Tag: nicole seekamp

Draft Central’s 2019/20 WNBL Top 10 Players: #4 – Nicole Seekamp

AFTER locking up a postseason berth with three games still remaining in the season, it seemed like a pretty easy transition to the finals for team captain Nicole Seekamp and the Adelaide Lightning. But, an unfortunate ankle injury for the South Australian made reaching the semi-finals a race against time.

Going back to the beginning of her 2019/20 campaign in their opening contest against the Sydney Uni Flames, it became apparent that Seekamp had honed her skills even further when it came to running offence, as she casually racked up 11 points and eight assists. Which, coincidentally would be her season averages following her 20 games throughout the season. While Seekamp’s minutes fluctuated in total from game-to-game, her output and precision remained unwavering, as she continued to guide her team to victory with awesome numbers of assists.

The University of South Dakota-alum would record seven assists or more on 13 occasions during the regular season, placing her miles ahead of the rest of the pack in the category. At the conclusion of the regular season, Seekamp would average a staggering eight assists per game and total 176, placing her second in Womens National Basketball League (WNBL) history for total assists and assists per game during a season. On top of this, she would also break the WNBL record for assists in a single game, dishing out 20 against the Southside Flyers at the start of January.

Despite missing out on both All-WNBL Teams, Seekamp made it her mission to return to playing condition to match up against the Southside Flyers following her rolled ankle against the Perth Lynx in the season’s final round. This objective would come to fruition, as after almost three weeks off, Seekamp would suit up for Game One of her team’s series against the minor premier Flyers. While the 28-year-old’s minute and point outputs would be hindered slightly, she would still manage to find her teammates for quality shots, averaging eight assists throughout both games, as well as five rebounds. While the Lightning would go down to the Flyers narrowly in games One and Two in a series sweep, there was no doubt that Seekamp would conclude her season knowing that she had developed tremendously as a player, teammate and captain, as she put up some of the best numbers of her WNBL career (11 points, eight assists and 4.2 rebounds per game).

To sum up Seekamp as a player, you can read the Lightning’s Head Coach Chris Lucas’s brief description of Seekamp as a player, following her worrying injury. “She’s a very tough nut and that’s why she’s our captain and she’ll bounce back better and bigger with that.”

Because of this, the Opal sits perfectly as number four in Draft Central’s WNBL Top 10 Players of the 2019/20 season.

Draft Central’s Top 10 2019/20 WNBL memorable moments: #3 – Nicole Seekamp’s 20-assist game

WITH no basketball on for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we look at the brighter side of the sport that brought plenty of memories throughout the 2019/20 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season. Over the next couple of weeks we will countdown Draft Central‘s Top 10 memorable moments from the season. Some are individual events, others are season views, and even a couple are decisions that panned out for the better. Today we continue with number three, when Nicole Seekamp picked up a WNBL record of 20 assists.

#3 Nicole Seekamp’s 20-assist game

The Adelaide Lightning captain had one of the most memorable games on record when Adelaide hosted Southside Flyers early in the new year. The Lightning welcomed the top-of-the-table Flyers to Titanium Security Arena on January 5, with the mid-table logjam very much alive and the home team needing a win to provide some security on their finals aspirations. With import, Kathryn Westbeld providing some crucial support to the experienced Lauren Nicholson and Brianna Turner, and Stephanie Talbot in ripping form, Seekamp was leading a strong core five who were the underdogs for the season.

They showed just what they could do on their home court on that particular afternoon, coming from a point down at quarter time to tighten the screws and pile on 35 points to 22 in the second term and race away to a 12-point lead at the main break. Southside hit back to cut it to 11 at the final break, but both teams scored 18 in the final stanza for the Lightning to get up, 104-93. Three of her teammates scored more than 20 points, with Turner (25 and nine rebounds), Nicholson (24, five rebounds and four assists) and Westbeld (22 and five rebounds), but it was Seekamp who caught all the attention. She only put up the 10 points, but had a remarkable 20 assists – of her team’s total 37 – to guide the Lightning’s offence.

To put the performance in perspective, Turner only had six less assists than the entire Southside team, and along with Talbot (seven points, eight assists and seven rebounds), worked the ball forward with precision and skill. The win was a confidence booster for Seekamp and the Lightning, and whilst their season would ultimately end at the same venue against the same opponent later in the season, the captain’s effort on that afternoon would not be forgotten. Seekamp played all 22 games, averaging 11 points, eight assists, four rebounds and one steal per game in season 2019/20.

Top 10 WNBL 2019/20 moments countdown so far:

#10 – Ezi Magbegor wins second Rookie of the Year award
#9 – Bendigo Spirit breaks road drought
#8 – Mercedes Russell stars in debut season
#7 – Southside’s flying first season
#6 – Back-to-back overtime victories shape finals series
#5 – Southside Flyers’ road win against UC Capitals
#4 – Kia Nurse wins MVP after sensational season
#3 – Nicole Seekamp’s 20-assist game

2019/20 WNBL season review: Adelaide Lightning 

LED by veteran coach Chris Lucas, Adelaide Lightning fell agonisingly short of the big dance, going down by three points to the Southside Flyers in both semi-finals. The Lightning made their case well and truly known in season 2019/20 with some hard fought wins to set them up for a finals berth, but in the end they lacked that final piece of the puzzle to get them over the line.

Ladder: 4th
Win-loss: 12-9

The Lightning made noise early in the offseason, acquiring Stephanie Talbot, a quintessential weapon stripped off the Melbourne Boomers. To accompany Talbot, the Lightning added Crystal Langhorne to the roster who was arguably the most talked about signing felt around the entire league. Fresh off winning a championship in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the two-time WNBA all star matched the expectations in her first game. Scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, while shooting 100 per cent from three-point range. Knee soreness plagued the rest of her season with doctors ruling her out after confirming she aggravated a pre-existing knee injury and would not return for the season forcing Adelaide to dig deep without her. 

Brianna Turner did her best to pick up the slack, leading the team with 16.8 points a game while averaging 10.7 rebounds, second to only Kelsey Griffin of the Capitals (excluding Langhorne). Behind Turner for the Lightning followed Lauren Nicholson with 14.2, Talbot with 13.8 and Nicole Seekamp with 11 points a game. Everyone lifted their load to make up ground Langhorne had left, and they surprisingly were doing just that, winning three of the first four games. A big reason for the teams immediate sense of harmony was because of Seekamp, who was at the top of her game, dishing eight assists a night; a league high. However she was also quite costly with ball in hand, leading the league in turnovers, with 4.2 a game.  Another reason for their post-Langhorne success was the crafty dynamism of Seekamp and Nicholson. One of the most famous pairs in the WNBL, captain Seekamp called their recognised connection “telepathy”, and this season was no different. The duo did a great job leading and pushing the team all the way to the playoffs, but unfortunately what they did on offence did not make up for the team’s shortcomings on defence. Lightning were ranked in the bottom three for steals, which unfortunately did not bode well for playoffs unable to generate enough turnover ball.  

The Lightning also signed Natalie Hurst and Laura Hodges, two 36-year-old veterans to act as role models for the younger players. Their influence was handy for young players like Sarah Elsworthy, Chelsea Brook and even Turner helping to set the tone and standard for the team. But even on the court their significance this season cannot be downplayed. Hurst and Hodges were spectacular late in games in more ways than people notice or at least give credit for. They were never raddled, they knew the right play, and they knew what to say to the younger players to get the best out of them. These are the things a team can only obtain from experienced players. Missing out on that championship banner by the margin they did was painful, but the way this team never stopped fighting after losing what was supposedly their best player in the opening round is commendable. This season should not be looked down upon by Lightning fans. 

NBL1 Central Women’s preview: Round 1 – Rockets and Flames to light up opening round

WITH a number of predicted blockbusters, the new era of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 is filled with intrigue and excitement as imports come and go and some consistent local players shape the NBL1 Central competition.

The Lights | Women @ 7pm | Men @ 8.45pm

In our featured game for the women’s competition, two sides that had disappointing years in 2019 are tipped to shoot up the ladder thanks to some impressive inclusions. North Adelaide host the game at The Lights with tip-off from 7pm and no doubt a big crowd will gather to watch the Rockets try and improve on their ninth placed finish considering their famed history of a record-breaking 21 titles. Adelaide Lightning’s Danni Angley is a huge recruit to the side, having plucked her from the Sabres last season following a really balanced year that saw her pick up more than 10 points, and five rebounds and assists per game. She joins playmaker, Sam Defrancesco and big, Tayla Corrigan with the pair providing plenty of assistance in the front and back courts respectively. Given the Rockets were arguably lacking that extra cream on top, the inclusion of Angley would give the North Adelaide fans plenty of hope for the season ahead.

If Angley is a strong recruit, then Norwood is a team that can lay claim to topping that, with the inclusion of league best and fairest in Carmen Tyson-Thomas. The former Mavericks star topped the league in points per game (27.6), but also averaged a double-double across the board with 12.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game. She is the most in-form player in the competition going off last seasons form, and the Rockets will need to find a way to guard the scoring machine. Though the Flames – who finished seventh last season – are far from a one player side, with Kelsey McKay likely to step up alongside Shannon Webber, while a number of young talents will look to make their mark on the competition. North Adelaide will start favourites, but if Tyson-Thomas can get off the chain, then watch out for the Flames.

St Francis | Women @ 6.30pm | Men @ 8.15pm

A big question mark hangs over the Mavericks following the departure of Tyson-Thomas from the ranks after a massive first season in the competition. They are yet to confirm their full list, but a fellow import, Stephanie Ratliff will lead a young, developing side into battle this weekend. They will be up against it this year to try and recreate the strong form of last season, but Brooke Basham is a proven talent in the side along with Ratliff as they hope to remain in contention in 2020. Meanwhile West Adelaide will be favourites in this game, with Jasmin Fejo and Jennie Rintalla to team up as the strong Adelaide 36ers duo. Sky Langenbrinck will be a consistent rebounder in the side, whilst a number of young talents will counter the same youthful enthusiasm from the Mavericks.

Wayville | Women @6.45pm | Men @ 8.30pm

The reigning premiers will unveil their title in front of home fans with a match against Woodville tipping off at 6.45pm. The Eagles have lost Chelsea Roberts who was a prominent player in the premiership campaign, but Gabi Vidmar is an absolute star who cannot be ignored. Along with Vidmar, Amy Cotton teams up with some great work off the boards, while Rebekah Frisby-Smith and Ambah Kowcun who have some serious X-factor and great potential for the future as young talents. Woodville has snapped up former Flames star, Cheyenne North after enticing her to move from the club with Tyson-Thomas heading there, and will join a team that will be crying out for a star playmaker with the departure of Teige Morrell. Fellow Flames’ teammate Chloe Purvis has joined North at the Warriors and could be a big improver this season and will be one to watch as well.

Marion | Women @ 7pm | Men @ 8.45pm

South Adelaide has a lot of change from its second last position in 2019, with Brianti Saunders out of the side after a huge year last season. The Panthers have looked to the likes of Ashley Spencer and Olivia Thompson who have both been recruited to the club and immediately added to the top-end talent, while Mollie McKendrick is a rock of consistency for the side during its tough campaign last year and will be looking to give the home fans something to smile about in this encounter. The Tigers have also pulled out a big gun by recruiting WNBL talent and former Woodville star, Morrell to the club. She will be a formidable player in the line-up, especially with the departure of TaRea Cunnigan. With Dennelle Fawcett, Isabella Stratford and Jemma Thacker in the line-up, the Tigers should push for a finals spot this year and be favourites in the clash, but we will learn a lot about both of these sides from this first round encounter.

Pasadena | Women @ 7pm | Men @ 8.45pm

To close out the round at Pasadena, Sturt Sabres hosts Central District Lions in a game that the Sabres must win to start their season off on a high. No doubt the organisation will be ruing a missed opportunity for their sixth flag last season after finishing minor premiers but losing in a three-point heartbreaker to Forestville in the decider. While the Sabres might have lost Angley to fellow contender North Adelaide, Sturt has pulled out a huge signing in Nicole Seekamp from the Lightning in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and she could go close to the league best and fairest if on song. Along with Ruby Porter and Kylee Smith, the Sabres are in a healthy position to be contending again despite Angley’s departure. After a one-win season in 2019, the only way is up for Central District with the Lions yet to confirm the full list. Jazmen Boone and Leah Swain were a couple of impressive players despite the overwhelming odds stacked against them last season, but the younger brigade will need to step up if they are to have a better season in 2020. Sturt should have no troubles in this game, but the unknown quantity of the Lions makes it an exciting contest.

NBL1 Central Women’s 2020 season preview

THE countdown is on to the National Basketball League (NBL)1 season, and we take a look at the Central women’s competition and go team-by-team for the season ahead. Historically North Adelaide is the strongest team with a massive 21 titles – 12 more than their nearest rival – whilst Forestville Eagles have the most of this century and will be hoping to go back-to-back with a victory in this year’s competition. A number of changes have made the new rebrand of the former South Australian Premier League an interesting one for the year ahead which tips off this weekend.

Central District Lions

Team: No announced players yet
2019: 11th (1-18)
Titles: 0

Yet to win a title, the Central District Lions will be keen for more success under the rebrand. In 2019, the Lions unfortunately finished last and will be hoping to improve in season 2020. In particular, the Lions won just one game from 19 matches in the women’s, and with the official announcement on the finalised list yet to come via the NBL1 website, there is still a great unknown about the side. Among the top players in 2019 were Jazmen Boone (21.3 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.6 assists) and Leah Swain (11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks), while Niroshka Perez-Crespo (13.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals) also contributed as the other one to record double-figure points. They will come in as the underdogs for season 2020 with nothing to lose and will hope to surprise a few teams.

Eastern Mavericks

Team: No announced players yet
2019: 3rd (14-6) – Semi-final exit
Titles: 0

The other women’s side yet to officially announce a team and without a women’s title to its name, the Eastern Mavericks had an impressive season in 2019, finishing third on the table before suffering a heart-breaking three-point loss to Mt Gambier Pioneers in the semi-finals. A large reason for their success was the unstoppable nature of Carmen Tyson-Thomas who was a scoring machine ranked number one in the competition with 27.6 points per game across 21 matchers. She also pulled in 12.3 rebounds per game, as well as 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, Tyson-Thomas has departed the club to join Norwood Flames which will be a disappointing result for the Mavericks, with Brooke Basham (16.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals) a key player in 2019, and Stephanie Ratliff (9.7 points, 11.8 rebounds) enormous off the boards. The loss of Tyson-Thomas will be a big one and it will be fascinating to see how the Mavericks build their rotations this season.

Forestville Eagles

Team: Cheyann Ashworth, Aimee Brett, Montanna Briggs, Amy Cotton, Rebekah Frisby-Smith, Zali Grosser, Lucy Knight, Ambah Kowcun, Ruby Luders, Gabi Vidmar, Charlotte Viner, Jemma Westhoff
2019: 2nd (14-6) – Premiers
Titles: 9

The Eagles are the reigning champions in the South Australian Premier League and will hope to bring that success across to the newly-branded competition. They have been the most successful club in this century, having won a combined 13 titles between the Eagles’ men’s and women’s sides since 2000. In the decider last year, the Eagles got up over Sturt Sabres by just three points in an upset result in the women’s competition having lost to them in the semi-finals. Last year Chelsea Roberts was a standout player but has not been named for this season, with Gabi Vidmar the next highest points-scorer courtesy of 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game. There might be some question marks over whether or not the Eagles can get up to the level again with Roberts, Oceania Hamilton and Ella Sawyer all out of the team (three of the top five scorers), though Amy Cotton‘s work off the boards (8.2 points, 6.1 rebounds) will be handy this year.

North Adelaide Rockets

Team: Danni Angley, Abi Mader, Tayla Corrigan, Tia Bails, Jess Good, Sam Defrancesco, Courtney Hansen, Lauren Thornett, Taylor Goggins, Beth Dittmar, Anna Plew, Leah Metcalf, Ana Botei, Claudia Hatcher, Courtney Gutschmidt
2019: 9th (6-14)
Titles: 21

Historically, North Adelaide is the most successful women’s side with a remarkable 21 titles to its name, including a golden era of six titles in eight seasons between 1964-1971, a four-peat from 1988-1991 and a three-peat from 1975-1977. However since the turn of the century, North Adelaide has won just three titles, but the most recent came two seasons ago in 2018. The Rockets were a fair way off the pace in season 2019, winning just six from 20 and remaining above South Adelaide by two wins, but still a heap of goal difference between themselves and eighth placed Woodville Warriors. Adelaide Lightning’s Danni Angley will be a huge addition to the side, having crossed from grand finalists, Sturt Sabres. In 2019, Angley averaged 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists and should help improve the quality at the club. She joins the unique duo of playmaker, Sam Defrancesco (13.7 points, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals) and rebounder, Tayla Corrigan (12.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks) in what will be a formidable trio in season 2020. Abi Mader is another one to watch out for, still putting up solid numbers of 10.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. Based on Angley’s inclusion, the Rockets should take off this season.

Norwood Flames

Team: Carmen Tyson-Thomas, Aimee Herimann, Alyce Thomas, Cara Annetts, Chloe Webley, Georgia Thomson, Jessica Von Einem, Kelsey McKay, Lauren Spangler, Mia Valk, Paige Keenihan, Shannon Webber, Tara Giradi, Taylor Prenzler
2019: 7th (11-9)
Titles: 8

Norwood is primed to be among the contenders to add to its eight titles with the recruitment of Tyson-Thomas to the Flames in 2020. As the premier scorer in the state competition, she adds another dimension to the side that finished seventh in 2019, though in fairness was a little unlucky, missing out on a finals spot by one win, and still being five wins clear of the bottom four. Returning to the Flames for 2020 will be Cara Annetts (14.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals) and Shannon Webber (11.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists) with Tess Bruffey and Cheyenne North both departing after being regulars in the starting line-up. Tyson-Thomas will be good for about 25 points extra per game and cover the loss of those departures, and it would be surprising not to see Norwood in the finals with a clear improvement on the roster, departure of Mt Gambier Pioneers and the clear drop of Eastern Mavericks. The team to watch in 2020.

South Adelaide Panthers

Team: Casey Harnett, Mollie McKendrick, Ashleigh Spencer, Olivia Thompson, Darby Maggard, Jordan Smith, Elizabeth Petrie, Tayla Watson, Georgina Wirth, Phoebe Wittwer-Smith, Tamika Lindsay, Harriet Cox, Lauren Hoffman, Teresa McGreehan, Erina Marafioti
2019: 10th (4-15)
Titles: 1

After winning a title in the second year of the state league way back in 1958, South Adelaide has had a dry spell in the women’s competition, now stretching beyond 60 years without a title. The Panthers will hope to change that in 2020, but will need to drastically improve on their 4-15 win-loss record which was second last overall on the table. The loss of Brianti Saunders (18.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 steals) who was their star player last season, as well as the limited impact of Adelaide AFL Women’s cross-coder Anne Hatchard (16.6 points, 10.8 rebounds off five games) due to those commitments means they will need to find a way to cover them. Mollie McKendrick (16.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals) was the other player to record double-figure points and will be the main focal point for the team in offense and off the boards, while West Adelaide recruit Ashleigh Spencer (12.2 points, 6.1 rebounds) has been brought in to assist her in that facet of the game, as has Forestville’s Olivia Thompson.

Southern Tigers

Team: Teige Morrell, Isabella Stratford, Jemma Thacker, Denelle Fawcett, Jade Redmon, Margot Hall, Brittany Winter, Madi Round, Bianca McCalop
2019: 6th (12-8)
Titles: 5

Known as the Noarlunga City Tigers, the team has won the one title – in 2017 – since simplifying it to Southern Tigers, to accompany the four titles under the previous name. A three-peat between 1984-1986 was a golden part of the club’s history and no doubt the modern players will hope to build that again. They narrowly missed out on a finals spot last season, finishing one spot outside the top five in sixth, just 31 points behind West Adelaide on differential and showed they were not too far off the mark. Despite the departure of TaRea Cunnigan (18.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.1 steals), the Tigers have found a massive inclusion to the team to replace her in Bendigo Spirit and Woodville Warriors’ Teige Morrell. She averaged 21.7 points, 13.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks as one of the stars of the competition. Combining her with the likes of Denelle Fawcett (14.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals), Isabella Stratford (12.1 points, 4.9 rebounds) and Jemma Thacker (11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists) will be hard to stop for any side. Like Norwood, a team to watch that will likely force its way into the finals series.

Sturt Sabres

Team: Kedeisha Kartinyeri, Emily Close, Jasmin Rigoni, Natasha Van Der Wolf, Lauren Gibbons, Meg Prosser, Zoe Walker-Roberts, Jade Johnson, Nicole Seekamp, Soriah Moon, Kayla Matthews, Kylee Smith, Hannah Griffin, Ruby Porter, Nicola Matthews
2019: 1st (15-5) – Runners-up
Titles: 5

Last year’s minor premiers suffered a heart-breaking three-point loss in the grand final to Forestville Eagles and will be determined to bounce back and go one better in 2020. The Sabres have a strong junior program which will filter through to senior level, and while they last won a title in 2008, are always thereabouts in the competition stakes. They have lost Angley to North Adelaide, but gained the biggest inclusion of all with Nicole Seekamp coming on board following a strong WNBL showing. She averaged 11.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 1.2 steals last season for the Adelaide Lightning and has the potential to tear the state league apart with so many of her peers in the WNBL playing in the South conference. She is joined by Ruby Porter who was at the Sabres last season, putting up numbers of 7.6 points coming off the bench, then earning a place on the Lightning’s list. Kylee Smith (18.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals), Kayla Matthews (11.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists) and cross-coder with Glenelg in the SANFL Women’s competition, Soraiah Moon (6.5 rebounds) are all back again for another year where Sturt should be the team to beat.

West Adelaide Bearcats

Team: Abby Brenton, Jasmin Fejo, Chloe Hodges, Jordan Hunter, Ellie Janssen-Holton, Staci Kennedy, Sky Langenbrinck, Michaela Lappin, Alex Pearce, Keeley Pearce, Rebecca McLeod, Georgia Petrenko, Jennie Rintala, Isabella Woosnam, Stana Zecevic
2019: 5th (12-8) – Elimination final exit
Titles: 7

West Adelaide is the most successful men’s side, whilst the women’s team has seven titles to its name. All bar one came prior to the 1994 season, with the only title in the past 26 years coming in 2007. The Bearcats managed to sneak into the finals with a superior points differential in 2019, but will be the hunted for that spot this year. Adelaide Lightning’s Jasmin Fejo returns to the team having been the top player for the side in 2019, averaging 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals. In 2020 she will be without her partner-in-crime, Spencer who has headed to the Panthers. Coming into the side is fellow Lightning teammate, Jennie Rintala who will add an extra top-end talent on the court, while Sky Langenbrinck (12.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists) will add to the scoring depth. Exciting prospects, Abby Brenton and Chloe Hodges have come up from the Under 18s and will be ones to watch this season in what will be  some great youth filtering through the side.

Woodville Warriors

Team: Ionna McKenzie, Cheyenne North, Serena Waters, Chloe Purvis, Eliza Joynes, Jessica Puvogel, Amy Horskins
2019: 8th (6-14)
Titles: 0

Another side without a title in the women’s competition, Woodville has a lot of question marks about the season ahead with just seven players confirmed via the NBL1 website. An eighth placed finish last year and a “best of the rest” in terms of those outside finals contention early on, the Warriors were fairly competitive throughout the season but did not quite pull off more favourable results. They have lost Morrell to Southern Tigers in what will be a huge blow to their chances, and with the four other players averaging more than four points per game also not named as of yet, it will be interesting to see how they go. Ionna McKenzie is a former Texas Tech representative, with fellow American import, Cheyenne North coming from Arkansas Tech. Chloe Purvis has crossed from Norwood where she averaged 5.5 points and 2.9 rebounds, while Eliza Joynes (6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds) and Amy Horskins has joined the Warriors from the Rockets. A lot of unknown about the Warriors and it will be interesting to see how the Americans adapt to the team this season.

WNBL Semi-final 2 review: Flyers snatch three point victory to move through to grand final

THE Southside Flyers are the first side through to the 2020 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) Grand Final with the winner from the battle between Melbourne Boomers and UC Capitals set to meet them.

Adelaide Lightning (79) defeated Southside Flyers (82)

IN their inaugural season, the Southside Flyers have made it through to their first WNBL grand final downing hosts Adelaide by yet another mere three points. It was a thrilling game of basketball with both teams leaving nothing to chance. Southside got the early ascendancy piling on 25 points to 17 in the second quarter before the Lightning struck back in the third to reduce the deficit but despite their best efforts they fell agonisingly short once again.  The Lightning threw everything they had at them knowing full well it was do-or-die but the Flyers were simply too good outclassing their opponents credit to their even contributions across the board with five players making it into double digits.

Southside showed an extra layer of class with its accuracy from beyond the arc sitting at 48 per cent as opposed to the Lightning who only managed 35 per cent. Although Adelaide secured more rebounds mainly thanks to Brianna Turner (45-42), the Flyers’ work defensively to pick pocket their opponents was a key difference recording 10 steals to seven. Statistically speaking it is hard to separate the sides with accuracy sitting at a similar percentage for both sides but it was the Flyers ability to stand up under pressure that eventually got them over the line.

The Southside Flyers had a point to prove- that they could knock off their rivals away from home and they proved that in style. It was a complete performance from the travelling team with Rebecca Cole taking the reins and dominating the points scoring stats with 19 to her name along with 10 rebounds to record another double-double for the season. Leilani Mitchell also proved hard to stop knocking back 18 points of her own and drawing even with teammate Aimie Clydesdale who also managed 18 points. Mitchell fell just short of a double-double racking up nine assists highlighting her impressive vision and strong attacking sense. Despite being down on her usual output Mercedes Russell still made her presence felt with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Sara Blicavs played a strong support role with her 12 points to get her side over the line and into the big dance.

Lightning’s Brianna Turner starred in the clash with the American import doing all she could to keep side within reach of the Flyers. Turner shone from the get go recording a game-high 25 points and mind-boggling 18 rebounds, 15 of which were defensive. But it did not stop there with Turner also managing four blocks showcasing her impressive ability to switch between attack and defence with ease. The forward led the way for the Lightning with Stephanie Talbot failing to have much of an impact on the scoreboard with nine points but racked up nine rebounds and eight assists. Nicole Seekamp also struggled to get going in her sides loss while Lauren Nicholson and Kathryn Westbeld showed their scoring prowess with 16 and 18 points respectively. But unfortunately, the Lightning could not find their mojo in either attack or defence notching up their second straight loss to the ladder leaders and their ultimate dismissal from finals.

WNBL Semi-final 1 review: Southside escapes slow start to run out three-point winners in Dandenong

MINOR premiers, Southside Flyers are a win away from a 2019/20 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) Grand Final place after downing Adelaide Lightning by three points at Dandenong Stadium last night. Given Southside’s strength at its home court and Adelaide’s less-than-ideal road record, the Flyers were heavily fancied to move through to the season decider without too much fuss.

Unfortunately for the home fans, the visiting team was not on board with the script and came out all-guns blazing in the first term, piling on 25 points to 17 to race out to an eight-point lead at the first break. The Flyers made inroads back into the contest in the second term with a 17-14 quarter and drew within five at half-time. Needing a special effort in the second half, the Southside team that everyone had come to know returned to the court, powering its way to a massive 22-7 term, restricting the Lightning in every way possible to go from a five-point deficit to a huge 10-point lead at the final break. Adelaide was determined not to give up however, as the Lightning hit back in the final term, drawing within five points midway through the term, but the firepower of the premiership favourites gave the home team some breathing space. Leading by 10 points with less than four minutes on the clock, the Flyers looked home and hosed, but one last effort from the visitors resulted in them scoring eight of the last nine points to get within three, but ultimately fall short, 68-65.

Center, Mercedes Russell again stood tall for the Flyers, having a ridiculous game of 20 points and 19 rebounds, with an even spread of 11 defensive and eight offensive, while also picking up three assists and a steal in a clear best-on-court performance. She was not alone however, as Leilani Mitchell – who shot a crucial three midway through the final term to draw within five points – finished with 15 points, four assists, two rebounds and a steal. Rebecca Cole also reached double-figure points with 13, as well as six rebounds, four assists and four steals in a real team effort. Elsewhere, Anneli Maley‘s effort of the bench was strong, only recording four points, but having seven rebounds, a steal and block on the night. Sara Blicavs had a quieter night with nine points, but had five rebounds, two steals and an assist.

For the Lightning, Lauren Nicholson stepped up as one would expect from a player with her experience, finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Stephanie Talbot (13 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals) was unsurprisingly Adelaide’s best, as Brianna Turner (11 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and two assists) was also strong. In terms of scoring, the other player of note was Chelsea Brook coming off the bench to contribute 11 points, four rebounds, an assist and a steal, while Nicole Seekamp had four points, but five rebounds and five assists.

With Southside holding a 1-0 lead in the three-game series, Adelaide will try and force a deciding third game if the Lightning can get up at home when the teams face off at Titanium Security Arena on Saturday night from 7pm.

2019/20 WNBL preview: Semi-finals – Southside Flyers looking to continue home dominance against Lightning

THE finals battle between the Southside Flyers and Adelaide Lightning is set to tip off tonight with both sides vying to get their finals campaign off to a hot start. It is the first of three games and given their recent form should make for a cracking match-up between the two teams.

The Southside Flyers finished on top of the ladder for a reason and will be hoping to romp it home against the fourth placed Lightning. They are in hot form winning four of their past five games highlighting just how dominant they can be. On the other hand, the Lightning have had a scattered past dropping three of their past five but finals is a completely different ball game. The last time these two sides played the Flyers ran away with a 12-point victory but the Round 12 clash saw the tables reversed with Adelaide collecting an 11-point win, something they will take a lot of confidence out of. The Flyers have an impressive record at home winning eight of their 11 clashes, while the Lightning have struggled throughout the season on the road only registering four wins from their 10 games, tilting the scales in favour of Southside.

Since changing their name at the start of the 2019/20 season the Southside Flyers have not skipped a beat, taking their game to a whole other level. Their variety of scoring options makes them a constant threat with players able to pop up if their teammate is well held. Rebecca Cole is a scoring machine leading the way for her side with an average of 16.9 points per game and 3.2 rebounds. The combination of Leilani Mitchell and Mercedes Russell proved to be a deadly duo and the two will be hoping to replicate their hot form to get their side over the line. Mitchell is a real play maker able to dish off passes with an average of 5.2 assists per game while her scoring prowess is just as impressive with 15.9 points per game. Sara Blicavs can do damage on the scoreboard while Jenna O’Hea oozes composure and experience across the court.

The Adelaide Lightning have a plethora of players that can hit the scoreboard with Brianna Turner the number one go-to girl for the visiting side. She is a real barometer for the side with her drive to the basket and scoring prowess averaging a double-double with 16.7 points and 10.5 rebounds. She can single handily change the outlook of a game while teammate Stephanie Talbot is no stranger to the big stage. Talbot is strong both in attack and defence racking up a whopping 60 blocks for the season while averaging 14.1 points per game highlighting her versatility on the court. Guard, Nicole Seekamp is another key contributor for Adelaide and will be hoping to use her height and strength to advantage to have an influence on the court.

It will have to be a full court effort from the Lightning if they are any chance to topple the Flyers who have been in scintillating form as of late. If Southside can contain the Lightning’s key players they will be able to dictate the flow of the game.

2019/20 WNBL Team of the Week: Round 16

ALL eight Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) teams are represented in our Draft Central WNBL Team of the Week for Round 16, with Melbourne Boomers and Adelaide Lightning recording two players each in our 10-player team, while the other six sides had one representative each.

Adelaide’s damaging duo of Stephanie Talbot and Brianna Turner again produced some huge numbers, as Talbot averaged 14.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists over the weekend, while Turner put up numbers of 12 points and 18 rebounds. They have found a way up either end of the court, while Melbourne’s Cayla George and Ezi Magbegor both fill out the center positions. While Magbegor picked up a clear double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, it was George’s almost triple-double of 24 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and two blocks that was absolutely outstanding.

There were plenty of double-doubles in our Team of the Week this week with Christina Boag standing up in a disappointing loss for Townsville Fire, recording 22 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks to be named as a starting forward. Rounding out the starting five, University of Canberra (UC) Capitals’ key scorer, Kia Nurse made the team once again with 28 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals to her name in Round 16.

The bench featured a number of players who have been in the team before, with Perth Lynx’s Ariel Atkins and Bendigo Spirit’s Tessa Lavey making up the two guards, while Southside Flyers’ Sara Blicavs and Sydney Uni’s Jessica Kuster slotting into the forward spots. There were a number of unlucky omissions in the side for this week, including UC duo, Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo, Bendigo duo, Shyla Heal and Carley Ernst, Adelaide’ Nicole Seekamp – who was injured in the Lightning’s first game – Sydney Uni’s Lauren Scherf, and Southside Flyers’ Mercedes Russell.


G: Kia Nurse (UC) – 28 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 39.1 FG%
G: Stephanie Talbot (AL) – 14.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 37.0 FG%
C: Cayla George (MB) – 24 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 57.1 FG%
F: Brianna Turner (AL) – 12.0 points, 18.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.0 steals, 2.0 blocks, 32.1 FG%
F: Christina Boag (TF) – 22 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 58.5 FG%


G: Ariel Atkins (PL) – 20.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 4.0 steals, 0.0 blocks, 53.3 FG%
G: Tessa Lavey (BS) – 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.5 steals, 0.0 blocks, 58.3 FG%
C: Ezi Magbegor (MB) – 15 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 1 block, 50.0 FG%
F: Sara Blicavs (SF) – 18 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 100.0 FG%
F: Jessica Kuster (SU) – 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, 59.3 FG%

WNBL Round 16 review: Capitals secure second with final round win

THE University of Canberra (UC) Capitals were able to stand up when it counted and secure second spot ahead of the Melbourne Boomers – the Capitals’ opponents in the upcoming 2019/20 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) finals series. The other spots were already locked in prior to the final round, with Southside Flyers earning the minor premiership and will face fourth placed Adelaide Lightning in the other semi-final. Perth Lynx, Sydney Uni Flames and Townsville Fire avoided the wooden spoon with Bendigo Spirit’s last round win over the Fire falling three points short of leaping off the bottom of the table.

Sydney Uni Flames (78) defeated Bendigo Spirit (68)

A strong final quarter saw Sydney Uni Flames get the points in their final home game of the WNBL season, securing a 10-point victory over Bendigo Spirit. The Flames raced out of the blocks early to gain the advantage and lead by eight points at the first break. Desperate to get off the bottom of the ladder, Bendigo fought back to cut the deficit to just one point at the main break. They then took the ascendancy from that quarter into the third, taking the lead by two and looking good with 10 minutes to play. Sydney Uni finished the stronger of the sides, putting the foot down and pleasing the home crowd with a 20-8 final term to win, 78-68. Brittany Smart was strong with 22 points, three rebounds and four steals, well aided in the starting side by Jessica Kuster (16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals). Lauren Scherf was important off the boards with 12 points, eight rebounds as well as four assists, while Alex Wilson came agonisingly close to a double-double or even a triple-double with 10 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks. Shyla Heal stood up in defeat for the Spirit with 17 points and four rebounds, while Abigail Wehrung (15 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Tessa Lavey (14 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals) were also prominent.

DC Medal: 3 – Jessica Kuster (SU), 2 – Alex Wilson (SU), 1 – Brittany Smart (SU)

Adelaide Lightning (75) defeated Perth Lynx (74)

In an important game for confidence, fourth placed Adelaide Lightning survived a thriller against fifth placed Perth Lynx. The Lightning led early by three points at the first break, but the Lynx kept in the contest with a 21-20 second term to cut the deficit back to two, and by the final break scores were level. With nothing separating both sides keen for a win, the Lightning stepped up in the crucial final quarter to win, 75-74 and finish at home on a high prior to finals. Brianna Turner put up a ridiculous 24 rebounds to go with 16 points, three assists and two blocks, hauling her side across the line when it counted. Stephanie Talbot was unsurprisingly impressive again for the home team, posting numbers of 13 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Nicole Seekamp helped herself to 17 points, five rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Kathryn Westbeld showed off her talents in the starting side with six points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Lightning. Nadeen Payne picked up a double-double for the losers, recording 11 points and 10 rebounds as well as three steals. Maddison Allen had 15 rebounds to go with four points and three blocks. From a points perspective, Ariel Atkins and Katie-Rae Ebzery both recorded a team-high 16 points.

DC Medal: 3 – Brianna Turner (AL), 2 – Nicole Seekamp (AL), 1 – Nadeen Payne (PL)

UC Capitals (73) defeated Adelaide Lightning (71)

The UC Capitals gained a hard-fought but important win over the Lightning ahead of the WNBL finals series. While the pair have opposite semi-finals in a fortnight, the Capitals were able to hold firm against a side that started strongly, and hold them off by two points at the National Convention Centre. The Lightning led by two points at quarter time, but the Capitals regained control at a place that has become a fortress this season for them, taking the lead by a point at the main break. They extended that out to two by the last change but the Lightning refused to go away. Both sides threw everything they had in the final quarter, and in the end they could not be separated, which meant the home team got up by the three quarter time margin of two points, 73-71. Kia Nurse had another night out on the scoresheet with 28 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Kelsey Griffin returned to the starting line-up and had 10 rebounds, two steals and three blocks to go with seven points. Maddison Rocci again picked up double-figure points with 16, as well as two rebounds and two steals. Marianna Tolo‘s good form also continued, having 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and four blocks. For the Lightning, Talbot picked up a double-double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and while Turner did not reach the feat, finished the weekend with an average of 18 rebounds following another huge game on the boards with 12, as well as eight points, two assists and two blocks. Lauren Nicholson had an impressive 16 points, three rebounds and four assists, while Westbeld picked up 10 points, two rebounds and three assists.

DC Medal: 3 – Kia Nurse (UC), 2 – Stephanie Talbot (AL), 1 – Maddison Rocci (UC)

Townsville Fire (69) defeated by Bendigo Spirit (89)

It might have mattered little in the scheme of the WNBL finals series, but the result of this game meant plenty to both sides. In a battle of the bottom two sides, Bendigo Spirit needed to win by 23 points in order to leap off the bottom of the ladder and overtake Townsville Fire. Both teams have had disappointing seasons this year, but Bendigo was yet to win on the road so Townsville started as strong favourites at its home court. It was the Braves that quietened the crowd early, leading by six points at quarter time and held a 12-point lead by the main break. Sensing a blowout, the crowd was nervous but the Fire responded to match it with the Spirit and only concede an extra point in the third term. Bendigo needed to win the last by 10 points in order to grab seventh spot on the table, and it did all it could in that quarter, piling on 24 points though it would not be enough, running out a comfortable 20-point winner but falling short of sentencing Townsville to the wooden spoon. Carley Ernst was simply sensational for the Spirit, scoring 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in an almost triple-double effort. Lavey was her partner-in-crime with 21 points, seven assists and four rebounds, while Heal also reached double-figure points from the starting line-up with 14, as well as five rebounds and five assists.  Coming off the bench, Gabrielle Richards picked up 11 points and six rebounds in the win. For the Fire, Christina Boag had a memorable game to round out the season, picking up huge numbers of 22 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Darcee Garbin (14 points, six rebounds and three assists) and Micaela Cocks (11 points, five assists) also reached double-figures, while Tess Madgen had seven rebounds and four assists, but only five points.

DC Medal: 3 – Carley Ernst (BS), 2 – Christina Boag (TF), 1 – Tessa Lavey (BS)

Southside Flyers (78) defeated Sydney Uni Flames (61)

The ladder-leading Southside Flyers got the job done on Saturday with a 17-point win over Sydney Uni Flames at Dandenong. While top spot was never in doubt for the league’s newest side, the Flyers finished off the season in style to prepare for the WNBL finals. Meanwhile the Flames were unable to cause an upset, though they did have a promising final term, scoring 21 points to 11 to stop what looked like a complete annihilation brewing. At the final break, Southside led by 27 points after winning each of the first three quarters by six, four and 17 respectively, completely dominating the third term. They were able to give valuable court time to some of their younger players, and gave Ringwood Hawks’ utility, Jacqueline Trotto a debut. Sara Blicavs was strong for the winners, picking up a team-high 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists to be the clear standout for the Flyers. Mercedes Russell had 17 points and three rebounds, while Anneli Maley played her best game of the season off the bench with 11 points and six rebounds, Rebecca Cole had 10 points, three rebounds and three assists to also reach double-figure points. For the Flames, Kuster was a lone hand up the scoring end with 21 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals, the only visiting player to surpass 10 points. Scherf and Madeleine O’Hehir both had nine points on the night, but it was a lean performance from the team in the Flames’ last match of the season.

DC Medal: 3 – Sara Blicavs (SF), 2 – Jessica Kuster (SU), 1 – Mercedes Russell (SF)

Melbourne Boomers (104) defeated Perth Lynx (75)

From an almost-blowout to an actual blowout, Melbourne Boomers took no chances, convincingly putting Perth Lynx to the sword in the second against fifth clash. They never looked like losing this match, piling on a whopping 32 points to 14 in the opening term, and by half-time the margin was out to 23 points. The home fans were up and about wile the visiting fans were hoping for the final buzzer, as Melbourne continued its strong control in the second half, winning that half by six points. Perth to its credit managed to stem the bleeding in the half, particularly in the last term, while Melbourne gave some of its bench players more time to spread the load and manage them ahead of the post-season series. Cayla George had a big day out with one assist away from a triple-double, posting up 24 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and two blocks in the big win, while Ezi Magbegor also recorded a double-double thanks to 15 points, 12 rebounds and two assists. Madeleine Garrick (17 points, three assists) and Sophie Cunningham (10 points, two rebounds) performed well, while Kalani Purcell (17 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals) was sensational off the bench in her best performance of the season. For Perth, the Lynx had just 26 rebounds on the night, with Atkins and Marena Whittle both picking up eight apiece, as well as combining for 41 points in an otherwise low-statistical night. Ebzery could also hold her head high after 15 points and two assists.

DC Medal: 3 – Cayla George (MB), 2 – Ezi Magbegor (MB), 1 – Ariel Atkins (PL)

DC Medal Leaderboard:

32 – Cayla George (MB)
31 –
30 – Mercedes Russell (SF)
29 –
28 –
27 –
26 – Stephanie Talbot (AL)
25 –
24 –
23 – Brianna Turner (AL)
22 – Kelsey Griffin (UC)
21 – Kia Nurse (UC)
20 – Katie-Rae Ebzery (PL)
19 – Olivia Epoupa (UC)
18 –
17 –
16 – Lindsay Allen (MB), Alice Kunek (SU)
15 – Ezi Magbegor (MB)
14 – Alison Schwagmeyer (PL), Leilani Mitchell (SF), Jessica Kuster (SU)
13 – Abby Bishop (TF)
12 – Colleen Planeta (AD), Darcee Garbin (TF), Marianna Tolo (UC)
11 – Keely Froling (UC), Carley Ernst (BS)
10 – Jenna O’Hea (SF), Sara Blicavs (SF)
9 – Madeleine Garrick (MB)
8 – Bridget Carleton (TF), Tess Madgen (TF), Rebecca Cole (SF)
7 –
6 – Imani McGee-Stafford (PL)
5 – Tahlia Tupaea (SU)
4 – Kelly Wilson (BS), Sophie Cunningham (MB), Ariel Atkins (PL), Tessa Lavey (BS), Nicole Seekamp (AL)
3 – Rebecca Tobin (BS), Lauren Nicholson (AL), Shyla Heal (PL), Mareena Whittle (PL), Alex Wilson (SU)
2 – Crystal Langhorne (AD), Micaela Cocks (TF), Chelsea Brook (AD), Lauren Mansfield (PL), Julie Vanloo (TF), Christina Boag (TF), Maddison Rocci (UC), Nadeen Payne (PL)
1 –  Anneli Maley (SF), Stella Beck (MB), Abigail Wehrung (BS), Kathryn Westbeld (AD), Lauren Scherf (SU), Brittany Smart (SU)