ROUND 9 PREVIEW
Image courtesy of Adelaide Lightning.
Game of the Week
MAC Adelaide Lightning v Perth Lynx at Titanium Security Arena, Saturday, 2.30pm (local time)
A massive weekend for the current top four teams could see a lot of movement on the ladder and this clash on Saturday afternoon will play a major part of that with fourth hosting third.
The Lightning also take on second placed Sydney Uni on Wednesday night and depending on the results from that contest, this match-up will become even more important as they look to hold off Melbourne and stay in a playoff position.
Last weekend, Adelaide shut down Dandenong to hold them to just 49 points as they won by 21 with eight players hitting the scoreboard.
Nicole Seekamp and Natalie Novosel combined for 29 points while Colleen Planeta recorded 14 and she, alongside Abby Bishop, dominated the Rangers with 18 rebounds as well.
Seekamp and Novosel will have their hands full on Saturday though as they take on two of the most in-form players of the league in Sami Whitcomb and Courtney Williams.
Whitcomb averaged 20.5 points with eight three-pointers across two victories last round while Williams has scored 20+ in four of her past five games to help the Lynx record seven wins in a row.
That has raced them into the top four after a 1-4 start to the season and they now have the opportunity to move clear on top of the ladder at the end of Round 9.
A concern for the visitors is ex-Lynx player Ruth Hamblin who due to Bishop’s work in the starting five, has the luxury of coming off the bench and filling the stat-sheet in short bursts.
Her size will be a worry for Perth and the second chance opportunities she creates for players like Lauren Nicholson could be enough to match the Lynx’s dynamic scoring duo in the back court.
Live stats: http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/wnbl/681954/
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames v MAC Adelaide Lightning at Brydens Stadium, Wednesday, 7.00pm (local time)
As mentioned above, the Lightning’s weekend does not start off easy with a clash against the hottest team in the competition preceded by a meeting against the defending Champs to tip-off Round 9.
Coming into last weekend on a two-game losing streak, the Flames bounced back with a very impressive offensive performance against the Boomers, cracking the century mark in a 12-point victory.
Alex Wilson, Belinda Snell and Asia Taylor all scored 24+ and combined for 16-27 (59%) shooting from beyond the arc. Wilson and Snell are known three-point threats but if Taylor can get in on the act while still attacking the basket, Sydney Uni could be almost unstoppable.
Adelaide will be hoping they have an off-night and Planeta must acknowledge Taylor’s ability to hit from outside but if she and Bishop cannot control the paint, the Lightning will have more headaches.
These teams are meeting for the first time since Round 1 when Adelaide won by 11 thanks to 21 points from Novosel and a handy 11 points off the bench from Vanessa Panousis.
Live stats: http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/wnbl/681951/
Watch LIVE on the Fox Sports Australia website.
Jayco Dandenong Rangers v JCU Townsville Fire at Dandenong Stadium, Wednesday, 7.30pm (local time)
A tough double-header for the Rangers last weekend saw them drop their first games since losing Sara Blicavs, falling by an average margin of 16.5 points against Perth and Adelaide.
Things do not get any easier for the home side either with a clash against Townsville who sit on top of the ladder thanks to a win over Melbourne in Round 8.
Their four-game winning streak came to an end on Sunday as they were unable to get past Perth while the Fire also have poor history against the Rangers, having lost to them by 17 points back in Round 3.
Suzy Batkovic performed well in that contest with 21 points, ten rebounds and six assists but Townsville were torched by Carley Mijovic who had 28 points on 10-19 shooting while Tessa Lavey and Laia Palau owned the back court with 14 points and 12 assists combined.
The current form of Darcee Garbin will be a major asset for the visitors as she provides assistance for Batkovic and Cayla George at both ends of the floor while the hot-shooting of Mia Murray should also trouble Dandenong as she has hit double-figures off the bench in each of her past three outings.
Live stats: http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/wnbl/681952/
Watch LIVE on the Fox Sports Australia website.
Perth Lynx v University of Canberra Capitals at Bendat Basketball Centre, Thursday, 6.30pm (local time)
The Caps had a real opportunity to end their losing streak last weekend against Bendigo but a three-point loss has resigned them to bottom place on the ladder and they have now dropped ten in a row.
In positive news, they will get Rachel Jarry back who has recovered from concussion while Abbey Wehrung missed last weekend but will also return to the line-up in time to face Perth.
This is the second meeting between the clubs in less than three weeks and after owning an eight-point lead at quarter-time in that clash, the Caps eventually fell by 18 as their inability to play a full 40 minutes again hurt them.
Williams was the difference, tallying 26 points, nine rebounds and three assists although Canberra were buoyed by the performances of Lauren Scherf (eight points, ten boards) and Ezi Magbegor (12 points, seven rebounds) off the bench.
Another performance like that from their second unit will give the Caps an advantage and Scherf will be celebrating her 100th game but the likes of Nat Hurst, Abbey Wehrung and Jarry will need to be at their defensively to keep Williams and Whitcomb quiet.
Live stats: http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/wnbl/681953/
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames v JCU Townsville Fire at Brydens Stadium, Saturday, 3.00pm (local time)
A re-match of last year’s Semi-Final should be a cracker for the FOX Sports televised Game of the Week after just three points separated the clubs in their first encounter this season.
Both sides will have played on Wednesday night but Townsville are on the road for a third consecutive contest which should give the Flames an edge which they will be looking to exploit if the game is close down the stretch.
When they met in Round 3, Katie Ebzery (22 points, three assists) took the chocolates in the point guard battle against Kelly Wilson while Batkovic (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Taylor (19 points, ten boards) had a thrilling battle under the rim before Taylor won the day in the end for the Flames with eight points in the final term.
Snell was unusually cold from three-point range, missing all seven of her attempts but Townsville cannot bank on a repeat performance from the reigning Player of the Week with Sydney Wiese and Laurin Mincy tasked with shutting her and Wilson out of the game.
Live stats: http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/wnbl/681956/
Watch on FOX Sports Australia channel 503.
Bendigo Bank Spirit v Jayco Dandenong Rangers at Bendigo Stadium, Saturday, 7.00pm (local time)
Bendigo have not had much to celebrate this season but coming off a rare victory last weekend that showed their grit and determination will have them primed for a clash against Dandenong on Saturday night.
The Spirit would move just a game behind the Rangers in the win column if they can achieve more success this weekend and they should be well rested with a week’s break in between games while the visitors will be playing their third match in the same space of time.
Starring all season, Betnijah Laney was strong again with 23 points on 10-14 shooting in their Round 8 victory while Nadeen Payne (18 points) and Rachel Banham (13 points) had six three-pointers between them.
Banham’s size could make for a difficult match-up against Lavey while her speed will also be too much for Palau but the Rangers have more than enough firepower to match those Bendigo shooters through Steph Blicavs and Mijovic to set up an enthralling contest.
Live stats: http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/wnbl/681955/
Deakin Melbourne Boomers v University of Canberra Capitals at State Basketball Centre, Saturday, 7.30pm (local time)
A seven-game weekend rounds out in Melbourne on Saturday night and the Caps will be on the road for a fifth straight game in a brutal mid-season stretch.
The Boomers will be looking to pounce on them early but they have their own troubles to worry about after dropping two games in Round 8 to again fall out of the top four.
A heavy first half of the 2017/18 campaign has also seen them play two more games than anyone else and with only one more win than fourth-placed Adelaide, the margin for error is tightening in the race to the playoffs.
However, the Boomers cruised to victory last time they met the Caps, coming away with a 30-point thrashing in Round 7.
Louella Tomlinson will celebrate her 100th game on Saturday night while this contest will also see Liz Cambage and Mistie Bass remake their acquaintances for the first time since Cambage was suspended for a knee to Bass’ leg which will add another layer of intrigue.
Live stats: http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/wnbl/681957/