February 21, 2020 | WNBL news

It was the home teams, the Caps and Flyers, who drew first blood in the series opener of the Chemist Warehouse WNBL Semi-Finals and now it’s up to the Boomers and the Lightning to bounce back and keep their play-offs hopes alive.



Adelaide Lightning vs Southside Flyers

Titanium Security Arena, 7pm local time

Game 1 was a tale of two halves with both sides wanting to improve vastly in Adelaide.

Southside know they can do better and produce four quarters of basketball after fighting back to win 68-65 in a grind at Dandenong Stadium on Tuesday night.

Adelaide, and Steph Talbot, came charging out of the blocks in the series opener and coach Chris Lucas knows if his side can replicate their first half for a full 40 minutes, they can send this series to a deciding game 3 back at Dandenong next week.

Talbot (13 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists) and Lauren Nicholson (14 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist) paced Adelaide early and while league MVP runner-up Brianna Turner was prolific at the defensive end (9 rebounds) and scored 11 points (including a flurry in the last quarter which gave the Lightning a chance) the home side need more from their star import on Saturday night.

Turner’s match up with Flyers centre, and newly crowned Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year, Mercedes Russell is critical and will go a long way in deciding whether Southside win through to the Grand Final Series or if Adelaide live to see another day.

Russell was a powerhouse at both ends for the Flyers with a 20 point-19 rebound double-double.

Adelaide captain Nicole Seekamp took to the floor less than three weeks after badly rolling her ankle and should be better for her return.

With Jenna O’Hea watching from the bench with her broken wrist, veteran point guard Leilani Mitchell’s influence was greater than the stat sheet displayed on Tuesday night. She’s played in and won many finals and her IQ, composure and experience will again be defining for the visitors.

Coach Cheryl Chambers would be pleased with the roles played, and contributions from, Anneli Maley (7 rebounds, 4 points) and Keira Rowe (3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assists) as the Flyers took a 1-0 series lead.



Melbourne Boomers vs UC Capitals

State Basketball Centre, 6pm

The Caps got a lift from their bumper home crowd at the AIS Arena as they came-from-behind to defeat Melbourne 84-70 last Sunday and now it’s the Boomers turn to enjoy the same advantage.

Seats will be full and the atmosphere electric at the State Basketball Centre as the home side focuses in on a big response against the reigning champs in order to keep their own championship hopes alive.

Lindsay Allen showed yet again last week why she is a genuine superstar of the competition, having missed four games with a knee concern, returning against Perth then waiting another two weeks to play, she lit up early with 11 first-quarter points but was restricted to just a further six for the game.

Maddie Garrick (16 points), Sophie Cunningham (14) and Cayla George (12) all registered double figures in game 1 and while a spread of contributors is again key, nullifying the devastating impact of league MVP Kia Nurse and her superstar team mate Kelsey Griffin is vital.

Nurse blew up in the second half of the series opener and finished with a game-high 25 points and while Griffin combined 12 boards with 7 points and 5 assists, unfortunately for Melbourne that’s what #KG23 would consider a quiet afternoon at the office.

At the ripe old age of 20, Ezi Magbegor has played, and performed, in some massive games and if she can steer clear of early foul trouble can be a huge x-factor for the Boomers.

In contrast, the smallest player on the court – 175cm pocket rocket Olivia Epoupa was sensational in her first WNBL final last weekend with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists and sets a cracking pace for the Caps who aim to wrap this up in two and advance to a second straight Grand Final series.