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WNBL Round 3 review: Jade Melbourne continues to star; Lightning's defence shines

Round 3 was full of close games, with no margin greater than 12 points. This made for some entertaining games and even a couple of surprises, with the Lightning taking down the powerhouse Flyers, and Kelsey Griffin coming back like she never left - catch up on it all here:


Most exciting game: Melbourne Boomers vs. Bendigo Spirit

The Bendigo Spirit was very stiff not to come away with a win in the final game of the round, against the Melbourne Boomers. The Spirit started the game in confident fashion and the return of Kelsey Griffin gave them an extra boost - not to mention her game and career high, 33 points.

For much of the game, it was the Spirit who were in control - both offensively and defensively, they kept the Boomers in check. They showed no signs of fatigue after their close loss to the Perth Lynx on Friday night, but as the game wore on, the Boomers came back with a fight they had been missing in the first half.

Something else they had been missing, and WNBL fans have been missing for a while, was seeing Aimie Rocci back on court. Similarly, but not quite like Griffin, Rocci didn't miss a beat, providing a handy back-up point guard option and allowing Jordin Canada to continue her good form and play as a shooting guard.

The Spirit rallied despite the Boomers' comeback, but ultimately it wasn't enough, and the Boomers remain undefeated.

Surprise of the round: Adelaide Lightning beating Southside Flyers

After Round 2, this was something nobody saw coming. On Saturday night, the Adelaide Lightning beat a favourable Southside Flyers team and finally proved they could hold on during the fourth quarter.

The Lightning didn't come out of the blocks in a special way, nor did they have a particularly outstanding game, they just played well, consistently throughout four quarters. As has been the theme for this season, young gun Issy Borlase was on fire yet again, playing with skill and composure well above her years. She top scored for her team with 25 points, while also playing an important defensive game, keeping 'Player of the Round' Maddi Rocci to only seven points.

It was the Lightning's defence that won them the game, neither team were high scoring, and at times, it felt like there was something on top of the ring, restricting the ball from going inside. It was their ability, however, to keep the likes of Rocci and Mercedes Russell quiet, that gave them the chance to cause an upset.

Though, what was most impressive was that not only did they cause an upset, but they maintained the lead and finished the game strong, something they have struggled with previously.

Stand out performance: Jade Melbourne

Jade Melbourne is in form that could make her a standout performer every round, but the humble star is likely more concerned with helping her team get their first win.

Despite coming away winless this round, the UC Capitals were in close contention in both games, much thanks to the coined "young veteran" in Melbourne. Her ability to run the show with such composure, to know when to take the game into her hands and how to throw some exceptional dimes is how she has earnt this title and this round was no different.

In their first close loss to the Sydney Flames, Melbourne had another 30+ point game, posting 31 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds. The Caps only lost by six points, and if Alex Fowler hadn't been out ill, it might have ended differently.

It's never easy playing a second game after a loss, let alone after a performance like that, but not for Melbourne. In her second game of the weekend, she put up another valiant effort, with 14 points and a crazy 15 assists.

Her team may have gone down to a determined Townsville Fire, but Melbourne's passing was hard to look past and is sure to lead her team to a win soon.

Round 3 results:

Sydney Flames defeated UC Capitals 86 - 81

Perth Lynx defeated Bendigo Spirit 86 - 76

Adelaide Lightning defeated Southside Flyers 67 - 56

Townsville Fire defeated UC Capitals 85 - 73

Melbourne Boomers defeated Bendigo Spirit 76 - 74