November 7, 2019 | WNBL news

Round 5 Preview

Adelaide Lighting will be aiming for improved efficiency against the Bendigo Spirit in this weekend’s round of Chemist Warehouse WNBL.

The Lightning went down to the Spirit in Bendigo, 67-54, last weekend and get the chance to respond on their home floor this Saturday night. An improved showing on offence will be key to victory according to star import forward Brianna Turner.

“We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we usually do last weekend so we’ll look to shoot better especially because we finally get to have another home game,’’ she told the Chemist Warehouse WNBL Show.

“We also want to up our defensive tempo and getting more stops.

“Every week we’re playing a great team, the competition is really tough out here.”

The 23-year-old, who was selected by Atlanta Dream with pick 11 then traded to Phoenix Mercury, in this year’s WNBA draft, is enjoying a sizzling start to her WNBL career averaging 16 points and 9 rebounds per game.

The Texas product won Player of the Week selection after a brilliant MVP display against the Perth Lynx in overtime in Round 3.

“It’s been really exciting. I’d only heard great things about the WNBL so I was really excited to play in the league and it’s been a good first month so far,’’ she said.

“I’m working on being a better all-round player, my outside shot and kind of learning a different style of play. I’m looking forward to it.”

Turner has also quickly settled into life at the Lightning.

“It’s been great. They were in the finals last year so obviously they have a lot of experience which is exciting as well,’’ she explains.

“From Nicole Seekamp to Laura Hodges, plus all the returning players have been so helpful at practice and Chris (coach Chris Lucas) is a great coach too so I’m surrounded by a lot of good people.”

Listen to Brianna Turner on The Chemist Warehouse WNBL Show here.

The Chemist Warehouse WNBL Show drops every Wednesday during the #WNBL20 season.

 

THURSDAY:

Sydney Uni Flames v Townsville Fire. Brydens Stadium, 7pm

One of these teams will notch their second win and look to build some #WNBL20 momentum, while the other will move to 1-5.

Townsville got that winning feeling last round, knocking off Perth in overtime. Abby Bishop, fresh from a Player of the Week effort, looks to be replicating the form which netted her a league MVP in 2014-15.

The Flames have got plenty out of Alice Kunek and Jessica Kuster so far but added output from the likes of Tahlia Tupea, Ally Wilson and co will make for a more balanced Sydney performance.

Southside Flyers v UC Capitals. Dandenong Stadium, 7.30pm

This fixture rounds out three games in five days for the undefeated Flyers who welcome a Caps outfit which got back to work, downing the Flames last week after a terrible Round 3 double.

Just how will the Flyers pull up after their Sunday-Monday double is anyone’s guess. Southside’s starters scored in double figures against Bendigo then Melbourne but also have plenty of firepower off the bench with Aimie Clydesdale, Anneli Maley, Bec Pizzey and Keira Rowe all able to clock some extra minutes and responsibility.

Mercedes Russell came up against Becca Tobin and the Boomers bigs last round and will welcome the chance to do battle with Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo.

SATURDAY:

Adelaide Lightning v Bendigo Spirit. Titanium Arena, 7pm

The Spirit won this one last round and, after a frustrating loss to Southside last Sunday, are hunting their third win.

Bendigo’s 37 points off the bench to Adelaide’s zero was a telling Round 4 stat and the home side not only needs to shoot at a better clip but spread the load like they did in extra time against Perth a fortnight ago.

Tobin and Carley Ernst can give the visitors an advantage here but this game has Lightning star Lauren Nicholson’s name written all over it.

Melbourne Boomers v UC Capitals. State Basketball Centre, 7.30pm 

The Boomers hammered the reigning champs down in Geelong two weeks ago and the UC Caps have returned to Victoria with a point to prove.

The Caps cleaned up their act against Sydney last round, inspired by 21 points from Kia Nurse, and the superstar that is Kelsey Griffin is primed to lead a big response this time ‘round.

Melbourne is coming off its first defeat but are being well led on the floor, and stat sheet, by Cayla George. The Olivia Epoupa vs Lindsay Allen match-up is worth turning up for, or live streaming, alone.

Perth Lynx v Sydney Uni Flames. Bendat Basketball Centre, 6.30pm

Poor Perth. Three consecutive rounds, three overtime games, three losses.

The Lynx were reeling after last weekend’s defeat to the Townsville Fire and are under pressure to bounce back and make a statement on their home court.

A big start will fill Perth with confidence and Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger can hit the floor running and guide her side back on to the winners list. WNBA champion Ariel Atkins enjoyed a red-hot debut against Townsville and will only get better.

The Flames finish their weekend out west and coach Katrina Hibbert knows her team’s best basketball, which was on display against the Caps in Round 3, can beat any team in the league on any given day.