Weekend previews: WNBL – Round 5

A game that is going to be one of the biggest of the season so far, Canberra Capitals will be heading over to Perth to take on the Lynx, in a second versus third place clash. For both the Lightning and Rangers, winning their battle will be crucial if they want to remain within the top four on the ladder. Meanwhile in a Super Sunday, Bendigo takes on Sydney Uni while Townsville hosts a Grand Final rematch.

 

Perth Lynx v UC Capitals

Saturday 10 November, 12pm at Bendat Basketball Centre

Key match-ups:

Kia Nurse v Brittany McPhee

Nurse is currently averaging 19.4 points per game and will be a strong player that the Lynx will need to shut down early on if they want to continue their streak. McPhee will hopefully be on her A-game and be able to take on Nurse, backing her form from last week’s win against Townsville, where she racked up two steals and three blocks.

Season so far:

Hoping to continue their winning streak, the Lynx will be firing up in front of their home crowd for the game on Saturday. Last week’s game against Townsville went into overtime, so this will make the Lynx want to have an early start on their opponent to ensure that doesn’t happen again. The Capitals faced their first loss of the season last week against the Melbourne Boomers and will be coming out with a lot of fire in their stomachs, ready to take this one home. They will be determined to win and hoping to not have another loss on the record this early in the season.

The game: Perth will be coming out with confidence and the home court advantage, ready to continue its winning streak. Asia Taylor is going to be a threat that the Capitals will need to shut down early if they want to keep control of the game, after her high point counts in Perth’s last couple of games. The Capitals are still strong contenders that will be focusing on their offensive end, and hopefully for them, Kelsey Griffin will obtain another double-double.

 

Adelaide Lightning v Dandenong Rangers

Saturday 10 November, 5pm at Titanium Security Arena

Key match-ups:

Nia Coffey v Rebecca Cole

Cole is currently the leading scorer for the team with an accumulated 79 points for the season so far. She will be hard to shut down in the Rangers’ offensive end. If Cole’s accuracy is off for the game, it will not be surprising if Coffey is there to get all the rebounds, after securing an average of 11.6 rebounds.

Season so far: The Lightning started the season off with a win, which soon turned to two loses in their following matches. Last week’s loss against Bendigo Spirit was a big hit to the side, with the 70-52 downfall leaving them at 2-3 for the season. Hopefully they can redeem themselves in this week’s game. The Rangers also fell to a 26-point loss to the Melbourne Boomers last week and have yet to secure another win since their second game. The team will be coming out with a lot of fire, needing to focus on their defence, and keep the game a slow-scoring one.

The game: Both teams will be coming out with a lot of fire this week, after both suffering disappointing losses in last week’s matches. With the Lightning having the home court advantage, it would be expected that they take out the win.

 

Bendigo Spirit v Sydney Uni Flames

By: Julia Montesano

Sunday 11 November, 2pm at Bendigo Stadium 

Key match-ups:  Abbey Wehrung v Brittany Smart 

Because of Bendigo’s even team performances, Wehrung hasn’t needed to contribute a bucket-load of points. In Round 2, she racked up six points and four assists against Dandenong but improved two rounds later with 10 points and three steals against Adelaide. She is still a player that troubles the opposition, and Smart will definitely feel the effects. The Sydney guard has needed to work hard for her side, averaging 14.29 points and 5.86 rebounds per game. On Friday night, she scored 15 points and pulled down four rebounds, so she is in hot form.

Season so far:  The Spirit have already equalled their win total for last season, securing four wins so far this season. Their most recent win came against last year’s Grand Finalists, Melbourne, in a tight game, highlighting their ability to win hard. This will worry the Flames, who are still yet to secure a win. They fell to the Boomers on Friday night, seeing their record fall to 0-7 for the season. Given Bendigo won against Melbourne and the Boomers smashed the Flames, it could spell worrying signs for Sydney Uni.

The game: The Spirit’s recent two consecutive losses will give Sydney Uni hope to topple them away from home. Expect Alex Bunton to fire up after a quiet game against Perth last week. If she can hit more than 20 points and continue to dominate the boards, then Sydney is in with a chance. But if Natalie Hurst continues to fire on all cylinders, Bendigo could come away with a big win to improve on its 4-2 record.

 

Townsville Fire v Melbourne Boomers 

By: Julia Montesano 

Sunday 11 November, 3pm at Townsville Stadium 

Key match-ups: Suzy Batkovic v Cayla George 

Suzy Batkovic is undoubtedly the player to beat in the WNBL, as she is averaging the most points (23) and rebounds (11.6) per game so far. She has been able to get her team over the line time and time again, and won’t be worrying about the Fire’s current position on the ladder. Standing in her way will be the reinvigorated Cayla George, who returned to form sensationally on Friday night against Sydney. George led the way at the State Basketball Centre with 27 points, eight rebounds and three assists, returning to the form that saw her get picked for this year’s Opals World Cup squad.

Season so far: It has been hard to get a gauge on the Fire so far this season, because they are yet to string together consecutive wins. They are most recently coming off a loss in Round 4, so will be willing to begin their bid to get consecutive wins against the Boomers, whom they overcame in the Grand Final last season. The Boomers on the other hand seem to be finding their form after a shaky start to the season. They have won five out of their last six games, with their last two wins being by a combined 43 points.

The game: Home court advantage and Suzy Batkovic’s form will be the key factors to securing a win for Townsville. Players such as Mikhaela Donnelly will need to be on hand to assist the reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) in this game. The Boomers have a more even contribution from players such as Steph Talbot, Lindsay Allen and now Cayla George, helping them regain their form that sent them to the Grand Final last season. They should go into this match as favourites, but we all know what happened on the big stage last season.

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