WNBL Round 15 preview: Final frontier

A BLOCKBUSTER final round featuring seven games across five days will wrap up the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) 2021/22 season. The University of Canberra (UC) Capitals enter the last round on top, two wins clear of the second placed Perth Lynx, but also two games in hand. The Lynx have been incredibly unlucky with the draw, as they will wrap up the season with one less game than the Capitals. If they win both games and the Capitals lose their games, then Perth will regain top spot, but it seems unlikely.

The Capitals do have the tougher draw though, taking on the other top four sides in a great warmup for finals. First up on Thursday they travel to take on Adelaide at The Lights, before crossing into Victoria for a clash with the Melbourne Boomers at Parkville on Saturday. The Lynx hit the road for a triple treat, playing in Sydney and Townsville, with the first game against the Flames tonight, before back-to-back clashes with the Fire on Friday and Sunday.

Third place also seems settled with the Boomers now two wins clear of the Lightning, and will take the spot if they upset the Capitals. Adelaide has a couple of chances to play catch up to the Boomers, with games against the UC Capitals and Southside Flyers in the final round. Speaking of the Flyers, they will farewell veteran Jenna O’Hea against the Lightning, so the Victorian side will have extra motivation to cause an upset.

Townsville Fire and Bendigo Spirit are locked on six wins from 15 games, with the Fire playing two games and the Spirit playing the one. Townsville’s games both come at home against the Lynx, whilst the Spirit clash with the Sydney Uni Flames in a must-win if Bendigo is to snatch fifth spot. The Flames not only take on the Spirit, but have the Lynx tonight at home at Brydens Stadium.

In terms of key players heading into the final round, Perth Lynx duo Marina Mabrey (20.7 points) and Jackie Young (17.7) have been a dominant pair, whilst Anneli Maley (20.2 and 15.8 rebounds) has been a shining light for the Bendigo Spirit this season. Eziyoda Magbegor (16 points) and Cayla George (11.1 rebounds) have also been prolific for the Melbourne Boomers.

Looking to the assists, Stephanie Talbot (6.1 per game) is ahead of all-comers, whilst UC Capitals duo Kelly Wilson and Brittney Sykes have both averaged 5.5 assists per match. Townsville’s Steph Reid (4.7 assists) is clean in the front court, with Sydney Uni Flames’ Kalani Purcell (2.9 steals) the leading thief on court. Magbegor (1.6 blocks) is just ahead of Adelaide Lightning duo Kylee Shook (1.3) and Alanna Smith (1.2).


Wednesday, March 16:

Sydney Uni Flames vs. Perth Lynx | Brydens Stadium @ 6pm

Thursday, March 17:

Adelaide Lightning vs. UC Capitals | The Lights @ 7pm

Friday, March 18:

Townsville Fire vs. Perth Lynx | Townsville Stadium @ 7pm

Saturday, March 19:

Melbourne Boomers vs. UC Capitals | Parkville @ 5pm
Adelaide Lightning vs. Southside Flyers | The Lights @ 7pm

Sunday, March 20:

Sydney Uni Flames vs. Bendigo Spirit | Brydens Stadium @ 2pm
Townsville Fire vs. Perth Lynx | Townsville Stadium @ 3:30pm

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