Capitals looking to keep win streak rolling
THE weekend is almost here and so is another round of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), with five cracking contests on the schedule. The Perth Lynx are currently in the midst of completing their seven-day quarantine in Western Australia, so they will not be participating in this week’s action. However, the remainder of teams are set for a big weekend of action as the competition edges towards finals.
The home side also kicked off proceedings last round, and Bendigo was able to claim a Spirited win over the Fire to the tune of just five points in quite the upset. The Spirit will be hoping to repeat this feat again, but their opponents will be out for revenge after a disappointing round, so they will need to continue to up their game. The win came on the back of a herculean performance from consistent forward Anneli Maley, so expect her to receive more defensive attention this time around (although they could not stop her last time).
The Lightning had a positive result coming from Round 11, defeating the Flyers in a convincing win as they continue their charge towards a finals appearance. They face a Spirit side that is fresh off a win, but Adelaide has shown on many of occasions throughout the year that they can take down any side they face, especially if Alanna Smith can continue to terrorise defenders as she has done over the course of their 2021/22 season.
Next up on the agenda is a clash between the Melbourne Boomers and the Townsville Fire, with the two sides set to go head-to-head at the State Basketball Centre on Friday night in what is set to be a ripping matchup.
The Boomers are currently the last team in the top-four, and have this week’s opponent breathing down their necks just two wins behind. Melbourne has justified its spot in the top four throughout the season (take last week’s win over the Flames), but in a cutthroat competition, they will need to continue to best sides if they are to hold onto this spot. They come up against a shaky Fire side this week, and if they can continue to rally behind the excellent play of guard Tiffany Mitchell, they will be hard to stop.
The Fire will be eager to make amends for their Round 11 loss to the Spirit in their matchup, and will need to seriously lift their form if they are to do so. This was not their only defeat of the round, as they fell to the Capitals by a whopping 27 points a few days later. They have shown throughout the season that they can beat any side with their gritty style of play, but they will need to seriously improve if they wish to get themselves back on the winners’ list here. Having Monique Billings on their side will help this cause, given she has been in ripping form of late.
The action continues on Saturday evening, where the Southside Flyers play host to the Bendigo Spirit, but this time it will take place in Tasmania’s very own MyState Bank Arena. This will be the Spirit’s second clash of the round.
The Flyers have been unable to reach the heights of their championship winning 2021 campaign, and have won just three of their 11 games this season. However, they face an opponent that has endured a similar record throughout the 2021/22 season, so they are absolutely in with a chance here. Given their dominance last year, it would be easy to put Southside as favourites in this clash, but they must bring their absolute best and utilise the scoring of Rebecca Cole if they are to get the job done.
Sydney Uni Flames
Moving back over the Bass Strait for the next matchup, the Adelaide Lightning will travel north-east to take on the Sydney Uni Flames at Brydens Stadium on Saturday night. This will be Adelaide’s second match-up of the round.
The Flames currently occupy bottom spot on the ladder, given they have won just one of their first 11 outings of the season in disappointing fashion. They have been unable to find a sustainable winning method in their game-style and will need to lift if they are to get the upset win over the Lightning here. However, they will take encouragement from their performance against the Boomers last weekend, in particular the performance of duo Shyla Heal and Keely Froling, with the pair combining for 45 points.
The final match of the ground will see the Melbourne Boomers head to our nation’s capital to take on the UC Capitals at the National Convention Centre Canberra on Sunday afternoon. This will be Melbourne’s second outing of Round 12.
The Capitals are continuing their hunt for top spot on the ladder, with the Lynx well and truly in their sights as they look to resume their six-game winning streak here. They have been in blistering form on a weekly basis, taking apart opposition teams with ease. They face some worthy competition in the Boomers, with the two sides likely to appear in the upcoming finals series, but if their side can continue their strong style of play with a balanced number of contributors, good luck slowing them down.