AFTER all the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) teams took to the court last night, the Spirit, Lynx, Rangers and Flames will face up again on Sunday
Bendigo Sprit v Perth Lynx
Sunday, 2pm at Bendigo Stadium
Nadeen Payne v Asia Taylor
Both players are integral parts of their teams and provide big numbers week in, week out. Payne continues to bring her shooting around the court, jacking up a few good threes and earning and-ones in the paint. She can be difficult to guard under the ring, so Taylor will need to be extra careful not to take her to the line. For Taylor herself, she brings it all. Under the ring, there aren’t many who can compete, as she is averaging over eight rebounds a game. Her steals and block numbers each week are also impressive, making her one of the best defensive players in the league. Payne will have a tough time trying to take the game to Perth’s star, so she might need to find some footing deep.
Last time they met: Perth Lynx (86) defeated Bendigo Spirit (68)
Despite opening strong against the Lynx with 19 points to 11 in the opener and 23 to 18 in the third, Bendigo didn’t have enough to beat the Lynx. Bendigo defended poorly and turned-over the ball countless times. Perth broke free in the second with 29 points – equaling what Bendigo scored in total for the whole half. The Spirit tried their best at a comeback in the third but were shut out completely as the Lynx followed with a 28-point closer.
The season so far:
Bendigo’s season looked alright to start with but has since faded. The Spirit sit second from the bottom and continue to underwhelm their competition. The Lynx sit in the top three and were looking a real chance six weeks ago, but have recently been struggling to get a win. Their season could be on the decline if they’re not careful. It won’t take long to fill that place.
If asked a few weeks ago, this win would comfortably be assigned Perth’s way, though looking at recent weeks does not give much hope for Perth. We could be in for an upset. Wehrung, Hurst and Payne are likely to impress, and together may prove too much for Taylor. Still, this game should be marked down for Perth, but anything could happen.
Sydney Uni Flames v
Sunday, 3pm at Brydens Stadium
Brittany Smart v Rebecca Cole
Smart one of the most reliable players in the competition. Her inside shooting might just be her most impressive ability, pulling up all around the court to sink a quick one. She manipulates her space well and has shown some talent at range on more than a few occasions. Cole will need to be willing to track Smart’s every move if she thinks she’s a chance. Though of course, the same goes for Smart. Cole is nobody to underestimate, especially in this match-up. She will likely come out on top and when we peak at her stats, there’s no surprise why. She sits third in the league in average points per game, with 18.72. It’s doubtful Smart will be able to lock her down, but Cole will likely have a day guarding Smart.
Last time they met: Sydney Uni Flames (73) defeated by Dandenong Rangers (106)
This game started off reasonably close and impressive by both teams’ standards. At the main break, the score was 41-50 going the way of the Rangers, but by the second half, Dandenong had completely steam-rolled Sydney, scoring 35 points in the final period to close the game.
The season so far:
Just as with Bendigo, for a brief period Dandenong looked to be having an impressive season. The Rangers opened with a couple wins but have since descended the ladder after facing the bigger teams. The Flames have had a quite underwhelming season thus far and look without any chance of improving it now.
If this game doesn’t go the way of Dandenong, its players could be dealt with a shock. The Rangers are the better team and they know it, and they will likely take their time and care in showing it. The Rangers should have a big first period, followed by a second and then close out the game with a comfortable cruise to the finish. However, Sydney has faced bigger teams and won this year. What happens in this game will be for time to tell.