scherf bagged 22 points in as many minutes.