ROUND 15 PREVIEW
Broadcast Game of the Week
Perth Lynx vs. Adelaide Lightning at Bendat Basketball Centre, Saturday, 7pm (Local time)
With first and second place in the standings already locked in, the battle for third takes centre stage on Saturday night in Perth.
The Lynx and Lightning will face off with the winner booking a Semi-Final series against Melbourne while the team that finishes fourth will take on the UC Caps in the other Semi-Final series.
Adelaide won both previous meetings earlier in the season as Nia Coffey put up 19 points and 15 rebounds as well as 21 points and nine rebounds in Round 1 and Round 12.
Coffey’s size, athleticism, and ability to crash the glass has proven to be an ideal foil for Asia Taylor but at home, Taylor and the entire Lynx roster are a different beast.
With both players coming off Team of the Week awards, their match-up could be the deciding factor on Saturday night but Kayla Alexander will also be keen to assert herself after a quiet outing last time they met.
The four starters aside from Alexander hit double-digits in scoring which is an area of focus for Perth this weekend but the Lynx will be buoyed by Lauren Mansfield’s performance in Round 12 when she had 12 points off the bench to equal Adelaide’s second unit tally by herself.
Broadcast: FOX Sports Channel 506
Bendigo Bank Spirit vs. University of Canberra Capitals at Bendigo Stadium, Saturday, 3pm (Local time)
Having already secured the minor Championship, the Capitals travel to Bendigo for their final game of the regular season and Simon Pritchard’s last at the helm.
Coming into the game on an eight-game winning streak, the Capitals will be focused on keeping the streak alive heading into finals and they have thrashed the Spirit in two previous meetings by a total of 71 points.
Bendigo will be hoping the Caps’ focus is already on the playoffs which may help them send off Pritchard in style but with Becca Tobin having gone home early due to a family emergency, the home side could struggle in the front court.
Fresh off celebrating her 200th game, Nadeen Payne has entered the league’s top ten scorers with 14 points per game while she is enjoying career high’s in scoring, rebounding and free-throw percentage.
The Spirit will need her offence to upset the ladder-leaders while Nat Hurst will also be aiming for a big game against the team she had so much success with in the past.
Jayco Rangers vs Deakin Melbourne Boomers at Dandenong Stadium, Saturday, 6:30pm (Local time)
With the Boomers already owning the rights to the Michele Timms cup for 2018/19, these two sides meet for one last time this season with Melbourne aiming for a clean sweep against their rivals.
The visitors are locked into second spot heading into the finals but coming off a split of Round 14, they will be keen to gain some momentum before the Semi-Finals begin.
Dandenong will bid farewell to Kayla Pedersen on Saturday night who has announced her retirement and that will give the Rangers an added incentive.
However, they need to be wary of Steph Talbot, who has torched them for 24.5 points, five rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 steals and two blocks per game across their two meetings.
It will also be a special game for Jenna O’Hea, who has spearheaded Lifeline Round, with every three-point make across the weekend seeing $100 donated to Lifeline Australia.
JCU Townsville Fire vs Brydens Sydney Uni Flames at Townsville Stadium, Saturday, 7pm (Local time)
Two legends of the WNBL will face off for one last time this Saturday night as Suzy Batkovic and Belinda Snell bow out after a combined 32 seasons, eight Championships, 11-All Star inclusions and over 10,000 points.
Batkovic is set to return for one last game after missing the last nine due to injury and it is hoped that she can spend some meaningful time on court to give the Townsville crowd the chance to farewell her properly.
The Flames are dealing with a mountain of injuries and are expected to be without almost their entire starting line-up with Alex Bunton, Ally Wilson, Britt Smart, Sarah Graham and now Tahlia Tupaea all missing.
Snell will start for Sydney Uni though and impressed last weekend with 15 points, six rebounds and ten assists. In her final game, she needs 13 boards to move into tenth on the all-time rebounds list while Batkovic needs two blocks to move into second all-time.
With neither team able to make playoffs, this clash will be a celebration of two of the league’s greatest ever players and both teams will be desperate to send their respective star off in style.