HOW much can regular season form translate into finals? That is the question for the Melbourne Boomers as it is finally that time of year for the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), with the finals series kicking off this weekend. The competition’s top four sides will face off for a spot in the grand final series in the coming weeks. It has been an exciting season to say the least, with the ladder looking extremely different at various stages throughout the year. However, only four can remain and those four will be leaving nothing on the court with their seasons on the line.
Melbourne Boomers vs Adelaide Lightning
The first matchup will see the Melbourne Boomers take on the Adelaide Lightning in a best of three series, kicking off at Melbourne Sports Centre on Thursday night. The two sides finished at different parts of the top four, with Melbourne ending their 2021/22 campaign atop the standings, while Adelaide was a bit further down the ladder in fourth spot. The Boomers will enter this series as the favoured side but just two wins separated the two teams in the regular season, and given the unpredictable results we have seen over the past few weeks, who knows?
The Boomers finished the regular season in style, producing one of the best team performances we have seen this year that culminated in a 55-point smashing of one of the championship favourites in the UC Capitals. It was a statement victory from the eventual ladder-leaders, who will now be looking to back it up and convert their form into a strong postseason performance. One of the scariest factors of their game is how well-balanced their scoring can be, given their multiple avenues to a basket. Fresh off her best game this season, Cayla George will be eager to carry her recent efforts into the finals, so keep an eye on her involvement.
The Lightning finished their season with mixed results, having delivered very different performances in their two final-round outings. Like the Boomers, they bested the Capitals to kick things off, but were then defeated by the struggling Southside Flyers to close out their campaign. They will be looking to improve on their performance heading into the finals, especially given the quality of opposition they face first up. Alanna Smith has been an absolute star all season, leading her side in both scoring and rebound, so she will likely be a prominent figure in this series too.
The second series in this week’s finals action will see two heavyweights lock horns when the Perth Lynx go head to head with the UC Capitals in a battle between two of the competition’s top three sides. The Capitals have struggled heading into finals but there is no doubt that they have the capability to get the job done here. On the other hand, Perth has been the best side in the league for much of the season, so expect them to produce some strong form here too.