Maddie Garrick’s Melbourne Boomers will play off for the WNBL Championship.
The Shepparton export was instrumental in helping her side cause a massive upset over minor premier Perth Lynx, with the Boomers sweeping the best-of-three semi-final series without the need for a third contest.
The fun began for the Boomers on Wednesday night at the Victorian State Basketball Centre.
A strong start was required to put the Lynx on the back foot and that is exactly what transpired as the home side stormed to an 11-point lead at the main break.
A 19-10 third term put Garrick’s Boomers further in front, allowing them to cruise to an eventual 92-76 triumph.
Garrick was down on her usual game time — playing 22 minutes compared to her season average of close to 30 — but made the most of every second on court.
The guard was deadly from outside the arc (four from seven) and worked hard on the way to 14 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
A bigger challenge awaited though, with the deciding pair of contests scheduled at Lynx’s Bendat Basketball Centre.
The championship favourites started slowly on their home court on Friday night, letting the Boomers take a six-point lead into the first break, but nearly blew the away side out of the stadium with a 26-15 second term.
Perth’s five-point lead remained at the final break, but it did not last long.
The Boomers rose to the challenge, slamming home 30 points in the quarter for a 78-69 victory and negating the need for another clash in front of a parochial Perth crowd.
Garrick was a large driver of her side’s success, having arguably her best game of the season.
The star put up 18 points and was again on fire from long range, netting a game-high four threes.
Garrick also snared five rebounds, two assists and a steal in the success, while only giving up two turnovers.
For the first time since the 2011-12 season the Boomers will play for the WNBL’s ultimate prize, and are searching for a first title since the 2010-11 campaign.
Townsville Fire await Garrick’s charges — a side the Boomers are yet to defeat this season.
The Fire won their way through to a fifth grand final in six seasons with a 68-65 win against the Sydney Uni Flames, and will host game one of the deciding series at Townsville Stadium from 6.30pm this Saturday.
Garrick’s Boomers will then host the second clash on their home court on January 18 before a third contest — if it is needed — will split the pair on January 21.
All games will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.