ROUND 11 PREVIEW
Broadcast Game of the Week
Deakin Melbourne Boomers vs. Jayco Rangers at State Basketball Centre, Sunday, 3pm (Local time)
The Rangers have won four out of their last five to move their way into the top four while Melbourne sit on top of the ladder after a comeback victory against Adelaide heading into their second clash of the Michele Timms Cup.
Last time the two teams met at Dandenong Stadium, Melbourne scored 101 points as they blew out the Rangers by 26 and Steph Talbot was devastating with 27 points, five boards, five assists, two steals and two blocks.
Former Boomer Bec Cole is in ominous form though as she looks to answer Talbot’s form, coming off a Player of the Week award while averaging a career high 19.3 points per game this season.
She will likely match up against Lindsay Allen, who is recording 17.4 points per game and while she has been a little quiet in recent weeks, still has the ability to turn a game from her own hand.
Kayla Pedersen has missed the last few games for the Rangers which has forced the likes of Betnijah Laney and Carley Mijovic to step up in the front court.
The change is working well but it will be interesting to see how they fare against Cayla George under the rim on Sunday.
Watch: Fox Sports Channel 503 and SBS
University of Canberra Capitals vs. Jayco Rangers at National Convention Centre, Friday, 7pm (Local time)
Two of the WNBL’s in-form teams face off on Friday night with Dandenong visiting the Caps, who are coming off a thumping 32-point win over Perth, before they visit Melbourne.
Leilani Mitchell had a brilliant game in the Capitals’ win over the Lynx, putting up 22 points, five rebounds, seven assists and five steals to now lead the league for steals with 2.2 per contest.
Remarkably, the Capitals boast the league leaders in almost all major statistical categories with Kelsey Griffin pacing the competition for points (20.0 per game) and rebounds (11.6) and Kelly Wilson leading the league for assists (6.5).
That means the Rangers will need to put together a strong defensive performance to keep all those stars quiet but the Caps will also be buoyed by the debut of Kristy Wallace who has overcome an ACL injury to finally place her team at full-strength coming into this weekend.
Bendigo Bank Spirit vs. JCU Townsville Fire, Friday, Bendigo Stadium, Friday, 7pm (Local time)
Bendigo Stadium will play host to a crucial match-up on Friday night as the Spirit and the Fire try to keep pace with the WNBL top four.
The Spirit are currently in the midst of a six-game losing skid and parted ways with Barbara Turner last week but the move did not help things on court as they fell to the Rangers by 24 points.
Having dropped from second to seventh on the ladder in a matter of weeks, Bendigo does not have much room for error now.
Townsville sit two games outside the top four and are doing things the hard way as Suzy Batkovic remains a day-to-day decision with nerve issues.
They impressed last round against the Lynx though with Ally Malott starting in the absence of Batkovic and Tess Madgen also having a blinder while Casey Samuels, Zitina Aokuso and Laurin Mincy hit double-digits off the bench.
The Fire will back themselves to blow Bendigo out of the water again, visiting a side that is averaging a competition-low 68.2 points per game.
Adelaide Lightning vs. Brydens Sydney Uni Flames at Titanium Security Arena, Friday, 7pm (Local time)
Adelaide’s five-game winning streak came to an end last Sunday, dropping a nail-biter to Melbourne, but if they can overcome the disappointment of that loss, they will still be confident in returning to the top four.
The Flames now have two games in the win column but will have their work cut out for them in dealing with the size and length of the Lightning front court in Nia Coffey and Kayla Alexander who made her debut in the Round 10 Team of the Week.
With Alex Bunton’s season seemingly over due to injury, Shanae Greaves and Lara McSpadden will be tasked with protecting the paint but they will come up against an Adelaide team desperate to reassert themselves in a playoff position.
Perth Lynx vs. Brydens Sydney Uni Flames at Bendat Basketball Centre, Sunday, 1pm (Local time)
A tough weekend for Sydney Uni sees them visit Perth after taking on Adelaide although they will be hoping to inflict more damage on the Lynx who have lost their last three games in a row by an average margin of 26 points while giving up 95 points per contest.
All three of those games came on the road though and Perth return home for the first time in a fortnight and they need a win to keep pace with the Boomers who have leap-frogged them for top spot on the ladder.
Last time these two teams met, the Lynx put the Flames to the sword, running out 113-67 winners in the season’s biggest blowout to date and they should be comfortable back at Bendat Basketball Centre where they are 5-2 in 2018/19.
JCU Townsville Fire vs. UC Capitals at Townsville Stadium, Sunday, 3pm (Local time)
For the first time this season, the Fire and the Capitals will face off to complete Round 11.
With Townsville’s finals chances up in the air, every game is crucial while the Capitals have the chance to move into first place in the standings should results go their way this weekend.
The Capitals are finally at full-strength but their depth will be immediately tested by the Fire who are getting contributions from all over the roster while Batkovic sits out.
Darcee Garbin will be put to the test against a fellow young rising star in Lauren Scherf, Kia Nurse could take on the in-form Malott but someone like Aokuso could be placed against Marianna Tolo who is showcasing her talents with nine blocks in just three games.