Capitals look to lock up top four in WNBL Round 13

WITH one game down already, Rookie Me Central takes a look at the remaining four matches in Round 13, with every team featuring over the weekend. with finals fast approaching, the top four sides seem well on top in that regard, but there is still some chance for an unlikely run in the final couple of rounds.

  • Team
  • Adelaide Lightning
  • Townsville Fire

Saturday, March 5 @ 4:30pm
The Lights Community and Sports Centre

Top two side Adelaide opens up the weekend action at home with a clash against the fifth placed Fire. The Lightning are on a three-game winning streak after dropping back-to-back matches to get back in title contention with an 8-3 record, and sitting clear of both Melbourne Boomers and UC Capitals who have played three and two more games than the Lightning. A win here would just about ensure a home final, and certainly put a line through Townsville’s faint hopes of making it. The Fire must win every game from here and hope the Capitals lose them all to make it, but there still is that mathematical probability.

Adelaide and Townsville have split their two meetings, with the Lightning winning the most recent one. Overall, the Lightning have recorded more assists and fast break points than the Fire, dominating in the blocks, whilst the Fire have more points in the paint, rebounds and points from turnovers. Stephanie Talbot (13.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists) has been a star for the Lightning, with Alanna Smith (15.6 points, 8.1 rebounds) and Kylee Shook other standouts. Lauren Nicholson and Monique Billings have been particularly prolific for the Fire.

  • Team
  • Southside Flyers
  • UC Capitals

Saturday, March 5 @ 7:30pm
Dandenong Stadium

Reigning champions Southside Flyers will be looking towards the finish line and just trying to build some momentum into the off-season. Having only won three of 13 this season, and having not won since January 30, the Flyers are on a five-game losing streak, albeit with a forfeit in there. UC Capitals were the beneficiary of that forfeit, and picked up their own form just in time, having strung six consecutive wins together prior to last round’s loss to the Boomers. Looking so-so at 3-3, the Capitals have roared to life and now sit 9-4 with the post-season series in sight.

Southside Flyers have not had a great deal to cheer about this season, and the Capitals have the upper hand in most statistics. Rebecca Cole and Sara Blicavs have been shining lights this season, combining for 33 points, whilst Abby Bishop has been phenomenal off the boards (9.8 rebounds). The Capitals have a nice balanced approach with Brittney Sykes (15.8 points, 5.0 assists), Kelsey Griffin (15.5 points, 8.1 rebounds) and Kelly Wilson all strong contributors.

  • Team
  • Perth Lynx
  • Sydney Flames

Saturday, March 5 @ 7:00pm
Bendat Basketball Stadium

Perth Lynx have claimed five consecutive wins, and are sitting pretty at the top of the table with a 7-2 record, having only played nine matches. They came into the competition late, but have turned Bendat Basketball Stadium into a fortress, with a 5-1 record in Western Australia. The Flames on the other hand, cannot buy a win at the moment, with only one for the season, coming against Bendigo Spirit on January 25. The Flames can take heart from only going down to Perth by five points two days prior to that win, and outside some massive blowouts, the Flames have generally been competitive for the most parts against sides.

Perth should claim the win in the top-against-bottom clash, especially at home. Their squad as a whole is phenomenal with Marina Mabrey (22.1 points, 4.3 assists), Lauren Scherf (14.7 points, 11.7 rebounds) and Jackie Young all impressing for the top side. Shyla Heal has undoubtedly been the star for the Flames, with 17.4 points and 4.1 assists in 2021/22. Keely Froling has also contributed well off the boards.

  • Team
  • Melbourne Boomers
  • Bendigo Spirit

Sunday, March 6 @ 3:00pm
Melbourne Sports Centres – Parkville

Wrapping up Round 13 is a clash between two Victorian sides at the renovated Parkville Melbourne Sports Centres. The Spirit, coming off an eight-point win over Southside Flyers earlier in the round, have left their run a little too late, but can still gain plenty out of the season with an upset win over Melbourne Boomers. The Boomers on the other hand have played more games than anyone else – 14 – and whilst they are not in danger of dropping out of the final four, need to win the last couple and just build a lead on the other teams who will play catchup in the final fortnight.

Melbourne have an even team across the board, and plenty of contributors who can stand up at any given time. Tiffany Mitchell (15.9 points), Eziyoda Magbegor (15.5 points, 7.3 rebounds) and Cayla George (14.3 points. 11.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists have all teamed up well this season. There is little doubting the star for the Spirit, with Anneli Maley‘s ridiculous double-double average of 21.1 points and 15.9 rebounds far surpassing anyone else. Madeleine Garrick and Tessa Lavey have been other impressive players for Bendigo.

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