THE Norths Bears have been the best side to start the National Basketball League (NBL)1 East season, but they will face a tough task in the form of the Albury-Wodonga Bandits on the weekend. Round 7 of the 2022 women’s season kicks off on Saturday, with a number of intriguing clashes, but none are more anticipated than the matchup between the Bandits and the Bears at Lauren Jackson Sports Centre on Saturday night.
The Bandits have been quite good to start the year, but will need to do what no side has done throughout the year, and take down a red-hot Bears side. Both sides have dynamic offences, and the star power to match, so it will come down to whose defence can prove the most effective, which is an area in which the Bears have succeeded in all their wins. A win for the Bears would see them maintain their spot at the head of the table. On the other hand, if the Bandits can pull off the upset, the competition will see a much more level playing field, and potentially a new ladder-leader.
Albury-Wodonga Bandits vs Norths Bears
Saturday, May 21 @5pm
Lauren Jackson Sports Centre
The Bandits have been one of the better sides in the first six rounds of play, asserting their intentions in the opening weeks. With a record of four wins and two losses, they sit just outside the top four, but a win over the Bears would change their fortunes in a big way. Just one win separates them from first place, so fifth place is not as bad as it sounds. However, they will need to lift on the defensive end if they are to slow down the blitzing Norths offence. Scoring won’t be an issue for the Bandits, as they are lucky enough to host the talents of Lauren Jackson, but it will all come down to their ability to prevent the Bears from hitting the scoreboard.
The Bears have not done much wrong in their start to the 2022 season, remaining undefeated after six weeks. They are well and truly announced as the competition favourite, and will be looking to uphold that on the weekend. The Bandits will likely provide a decent challenge, but Norths will still be favoured to emerge victorious on Saturday evening. Their work on both ends of the court has been remarkable, which is why most of their wins have come with such a significant margin. Restricting Jackson will be key, as she is the centrepiece of the offence, and if they can do that, then the Bears should have no troubles getting the job done here.
Across the courts
There will be plenty more basketball action for fans to enjoy over the span of Saturday night, as the ladder gets set for another shuffle.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles vs Hills Hornets, Saturday @2pm, Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre
Sutherland Sharks vs Maitland Mustangs, Saturday @5pm, Sutherland Basketball Stadium
Illawarra Hawks vs Newcastle Falcons, Saturday @5:30pm, The Snakepit Stadium
Canberra Nationals vs Central Coast Crusaders, Saturday @7pm, Belconnen Basketball Stadium