THE Women’s National Basketball League’s (WNBL) Round 9 action continues with three games across the weekend. First, the Melbourne Boomers host the rejuvenated Sydney Uni Flames in the standalone game on Saturday. Then, the UC Capitals will take on the Bendigo Spirit at the National Convention Centre, with the Spirit in desperate need of a win. Rounding out the weekend is the Rangers going head-to-head against the Lynx, which could get ugly if Perth takes control.
Melbourne Boomers v Sydney Uni Flames
Saturday 8 December, 3pm at State Basketball Centre
Key match-up: Lindsay Allen v Brittany Smart
Brittany Smart was the catalyst behind the Flames’ first and only win of the season against Bendigo. She has the power to create big moments and score heavily, which she will need if she wants to combat the in-form Lindsay Allen. Allen has been one of the competition’s best players this year, as she has constantly racked up big scores. She has also been exceptional under the ring, getting the necessary rebounds to create scoring chances for her teammates. Both players are great on the drive and have immense speed, so this should be a classic match-up.
Season so far:
It’s been a great season for the Boomers, who will look to make it three from three against the Flames on Saturday. Melbourne sits second on the ladder with nine wins and four losses, keeping Perth on its toes. Sydney Uni on the other hand still sits on the bottom of the table, despite its big win against Bendigo last round. The Flames will be looking to increase their win tally and prove that they are capable of causing big upset win.
The game: This should be a fast-paced game, with both teams possessing young guns with plenty of speed to burn. Melbourne will have a bigger presence under the ring with the likes of Cayla George and Kalani Purcell, meaning the Flames will have to match-up on those players tightly. If the Boomers take control, it could make it very difficult for the Flames to fight back.
UC Capitals v Bendigo Spirit
Sunday 9 December, 2pm at National Convention Centre
Key match-up: Kia Nurse v Nadeen Payne
This will be a battle under the rim for these two stars, as rebounding will hold the key to big scores in this game. The pressure will be more so on Payne, as her side is in the middle of a big form slump. Nurse will likely continue to dominate, as she has been all season but Payne can score rapidly, which could mean Nurse could have her work cut out for her.
Season so far: Both sides are coming off consecutive losses, with the Capitals losing two in a row and the Spirit dropping four. The Spirit have dropped out of the top four, sitting fifth with six wins and seven losses. The Capitals have been leapfrogged by the Boomers, and sit third on six wins and four losses.
The game: This game could go down to the wire if both teams show hunger and determination to win. It will certainly be a battle of redemption, as both teams will desperately want to redeem themselves to rise up the ladder. The home court advantage swings the favouritism towards the UC Capitals, especially since Bendigo’s losses have been by big margins as of late.
Dandenong Rangers v Perth Lynx
Sunday 9 December, 3pm at Dandenong Stadium
Key match-up: Kayla Pedersen v Asia Taylor
Pedersen will have one of her biggest match-ups of the year when she comes up against the in-form Asia Taylor. Taylor is coming off a 33-point blistering game, and doesn’t look like slowing down. Pedersen not only needs to rack up the points, but she will need to be a defensive pillar in Dandenong’s zone to stop the prowess of Taylor. If Pedersen can box out Taylor on the rebound, it will be a handy stepping stone to curbing the Perth star’s influence.
Season so far: The Rangers have been one of the struggling teams this season and are struggling to find consistency. They come into this game with a loss, win, loss, win, loss pattern while the Lynx have won three straight. Perth sits first on the table with nine wins and two losses while Dandenong is seventh with four wins and six losses.
The game: This game could turn ugly if Taylor and Brittany McPhee are given space. Both are great rebounders and scorers, and were key in Perth’s big win over Bendigo on Friday night. The Rangers will want to keep this game low-scoring to have any chance of winning, so defence will be a focus for them in this one.