QSL Women’s quarter finals preview: Logan Thunder and Spartans await winners

IT is do or die for RedCity Roar, Gold Coast Rollers, Brisbane Capitals and Ipswich Force in Queensland Basketball League (QSL) Women’s with only two teams able to progress through to the next stage of finals. After impressive seasons, Southern District Spartans and Logan Thunder already secured their place in week two while the other four battle it out over the weekend to keep their premiership aspirations alive and kicking.

RedCity Roar v. Gold Coast Rollers
Saturday, 17 October

When both sides faced off way back in Round 3, it was the Roar that walked away with a 13-point victory over the Rollers, something they will be hoping to recreate in the quarter final. Expect a close game between the two sides as they both finished with seven wins and four losses apiece with Roar just edging ahead of the Rollers to claim fourth spot on the ladder, making for an exciting battle.

RedCity have no shortage of stars across the court with Ashleigh Karaitiana a real barometer for the side. Karaitiana is prolific when it comes to scoring, able to find the basket with great ease and is in hot form sinking a combined 39 points in her last two outings. She has also proven to be a menace on the rebounding front, dragging down 17 back in their Round 3 win.

She is often well aided by the likes of Lauren Mansfield not only on the scoreboard but so too when it comes to rebounds and assists. Although Ajiah-Liric Siosiua-Pepe did not fire in their clash at the start of the season, she has been in scintillating form of late sinking a combined 31 points in her last two appearances, making her a real threat for the Rollers. Lorna Shepherd, Kayla Kiriau and Charmain Mellars are other players to keep an eye out for, given their ability to pop up at any given time and influence the play.

The Roar may have the services of Karaitiana but the Rollers are not without a ball magnet of their own with Carleigh Patrick starring in their clash. Patrick found plenty of room and was able to knock back a team high 19 points while also collecting 13 rebounds. Siarn Woods is another key cog for Gold Coast because when she is able to get rolling she can have a huge influence on the side, as is Sarah Ambrose with the latter renowned for her ability to get a hand in and regain possession for her side. Lily Rotunno and Susannah Walmsley cannot afford to be left to their own devices with the duo able to contribute to the scoreboard.

Both sides have lost two of their past five games heading into the quarter final on Saturday, with a loss to the lower-ranked Ipswich Force still fresh in the mind of the Roar, meaning they will come out firing and hoping to make amends to their shortcomings the game before.

Brisbane Capitals v. Ipswich Force
Sunday, 18 October

The Capitals have been one of the most dominant teams throughout the 2020 season winning eight of a possible 11 games and will be looking to inflict that on the Force who have been relatively inconsistent. Ipswich has proven to be a more attacking team compared to Brisbane, with the latter relying on their defensive structures to win games and stop oppositions from putting up hefty totals, a game plan they implemented when they met back in Round 1. It has been a long time between drinks for both sides, who have found their rhythm and ironed out any kinks from their Round 1 meeting.

One thing that has remained the same is the dominance of Amy Lewis for the Force. She has been a constant threat throughout the season, finding the net time and time again whether it be from deep or inside the paint such is her scoring prowess. She starred back in Round 1 with a game-high 31 points while in Round 10 alone she single-handedly dropped 40 points, making her one to watch heading into the quarter final. Catherine Macgregor has also been a steady hand for Ipswich throughout the season while the likes of Georgia Ralph and Rachel Mate have been key. Mate is coming off a dominant weekend of basketball action sinking 40 points and collecting 10 points, proving just how explosive she can be when given time and space.

With a number of stars to combat, the Capitals will be hoping that their shared approach will be enough to get the job done. Georgia Woolley has been crucial for Brisbane able to attack the rim and showed that in Round 1 against the Force finishing with 13 points from her 24 minutes on court, highlighting how she does not need a lot of time to do damage. Emma Read is another player to keep a watchful eye on, thanks to her ability and game sense to take it on and back herself in while Meg Essex and Anna Cameron are also viable options to keep the scoreboard ticking over to apply pressure on the opposition. Madison Woodford is another player that cannot be underestimated able to get on the move and boasts an average of 10.9 points a game.

Boasting very different styles it will come down to which team is able to get their game up and running first and which team settles into the tempo. If the Capitals are able to shut down Lewis it will go a long way in getting them over the line. However, if Ipswich get enough time and space to attack the rim it could be game over for Brisbane.

Picture: Brad Anderson

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