date_range Published 11 Jun 2018

A strong second quarter has helped the Otago Gold Rush claim a big win in Cambridge.

The side toppled the previously unbeaten Waikato Wizards 72-55 in their WBC match on Saturday.

It leaves the Gold Rush on three wins from five games and well in touch with the top teams on a congestedĀ  table.

A 12-2 run to open the second quarter proved decisive.After an even first quarter left the Gold Rush with an 18-16 lead, it opened up a gap the home teamĀ  would never close.

Natalie Smith and Bronwyn Kjestrup both scored to take the score to 22-16, and then a Dayna Turnbull three-pointer made the gap nine.

Nicole Ruske hit a free throw, before Ella Bradley finally fired a shot back for the Wizards.

However, Turnbull answered straight back for the Gold Rush and Zoe Richards added another two points to open up a 30-18 lead.

Waikato fought back, but even that early in the game, it was a big deficit to overcome.

The gap was reduced to six, before the Gold Rush jumped back out to go to halftime up 36-27.

Waikato stayed in touch throughout the third quarter, although the Gold Rush emerged with a 51-40 lead heading into the final period.

The deficit remained between eight and 13 for most of the fourth, before Otago pulled away to close out the game.

Turnbull finished with 16 points on 6/9 shooting, while also grabbing five rebounds, four steals and dishing three assists.

She was well-supported by Natalie Visger and Dana Goularte, who had 12 points and eight rebounds each.

For Waikato, young star Charlisse Leger-Walker impressed with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Bradley also finished with 19 points.The Gold Rush travels to Christchurch next week to play the Canterbury Wildcats, before returning to Dunedin the following Friday to play the Taranaki Thunder in its final regular-season game.The WBC finals will be held at the Edgar Centre from July 5-7.

Story: Otago Daily Times