AS is the case with the rest of the world’s sporting competitions, the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) has been suffering COVID related interruptions over the last few weeks. A shortage of players has caused a number of games to be shuffled around, with Round 6 entirely postponed. However, there has still been some serious action in the opening weeks of the season, with some sides still able to boost their standings in the opening weeks. With the ladder still taking shape despite these interruptions, we take a look at how each team’s season is shaping so far, and how they are likely to go moving forward.
Sitting in first spot on the ladder are the Adelaide Lightning, who have won three of their first four games to start the year. They have been incredibly impressive over the last few weeks and will be hopeful that the interruption of games does not impact their momentum. After losing their first game to the Townsville Fire, the Lightning have since won three games in a row, which is good enough to see them at the top of the table. These victories have not come against easybeat sides either, as they showed with their big win over the Capitals in Round 3.
In second place are the UC Capitals, who also have started the year just as strong, losing just one of their first four games of their 2021/22 campaign. The Capitals have looked incredibly capable of winning it all this year, with some impressive showings over a number of sides, and their one loss coming against the Lightning as mentioned above. However, if they wish to take the next step as a title contender, they will need to beat the ladder-leading side and prove that they are a force to be reckoned with.
The final spot in the top three are the Melbourne Boomers, who have played more games than any other side this season. Their six games have converted to four wins and two losses so far this season, as they look primed to make their very own crack at the championship. With plenty of offensive weapons across the roster, there is no reason why this side cannot climb to the top of the standings over the coming weeks with the play they have demonstrated over the opening few rounds.
Next in the standings are the Townsville Fire, who have broken even so far this season from their four games, winning two and losing two so far. They have shown signs of promise in the wins, particularly in their season opener win over the top-of-the-table Lightning. They have even shown optimism in some of their losses, but they were truly bested by the Capitals when the two sides clashed. So if they wish to make the leap to a true contender, they need to take down the sides at the top.
The reigning premiers have struggled to start the season, with the Southside Flyers winning just half of their four games as they look to claim their second consecutive title. With the loss of some of their star players over the offseason, the Flyers were expected to slightly drop off during this campaign, but they will need to get their game going soon if they are to turn their fortunes around and climb the standings.
The Slow Starters
After a season where they were unable to claim a solitary win, the Bendigo Spirit have already beaten this effort in their 2021/22 campaign. They were able to claim their first victory of the season against the Melbourne Boomers in Round 2, and even in their losses they have proved more than competitive. Something appears to be building with this side, and if they can manage to string some wins together throughout the year, then they might be able to surprise people and rise up the ladder.
This one may not be entirely fair, as they have played just the one game, but the Perth Lynx currently sit second-last on the ladder, with just one loss next to their name. Border restrictions have been tough on the side, and they are absolutely expected to improve this record as the season goes on. They lost by just two points to the Lightning, and should cause some serious damage as the year progresses.
The final side on this list are the Sydney Uni Flames, who have been unable to claim a win from their first three matches of the season. The COVID outbreak in Sydney has interrupted them from playing a large number of games, but they have looked a step behind in their matches so far throughout the 2021/22 WNBL season. It seems unlikely they will be without a win for the remainder of the season, but they will need to lift their game if they are to get this done in the near future.