MUVJBL U18 Girls VC preview: Round 3

IN Round 2 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls competition, one match will end a long-running streak for one dominant side when the Knox Raiders host the Nunawading Spectres. It will undoubtedly be the game of the round, while Hawthorn Magic and Bendigo Braves look to host another tight affair.

Diamond Valley Eagles (10th, 6-4-1) vs. Geelong Supercats (13th, 5-6)

The Diamond Valley Eagles host the Geelong Supercats in what might be the hardest game to pick this round. Both teams have suffered tight losses in recent weeks, with Geelong going down against the Nunawading Spectres last round and Diamond Valley falling to the Bulleen Boomers at the season’s open. However, Diamond Valley did snare a tight one-point win against Dandenong in Round 2. Another win for the Eagles could see them jump as high as three spots, while a win for Geelong could see them mount a takeover in the following weeks. Jade Dunne has been in top form for the Eagles, averaging 14.5 points per game, alongside teammate’s, Keely Evans (12) and Abby Hildebrand (12), who both have posed a threat. For Geelong, Chloe Skinner (13), has also been important, as has her teammate, Alishia Knight (11.5). Geelong are still yet to win a game in the VC and have one of the worst records on the road (1-5-0). Considering that, and Diamond Valley’s near perfect home-record (5-0-1), it is unlikely the Supercats will steal this one.

Knox Raiders (1st, 11-0) vs. Nunawading Spectres (4th, 8-3)

This weekend, a streak will end. The undefeated, Knox Raiders, host the in-form Nunawading Spectres. After opening the year with consecutive losses, the Spectres have rebounded their season, collecting eight wins in a row on their way to their most season-defining game yet. In the last fortnight, the Knox Raiders have won consecutive games by a combined three-point margin, while the Spectres opened their season with a 22-point win, then followed it up with a two-point steal. The Nunawading Spectres have Maddison Zugna (17.5 points per game) and Louisa Fakalata (15) who have worked hard to carry the streak. For the Raiders, Georgia Baldwin (13), Charlie Dunn (13) and Alannah Chatfield (12) have combined well, but on Friday will face possibly their biggest task yet. The Spectres are a good chance to hand Knox their first loss and show that the best can be beaten.

Dandenong Rangers (8th, 6-5) vs. Altona Gators (6th, 7-3-1)

Both teams are desperate to get a win in the VC after both suffering tight losses in the first two rounds. The Dandenong Rangers had a two-point loss, followed by a one-point loss in the first fortnight, so the frustration is likely building. Similarly, the Altona Gators came as close as possible to knocking off league-leaders, Knox Raiders, losing 47-46, then followed their week up with a draw with Hawthorn Magic. Both sides have had a gruelling fortnight and will be desperate to get a positive result. Felicity Hilford impressed in her debut this season with 14 points, bringing hopes that she’ll follow it up with another big performance. For Altona, they have lacked a main scorer, which is not necessarily a bad thing. They share the ball well and as a unit and the team puts up good numbers. Though if they plan on holding their spot, someone may need to break out and lift for the Gators.

Hawthorn Magic (5th, 7-2-2) vs. Bendigo Braves (3rd, 8-3)

If it was not for the Knox Raiders/Nunawading Spectres game, this might have been the game of the round. Last week, the Magic became the only side to record multiple draws, going to the wire with Altona. Ryleh Killian impressed despite the result, currently sitting third on the top scorers’ list. The Bendigo Braves are currently holding a three-win streak, opening the VC with two solid wins, including a 16-point win over the, Bulleen Boomers, in second place. NBL1 representative, Piper Dunlop, carried her side in the in the win, scoring 20 points to hold fifth spot in league-scoring at the end of the round. Hawthorn’s home record (2-1-1) is average, but Bendigo’s (3-3-0) work on the road needs lot of improving as well. A win puts Hawthorn over Bendigo and given they haven’t recorded one in the VC, there’s greater expectation that they should bring this one home.

Southern Peninsula (11th, 6-5) vs. Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 9-2)

Southern Peninsula are yet to record a win in the VC, falling to the Nunawading Spectres in the season’s open by 32 points, and just falling short to the Knox Raiders (77-79) the next week. For the Bulleen Boomers, they snatched a three-point win in Round 1 and lost by 16 points to Bendigo in Round 2. The Boomers also boast top-league scorer, Alexandra Keating, who scored 25 points in the loss to Bendigo and leads the league with 52 points. Southern Peninsula’s top scorer, Emirson Devenie, is averaging 10.5 PPG, and has a lot work ahead of her if she plans to match with Keating. After Peninsula’s performance against league-leaders, Knox, they sit a fair chance to win against the Boomers.

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