Dandenong's Jenna O'Hea can look forward to playing her former side Bulleen in the first all-Victorian WNBL grand final in 25 years, after starring in a 91-78 preliminary final away win over minor premier Adelaide on Sunday.
The red-hot Rangers posted their eighth straight victory and their third in four matches this season against the Lightning, who went out of the finals in straight sets.
Adelaide looked in control after a 14-2 run either side of half-time gave the hosts a 48-35 lead early in the third quarter.
Dandenong's revival was sparked by former Bulleen junior and Adelaide player Tegan Cunningham, who scored 10 of her 18 points in the third quarter.
Trailing 60-58 at the last change, Dandenong scored the first six points of the final term and outscored Adelaide 33-18 in a one-sided quarter.
O'Hea, who was part of Bulleen's title winning team last year, almost amassed a triple double, tallying 28 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Adelaide centre Suzy Batkovic hit a match-high 34, but her only real support came from Amy Lewis who scored 17, eight of them in the final quarter after Dandenong established a double-digit advantage.
Dandenong has not won a WNBL title since 2004-05 and its last grand final appearance was the following season.
The Rangers were languishing in seventh spot before beginning the late season surge that has carried them to next Sunday's grand final in Melbourne.
"Our greatest fans probably wouldn't have thought this was possible, it's very exciting for us," O'Hea told Grandstand.
Dandenong shot at 55 per cent for the game and at better than 60 per cent after quarter time.
O'Hea had plenty of help apart from Cunningham, with Canadian centre Krista Phillips tallying 14 points and 14 rebounds, Kathleen MacLeod scoring 13 points and six assists and Stephanie Cumming netting 12 points.
Cumming appeared to suffer a corked thigh.
Adelaide lost veteran Jo Hill with a calf injury in the the second quarter and finished the season with three straight losses.
"This is a wake-up call, but it's also sad, we're a better team than what we showed the last few weeks," Batkovic told Grandstand.
Bulleen beat Dandenong by margins of five, six and 10 in their three regular season encounters.
"We haven't beaten Bulleen this year, so it's going to be another torrid affair," Dandenong coach Mark Wright said.
"I think they are desperate to hang onto the crown and we are just as desperate to take it off them."
AAPTags: wnbl, basketball, sport, vic, dandenong-3175, adelaide-5000 First posted March 04, 2012 17:28:04