Tag: Simon Pritchard

2019/20 WNBL season team preview: Bendigo Spirit

A NEW season and a new head coach for Bendigo Spirit, who finished bottom two last season in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). With previous coach Simon Pritchard‘s contract not renewed, the Spirit opted to hire Adelaide 36ers assistant coach, Tracy York to take the club forward. The Spirit have had plenty of changes over the off-season with recruits and departures, in a bid to chance the side’s fortunes for the 2019/20 WNBL season.

Finished: 7th
Wins: 7
Losses: 14
Points: 14
Percentage: 89.15%

Last season:

It was overall a disappointing year for the Spirit, winning just 33 per cent of their games and finishing seventh overall for the WNBL season. Nadeen Payne was the highest points scorer, averaging 13.3 per game to go with her 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists, but she has since departed the club for Perth Lynx, along with Marena Whittle. Natalie Hurst has also moved on to Adelaide and will be a huge loss, while Louella Tomlinson (Southside Flyers) and Jessie Rennie (USA) have also moved on. With so much change at the club, they will be looking for the inclusions to have an early impact and shape up the season from a strong start.

New recruits:

They spared no expense in going on a huge recruiting drive to build up the Spirit team again, bringing in Tessa Lavey and Carley Ernst from Dandenong Rangers, Shyla Heal from Perth and Kelly Wilson from Canberra. After averaging just the seven points per game last season in the WNBL, but the 4.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists, Wilson had a big year for Bendigo Braves, putting together 19.3 points, 10.5 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals in the NBL1. Ernst (Waverley Falcons) and Lavey (Braves) were equally as influential across the season, and could be quality inclusions this season. Gabrielle Richards was a revelation last season for the Braves in the NBL1, and now has a chance to use her work off the boards (14.1 points and 9.2 rebounds) in the big league. The Spirit also picked up Kasey Burton from Melbourne, and American Marte Grays, while Alicia Froling was signed before being released after an injury mid-year.

Star player:

Rebecca Tobin. While much has been spoken about the comings and goings of the Spirit, Tobin re-signed with the club after entering free agency and will be aiming to build on her performances at the Braves in the NBL1, where she averaged 16.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per game in 15 matches. Last season in the NBL, Tobin averaged 10.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.7. assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks and is a steadying influence in a side where much change has occurred.

Victorian Under-18 representatives named for Australian Junior Championships

BASKETBALL Victoria has today announced the Under-18 Victorian squads for the 2019 Australian Junior Championships in April. The Vic Metro and Vic Country squads for both men and women were released today, with 10 players and five emergencies in each team. The tournament, to be held in Townsville from April 13-19, will see the country’s best young basketball stars going head-to-head as they strive to take out national glory.


Charlie Molan – Ballarat
Jordan Michel – Shepparton
Dyson Daniels – Bendigo
Christian D’Angelo – Traralgon
Ethan Fiegert – Ballarat
Patrick Ryan – Phillip Island
Keith Robinson – Phillip Island
Hamish Carey – Geelong
William Smythe – Bendigo
Austin McKenzie – Horsham


Liam Porter – Southern Peninsula
Austin Shelley – Pakenham
Dylan McCauley – Bendigo
Tonga Matapule Otutaha – Melton
Oscar Hide – Benalla

COACH LUCAS ALLEN SAYS: “Every year at this time it is exciting,” Allen said. “We’re all full of confidence and energy ahead of our campaign starting – the opportunity to get to work every weekend with the best athletes that Country Victoria has to offer never gets old. “We believe we have selected a team that is versatile, highly skilled and can play at a fast pace. “There is no player within our team that is pigeon-holed into only being able to play a single position which is certainly exciting.”


Head Coach: Lucas Allen – Southern Peninsula
Assistant Coach: Joshua Waight – Shepparton
Assistant Coach: Ryan McKew – Ballarat
Team Manager:  Scott Ramsay – Southern Peninsula
Development Coach / Selector: Brenton O’Brien – Geelong
Mentor: Simon Pritchard

Pic: Basketball Victoria


Mason Perry  – Dandenong
Joshua Giddey – Melbourne Tigers / CoE
Leyi Adebayo – Dandenong
Matthew Debney – Eltham
Paul Tsapatolis – Melbourne Tigers
Marcus Windhager – Dandenong
Josh Duach – Kilsyth
Harry Johnson – Knox
Zac Taylor – Dandenong
Riley Simmons – Dandenong


Roosevelt Williams – Kilsyth
Erik Kafritsas – Diamond Valley
Nicholas Woodall – Bulleen
Jyelin Moli – Dandenong
Lachlan Vander Vorm  – Kilsyth
Harrison Bowater – Dandenong
Curtis Brecko – Nunawading

COACH DARREN PERRY SAYS:  “The 2019 team will be quick, be able to play any style of game, be disruptive on defence and have players that can play multiple positions at both ends of the floor,” Perry said. “Josh Giddey has been accepted to the COE (Centre of Excellence) this year and it’s his first state selection so he’ll be looking to make a significant impact and Paul Tsapatolis is the most experienced player representing Victoria Metro and will provide the interior play we need to be successful. “While these two guys will be a focal point for opposition defences, the coaching staff is looking forward to all 10 players making valuable contributions over the course of the tournament.

“It’s a serious task to evaluate and select players ready to represent the state at any time – it’s exciting for the group to compete with four first time representatives, five second time representatives and one third time representative. “There’s a great mix of seven top age and three bottom age players and to have nine clubs represented in the wider squad to prepare for the Nationals – Eltham, Melbourne, Keilor, Dandenong, Diamond Valley, Knox, Kilsyth, Bulleen and Nunawading.”


Head Coach: Darren Perry – Dandenong
Assistant Coach: Craig Stratford – Eltham
Assistant Coach: Darren Smith – Nunawading
Team Manager: Mark Sainsbery – McKinnon
Dev Coach / Selector: Zach Moult – Kilsyth
Mentor: Simon Mitchell – South East Melbourne Phoenix



Alisha Knights – Geelong
Jade Melbourne – Traralgon
Paige Price – Southern Peninsula
Olivia Pollerd – Southern Peninsula
Piper Dunlop – Bendigo
Carly Remmos – Geelong
Charli Dobson – Southern Peninsula
Victoria Ikenasio – Keilor
Emirson Devenie – Traralgon
Gemma Simon – Southern Peninsula


Olivia Noter –  Bendigo
Tess Barnes – Bendigo
Tayha Watkins – Seymour
Magdalene Kratochvil – Bellarine
Makaela Zeldenryk – Warragul
Meg McCarthy – Bendigo

COACH SHARON DENHAM SAYS: “Our team has great flexibility within the group at both ends of the floor which displays an exciting brand of basketball,” Denham said. “We feel our defensive mindset, versatility and highly competitive nature will provide us with the best opportunity for success with our team goals. “Our talented athletes all have the ability to positively impact our team success. “With added experience and leadership through our recent Australian representatives Olivia Pollerd, Jade Melbourne, Paige Price and Piper Dunlop, we believe our group with thrive and play with pride for Victoria Country.

“It has been pleasing and challenging to see the high standard of talented athletes constantly competing from the selection process to now. “We are looking forward to the next phase of our AJC campaign with the continual development of this group as we work towards achieving our goals.”


Head Coach: Sharon Denham – Swan Hill
Assistant Coach: Emma Henry – Wodonga
Assistant Coach: Haydn Kirkwood – Wodonga
Team Manager: Wendy Campbell – Traralgon
Development Coach / Selector: Jo Bowie – Hamilton
Mentor: Lori Chizik – McKinnon

Pic: Basketball Victoria


Alannah Chatfield – Knox
Charlise Dunn – Knox
Keeley Evans – Diamond Valley
Luisa Fakalata – Nunawading
Leia Hanafin – Dandenong
Casey Valenti-Paea – Bulleen
Gemma Potter – Bulleen / CoE
Erin Riley – Bulleen
Kayla Salmons – Altona
Emily Sewell – Dandenong


Hannah Rapp – Dandenong
Meg Robinson – Knox
Sarae Beveridge – Nunawading
Hailey Merrigan – Dandenong
Georgia Baldwin – Knox
Rhiannon Ockwell – Knox

COACH REECE POTTER SAYS: “Our 2019 Vic Metro team is an extremely talented group that go legitimately 10 players deep,” Potter said. “The height, length, shooting and overall skill package of the group in all positions will make this team an exciting group to watch come the nationals in April. “It is never easy to decide on the final make up, however I believe the final group we have selected will perform well and represent Vic Metro with pride and passion.

“Returning players from last year’s under-18 championship team, Gemma Potter and Erin Riley will play important roles in leading our team to defend our title in Townsville. There are also number of new players in our team this year with Kayla Salmons, Leia Hanafin, Keeley Evans and Alannah Chatfield all representing Vic Metro at an Australian Junior Championship for the first time, so it will be great to see them perform in the Navy blue uniform come April.

“Overall, the squad is great mix of talent and experience and I greatly look forward to working with this group over the next few months in the lead up to the nationals. “Our team and staff are greatly looking forward to the challenge of representing Vic Metro and attempting to continue the rich history of success that Vic Metro has had in this tournament previously.”


Head Coach: Reece Potter – Werribee
Assistant Coach: Lloyd Klaman – Melbourne
Assistant Coach: Jess May – Frankston
Team Manager: Lisa Page
Dev Coach / Selector: Georgia Clarke – Bulleen
Mentor: Guy Molloy – Melbourne Boomers

Weekend previews: WNBL – Round 15

IN the last round before finals, two legends will bid farewell to the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). Belinda Snell and Suzy Batkovic will grace our courts for one more time this season in the same game, taking to the floor at Townsville Stadium. Meanwhile in other matches, Perth and Adelaide will do battle in a pivotal game, as the winner will take on the Boomers in the semi-final series, while the loser will take on the UC Capitals. The Capitals and Boomers will come up against the Spirit and Rangers, respectively.

Bendigo Spirit v UC Capitals

Saturday 19 January, 3pm

Bendigo Stadium

Key match-up: Nadeen Payne v Kelsey Griffin

This will be a tough match-up for Nadeen Payne, who is coming up against the in-form Most Valuable Player (MVP) favourite. Griffin is averaging the second most points in the league (19.1) and the most rebounds (11.2), while Payne’s averages sit at 14.05 and 4.89. Despite the lower numbers, Payne can have an impact with her physical presence, and she will need to make sure she’s as physical as possible against the unstoppable Griffin.

Season so far: The Capitals come into this game on the back of an eight-game winning streak while the Spirit enter on a four-game losing streak. It’s a first versus second-last battle, as the Capitals sit on top with 15 wins and five losses, while Bendigo has seven wins and 13 losses at seventh. At home, the Spirit have won four games and lost five, while the Capitals’ away record sits at six wins and four losses.

The game: The Capitals’ home record is an impeccable 9-1, so Bendigo should identify this and make the most of its home-court advantage. The Spirit also have a chance to finish off their season on a high and send off their coach, Simon Pritchard on a good note, meaning the Spirit have more to play for. However, with Rebecca Tobin returning back home to the United States for family reasons, the Spirit will find it much harder to get it over the line, as there isn’t enough bigs to match up against and also maintain Marianna Tolo and Kelsey Griffin.

Dandenong Rangers v Melbourne Boomers

Saturday 19 January, 6.30pm

Dandenong Stadium

Key match-up: Rebecca Cole v Lindsay Allen

These two are the most dominant guards in their team, and not much separates them on the stat sheet. Cole averages the equal second-most points in the league with 19.1 (Griffin also averages 19.1 points), and is also dominant in the steals department, averaging 2.1. She also sits in the top 10 for the highest average assists, with 3.5 per game. Allen on the other hand, averaged 17.8 points per game, 5.2 assists and boasts an impressive 51 per cent field-goal percentage. Cole is likely to score more points than Allen, as she often takes the game into her own hands for Dandenong, considering the limited support. But Allen could get on top in assists, as she knows how to get her teammates involved to secure a win.

Season so far: The Boomers have booked themselves a home-court advantage in the finals after an important win against Adelaide last round. Meanwhile, Dandenong looks set to finish just outside the top four. The Rangers sit fifth on nine wins and 11 losses, with a home-court record of 4-5.

The game: The Boomers are one of the most impressive teams away from home, having won seven of their nine away games so far this season. This will be a worrying sign for the Rangers, especially since coming off a loss. With Kayla Pedersen retiring, the team will be hoping to send her out on a high note, but the in-form Boomers will also be looking to finish off their regular season well and prepare themselves for finals. Melbourne has got the better of Dandenong this season, and this game shouldn’t be any different.

Townsville Fire v Sydney Uni Flames

Saturday 19 January, 7pm

Townsville Stadium

Key match-up: Suzy Batkovic v Belinda Snell

This isn’t a positional or impact match-up. It’s one of sentiment, as both legends will bid farewell to the WNBL after this match. Batkovic will finish her career as a five-time WNBL champion, six-time WNBL MVP, seven-time WNBL All-Star Five member and four-time WNBL top-shooter in one of the most decorated careers the league has seen. Snell will end her career as a three-time WNBL champion and four-time WNBL All-Star Five member, in a career filled with memorable milestones, not only in the WNBL but also in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), winning a championship in 2007.

Season so far: After winning the WNBL championship last season, the Fire have been disappointing this season. They currently sit in sixth place with eight wins and 12 losses. Their home record is actually worse than their away record, as they’ve won three out of their 10 games so far this season, while away, their record is 5-5. The Flames are another team who have disappointed. After being champions two seasons ago, they finished last this season on two wins and 18 losses.

The game: This game sees three legends bidding farewell to the game, with Suzy Batkovic, Belinda Snell and Flames coach, Cheryl Chambers making their last appearances in the WNBL. It will be a matter of which team is hungrier to send their champions off on a high note. Townsville would love to get the job done at home, but its home record isn’t impressive. The Flames will see this as an opportunity to take an advantage to try and salvage their third win of the season. Nonetheless, this will be one of the most emotional games we’ve seen in the history of the WNBL, with three stalwarts of the game putting in one last mighty effort – something they’ve been doing for their whole career.

Perth Lynx v Adelaide Lightning

Saturday January 19, 7pm

Bendat Basketball Centre

Key match-up: Asia Taylor v Nia Coffey

Both players are in super form heading into the final round of the regular season. From just Round 14, Coffey averaged 31.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, in two of the best games she’s performed in. Taylor has been doing this all season, averaging a league-high 20 points per game, as well as 8.35 rebounds. Both players are detrimental when they get going, so they will be looking to minimise each other’s influence. They are also no strangers to scoring double-doubles, so expect one of them to achieve that feat again on Saturday night.

Season so far: The Lynx were absolutely flying earlier in the season, going on a six-game winning streak after dropping their season opener against the Lightning. Since then, they’ve gone 7-6, yet have still managed to hold onto third spot. The Lightning on the other hand have stormed into the top four, winning nine of their last 11 games. This included a five-game winning streak, followed by a four-game winning streak that was broken by last round’s loss to the Melbourne Boomers.

The game: This is by far the most important game of the round, as the winner of this game will go on to play the Melbourne Boomers in the semi-final series, while the loser must prepare for a playoff battle against the Capitals. The Lynx and Lightning will both be desperate to secure a win, as the Capitals are in deadly form and have a sensational home-court record. Asia Taylor and Nia Coffey will be as important as ever, while Brittany McPhee and Nicole Seekamp are also likely to highlight their value in their respective teams. This will be a must-watch game.

Weekend previews: WNBL – Round 14

DESPITE the top four being locked in, Round 14 still looms as an important round. These teams will use this round to try and secure a home-court advantage for the finals, while the bottom four will be looking to end their seasons on a high.

Bendigo Spirit v Adelaide Lightning

Thursday 10 January, 7pm

Bendigo Stadium

Key match-up: Nat Hurst v Nia Coffey

The Bendigo skipper is the most influential player in her team, while Nia Coffey is certainly up there in Adelaide’s most impactful players. This is a match-up that will see two spearheads face off to see who will impact their team the most. Hurst is averaging 10.68 points per game and 3.89 rebounds per game while Coffey leads the way with 16.33 points and 8.39 rebounds per game. While Coffey’s stats stand out, she often only plays half a game while Hurst features prominently, so it will be interesting to not only see who makes the bigger impact, but also who can make it last.

Season so far: The Spirit have had a severe downfall this season, starting well but currently sitting seventh with seven wins and 12 losses. They have lost their last three games and have only won four games out of eight home games this season. The Lightning meanwhile have secured their place in the top four with a 11-7 record this season. Adelaide has won its last three games, but struggle away from home with four wins and five losses.

The game: This should be a comfortable victory for the Adelaide Lightning, who are the in-form team. Expect Nicole Seekamp to be dominant again with the assists, while Rebecca Tobin will fight hard for the Spirit. But with the announcement of coach, Simon Pritchard not being offered a contract beyond next year, Bendigo could have some extra motivation heading into this clash.

Perth Lynx v Melbourne Boomers

Thursday 10 January, 6.30pm

Bendat Basketball Centre

Key match-up: Asia Taylor v Cayla George  

George and Taylor are two fierce players on the boards, which could shape the outcome of this game. Taylor is averaging 8.37 rebounds per game while George is averaging 8.83, so hardly anything separates these two this season. The difference between these two players comes on the scoreboard, as Taylor is averaging the second highest points per game this season with 19.53, while George averages 12.5. George will need to nullify Taylor’s influence on the scoreboard if she wants to win this match-up.

Season so far: The Melbourne Boomers have been one of the most consistent teams all season, currently sitting on 13 wins and five losses. They have an nearly impeccable away record, winning six games and only dropping one. The Lynx flew out of the blocks and were looking like outright championship favourites. But a couple of late losses have seen them sitting third on 12 wins and seven losses.

The game: This game is huge in the context of the finals. The Lynx have not been able to defeat the Boomers this season and this game is huge if Perth wants to secure a home-court advantage in the finals. Asia Taylor and Cayla George will be pivotal on the boards, while Lindsay Allen and Brittany McPhee will be looking to lead the way for their teams on the scoreboard. Having the home court advantage in this game will not mean much for the Lynx, as Melbourne knows how to win away from home.

Townsville Fire v UC Capitals

Friday 11 January, 7pm

Townsville Stadium

Key match-up: Micaela Cocks v Kelsey Griffin

These two have been two of the most important players for their teams all season. Cocks has had to step up immensely in the absence of Suzy Batkovic and at the moment, she is averaging 9.67 points per game- the highest average in her team. Griffin’s average is double that of Cocks’, leading the way in the league with 19.78 points per game. Cocks will need to have a blinder of a game, and will need her team to hold Griffin in check in order to get the Fire over the line.

Season so far: Despite winning the championship last season, Townsville has missed the finals this year. The Fire currently sit sixth on the table with seven wins and 11 losses. They have surprisingly struggled at home, winning just three out of nine matches. On the other hand, the Capitals are absolutely flying, sitting on top of the ladder with 13 wins and five losses. At home, they have an impressive 9-1 record, but away, they sit on four wins and four losses, so securing a home-court advantage with a win at Townsville could be harder than they think.

The game: The Capitals will be hungry to shore up a home-court advantage against Townsville, as they will not have to worry for the next two games after that. This should be an easy task, as the Fire have been struggling all season at home. It’s hard to look past the dominance of players like Kelsey Griffin, Lauren Scherf and Marianna Tolo on the boards, but expect Townsville contingent, Darcee Garbin and Zitina Aokuso to compete hard at the rim to curb their influence. The Capitals’ scoring power will most likely be too much for the Fire to handle, but if they can hold their defence together, they could be in with a shot.

Adelaide Lightning v Melbourne Boomers

Saturday 12 January, 5.30pm

Titanium Security Arena

Key match-up: Nicole Seekamp v Lindsay Allen

Seekamp and Allen are two players who have been racking up the assists all season long. Seekamp is just ahead on 5.72 per game while Allen is averaging 5.17. While Allen is leading the way in average points per game (18.22), Seekamp’s three-point percentage stands out on 44 per cent, so Allen will have to watch her at the line.

Season so far: The Lightning come into this round, winning four out of their last five games. At home, they boast 1 7-2 record. The Boomers have also won four out of their last five games, with all four wins coming consecutively. Melbourne has only lost one away game after 13 rounds of basketball.

The game: The Lightning have been known to challenge the Boomers, and at home they could be a real threat to Melbourne’s title chances. Both sides will be desperate for a win to earn a home-court advantage in the finals, so expect this to be a high-scoring battle. Cayla George going head-to-head against Nia Coffey under the ring will certainly be entertaining, while Allen and Seekamp will be key figures in getting their bigs points in the paint. This one should be a close encounter.

Sydney Uni Flames v UC Capitals

Sunday 13 January, 12pm

Qudos Bank Arena

Key match-up: Tahlia Tupaea v Kia Nurse

Tupaea and Nurse have been shining lights in their team all season. Tupaea has missed games but has been dominating as of late for the Flames. From 14 games this season, she has averaged 13.14 points per game as well as four rebounds. Last round, she played a whole game, showing how much the team relies on her, especially since Brittany Smart is out injured. Nurse does not often need to be relied on for the Capitals with many big-name players stepping up to make their team a successful one this season. Nevertheless, Nurse is boasting some great averages, with 18.33 points per game and five rebounds per game. Both players are endurance beasts, as both average more than 30 minutes of game time this season.

Season so far: The Sydney Uni Flames have been hit hard with injuries, and with a young line-up at the helm, they have only managed two wins for the season. They have only won one game at home and have dropped the other nine, sitting last on the table. The Capitals are right up the other end of the table, sitting at first on the ladder. They have a 4-4 record away from home.

The game: It is a first versus last clash, so the margin here could get ugly. It will be a hard task for the Flames, as the Capitals have so many players that can hit the scoreboard hard. Their main target to stop should be Kelsey Griffin, who has taken her game to a new level for the Capitals. The Capitals also have the taller line-up, meaning the Flames will certainly have their work cut out for them.

Dandenong Rangers v Townsville Fire

Sunday 13 January, 3pm

Dandenong Stadium

Key match-up: Kayla Pedersen v Zitina Aokuso

Two guns on the boards will go head-to-head in this game. Pedersen is averaging 6.81 rebounds per game, while Aokuso averages 5.33 rebounds per game. Both often play limited minutes, but always manage to have big impacts. Aokuso has the ability to score quickly, highlighted by her 9.06 average points per game. Pedersen will need to ensure that she protects the rim to stop Aokuso from scoring immediately.

Season so far: The Dandenong Rangers made a late surge towards the top four, but just feel short with some losses against top-four opponents. They sit fifth on the table with nine wins and 10 losses, winning two out of their last five games. The Fire sit just one spot below Dandenong on seven wins and 11 losses.

The game: Expect this match to be a close one as both teams fight to end their seasons on a high. Rebecca Cole could once again play a starring role if Townsville doesn’t hold her in check, while Carley Mijovic could dominate on the boards if Darcee Garbin does not beat her to it. Tight match-ups will have to be applied in this match to prevent either team to get the upper hand.

Number crunching: WNBL – Round 13

WITH two rounds to go in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) 2018/19 season, the top four is confirmed, but home court still remains a big factor as we approach the end of the regular season. The Lynx have made the finals for four years in a row, securing the feat in Round 13. Another player who will feature in the finals is Kelsey Griffin, who equalled a remarkable record owned by none other than Suzy Batkovic. Even though Abbey Wehrung, Cassidy McLean and the Spirit will not feature beyond the regular season, the pair notched up memorable milestones on the weekend. Unfortunately for her coach, Simon Pritchard, it was not good news, with the Spirit announcing that they would not renew his contract at the end of this season. Cheryl Chambers will also depart the Flames at season’s end.

Kelsey Griffin equals Team of the Week record

Kelsey Griffin is looking like the hot favourite to take out this year’s WNBL Most Valuable Player (MVP), averaging the most points (19.78) and rebounds (11.33) per game this season. On top of that, she has just made her way into the WNBL Team of the Week for the ninth time this season. Griffin has now equalled Suzy Batkovic’s record for the most Team of the Week nominations in a single season. The UC Capitals star was named in the Team of the Week in rounds two, four, five, six, seven, nine, 10, 11 and 13.

Lynx in finals for fourth consecutive year

Following a win and a loss in Round 13, the Lynx have secured their spot in the top four. This will make it Perth’s fourth consecutive year in the finals, having secured berths in the 2017/18, 2016/17 and 2015/16 seasons. However, the Lynx have failed to win a championship from those past four finals appearances. They came close in the 2016/17 season, losing the best-of-three series against the Townsville Fire. In its history, Perth has only won championship in 1992, back when the side was known as the Breakers.

Two coaches to depart the WNBL at season’s end

The Sydney Uni Flames and Bendigo Spirit have both had a rough WNBL 2018/19 season. Both teams round out the bottom of the table and are now both on the lookout for a new coach. Simon Pritchard will depart the Spirit at season’s end after it was announced his contract would not be renewed. Pritchard began coaching the Spirit in 2014 and led the Spirit to a 36-52 record. This year, Bendigo is sitting on seven wins and 11 losses. Sydney Uni Flames coach, Cheryl Chambers will not return in the 2019/20 season due to family reasons. Chambers led the Flames to a championship in the 2016/17 season after beginning her tenure at the club that year. She has also spent time in coaching roles at the Bulleen Boomers, Melbourne Boomers and Australian Opals. This year, the Flames have unfortunately had a tumultuous year, sitting on two wins and 17 losses.

Top four confirmed but home-ground advantage looms for finals

After Round 13, the top four, and therefore the four finals teams, were confirmed. Sitting on top of the ladder are the UC Capitals, followed by the Melbourne Boomers, Perth Lynx and Adelaide Lightning. The Capitals boast the best home-court record in the league at the moment, winning nine games and only dropping one. They only need one more win to secure their top two spot. It is a harder task for the Lynx to claim a top-two spot, as they host the Boomers this round – a team they haven’t managed to beat this season.

Double-milestones for Bendigo against Capitals

Bendigo Spirit gun, Abbey Wehrung notched up her 100th WNBL game while emerging star, Cassidy McLean notched up 50. Wehrung came up against her old side, the UC Capitals in her milestone match – a team that she spent four years with prior to joining the Spirit. McLean is playing just her first WNBL season, having spent two years with the Sydney Uni Flames as a development player.  

Young gun spotlight: WNBL – Round 7

MELBOURNE’S Lindsay Allen and Perth’s Brittany McPhee continued to dominate in Round 7, while others seemed to find their feet. Maddison Rocci played a key part in the Capitals’ win over the Boomers, Tahlia Tupaea was the shining light for the Flames in their big loss against the Lynx, while Abbey Wehrung had a breakout performance against Townsville for the Spirit.


#4 Tahlia Tupaea- Sydney Uni Flames

Tupaea has strung together two consecutive solid games, with the Round 7 encounter being one of her best. She was the equal highest points scorer for Sydney Uni, with her and Sarah Graham each knocking down 14 points against Perth. Tupaea was able to complement this with three rebounds and one assist from just 22 minutes of game time, proving what she could do with more game time. With a potential long term injury to Alex Wilson, Tupaea may be given her opportunity to shine in the next couple of weeks after scoring a combined 27 points from her last two games.

#9 Maddison Rocci- UC Capitals

Maddison Rocci played one of her best games of the season on Friday night. She was the equal highest points scorer alongside Kia Nurse and Kelsey Griffin, making a good contribution in the Capitals’ all-round effort to defeat the Boomers. While she failed to grab a rebound, she got her teammates involved with three assists. Remarkably, she played the third least amount of game time with 23 minutes, highlighting her capacity to score quickly. She will want to back up this effort in Round 8.

#13 Abbey Wehrung- Bendigo Spirit

Abbey Wehrung had a stellar game in Bendigo’s heart-stopping overtime loss against the Townsville Fire. Wehrung scored the second highest amount of points with 19. She was also able to pull down three rebounds and dish off one assist, contributing in all major stats. Wehrung played 38 minutes, which was the third highest amount of minutes played by a Bendigo player. This highlights Simon Pritchard’s belief in the young star, making her one to watch in the next couple of weeks.

#15 Lindsay Allen- Melbourne Boomers

Lindsay Allen has been nothing short of amazing this season for the Boomers, and has been a huge reason for their resurgence to the top of the table after a shaky start to the season. Her team had a mixed week, following up a two-point loss on Friday night with a two-point win on Sunday. On Friday night, Allen was the only player on the court to score above 20 points, ending up with 24. To put her dominance into context, the next highest points scorers were Maddison Rocci, Kia Nurse and Kelsey Griffin with 16. Allen complemented her 24 points with five rebounds and five assists, showcasing her capacity to make an influence all over the court. Against Adelaide, Allen didn’t top the scoring, but was still dominant with 18 points. She backed this up with seven rebounds and six assists in limited game time, playing 29 minutes compared to 38 on Friday night.

#24 Brittany McPhee- Perth Lynx

The Lynx were dominant in all areas in their massive 46-point win over Sydney Uni, and Brittany McPhee was one of the most impressive players in the Perth line-up. She was the second highest points scorer behind Asia Taylor, with 21. She also dominated on the boards with five rebounds, and managed to back this up with an assist. McPhee was still able to put up these numbers despite playing just 23 minutes of game time. However, she played the second highest amount of game time, with Andy Stewart not letting any of his players play more than 30 minutes in the comfortable win. This gave him license to experiment with his roster, which McPhee is a pivotal part of.