The Race to the Finals

February 3, 2023 | Melbourne Boomers news

By Hayley Wildes.

With Round 13 underway, the WNBL ladder couldn’t be any tighter and as the Deakin Melbourne Boomers look to defend their title, every game matters as the race to the finals heats up.

Prior to the start of Round 13, the Boomers (11 wins, 4 losses) sat in second position and incredibly, all top three teams had four losses each with Southside (12-4) and Townsville (10-4) making up the top three. While the top three teams were hard to split, Bendigo (11-5) and Perth (9-5) were also just a game behind in the loss column.

All this points to an unmissable final few rounds of the regular season and there’s no shortage of Boomer blockbusters to look forward to, starting with what promises to be a Sunday afternoon thriller at home against the Bendigo Spirit.

It was only two weeks ago that the Boomers last met the Spirit in what was an epic encounter, and despite Bendigo eventually prevailing, 81-76, it was a showcase of women’s basketball as two heavyweights battled it out.

Adding even more meaning to this Sunday’s clash is the fact that the winner will claim the season series, which could affect standings at the end of the season if teams are tied on wins. With so much on the line and superstars all over the court, you’ll want to be at Parkville on Sunday afternoon.

The likes of Cayla George, Tiffany Mitchell and Kristy Wallace taking on former WNBL MVP Anneli Maley and veteran Kelly Wilson is much-watch basketball.

George is putting together a MVP-like season, dominating on both ends of the court while averaging 18.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Her stunning form was rewarded earlier this week when George signed with the Las Vegas Aces for the upcoming WNBA season. The Aces are the reigning WNBA Champions and George will join the likes of superstars A’ja Wilson, Candace Parker, Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray in Las Vegas.

George and Mitchell have formed a deadly one-two punch for the Boomers, with Mitchell (19.8ppg) leading the league in scoring and George sitting second. It would be remiss to not mention Kristy Wallace (16.4ppg) too, as she is eighth in the league.

With Tess Madgen out for the remainder of the season due to injury, Wallace will continue to be the primary ball-handler for the Boomers and she’s thrived in that role all season long. Top three in the league for assists (6.2 per game), Wallace has been dishing out dimes all over the court.

George, Mitchell and Wallace will be looking to power the Boomers towards a big finals campaign, but it’s about much more than just those three. The likes of Mia Murray, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Penina Davidson and Miela Goodchild will all have important roles to play down the stretch as well.

Three of the Boomers next four opponents are finals contenders, highlighting the importance of the next run of games. After facing Bendigo on Sunday, Melbourne then hit the road to take on the Fire in Townsville (Melbourne has already claimed the season series against Townsville) and the Flames in Sydney, before returning to Melbourne to take on cross-town rivals Southside at the State Basketball Centre on February 22.

That will be a game not to be missed! There’s always a buzz in the air when Melbourne take on Southside and the Boomers will be looking for revenge against the Flyers having dropped both games against them this season.

The match-up between Lauren Jackson and Cayla George is always a fun one and with both in outstanding form, you’ll want to keep an eye on both as they work to give their team the upper hand.

While they aren’t the finals race, Melbourne’s final two opponents won’t go do down without a fight. A road game against Canberra and a home regular season finale against Sydney wrap up Melbourne’s season and both games will have huge repercussions as the Boomers will likely still be jostling for finals positioning.

It’s all on the line for the Boomers, so make sure to get behind your team as the business end of the regular season goes into overdrive.

Tickets for all remaining home games are available by clicking here.