DANDENONG, Australia — Former Saint Mary’s women’s basketball player Lauren Nicholson helped her Sydney Uni Flames team beat the Dandenong Rangers Friday to clinch the 2016-17 Women’s National Basketball League championship, making it three years in a row that a former Gael has been a part of the premier professional women’s league title-winning club in Australia.
Nicholson joins Kate Gaze (SMC 2010-14) and Louella Tomlinson (SMC 2008-11) in the current streak of WNBL titles for former Gaels. Tomlinson was on the Townsville Fire team that won its first championship in 2014-15. Gaze was on the Fire last season when they repeated as champions in the 2015-16 season. The 2016-17 championship was the Flames' first since 2001.
Nicholson, a two-time all-West Coast Conference first team honoree with Saint Mary’s who graduated last year, played 23 minutes off the bench in Friday’s WNBL championship-clinching game. She scored seven points with a 3-pointer and also grabbed seven rebounds and two steals. The Flames beat the Rangers 75-62 to sweep the three-game series after winning game one 91-82 on March 11.
2016-17 was another successful year for the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball program. SMC won 20 games for the sixth straight year and seventh in the last eight. The Gaels finished second in the WCC for the second consecutive season. It was their fourth finish among the conference’s top three teams in the last five years.
Five Gaels were honored on the All-WCC teams, including New Zealander Stella Beck being named to the first team. All three Australians on the Gaels’ roster were also honored. Megan McKay and Carly Turner were both named All-WCC honorable mention, and Jasmine Forcadilla was named to the WCC all-freshmen team.
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