ROUND 14 PREVIEW
Broadcast Game of the Week
Adelaide Lightning vs. Deakin Melbourne Boomers at Titanium Security Arena, Saturday, 5:30pm (Local time)
As the ladder stands at the start of Round 13, these two sides will face off in the Semi-Final but with each team still having three games to play, Melbourne and Adelaide can still finish in any position within the top four.
Adelaide have won eight of their last nine games to rocket into fourth position, earning Chris Lucas the December Coach of the Month award in the process.
They have dropped both games against the Boomers this season though which makes their top-two chances and a home-court advantage difficult.
The Lightning must keep winning and hope Melbourne lose all three of their remaining games to leap-frog the Boomers but they will take confidence from the fact that both defeats to Guy Molloy’s side have been by a combined margin of just seven points.
The Boomers will have no fears of heading interstate, owning a league-best 6-1 record on the road and with Jenna O’Hea back in the line-up, their front court will again pose problems for Adelaide.
Nia Coffey has the skills to match O’Hea though while Kayla Alexander has been a key part of the Lightning’s resurgence in the second half of the season which sets up a quality contest against Cayla George.
Lauren Nicholson is also a favourite for the Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year award and she could be tasked with keeping Lindsay Allen quiet, something the Lynx were almost able to pull off last weekend.
Broadcast: FOX Sports Channel 506
Perth Lynx vs. Deakin Melbourne Boomers at Bendat Basketball Centre, Thursday, 6:30pm (Local time)
Round 14 tips off on Thursday night with the Boomers set to visit Perth before they take on Adelaide in a tough double-header.
These two sides met just last weekend when Melbourne secured the season series with a hard-fought 64-59 victory, making the Lynx’s hopes of a top-two finish tougher.
Perth turned the game into a defensive affair, with Toni Farnworth and Lauren Mansfield harassing the Boomers back court and in particular Lindsay Allen. It will be interesting to see Perth’s tactics now they are back home and they will also have to deal with O’Hea who missed the contest last round.
Another loss for the Lynx will all but end their top-two hopes but if Melbourne cannot repeat their success, their clash against Adelaide becomes even more important with the gap between the three teams narrowing further.
Bendigo Bank Spirit vs. Adelaide Lightning at Bendigo Stadium, Thursday, 7pm (Local time)
Before they host Melbourne on Saturday, Adelaide travel to Bendigo in search of a fourth-straight victory while the Spirit will be desperate to end a three-game skid.
Not too long ago, the Lightning were in seventh place with a 4-7 record while the Spirit were in second position.
However, the teams have switched fortunes in the second half of the season and Simon Pritchard will now be leading Bendigo in his final two games after it was announced that his contract would not be renewed for next season.
The Spirit have evened the season series against Adelaide with a win apiece and their fortunes lie heavily on Becca Tobin in her battle under the rim against Alexander while Nadeen Payne could be set for a big game as she celebrates her 200th.
JCU Townsville Fire vs. University of Canberra Capitals at Townsville Stadium, Friday, 7pm (Local time)
The UC Capitals have broken their eight-year drought of missing playoffs and are now chasing top spot on the ladder while Townsville will not feature in the finals for the first time in eight years and have lost four of their past five.
In stunning form, the Caps have prevailed in their past six outings by an average margin of 32.8 points and have soundly dealt with the Fire twice already by 26 and 29 points.
Boasting a dominant front-court of December Player of the Month Kelsey Griffin, Kia Nurse who is on fire from beyond the arc and Marianna Tolo who has settled into the team nicely, the Townsville forwards in Ally Malott, Darcee Garbin and Zitina Aokuso will need to show-out if the Fire are to have some rare success at home and cause an upset on Friday night.
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames vs. University of Canberra Capitals at Qudos Bank Arena, Sunday, 12pm (Local time)
After Belinda Snell played her final home game at Brydens Stadium last weekend, this week she will play one last game in Sydney as the Flames play a double-header with the Kings at Qudos Bank Arena.
The Flames are the walking wounded though with Sarah Graham (ankle) in doubt after she impressed with 15.5 points per game across Round 13 while Brittany Smart is trying to overcome a hamstring strain.
They have their backs against the wall against the UC Capitals who could officially clinch top spot on the ladder if they already defeat Townsville on Friday night but the Flames will be desperate to send off Snelly in style as well as coach Cheryl Chambers who has announced she will be leaving Sydney Uni at the end of the season.
Jayco Rangers vs JCU Townsville Fire at Dandenong Stadium, Sunday, 3pm (Local time)
For the second time in ten days, Dandenong and Townsville meet with the Rangers aiming for a season sweep against the defending Champions.
In order to prevent that, the Fire must find a way to shut down Bec Cole who won her second Player of the Week award last round while scoring 29 points against Townsville.
The size of Kayla Pedersen was also a concern as she took advantage of Suzy Batkovic’s absence and the athleticism of Betnijah Laney saw her flirt with a triple-double but the Fire were buoyed a season-best performance from Laurin Mincy which will give them hope coming into this weekend.