By Joshua Wells
EMMIE O’Nial’s performance for the Panthers at The Jungle on Sunday has been described as the best individual effort ‘we have ever seen in a Wallan singlet’.
The praise from Coach Warren Taylor came after her enormous contribution to a 31-point home win over Collingwood All Stars where O’Nial put up 28 points, 19 rebounds.
“She was close to unstoppable and we know it is there, she is capable of what she did,” Coach Taylor said after their Big V Division 2 Women win without captain and point guard Jayda Hunter.
“She got the ball and just did what she wanted to do, the points were nice but the rebounds were great… but in saying that we aren’t all about her, the whole team is growing in confidence and our guards are playing well off the bigs.”
In a testament to the team’s performance, O’Nial wasn’t the only player with a double double.
Tessa Ramsay claimed the accolade with 10 points, 10 rebounds.
But, while the individual performances were good, Coach Taylor said the real story was off the ball.
“We are second in defence after two matches and our pride is getting our feet set, getting our hands up,” he told the North Central Review.
“Our first priority is to get into a good position, force players to be uncomfortable and, in our league you seem to get whistles, so it is about defensive feet trying to draw fouls.”
But despite all the positivity, stand in captain Gemma Jackson will be sidelined with a broken arm and will likely miss up to six weeks.
The jump ball win for Jayde Popovski was as good as it got for Collingwood All Stars in the first quarter when the home side raced out to a 15-0 lead.
The home side’s dominance was attributed to the quick ball movement and amount of assists, as O’Nial stood tall under the basket to keep the ball off the All Stars.
By the end of the period, Wallan was up 22-7, holding onto their lead for a 38-21 halftime score.
The defence of Wallan meant Collingwood failed to score any fast break points and put back just four in second chance buckets.
Jackson stood tall with five assists, and both Sarah Scott and Alex Darby picked up four assists each.
The bigs dominated for the Panthers putting up 40 in the paint – doubling the All Stars’ 20 points inside.
Big V will head into an Easter Break this weekend.