February 17, 2022 | WNBL news

Round 11 Preview: Still time for a top four shake up.

With Perth Lynx currently completing their seven-day isolation period upon returning to WA, there comes an opportunity for teams to make their move and knock the Lynx off the top, while there’s also plenty of wriggle room for those middle-order teams.

WNBL Media Preview the Round:

Townsville Fire v Bendigo Spirit

Townsville Entertainment Centre. Thursday 7:30pm local. Kayo.

The last time these two played, it was a physical and feisty contest with the Fire holding off a Spirit comeback and taking away the win, so expect no less come round 11. Townsville is fighting for a spot within the top four and although the Spirit is sitting on a 2-7 record, they still have the drive to cause an upset and steal an important win. The Fire have Monique Billings, Sug Sutton and Loz Nicholson dominant in attack and the Spirit have Anneli Maley, Maddie Garrick and Tessa Lavey causing trouble, making this trio of a match-up one to watch. Bendigo’s last win came over an in-form Adelaide Lightning and as their Round 10a clash was postponed, they’ll be refreshed and running on fresh legs.

Note: Townsville holds a 6-4 record this season, if they claim the win, they’ll be right back within finals contention.

UC Capitals v Townsville Fire

National Convention Centre. Saturday 5pm. FoxSports & ABC

The UC Capitals have quietly launched up the ladder and are currently sitting in second with a 7-3 record, while the Fire has the chance to crack the top four once again, so you could say that there is a lot riding on this win. With the Caps’ Britt Sykes currently leading steals across the league, averaging over three per game, it’s going to be quite the spectacle watching her disrupt the flow of the Fire attack, while Mikaela Reuf has become a crucial rebounder for the Caps this season. Meanwhile, Townsville’s Steph Reid’s impact on the game has been vital over the past few weeks. The last time these two played, the Caps pulled out a convincing win which will add fuel to the Fire’s urge to get one back. Also, remember that the Caps automatically get the win for the round 11 forfeited match against Southside.

Note: We’re calling it, it’s the game of the round.

Southside Flyers v Adelaide Lightning

Dandenong Stadium. Saturday 7:30pm. Kayo.

Round 11 didn’t get off to the most ideal start for Southside, who elected to forfeit their Thursday night clash with the Caps- reasoning health and wellbeing- due to their three Opals’ return from Serbia being delayed and being hit with injuries, however the show goes on this Saturday night. Both teams welcome back their star players, with Sara Blicavs, Maddy Rocci and Kristy Wallace returning for the Flyers while the Lightning will see their top scorers Steph Talbot and Alanna Smith take their place on the court. Although holding a five-game winning streak only a couple of weeks back, the Lightning hasn’t been able to string together a win without Talbot and Smith, while an injury to key import Kiana Williams hasn’t helped either, their most recent loss at the hands of Bendigo. Southside’s up and down season took another hit in round 10, with the announcement of veteran Abby Bishop being sidelined with injury for the remainder of the season. Look out for a Bec Cole and Abbey Wehrung match-up.

Note: With the Flyers sitting in sixth on the ladder, it’ll be interesting to see if the 2020 Champs can find some form and launch a last-minute surge up the ladder, starting with a round 11 win.

Melbourne Boomers v Sydney Uni Flames

State Basketball Centre. Sunday 2:30pm. Kayo Freebies.

The Boomers seem to have lost a hint of that spark that had them flying above the rest at the start of the season, although with the return of Cayla George and Tess Madgen to that line-up and the possibility of Ezi Magbegor coming back from injury, let’s hope their national team inspiration will kick in. As for the Flames, they’ll see Shyla Heal slide back into their starting five and although they’ve put together some good quarters of ball that had them sniffing out a win over Townsville over the past couple of rounds, they just haven’t been able to execute their game plan for the entirety of the game, a theme for them this season. Co-captain Keely Froling set a Froling sibling record last weekend across both the WNBL and NBL as she hit 31 points and coach Shane Heal will be hoping for that same impact from the 26-year-old.

Note: If Townsville and Adelaide both claim wins this round, the Boomers could find themselves out of the top four, so this clash with the bottom of the table Flames is crucial.