Dandenong have stolen a march on the other two contenders for second spot in the WNBL after dousing the red-hot Townsville Fire.
The Rangers (12-5), Melbourne (11-5) and Townsville (11-6) all entered the round on 10-5, but Dandenong’s road wins in Queensland against both Logan and the Fire moved them into outright second.
Townsville went 1-1 in round 14, having scored a 81-68 home win over Sydney in a rare midweek game.
Melbourne stayed in touch with a a 65-50 win over West Coast.
Ladder leader Bendigo (16-1) remained well clear, scoring a 77-49 home win over West Coast.
It was Bendigo’s 16th straight victory and a 17th consecutive loss for the Waves.
Fifth-placed Adelaide (8-9), the only team with any realistic hope of breaking into the top four, won 73-62 at Canberra with Laura Hodges scoring 23 for the visitors.
They won despite losing Jess Foley, who was taken to hospital as a precaution after copping an accidental elbow from Abby Bishop.
Dandenong followed up a 95-62 win over Logan, who had won three of their four previous games, with a 85-70 victory on the Fires’ home court, snapping Townsville’s win streak at three.
Jenna O’Hea led the way against Logan with 25 points, while Dandenong had six double-digit scorers against Townsville and kept prolific Suzy Batkovic to 15 points.
“Our defence was outstanding, which I’ve been a critic of, for most of the year,” Dandenong coach Mark Wright told AAP.
“The proof will be in the pudding when we play next week.
“If we can back that up and continually turn up and play that style of game, then that’s when we’ll be able to put a stamp on us and say that we’re legitimate.”
Kayla Standish hit a match-high 23 for Townsville, but the Fire had only three double-digit scorers.
“They shot the ball particularly well and having six people in double figures made it really tough to match up,” Townsville coach Chris Lucas told AAP.
“They jumped us in the third quarter and got it out to 11 points and from that point onwards we were playing catch-up basketball.”
It was the first of a torrid four-game stretch for Townsville in which they play both Bendigo and Dandenong twice.
“We know that we have to fight to maintain our finals position,” Lucas said.