Tag: jasmin fejo

2021 NBL1 Central wrap: Round 13

ROUND 13 of the National Basketball League (NBL1) Central played host to a number of cracking matches in both the men’s and women’s leagues.

Men’s:

Forestville Eagles (93) defeated Woodville Warriors (59)

The Eagles bounced back after a loss last round to defeat the Warriors by  34 points. It was a one-sided affair from the opening quarter as the Eagles piled on the scoreboard pressure with their 27 points to 12. They maintained this level of intensity throughout majority of the game and while they lost the third term 13 to 17 they hit back in the fourth with a staggering 32 point quarter. Malith Machar was in fine form for the winners, draining 30 points at 63 per cent from the field, while also recording a ridiculous 21 rebounds. Gregory Mays also got busy sinking 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Jake Rios found his groove finishing with 16 points as Michael Harris managed 14 points and 11 rebounds. For the Warriors it was Joe Jackson that led the way with his 18 points and 13 rebounds. Teammate Daniel McKee was the next prolific credit to his 11 points at 46 per cent from the field. Luke Stanbridge also contributed seven points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

Women’s:

Forestville Eagles (86) defeated Woodville Warriors (60)

It was a comprehensive win for the Eagles who extended their five game winning streak, to six downing the Warriors by 26 points. The Eagles got off to a fast start and did not look like relenting credit to their 11-point lead. In fact they won every quarter bar the last to control proceedings and keep the Warriors at bay despite their best efforts. Samantha Simons was causing all sorts of havoc across the court for the Warriors producing 30 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Cara Annetts was also prominent for the Eagles with her 13 points and five rebounds as Brooke Basham was up to her usual tricks with 12 points at 42 per cent from the field. Emily Winter was the main source of pain dropping 24 points for the Warriors as Serena Waters also contributed a handy 11 points and five rebounds in the loss.

Men’s:

South Adelaide Panthers (75) defeated by West Adelaide Bearcats (87)

West Adelaide Bearcats overcame an early deficit to record victory against the Panthers. Down at quarter time the Bearcats came out with increased intensity in the second quarter to pile on the scoreboard pressure thanks to their 30 points. Neither side could be separated at half time, while there was only one point the difference at three quarter time before West Adelaide put the foot down in a big way in the final stanza. The Bearcats managed 25 points to 14 to steal the win. Owen Hulland and Alex Mudronja worked in overdrive for the Panthers amassing 22 and 20 points apiece whole Todd Davies was another that chimed in with a handy 12 points. Mudronja also managed 11 points and five assists as Hulland registered seven rebounds. Samuel Johns was the only other player to hit 11 points for the Panthers. Four players hit double-digits for the Bearcats with Fabian Johnson recording a team-high 21 points at 53 per cent from the field. Bryan Michaels was also up there for West Adelaide with his 19 points and six assists as Earnest Ross impressed, draining 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.

Women’s:

South Adelaide Panthers (83) defeated West Adelaide Bearcats (72)

The Panthers managed to get the job done against the Bearcats by 11 points in what was a see-sawing affair. The Panthers got off to a hot start but were held to a mere eight points in the second term as the Bearcats took control of the game. That momentum was short lived as West Adelaide wrestled back control but did not fully capitalise until the final term where the home side piled on 30 points to 13. Olivia Thompson and Teresa McGreehan were in full swing for the Panthers as they slotted 23 and 22 points apiece. Thompson did not stop there as she also accumulated 15 rebounds in the win. Jordan Hunter got busy in her 39 minutes out on court with 14 points as Hannah Stewart slotted 11 points at 80 per cent from the field. Jasmin Fejo was in fine form credit to her 27 points and nine rebounds as Jennie Rintala wasted no time with her 22 points and 10 rebounds.

Men’s:

Southern Tigers (65) defeated by Central District Lions (90)

The Central District Lions came with a point to prove in their clash against the Southern Tigers running home with a 25 point win. The Tigers were caught on the backfoot almost instantaneously only managing a mere nine points in the first term while the Lions slotted 22 of their own. Scoring improved for the Tigers as the game went on but the damage had already been done as they found it impossible to inch their way back into the contest despite an improved effort after half time. Both Nick Wurm and Lachlan Olbrich slotted 14 points apiece while Koop McCalop was the other main port of call for the Tigers with 13 points and eight rebounds. Christian Artacho was solid off the boards walking away with 12 rebounds in the loss. David Humphries recorded a double-double for the Lions with his 23 points and 15 rebounds in his 39 minutes out on court. Kiir Deng had a hot hand with his 18 points and 12 rebounds as teammate Magok Manyang did not skip a beat slotting 17 points but at a lowly 29 per cent on the field.

Women’s:

Southern Tigers (79) defeated Central District Lions (39)

It was a white-wash for the Tigers as they collected a 40-point win against the Lions who struggled to fire on all fronts. The Tigers have been in ripping form and this game proved no different as they put the clamps on in defence and poured on the points in offence. The Lions only managed to record 15 points in the opening half. Conversely the Tigers piled on 37 to give them some real ascendancy. Although Central District increased their output in the second half the Tigers were up to the challenge and continued their merry way. Tiege Morrell was a force to be reckoned with slotting 29 points and amassing 13 rebounds in the win as teammate Morgan Yaeger also chimed in with 13 points and six assists. Jemma Thacker and Isabella Stratford were also up to the task with 10 points each. It was a tough day at the office for the Lions but it was Meaza Otto that led the way with her 12 points as Samantha Kennett managed 10 points.

Men’s:

Eastern Mavericks (86) defeated Norwood Flames (98)

The Flames managed to muster up a 12-point win over the Mavericks in what was a hard-fought win. The Mavericks had the upper hand in the opening quarter creating a seven-point lead before Norwood fought back in the second to completely and utterly flip the script. With their tails up at half time the Flames continued the charge into the third and while they were outscored in the final the damage was all but done. William Wise was impressive for the Mavericks sinking 27 points while also registering 13 rebounds and two assists while Owen Raneberg chimed in with 19 points and five rebounds in the loss. Tom Cromarty and Isaac Warhurst worked hard for their 14 and 11 points respectively but it was not enough to get their side over the line. It was a masterclass from CJ Turnage as he topped the table with his 26 points and 15 rebounds to record another double-double. Ray Harding was the next best with 16 points while both Daniel Webber and Jordan Wilson helped out with 14 and 11 points with the former also imposing himself off the boards with 12 rebounds.

Women’s:

Eastern Mavericks (64) defeated by Norwood Flames (75)

The contest between the Mavericks and Flames was intense but in the end it was the Mavericks that fell short, recording their sixth straight loss. The Flames claimed the lead early and steadily increased their buffer at half time. They did not take the foot off the pedal in the third and while the Mavericks came back in the fourth the game had already been won and done. Mollie McKendrick had an impressive performance for the Mavericks sinking 21 points and 15 rebounds, 12 of which were defensive. Kedeisha Kartinyeri also provided a helping hand with her 11 points and five rebounds while teammate Rachel Hines was the next highest contributor with her eight points in 35 minutes. Alex Wilson topscored with 23 points at 42 per cent from the field along with 11 rebounds as Sophie Kerridge also got busy with her 17 points.

Men’s:

North Adelaide Rockets (94) defeated Sturt Sabres (90)

It was a tight tussle between North Adelaide Rockets and Sturt Sabres as the two sides battled it out. In the end it was the Rockets that walked away with the chocolates thanks to a blistering first term of basketball. The Rockets added 31 points to their tally to kickstart proceedings before the Sabres steadily pegged the margin back but fell short of the win. Jack McVeigh was in scintillating form for North Adelaide draining 33 points, seven rebounds and three assists while Jimma Dau found his groove shooting at 56 per cent from the field for his 17 points. Tobias Dowdell also made his presence felt thanks to his 13 points. Sam Daly topped the table for the Sabres with his 26 points as Keanu Rasmussen registered 22 points and five rebounds. Joel Spear managed a double-double with his 10 rebounds and 10 points.

Women’s:

North Adelaide Rockets (79) defeated by Sturt Sabres (84)

The final game of the round between the Rockets and Sabres went down to the wire as the Sabres survived a late comeback from North Adelaide to secure the win. The Sabres snuck out to a narrow lead at quarter time and by half time established a five-point lead. the Sabres elevated their offence in the third pouring on 20 points but the Rockets were not about to lie down, going all out in the final stanza but falling just short. Jess Good was a key target for the Rockets draining 25 points and a whopping 23 rebounds. Taylor Ortlepp and Abigayle Mader both managed 16 points apiece in the loss as Sam Defrancesco chimed in with 12 points. For the winners, Kylee Smith was up and about with her 19 points as Kayla Matthews also collected 16 points and six rebounds. Zoe Walker-Roberts also played a crucial role with her 13 points as Nicola Mathews slotted 14 points at 50 per cent from the field.

Photo credit: Kelly Barnes/AllStar Photos

2021 NBL1 Central wrap: Round 11

ROUND 11 of the National Basketball League (NBL1) saw plenty of excitement and big wins as the top of the table Sturt Sabres dominated in their clash against Central District Lions in the women’s while in the men’s it was a much closer round.

Men’s:

Forestville Eagles (89) defeated Norwood Flames (84)

The Eagles just snuck over the line against Norwood by a mere five points to notch up their eighth win of the season. Forestville opened up the lead at quarter time and they steadily grew that margin as the game went on. By half-time the home side was up by six points and kept the foot on the pedal in the third with a 21 to 18 point term. But Norwood rallied in the final term but left their run too late. Brandon Brine had a hot hand for the victors producing 33 points and 11 rebounds while Gregory Mays also chimed in with a handy 20 points and 11 rebounds of his own. Michael Harris also got busy with his 18 points while Jake Rios added 10 points to the winning total. Moses Nuangki was the topscorer for Norwood draining 23 points while CJ Turnage also found his groove with a triple-double thanks to his 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 rebounds.

Women’s:

Forestville Eagles (56) defeated by Norwood Flames (64)

Norwood Flames overpowered Forestville Eagles in the second term setting them up for their fifth win of the season. it was a hard fought battle between the two sides as they went in hard for everything but in the end it was the Flames that found a winning formula. Brooke Basham was a lady on a mission thanks to her 27 points and six rebounds while Cara Annetts also impressed with her strength off the boards with 10 rebounds. Samantha Simons also got busy with her 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Alex Wilson inspired her side to victory thanks to her 26 points and 15 rebounds as Genna Anderson drained 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Men’s:

South Adelaide Panthers (109) defeated Eastern Mavericks (84)

South Adelaide claimed the win over the last placed Eastern Mavericks to improve their standings on the ladder. The Panthers had a commanding lead by the halftime swung around largely in part because of their 24 point to 15 point second term. But it did not stop there as they lifted another level in the third to pile on a whopping 34 points and although the Mavericks mounted a comeback in the final quarter, the game was all but over. Todd Davies had the ball on a string sinking 27 points at 59 per cent from the field while also picking up seven rebounds and four assists. Alex Mudronja made a lasting imprint with his 23 points in 31 minutes as Jarryd Hoppo also came to life with 21 points. Adam Brown was the only other player to reach double digits producing 19 points and six rebounds. William Wise was key for the Mavericks with is 23 points while Tom Cromarty also got involved thanks to his 19 points and eight rebounds.

Women’s:

South Adelaide Panthers (79) defeated Eastern Mavericks (66)

The Panthers collected a 13-point win over the Mavericks leading from start to finish. South Adelaide controlled proceedings and did not let the Mavericks gain any momentum despite going into halftime tied at 40 points apiece. The points were shared around for the Panthers with five players reaching double digits but it was Ashley Spencer that led the charge with 19 in her 36 minutes out on court. Jordan Hunter and Teresa McGreehan managed 13 points apiece in the win while Olivia Thompson registered a double-double with her 11 points and 17 rebounds. Mollie McKendrick was the topscorer for the Mavericks with her 20 points and 11 rebounds while Rachel Hines and Taylor Moffat found their groove with 17 points each.

Men’s:

West Adelaide Bearcats (61) defeated by Southern Tigers (69)

It was a tight tussle between the Bearcats and Tigers with the latter just getting over the line in what was a seesawing affair. Both sides started the game off evenly before West Adelaide created some much needed scoreboard separation to forge ahead. But a huge final term of action from the Southern Tigers stunned the Bearcats as they were kept to a mere five points as the Tigers poured on 24 of their own to steal the win. Earnest Ross impressed with his 16 points and 12 rebounds as Bryan Michaels chimed in with a handy 15 points. Fabian Johnson and Lachie Hunter had no issues off the boards with 12 and 10 rebounds respectively in the loss. Cameron Coleman was amongst the thick of things with his 21 points, six rebounds and four steals while both Koop McCalop and Nick Wurm managed 15 points apiece in the win. Machar Machar hit the scoreboard with eight points but did some of his best work off the boards with 11 rebounds.

Women’s:

West Adelaide Bearcats (64) defeated Southern Tigers (79)

Despite an even first half of basketball the Southern Tigers put the footdown in the second half to seal the deal. West Adelaide held the lead at halftime albeit by two points but that was quickly turned around as the Tigers upped the ante to shift the momentum and steal the game. Jennie Rintala was a real livewire with her 19 points and seven rebounds for the Bearcats while teammate Jasmin Fejo wasted no time slotting 17 points in her 27 minutes to keep her side within striking distance. Teige Morrell continued to be a thorn in the side of the opposition sinking 28 points and eight rebounds as Morgan Yaeger chimed in on the action with 18 points at 43 per cent from the field. Jemma Thacker was the only other player to leave single digits thanks to her 13 points.

Men’s:

Sturt Sabres (96) defeated Central District Lions (89)

Top of the table Sturt Sabres powered past Central District Lions surviving a final quarter fightback. The Lions got the jump start in the first term before the Sabres controlled the second and third quarters with a 27 point to 11 stanza all but setting up the win. Sam Daly and Joel Spear got the ball rolling for Sturt with 25 and 23 points apiece with the latter also dominating off the boards with a huge 16 rebounds. Keanu Rasmussen also imposed himself with his 14 points and five rebounds to get his side over the line. Lual Diing was one of the best on the court for Central Districts with his 18 points at 40 per cent from the field while Shaquille Maharaj was hot on his heels with 17 points and three assists. Brodie Nathan worked in overdrive to keep his side in it with 13 points but it was not enough.

Women’s:

Sturt Sabres (105) defeated Central District Lions (35)

It was a complete demolition job by the Sabres as they walked over the top of Central District Lions by 70 points. The Lions only managed to reach double digits in a quarter once credit to the immense defensive pressure from the Sabres. Central Districts only recorded 16 points in the second half compared to Sturt who poured on 53. Every single player on the Sturt roster hit the scoreboard with Jade Johnson the most prolific of the lot with 30 points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals. Jasmine Rigoni and Kayla Matthews were the next best with 16 points each while Soriah Moon imposed herself off the boards with a whopping 17 rebounds, 12 of which were offensive. April Rummery-Lamb was the main target for the Lions with her 13 points at 83 per cent from the field while Jessica Puvogel slotted 10 points.

Men’s:

Woodville Warriors (96) defeated North Adelaide Rockets (103)

The final game of the round saw North Adelaide Rockets prevail over Woodville Warriors in a close encounter. It was a high scoring affair as a dominant second quarter of action gifted North Adelaide the win. Unable to be separated for majority of the match, the Rockets rallied to grind out the game and keep the Warriors at bay. Julian Jacobs played a full 40 minutes and made his presence felt with his 26 points and 11 rebounds. Joe Jackson nailed 20 points and 11 rebounds as James Boonstoppel also kept the scoreboard ticking over with his 18 points. Jack McVeigh ran riot with his 33 points as Sunday Dech showed his class producing 26 points and 12 rebounds in the win.

Women’s:

Woodville Warriors (70) defeated North Adelaide Rockets (96)

There was plenty to like about the contest between Woodville Warriors and North Adelaide Rockets with the latter pulling away in the second and third term to secure the ascendancy. Although the Warriors showed glimpses of fight they simply could not maintain that level of intensity throughout the match. Emily Winter was dynamic and influential with her 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while Serena Waters also chipped in with 13 points. Sam Defrancesco was imperative for the Rockets draining 25 points as Jess Good plied her trade with 17 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists to fall just short of a triple-double.

Photo credit: Kelly Barnes/Allstar photos

NBL1 Central wrap: Round 10

ROUND 10 of NBL1 Central saw a mixed bag of results with a couple of close encounters in both the men’s and women’s league along with some blowout performances.

Men’s:

Norwood Flames (87) defeated Woodville Warriors (84)

It was a close encounter between Norwood Flames and Woodville Warriors with the former securing a narrow three point win. Woodville came out with a real pep in their step in the first quarter before the Flames pegged them back in the second term. Things evened up in the third quarter with Norwood romping it home in the final stanza thanks to a 24 points to 18 term. CJ Turnage was the most prolific scorer for Norwood draining 20 points while also picking up five rebounds, three assists and four steals. Teammate Moses Nuangki was also amongst the action thanks to his 1 points as Anthony Green and Cameron Huefner collected 16 and 12 points respectively. Green and Huefner also had an impact off the boards combining for 19 rebounds. Luke Stanbridge was an imposing force for the Warriors topscoring with 18 points. The efforts of Joe Jackson did not go unnoticed as he recorded a double-double walking away with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the loss as James Booonstoppel also worked in overdrive for his 16 points shooting at 40 per cent from the field. Julian Jacobs just fell short of a double-double draining 17 points but registering nine rebounds and seven assists.

Women’s:

Norwood Flames (89) defeated Woodville Warriors (67)

The Flames made light work of Woodville Warriors claiming a strong 22 point win. They outscored their opponents in every quarter as they steadily edged ahead in the contest with their most dominant term the third thanks to a 26 to 16 point quarter. Alex Wilson was the go to girl for Norwood draining 36 points at 67 per cent from the field while also collecting six rebounds all of which were defensive plus, six assists and five steals. Sophie Kerridge showcased her range with 15 points while Genna Anderson also added 15 to the winning score. Serena Waters had a hot hand shooting 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals as teammate Molly Whitmore also played a helping hand with 20 points at 71 per cent from the field.

Men’s:

Sturt Sabres (64) defeated by Southern Tigers (93)

The Southern Tigers put out a comprehensive performance against Sturt Sabres to claim a convincing 29-point win. It was all the Tigers from the opening buzzer as they burst out of the gates piling on 29 points to 16. Although scoring dried up in the second term they re-found their mojo in the third to really put the foot down and claim the ascendancy with the final quarter the icing on the cake. It was a tough day at the office for Sturt despite Tom Goodall and Joel Spear working gallantly. Goodall collected 13 points at 60 per cent from the field as Spear managed 12 at 40 per cent. Keanu Rasmussen was the next closest adding 10 points to the total along with four rebounds as Daniel Nash sunk nine points in his 20 minutes on court. Five players reached double figures for the Tigers as Christian Artacho led the charge with 19 points to his name with teammate, Cameron Coleman hot on his heels with 18 points. Together they also managed 11 rebounds with Coleman also amassing six assists in the win. Nick Wurm and Koop McCalop finished with 15 points apiece as Machar Machar found his rhythm walking away with 13 points, converting at 63 per cent from the field.

Women’s:

Sturt Sabres (68) defeated by Southern Tigers (92)

After an even first term, the Southern Tigers put the foot down in the second and third term piling on 50 points to a mere 18. Although the Sabres won the final quarter it was too little, too late as the damage had been done in the midpart of the game as the Tigers ran rampant. Tayla Brazel and Kylee Smith were the leading points scorers for the Sabres sinking 18 points apiece with Brazel having the upper hand on the rebound front thanks to her seven. There was no shortage of stars for the Tigers as Teige Morrell impressed credit to her 26 points in 31 minutes out on court. She also racked up 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in all-round comprehensive performance. Morgan Yaeger was handy chiming in with 20 points as Jemma Thacker and Denelle Fawcett made their presence felt out on court with 13 and 12 points respectively.

Men’s:

Eastern Mavericks (71) defeated by Forestville Eagles (106)

The Eagles came out with a real sense of intensity and purpose and it showed out on court as they stunned the Mavericks trouncing the home side by 35 points. A blistering first term of basketball set the tone nice and early as the Eagles raced out to an 18 point lead and did not relent scoring 60 points in the opening half compared to the Mavericks’ 31. The third quarter was an even better showing as Forestville reeled off 32 points to 18 and while the Mavericks outscored their opponents in the last it was already game over. William Wise tried hard sinking 24 points for the losers while also collecting an impressive 16 rebounds. Callan Prider got involved thanks to his 11 points in his 30 minutes on court as Owen Raneberg drained nine points and picked up seven rebounds. It was a different story for the Eagles as Brandon Brine and Gregory Mays slotted 17 points each. Brine also walked away with a double-double credit to his 14 rebound effort with 11 of them defensive. Jake Rios impressed with his 15 points, two rebounds and three assists as Michael Harris and Isaac Atuer produced 11 and 10 points respectively.

Women’s:

Eastern Mavericks (68) defeated by Forestville Eagles (69)

The battle between the Mavericks and Eagles went right down to the wire as only one point separated the two sides. In the end it was the Eagles that prevailed in a topsy turvy contest. Forestville escaped to a three-point lead early and extended that to five at half time before the Mavericks threw caution to the wind to give themselves a fighting chance in the second half. Rachel Hines was dominant thanks to her 27 points and nine rebounds for the Mavericks as was Mollie McKendrick and Kedeisha Kartinyeri who both recorded 13 points. For the Eagles it was the work of Samantha Simons that charged them home as she walked away with a game-high 35 points, 11 points and four rebounds. Brooke Basham was the only other Eagles player to make it to double-digits recording 16 for the match.

Men’s:

Central District Lions (88) defeated West Adelaide Bearcats (76)

Central District Lions got on top of the West Adelaide Bearcats with a thrilling 12point victory. They blew the Bearcats away in the first term sinking a staggering 27 points while keeping West Adelaide to a mere five. The visitors steadily fought their way back into the game and really upped the ante in the third draining 32 points to 17. But in the end the dominant first quarter was too much for West Adelaide to comeback from as the Lions reigned supreme. David Humphries showcased his class with a game-high 31 points plus nine rebounds, two assists and four steals for the Lions. Magok Manyang and Shaquille Maharaj made their presence felt thanks to their 16 points each and 14 rebounds. Earnest Ross had an impact for the Bearcats sinking 19 points at 50 per cent from the field while Fabian Johnson lent a helping hand with 16 points and six rebounds. Luke Cadzow plied his trade producing 13 points in the loss.

Women’s:

Central District Lions (50) defeated by West Adelaide Bearcats (102)

It was a blowout match between the Central District Lions and West Adelaide Bearcats as the latter run rampant by 52 points. It was all one way traffic from the opening quarter as the Bearcats had no trouble finding the basket and the Lions struggled to combat the offensive heat. Meaza Otto was the biggest contributor for the Lions sinking 17 points and eight rebounds as April Rummery-Lamb slotted 14 points of her own. Jennie Rintala was unstoppable with her 23 points at a staggering 90 per cent from the field while Sky Langenbrinck showed her skillset to register 18 points in the win. Both Jasmin Fejo and Michaela Lappin got busy with their 12 points.

Men’s:

North Adelaide Rockets (85) defeated South Adelaide Panthers (62)

North Adelaide Rockets toppled the South Adelaide Panthers registering a 23 point win. The Rockets sent an early warning sign doubling their opponents score before doubling down in the second term with a dominant 31 to 13 point term. South Adelaide hit back in the third quarter to eat into the margin but a last quarter hoorah from the Rockets sealed the deal. Jack McVeigh made his presence felt with 21 points at 44 per cent from the field while also securing 11 rebounds. Verle Williams also effectively plied his trade registering 19 points as teammate Jimma Dau slotted 15 in his 22 minutes of action. Sunday Dech also chimed in with a handy 14 points and seven rebounds. For the Panthers the efforts of Alex Mudronja stood out as he topscored with 19 points as Todd Davies drilled home 13 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Alex Starling was the sole other Panther to reach double figures with 10 points to his name.

Women’s:

North Adelaide Rockets (79) defeated South Adelaide Panthers (57)

The final game of the round saw North Adelaide Rockets claim victory over South Adelaide Panthers by 22 points. The Rockets imposed themselves early on the contest piling on 22 points to 13 and kept that momentum throughout the second quarter. The momentum shifted in the third and fourth term but the game was already won given the dominant first half of basketball from North Adelaide. Taylor Ortlepp sunk 21 points, six rebounds and five assists as Abigayle Mader, Jess Good and Courtney Hansen all hit the scoreboard with great ease. Olivia Thompson was the strike shooter for the Panthers recording 25 points as Jordan Hunter was the only other to make it out of single digits with 10 points to her name.

NBL1 Central wrap: Round 9

ROUND 9 of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 Central delivered the goods with plenty of close contests and a couple of blowouts in both the men’s and women’s leagues making for an enthralling round of action.

Men’s

Norwood Flames (71) defeated by North Adelaide Rockets (89)

North Adelaide Rockets got the job done against the Norwood Flames to claim a convincing 18-point win. Norwood got the jump on the Rockets early establishing a three point lead before things tightened up in the second term with both sides shooting 27 points apiece. Half-time proved to be a godsend for North Adelaide as they came out firing in the third term piling on 24 points while keeping Norwood to 14 and that level of control continued into the final quarter limiting the home side to a mere 10 points. All in all the Rockets added 45 points to the Flames’ 24 which proved to be the main difference between winning and losing.

Four players hit the double-digit mark for Norwood with CJ Turnage topping the table in his 36 minutes out on court. Turnage finished with 17 points but lacked accuracy sitting at a mere 27 per cent from the field and failed to register a single triple from his eight attempts. But he did manage six rebounds, four assists and a block. Teammate Daniel Webber was a solid contributor with his 16 points and three rebounds as Matt Lycett chimed in with 13 points of his own. Cameron Huefner finished with 10 points to his name and just fell short of a double-double with nine rebounds and two assists. For the winners, Tobias Dowdell made his presence felt with a game-high 28 points at 58 per cent while also reeling in nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. Verle Williams was the next best with his 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and four steals while Manel Ayol chimed in with a handy 16 points. Jack Purchase was the other key cog for North Adelaide recording a double-double sinking 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Women’s

Norwood Flames (62) defeated by North Adelaide Rockets (97)

The Rockets made light work of the Flames running out 35-point victors credit to a fast start. The Flames worked their way back into the contest in the second term with some increased offensive pressure but the half-time break did not do them any favours as the visitors came out with a real pep in their step and point to prove.

Alex Wilson had a game to remember for the Flames sinking 28 points at 30 per cent from the field and showcased her skill from range with five triples. She also dragged in 10 rebounds and three steals. Genna Anderson was the next best with 10 points and seven rebounds. Rockets star Jess Good was unstoppable with her 31 points and 16 rebounds as teammate Sam Defrancesco injected herself in the thick of things with 25 points and seven rebounds. Courtney Hansen also played a strong cameo role with her 14 points in her 20 minutes on court converting at 70 per cent from the field.

Men’s

South Adelaide Panthers (71) defeated by Central District Lions (68)

Only three points separated the two sides at the final buzzer with South Adelaide pipping the Lions at the post. It was an enthralling battle with Central District holding sway in the first half before South Adelaide hit back in the second half to outscore their opponents and really clamp down their offensive prowess. The Panthers kept the Lions to 23 points for the entire second half while adding 39 points to their own total.

It was a one man show with Owen Hulland doing the heavy lifting for South Adelaide producing 32 points and 12 rebounds in an all-round strong showing. Alex Mudronja was the other main facilitator for the Panthers sinking 21 points and picking up three assists and three rebounds. For Central Districts the combination between Lual Ding, David Humphries and Shaquille Maharaj kept them in the game. Ding managed 26 points and seven rebounds while both Humphries and Maharaj slotted 18 apiece.

Women’s

South Adelaide Panthers (127) defeated Central District Lions (54)

It was a complete and utter white wash with the Panthers producing a scintillating win over Central District Lions. South Adelaide made all running in the first quarter producing a 28 points to 11 term. That momentum continued into the second quarter as the Panthers controlled the proceedings and continued their merry way. The best quarter was the last with South Adelaide attacking the rim and showing no mercy with a whopping 43 point term to seal the deal.

It was an absolute demolition job by Olivia Thompson who walked away with a staggering 51 points converting at 72 per cent from the field. Thompson not only impacted off the scoreboard but so two on the rebounding front with 13 to her name along with seven steals. She received plenty of help from the likes of Ashley Spencer who produced 31 points including three triples. Looking at the Central Districts and it was a very different affair with Rebecca Wells the only player to reach double figures thanks to her ten points while she also reeled in five rebounds and recorded one assist. Erin Boyd was the next best with nine points at 25 per cent field from the field while she also managed seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Men’s

Southern Tigers (73) defeated Forestville Eagles (89)

Forestville notched up another win, this time defeating Southern Tigers by 16 points. The Eagles got off to a fast start establishing a 10 point lead and did not look like relinquishing the lead winning every quarter bar the second where they both scored 24 points apiece. The third term helped to further solidify their standings.

There were plenty of contributors for the Tigers with six players reaching double-digits with Cameron Coleman topping the charts with 20 points and eight rebounds. Daniel Smith got busy with his 12 points while Koop McCalop was hot on his tail with 11 points. Three players in Nick Wurm, Machar Machar and Christian Artacho all managed 10 points each with Wurm also registering seven assists and Machar securing seven rebounds. Gregory Mays was influential for the Eagles producing 31 points at 60 per cent from the field to accompany his 10 rebounds while Michael Harris also lent a helping hand with his 21 points and eight rebounds. Brandon Brine also made an impact draining 18 points and picking up five rebounds along the way.

Women’s

Southern Tigers (71) defeated Forestville Eagles (70)

The battle between those Southern Tigers in Forestville Eagles went right down to the wire as only one point separated the two at the final buzzer with the Tigers getting the win. Southern Tigers got off to a strong start producing for 24 points while keeping the Forestville Eagles to 14 but the table slowly started to turn in the second as Forestville gained momentum. Things tightened up in the second half of the game with neither side able to really gain much separation but the early work from the Tigers gifted them the win.

Teige Morrell was the focal point for the Tigers dropping 23 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Morgan Yaeger was also influential producing 15 points at 40 per cent from the field to accompany her six rebounds all of which were defensive. Both Denelle Fawcett and Gemma Thacker chimed in with 11 and 10 points respectively to get their side over the line. Brooke Basham topscored for Forestville draining 25 points as Samantha Simons got busy with her 12 points and five rebounds.

Men’s

West Adelaide Bearcats (87) defeated by Sturt Sabres (92)

It was another close contest, this time between West Adelaide and Sturt with the former getting the chocolates in a tight finish. The Sabres flew out of the blocks in the first quarter draining 31 points and while the scoring petered off in the second and third they did enough in the fourth to hold onto their lead and collect the win.

Bryan Michaels was the most influential when it came to scoreboard pain thanks to his 27 points while Earnest Ross was also up there thanks to his 24 points, five steals and 15 rebounds with 13 of them defensive. Fabian Johnson contributed a handy 16 points while Lachie Hunter was the sole other double-digits scorer for the Bearcats. Sam Daly was strong for the Sabres sinking 26 points while also amassing eight rebounds and six assists. Joel Spear did not disappoint with his 22 points, 11 rebounds and three assists as teammate Keanu Rasmussen got down to business drilling home 16 points.

Women’s

West Adelaide Bearcats (64) defeated by Sturt Sabres (88)

Sturt Sabres got the chocolates over West Adelaide claiming a 24 point win. It was a relatively even to start the game with only two points separating the two sides at quarter time before Sturt put the foot down In this in the second term to claim the ascendancy. From there on they controlled the play and steadily built on their lead.

Jennie Rintala was a force to be reckoned with for West Adelaide coming up big with 20 points and 12 rebounds while Jasmin Fejo was handy with her 15 points at 50 per cent from the field. Jade Johnson had a day out for the Sabres draining a game-high 25 points along with four rebounds and five steals as teammate Nicola Matthews was effective with her 17 points and eight rebounds.

Men’s

Eastern Mavericks (78) defeated Woodville Warriors (124)

It was a one-sided affair as the Woodville Warriors trounced Eastern Mavericks to claim a resounding 46 point win. The Warriors flew out of the gates credit to their 29 points to 18 start and that only got better as they added 36 points and 35 points in the second and third term respectively. The Mavericks may have won the last quarter but the damage was already done with the Warriors comprehensive winners.

William Wise hit was prominent nailing 28 points for the Mavericks as teammate Callan Prider recorded 11 points and four rebounds  in the loss. Owen Raneberg was strong off the boards with seven rebounds. There was no shortage of points scorers for the Warriors as five players hit double figures and two of them in Devon McGee and James Boonstoppel slotting 25 and 22 points apiece. Julian Jacobs was also instrumental in the win knocking back 18 points and 12 assists as he guided his side to a convincing win.

Women’s

Eastern Mavericks (76) defeated Woodville Warriors (50)

The Mavericks managed to secure a 26-point win over Woodville Warriors. Woodville got out to a three-point lead before the Mavericks struck back in the second quarter to not only level the scores but so steal the lead and the momentum. It was a disappointing third term for Woodville as they only managed a mere three points, while the Mavericks piled on a whopping 20 to set up a block poster final term and the win.

Rachel Hines tried her hardest leading the Mavericks with 18 points and seven rebounds. She was ably assisted by Georgia Thomson who produced 14 points, three rebounds and four assists in her 23 minutes out on court. Mollie McKendrick was crafty registering a triple-double for her efforts with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists. Serena Waters was lethal with ball in hand top-scoring with 20 points as Kahli Harmer finished with seven points to her name.

Photo credit: LukeJMedia / BaselineLuke

2020 WNBL Round 1 weekday preview: Mackay and Townsville hubs tip-off as all eight teams commence

IN 2020 the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) is a little different compared to usual, with the rounds stretching over more days with extra games. At Draft Central, we will preview the weekday games, followed by the weekend games separately to ensure the permutations in the second half of the round are as accurate as possible.

We tip-off Round 1 with all eight sides competing in the North Queensland hubs, starting in Mackay on Wednesday, and then heading to Townsville on Thursday in what should be a blockbuster opening round of action.

* Game times are local/AEDT

ADELAIDE LIGHTING vs. UC CAPITALS
Wednesday, November 11, 5/6pm (Mackay)

Opening the new season is 2019/20 finalists, Adelaide Lightning going up against reigning premiers, UC Capitals. The Capitals will be keen to retain their title in the 2020 shortened season despite losing a couple of key imports over the off-season. In the absence of volume shooter and league Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kia Nurse, and Grand Final Series MVP Olivia Epoupa, the Capitals will have a slightly different starting five heading into the season.

The quartet of Australians crucial to the success fo the Capitals all re-signed with co-captains Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo, and rising stars Keely Froling and Maddison Rocci all rejoining the side. Sydney Uni Flames’ Tahlia Tupaea was tipped to be the fifth member of the starting side for coach Paul Gorriss. Along with Tupaea, the Capitals have also brought in former Lightning talents Hannah Kaser and Ashley Taia to add some spice to the mix, as well as up and coming youngster Jade Melbourne.

While the Capitals largely have a known list, the Lightning will be vastly different to the team that fronted up last season. Chelsea Brook, Steph Talbot are the only two expected starters who got on court last season, with Jasmin Fejo predicted to play a key role in 2020. With veteran Lauren Nicholson heading north to Townsville and captain Nicole Seekamp retiring, the Lightning have brought in key player Marena Whittle, and had added talented college graduate Alana Smith but unfortunately injury has ruled her out for the year. Others who have joined returning back to the country include Taylor Ortlepp, Ella Batish and Carlie Smith, as well as WNBL talents Alex Wilson (Sydney Uni Flames), Louella Tomlinson (Southside Flyers) and Abbey Wehrung (Bendigo Spirit).

The UC Capitals will head in as favourites for the clash coming in as reigning premiers and with more stability in their line-up, but the Lightning will be an exciting team to see how they gel.

PERTH LYNX vs. TOWNSVILLE FIRE
Wednesday, November 11, 7/8pm (Mackay)

Two sides that will be keen to build on their 2019/20 season will be Perth Lynx and Townsville Fire who missed out on the post-season finals. The Fire will be no stranger to the weather conditions in the far north, but find themselves the visiting team in this encounter with the Lynx. The Fire have made a number of changes to invigorate their lineup with both young stars and experienced heads joining the team. The Lynx will also look largely different after some off-season changes, including assistant coach Ryan Petrik stepping up to replace outgoing head coach Andy Stewart.

The biggest intrigue of the match will be the changing of colours of Nadeen Payne and Darcee Garbin who effectively were involved in a trade with the players switching allegiances. Payne went from Perth to Townsville, whilst Garbin joined the Lynx from the Fire. Young gun Shyla Heal was the huge signing of the off-season for the Fire, with up-and-comers Megan McKay, Lara McSpadden and Courtney Woods all strengthening the outfit. Steph Reid crossed from Southside Flyers for more court time and enjoyed a strong QSL season, whilst Lauren Nicholson’s arrival from the Lightning added that experience needed at the Fire around the young talent.

The Lynx did not waste any time by announcing veteran and former Lynx star Sami Whitcomb back for the season, but unfortunately she was mutually released for family reasons. The re-signing of Katie Ebzery was as important as any, whilst Garbin was a welcome inclusion. The omissions are going to hurt, with not only Payne going, but Lauren Mansfield and Alison Schwagmeyer heading to Sydney Uni, and Marena Whittle joining Adelaide Lightning. Perth also brought in some local players with Kayla Steindl, Ashleigh Isenbarger and Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard all joining the fray, while Jessie Edwards signed on from the Lightning among a number of other re-signings.

It seems the two sides are at the opposite ends of the off-season success with Townsville bringing in a host of big guns, whilst Perth has lost a number of key players making it tough for the Lynx. With the home state advantage, expect the Fire to start off strongly here.

MELBOURNE BOOMERS vs. SYDNEY UNI FLAMES
Thursday, November 12, 6/7pm (Townsville)

Tipping off Thursday nights’s action in Townsville, two sides that will believe they can go deep in the finals series go head-to-head. The Melbourne Boomers have kept a relatively strong line-up together, whilst Sydney Uni Flames have bolstered their hopes of pushing into the finals series. Given the losses the Lightning have had, the Flames are a huge chance to force their way into the top four, and alongside Townsville are the other side likely to crack into the finals.

The Boomers announced signing Tess Madgen from Townsville and quickly tied up Madeleine Garrick, Cayla George and Ezi Magbegor within the first month of the re-signing period. Kalani Purcell, Antonia Farnworth, Penina Davidson, Stella Beck and Rachel Brewster all followed, with Eliza Wright, Hope Terdich and Rachel Antoniadou stepping up from NBL1 level. Possibly the most underrated signing of the period came in late October with the announcement that Tall Black, Ashleigh Karaitiana would join the side after a big QSL season and she will only strengthen that outfit. The three losses were Monique Conti to the Flyers, Paige Price to Bendigo and Chelsea D’Angelo out with an Achilles injury, but the Boomers are still a formidable unit.

The Flames will be an incredibly different outfit in 2020, possibly four of the starting five coming from other sides. June 24 marked a big day for the Flames, announcing he recruitment of Anneli Maley from Southside Flyers, and even bigger the coup of Lauren Mansfield from Perth Lynx. Alison Schwagmeyer followed Mansfield to the Flames, while Kiera Rowe joined Maley in crossing from Southside. The inclusions replaced the likes of Tahlia Tupaea, Brittany Smart and Lara McSpadden who all departed, whilst Turkish-Australian national Funda Nakkasoglu was allowed to sign having dual citizenship being born in Melbourne. Natalie Burton also returned to her home country and will slot straight into the four spot with Lauren Scherf the other key starter for the Flames. Carly Boag (Finland) also returned home to Australia from Europe and will add to the strength of the side.

Melbourne Boomers have the known form and will be favourites in this game, but the Flames have a lot of unknown about them. That can work in their favour once they gel, and could be a dangerous team this season.

BENDIGO SPIRIT vs. SOUTHSIDE FLYERS
Thursday, November 12, 8/9pm (Townsville)

The final game of the first half of the round might be the most anticipated. Not necessarily due to the result, but more so to see the much anticipated starting five of the Southside Flyers. Last year’s runners-up have got enough Opals to open a jewellery shop, and they are favourites for the overall title. Some have suggested it could be the greatest line-up ever assembled, which could well be true which only adds to the pressure and intrigue. Bendigo Spirit will have the toughest assignment up first, with a much more inexperienced lineup compared to the Flyers.

The Spirit lost American Rebecca Tobin who chose to head to Romania, as well as Abbey Wehrung (Adelaide) and Shyla Heal (Townsville) who will all be big losses. They have signed up college returnee Georgia Pineau who should help provide some extra young talent to the team, as well as Amelia Todhunter and Piper Dunlop out of the NBL1 competition. Dunlop is a rising star and one to watch, whilst Mary Goulding has returned from Sweden, and Jennie Rintala crossed over from the Lightning. Paige Price adds some great young talent to the Spirit taking over from Heal, while the re-signings of Alicia Froling, Cassidy McLean and Tessa Lavey were crucial, with the latter also testing herself at AFL Women’s, but will be present in the hub.

Southside Flyers on the other hand went from strength to strength over the off-season. Losing crucial import Mercedes Russell to Turkey due to the no-imports rule, they set about re-signing everybody else. Jenna O’Hea, Rebecca Cole, Sara Blicavs, Aimie Clydesdale and Rebecca Pizzey all signed on in between a host of incredible signings. Steph Blicavs crossed from Adelaide, Rachel Jarry stepped up from NBL1, and Monique Conti came over from cross-town rivals the Boomers. But by far the biggest both physically and metaphorically was Liz Campage with the WNBA champion the biggest signing of the off-season and turning the Flyers into the standout team. The Flyers did lose a few, with Steph Reid going to Townsville, Louella Tomlinson heading to Adelaide and Kiera Rowe going to Sydney Uni, but the inclusions far outweigh the omissions.

It is hard to look past Southside in any game this season just about, and when they are coming up against an inexperienced Bendigo lineup, the Flyers are comfortably the favourites in this one.

Picture: WNBL

WNBL20 Team Preview – Adelaide Lightning

IN the final of Draft Central’s WNBL20 team previews in lieu of the opening tipoff, we look at one of the two teams set to kick off the campaign tonight in the Adelaide Lightning, as Chris Lucas’ side will look to make the top-four for the third time in as many years, despite losing their marquee signing in Alanna Smith a few weeks ago due to injury.

Despite Smith’s unfortunate absence, the Lightning still maintains an arsenal of weapons at their disposal, none more so than their appointed Captain for the next six weeks Stephanie Talbot. Concluding her 2019/20 season, the nine-year-veteran cemented herself as one of the competition’s premiere players after averaging 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists throughout 21 games. These numbers would lay the foundation for a list of accolades, as Talbot received an All-WNBL Second Team nomination and a selection to next year’s Australian Opals squad, further establishing her with the reputation to lead Adelaide into WNBL20.

Aiding Talbot in the team’s frontcourt are two very dynamic forwards in Chelsea Brook, a rising star amongst WNBL bigs, and 32-year-old Louella Tomlinson, who has seen it all experience-wise and provides a facilitative defensive role. Perceived as the embodiment of the South Australian basketball system, Brook has been representing her home state with an abundance of gusto, earning bulk minutes and producing more solid numbers each season. Tomlinson, who considers herself an efficient passer and defensive presence will look for a more stable role under Lucas’ rotation, as the 2012 champion has had a hectic career in terms of location with her past clubs. Backing up these two is WNBL debutant Ella Batish, who came out with an impressive 2019 NBL1 season with the Sandringham Sabres, averaging 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds. Despite missing out on this year’s NBL1 campaign with the Frankston Blues, Batish remains excited for the upcoming six weeks hoping to make a difference on the boards and bolster the Lightning’s defensive prowess.

Smith’s injury announcement was not the only loss for Adelaide during the pre-season, as NBL1 Central superstar Jasmin Fejo also announced she would be watching the season from home due to the birth of her first child, and as a result it provides a chance for other guards to put their skills on display. One to keep an eye on is Alex Wilson, who is hot off the heels of a tremendous season with the Sydney Uni Flames, averaging 10.8 points, five assists and almost four rebounds a game. A product of Adelaide’s Eastern Mavericks NBL1 side, Wilson will be excited to don her home-city colours once again after almost a decade away in both Townsville and Sydney.

A more refined player in her own right, Marena Whittle has crossed over from the Western Australia border to provide her versatility to the Lightning. Known for her utility-based skillset and leadership qualities, Whittle has long held the tag of a “Sixth Man”, and the 26-year-old is keen to shake this notion. Averaging over 10 points per game last season, as well as 4.8 rebounds and an assist, it can be widely agreed upon that Whittle is ready for a more major role in the roster.

Rounding out the Lightning’s 10-player squad are guards Abbey Wehrung, who made the trip west from Bendigo and 3X3 national team member Carlie Smith, while Lucas has injected some NCAA talent into the line-up as well, with Boston College graduate Taylor Ortlepp and Oregon Duck Morgan Yaeger. Brooke Basham and Aimee Brett finalise the team as the two Development Players for the season.

2020 WNBL season preview – Part 2: Finalists to line up for another crack at title

IN the second part of our two-part Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season preview, we look at the four finalists from last year and where they stand. Expect them all to be there at the pointy end, getting stronger over the journey and making it a highly competitive season in 2020.

Southside Flyers

Without a doubt the premiership favourites and team to beat in the WNBL 2020 season. The Southside flyers have not only been able to retain key players, but added some elite talents with a starting five that could well be an international line-up. Over the off-season, they lost Mercedes Russell under the import rule, and then the experienced Louella Tomlinson to Adelaide Lightning. Steph Reid headed to Townsville Fire and both Anneli Maley and Kiera Rowe headed to Sydney Uni Flames.

Whilst those players provided great depth to the club, the Flyers brought in the biggest off-season coup of the lot, signing WNBA talent Liz Cambage to the roster. With Cambage an upgrade on an already elite Russell at the five, then adding in Stephanie Blicavs to join her sister at the club, as well as young gun Monique Conti, the Flyers were literally flying through the off-season. Aside from the inclusions, the Flyers re-signed almost their entire list, with Jenna O’Hea, Sara Blicavs, Rebecca Cole, Aimie Clydesdale and Leilani Mitchell among the key signings.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT:

On paper there is littler doubt this team could win it, littered with a ridiculous amount of Opals. Their talent is unmatched and they deserve favouritism.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN IT:

The only reason they might not is due to gelling reasons with such star power across the court. It is hard to imagine them struggling, and they will get to the finals alone on talent, but they will have a lot of top stars fighting for minutes which will be the envy of the competition.

CHANGES:

INS: Liz Cambage (International), Stephanie Blicavs (Adelaide), Monique Conti (Melbourne), Rachel Jarry (NBL1)
OUTS: Anneli Maley, Kiera Rowe (Sydney Uni), Steph Reid (Townsville), Louella Tomlinson (Adelaide), Mercedes Russell (International)
RE-SIGNINGS: Jenna O’Hea, Rebecca Cole, Sara Blicavs, Aimie Clydesdale, Leilani Mitchell, Rebecca Pizzey, Taylah Gilliam, Saraid Taylor, Amy O’Neill

POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE:

Bec Cole
Leilani Mitchell
Jenna O’Hea
Sara Blicavs
Liz Cambage

>> Southside Flyers team preview

PREDICTION: 1st-2nd

The Southside Flyers are the team to beat in season 2020, with talent across the entire court. Not only is their starting five ridiculously strong, but even their bench is clearly a class above any others. They are the standout team and it would take a brave person to back against them this season.

UC Capitals

The reigning back-to-back premiers were quick on the trigger to announce a host of re-signings at the start of the off-season to secure their line-up for a crack a at a three-peat. Whilst it was announced early that they would be without their Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kia Nurse, and Grand Final MVP Olivia Epoupa, they were able to secure everyone else. Only young gun Gemma Potter departed the club for College in the United States, whilst the big guns such as co-captains Marianna Tolo and Kelsey Griffin, Keely Froling and Maddison Rocci all re-signed.

In terms of their inclusions, the Capitals added some extra strength to the line-up with Tahlia Tupaea and Brittany Smart both making the move from Sydney Uni Flames. Hannah Kaser was the other WNBL player to switch allegiances, coming from Adelaide Lightning, while Jade Melbourne took the step up from the AIS and Ashley Taia earned a contract following her QSL season. Abby Cubilo, Alex Delaney and Mikaela Ruef were the other players to re-sign with the reigning premiers.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT:

They have continuity in their team, they will have a fully fit Griffin and the team knows what it takes to win the title. They have done it twice back-to-back and the team is largely the same minus their couple of imports. If their young guns can step up, they are every chance.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN IT:

Southside Flyers have brought in some imposing players, while Melbourne Boomers have not got any worse. It will be interesting to see if the Capitals can cover the loss of Nurse and Epoupa this season which will go a long way to determining their fortunes in 2020.

CHANGES:

INS: Tahlia Tupaea, Brittany Smart (Sydney Uni), Hannah Kaser (Adelaide), Jade Melbourne (NBL1), Ashley Taia (QSL)
OUTS: Kia Nurse, Olivia Epoupa, Gemma Potter (International)
RE-SIGNINGS: Marianna Tolo, Kelsey Griffin, Keely Froling, Maddison Rocci, Abby Cubilo, Alex Delaney, Mikaela Ruef

POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE:

Tahlia Tupaea
Maddison Rocci
Keely Froling
Kelsey Griffin
Marianna Tolo

>> UC Capitals team preview

PREDICTION: 1st-3rd

The UC Capitals are too good not to be there at the pointy end. They are a superb team, and whilst the Flyers will be hard to beat with all their firepower, expect the Capitals to give it a red hot crack and go for a three-peat. If they can play at the level they are capable of, they are the best chance of winning another flag.

Melbourne Boomers

The Melbourne Boomers have gone close the last couple of years, but have not been able to come away with any silverware. Remaining one of the most solid units over the off-season, the Boomers only lost a trio of young guns, whilst picking up a top talent from Townsville. Paige Price (Bendigo), Monique Conti (Southside) and Chelsea D’Angelo (Achilles, released) were the three main departures from the club, with the Boomers always relying on Australian talent, so the import rule did not impact them as much as other sides.

Madeleine Garrick, Cayla George, Ezi Magbegor and Kalani Purcell form a dominant four, and throw in the Fire’s Tess Madgen who has made the move to the Boomers, and Guy Molloy will head in with another title-contending unit. Antonia Farnworth, Penina Davidson, Stella Beck and Rachel Brewster re-signed as well as a number of state-league talents, including Tall Black shooter Ashleigh Karaitiana who could prove important coming off the bench.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT:

The Boomers are a settled unit with very few changes to the side that has challenged the last couple of years. The addition of Madgen is a positive one, and it is hard to see them not at least giving it a crack, even if they do fall short again.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN IT:

Southside and UC Capitals still have the firepower, though the Boomers might be on par with the Capitals given their losses over the off-season. The Flyers will be hard to beat on paper, but the continuity of the Boomers over a short season might help.

CHANGES:

INS: Tess Madgen (Townsville), Eliza Wright, Hope Terdich, Rachel Antoniadou (NBL1), Ashleigh Karaitiana (QSL)
OUTS: Paige Price (Bendigo), Monique Conti (Southside), Chelsea D’Angelo (Achilles)
RE-SIGNINGS: Madeleine Garrick, Cayla George, Ezi Magbegor, Kalani Purcell, Antonia Farnworth, Penina Davidson, Stella Beck, Rachel Brewster

POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE:

Maddie Garrick
Tess Madgen
Ezi Magbegor
Kalani Purcell
Cayla George

>> Melbourne Boomers preview

PREDICTION: 1st-4th

The Melbourne Boomers are a tough team to beat, and it will take the best of the Flyers and Capitals to get it done. They are certainly among the top sides in the competition, and whilst the Flyers are deserving favourites, the Boomers have enough talent to step up in big games.

Adelaide Lightning

Even though the Lightning might be lower down on this list, there is genuine hope they can repeat their last two season and make finals. The loss of veteran, Lauren Nicholson would have hurt the Lightning, with Steph Blicavs the other massive out for the Lightning. Both players headed off to the east coast to play with Townsville and Southside, though the one benefit is that Blicavs missed last season due to her pregnancy, so effectively Nicholson is the only starting five net out. The other two that were due to come in but have since had to be released were state league talent Jasmin Fejo (pregnancy) and college graduate Alanna Smith (ankle) who would have provided some excitement. Natalie Hurst (retired), Jessie Edwards (Perth), Jessie Rintala (Bendigo) and Hannah Kaser (UC Capitals) were the others to depart.

The Lightning have brought in some vital experience though, with Sydney Uni’s Alex Wilson expected to slot into the guard spot alongside Perth’s Marena Whittle making that a pretty handy, and most importantly steady duo. Steph Talbot and Chelsea Brook provide some strength and consistency through the forwards, and whilst Brook might start as the five, bringing in another veteran in Louella Tomlinson from Southside means Brook might slide to the four. Abby Wehrung is a pretty handy sixth player, with some impressive state leaguers in Carlie Smith and Ella Batish also joining, and a quartet of international young talents in Taylor Ortlepp, Morgan Yaeger, Brooke Basham and Aimee Brett returning to Australia.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT:

Despite losing Nicholson and Blicavs, the damage to the team from last season that was effectively done was just Nicholson out, and a mix of youth and experience in. They have enough versatility to get the job done and bringing in veterans helps steady the team and allow them to gel quicker. This season should be more competitive and could allow for some upset wins.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN IT:

In a short season it still will take a little time to gel and adding extra talent to the starting five is great, but it will be interesting to see how they fare against the top three teams. They need a lot to go right to knock them off.

CHANGES:

IN: Marena Whittle (Perth), Taylor Ortlepp, Morgan Yaeger, Brooke Basham, Aimee Brett (International), Louella Tomlinson (Southside), Carlie Smith (QSL), Alex Wilson (Sydney Uni), Abby Wehrung (Bendigo), Ella Batish (NBL1)
OUT:  Lauren Nicholson (Townsville), Jessie Edwards (Perth), Jessie Rintala (Bendigo), Steph Blicavs (Southside), Hannah Kaser (UC Capitals), Natalie Hurst (retired)
RE-SIGNED: Steph Talbot, Chelsea Brook

POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE:

Alex Wilson
Marena Whittle
Steph Talbot
Chelsea Brook
Louella Tomlinson

>> Adelaide Lightning team preview

PREDICTION: 4th-6th

Overall the Lightning are not to be underestimated. There is every chance they force their way into the four. In a short season with a quick turnaround between games, it will be interesting to see how they first gel, and secondly deal with the body management given some of their older talents. Still an outside contender.

WNBL Player Spotlight – Adelaide Lightning – Jasmin Fejo

PERHAPS one of next season’s breakout young guards, Jasmin Fejo will look to take the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) by storm when she signs on as a rostered player for the Adelaide Lightning next season. Fejo will rely on her pace and speed when she sizes up against some of the Australia’s elite basketballers after displaying numerous impressive stints in the NBL1 Central division over the last few years.

Beginning her play at Portside Christian during her high school days, Fejo earned a coveted spot for South Australia Metro in 2017 at the National Under 18 Championships, which preceded competing in the same tournament’s Under 20 age bracket later down the track. Following what was a stellar junior circuit for the 20-year-old, it was time to take her journey to the next stage and start to transition to the professional level.

Back in 2016, it was announced that former WNBL legend Rachel Sporn would ply her mentoring traits to a new basketball academy, to help progress the next wave of South Australia’s finest ballers. Fejo was a part of that squad for a few years. In the meantime, Fejo started to refine her game competitively in South Australia’s state-wide competition, the Premier League.

Perhaps her best night on record with the West Adelaide Bearcats came in 2019, where Fejo produced a career-high night from the field, accumulating 40 points in a single game against the South Adelaide Panthers. This performance was indicative of her season as a whole, as Fejo rose to prominence throughout the 2019 season. Awarded the Merv Harris for being the best player under 21 years of age in the competition, she was also be awarded an All-Star Five selection to round out a spectacular 2019 year whilst shooting an exemplary 42.7 per cent leading to 15.6 points per contest.

Major aspects of Fejo’s game are her quickness and her ability to get out on the fast-break and cause substantial damage before the opposition defence even has the chance to get set. For Fejo herself, she knows what her strengths can offer to the Lightning and she is excited to be able showcase this to head coach Chris Lucas.

“I can get up in the lanes of the offence team, also using my speed and court supervision to blow past players and bring my teammates into the game,” Fejo said. “I would describe my playing style as aggressive, not selfish, and hard-working so I am always willing to put my body on the line for the team.”

Following the ongoing contracts of both Steph Talbot and Chelsea Brook as well as the signing of WNBA superstar Alanna Smith, Fejo became the fourth known member of the Lightning’s squad for WNBL21. The Adelaide faithful are hopeful that the debutant can produce in what will be an unprecedented season up in North Queensland come November 12.

WNBL Free Agency Update: Flyers and Lightning

ALTHOUGH they did not finish the way the would have liked, the Southside Flyers and Adelaide Lightning are two teams that had impressive WNBL20 campaigns, making it to the playoffs. While both the Flyers and the Lightning had countless highlights during the regular season, the Lightning were handed a series sweep knocked out of the postseason early. For Southside, it was a picture-perfect season leading up to the Grand Final series, finishing with a season-best record (17-4) in their inaugural campaign under the Flyers moniker, whereas the Lightning would round out a solid top-four group, with a 12-9 record of their own. Southside knocked over Adelaide in the semis, which was then for the Flyers followed up by an untimely exit thanks to the UC Capitals in the penultimate series.

SOUTHSIDE FLYERS

The Southside Flyers organisation has made less announcements in comparison to the seven other sides regarding their WNBL21 team, but it is evident what their initial intentions have been over the last couple of months.

For Cheryl Chambers and her staff, their initial moves were to consolidate their marquee players, which kicked off in early June when they re-signed their captain and Opals selectee Jenna O’Hea. O’Hea underwent an agonisingly frustrating 2020 season after breaking her wrist on January 12 against the Melbourne Boomers. Thankfully for O’Hea, she made her return to the side just in time for their Grand Final series against the Capitals, despite the Flyers going down in two games. She will look forward to leading the side for at least another season.

Up next on the Flyers “to-get” list, was 28-year-old Rebecca Cole. Cole averaged an elite-level season and was instrumental in the Flyers’ starting five acting as an essential member in getting Southside to the postseason. Averaging 17.3 points per game, four assists and 3.6 rebounds, Cole wreaked havoc on opposition defences throughout 25 games last season and will look to do it again for the Flyers’ second season. The third of Southside’s five signings to this point is forward Sara Blicavs. Blicavs has become one of the most prominent two-way players in the WNBL to this day, and this was further compounded after a solid campaign last season. With the 27-year-old averaging 13.4 points, seven rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest, it does not surprise many that Southside would look to her services for another season.

Stepping into some big shoes after the injury of O’Hea in the later stages of last season, Aimie Clydesdale proved what she was worth to the side, culminating in an 18-point performance in Game 2 of their semi-final series with the Lightning. The Flyers have added her to their roster for next season and will look to give her extended minutes as her development continues.

However, Southside saved their big announcement for their fifth addition to the team. On August 18 they revealed that Australian basketball legend, Liz Cambage, was returning to the WNBL for the first time in three years. A major factor in this was the restrictions that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the league, as the Flyers are no longer able to reinstate rebounding machine Mercedes Russell as an import for next season. Cambage, who was a member of the Dandenong Rangers back in 2007, will have feelings of nostalgia as she returns to the suburb where it all began.

With more than half of the team yet to be announced, there could be an influx of young and developing talent to join the ranks for the upcoming season in November, as the senior members of the squad have committed to the Flyers for hopefully another championship push.

Contracted:

Nil

Re-signed:

Jenna O’Hea
Rebecca Cole
Sara Blicavs
Aimie Clydesdale

Signed:

Elizabeth Cambage

 

ADELAIDE LIGHTNING

To round out the Free Agency updates for last season’s finals participants, we look at the Adelaide Lightning, as they look to move past the semi-finals next season.

After losing star international Brianna Turner due to import restrictions, Adelaide made up for that in another WNBA prospect, one who is more familiar with the land down-under. Touted by the franchise as the biggest signing in the Lightning’s history since Suzy Batkovic a decade ago, the acquisition of Phoenix Mercury power forward Alanna Smith has many of Adelaide’s faithful shaking with excitement. Earning regular appearances in this season’s WNBA and completing a successful four-year career at Stanford University, not much gets away from Smith if history shows anything.

Head coach Chris Lucas now needed to form the rest of his squad around their new marquee signing, and he would not need to look too far to begin this. Jasmin Fejo, a member of the NBL1’s Adelaide Bearcats joined contracted players Chelsea Brook and Steph Talbot as a part of the Adelaide Lightning in late-June. Fejo garnered state-wide attention after a phenomenal 2019 season in the South Australia Premier League, particularly after a 40-point performance against the South Adelaide Panthers in that same season. After the strong stint, she was rewarded the Merv Harris medal for being the best player under the age of 21 and was named to the competition’s All-Star Five after averaging 15.6 points and shooting at a clip of 42.7 per cent.

The two most recent procurements for Adelaide was South Australian-born Boston College alum, Taylor Ortlepp, who signed a two-year deal with the club at the start of July, and 26-year-old Perth Lynx utility player Marena Whittle who averaged over 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds per game, while shooting at a rate of 43.6 per cent behind the arc last season.

With the announcement of recently retired Nat Hurst to become the Lightning’s assistant coach and further additions to be revealed to the team in the near future for WNBL21, championship contenders will have no choice but to take Adelaide seriously, when they square off with the side.

Contracted:

Chelsea Brook
Steph Talbot

Re-signed:

Nil

Signed:

Alanna Smith
Jasmin Fejo
Taylor Ortlepp
Marena Whittle

WNBL Free Agency: Schwagmeyer heads east as clubs sign developing stars

A PERTH Lynx talent heads east, and some college young guns return to their home states to bolster the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) with the Free Agency Period continuing over the past week where we update you since the last update. Of the eight teams, seven made changes with only reigning premiers, University of Canberra (UC) Capitals not featuring due to having done a lot of the heavy lifting (re-signing) early in the period.

Adelaide Lightning:

The Lightning have been able to sign Jasmin Fejo and Taylor Ortlepp over the past weeks to add to their roster for the 2020/21 WNBL season. Fejo had a strong season in the South Australian Premier League competition for West Adelaide in 2019, averaging 16.2 points, 2.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 steals for the Bearcats. Ortlepp is one to watch for the Lightning ahead of the season having finished her college days at Boston where she averaged 20.1 minutes and 3.7 points per game after missing 10 games at the start of the season. She returns back to her home state where she grew up.

Bendigo Spirit:

The Spirit have looked to their own program to pick up promising young star Piper Dunlop from the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) side, Bendigo Braves. A developing future Opals star who has already gone through the national team program in her junior years. Last year the forward stepped up to represent the Braves off the bench on two occasions in the NBL1, scoring a total of four points and two rebounds in that time. She is one who can provide good support off the bench, and over the years really start to get more minutes on court.

Melbourne Boomers:

The Boomers recent Free Agency moves have involved re-signing New Zealand duo, Kalani Purcell and Antonia Farnworth. The 187cm forward came off the bench in 23 games last season, averaging 4.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals last season in the WNBL for the Boomers. Farnworth crossed the country from Perth Lynx ahead of last season and while she had less game time to average 2.6 points and 1.5 rebounds for the Boomers, her field goal accuracy went up. She will be hoping for more court time in the guard spots.

Perth Lynx:

Perth has re-signed some height with 191cm forward-center Maddison Allen returning to the club for the 2020/21 WNBL season. After only starting in one game in the 2018/19 season with the Lynx, that number rose to 16 last season, and playing a total of 21, lifting her numbers per game across the board. She averaged the 4.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.8 blocks per game.

Southside Flyers:

The biggest re-signing of the past week has been Southside’s ability to bring back Rebecca Cole for another year. Having signed with the Flyers after previously playing with Dandenong Rangers, she averaged 16.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game in season 2019/20. Cole is a vital member of the starting side for the Flyers, shooting at an strong 49 per cent from the field, and 36 per cent from long range.

Sydney Uni Flames:

The only signing who crossed from one WNBL side to another in the past week has been Alison Schwagmeyer who crossed the country from Perth Lynx to the Flames. The Sixth Player of the Year has plenty of experience and nous coming off the bench for the Lynx and will add that to the improving Flames. The American came off the bench on nine occasions – starting another nine games – to average 15.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, an increase in both points and rebounds despite having less time on court. She is a valuable member of any team and will add an extra element to the Flames this season.

Townsville Fire:

The Fire signed Courtney Woods from the Northern Illinois University (NIU) Huskies in what could be a massive signing for Townsville. Another college talent who returns to her home state of Queensland, Woods broke some serious records at NIU, becoming the All-Time Leader in three pointers made and games played, as well as second all-time at NIU for overall points scored. She made 105 three-pointers in a season to break that season record as well for NIU, so comes back to Australia with some serious talent to burn. To put her 2019/20 college year in perspective, she put up numbers of 22.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists. If she can live up to her potential, Woods would have a huge shot at being one of the rising stars of the competition.