NBL1 Women’s preview: Round 8

LAST-PLACED Basketball Centre of Excellence (CoE) will have three chances to get on the board in the National Basketball League (NBL) 1 Women’s competition across Round 8, tasked with games across consecutive days this weekend. A bumper round of 14 games is set to ensue, with two top-four clashes mixed into Saturday’s action, and another poised for Sunday.

A bottom-of-the-table battle between Diamond Valley Eagles and the CoE opens the Round tonight, with the CoE looking to open its account in one of three outings for the round, while the Eagles will be looking to pull away from their ladder rivals with a second victory for the season. Isabel Palmer and Lily Scanlon have been the only CoE players to average double-figures in points per game, with Palmer’s shooting from range and assist rate both team-highs – making her key as her side looks to put up winning scores against three fellow bottom-half teams. The points are less evenly shared at the Eagles, with Hope Terdich and Anneli Maley combining for an average of 39.1 points per game, while Maley’s work off the boards has also been impressive. While they certainly should not look past the CoE, the Eagles could put together a slight ladder climb with two wins, but will face stiff opposition on Saturday in Knox.

A top-of-the-table clash leads Saturday’s proceedings, with the Geelong Supercats hosting second placed Dandenong in what should be a cracker. Both teams have suffered losses to this stage, but the Supercats have picked up one more win in their extra fixture, with five players sharing a double-figure scoring load. Sara Blicavs has been dominant across the board to average 16.6 points, as well as a team-high 7.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals to go with Ezi Magbegor‘s 17.7 points per game. This will be Geelong’s only game for the round, while the Rangers are set to back up in Sunday’s opening game against the third placed Bendigo Braves. Scoring is sure to be paramount, and league-leading points scorer Rebecca Cole (32.5 PPG) will be the player Dandenong turns to for some creativity, with her 5.1 assists also a team-high. Colleen Planeta‘s 17.2 points average and team-high 8.8 rebounds make her a dangerous proposition, and both will need to be on if the Rangers are to prize a couple of key wins this weekend.

Before Bendigo travels for a second time to face Dandenong, the Braves take on fourth place Nunawading in the round’s other top four clash. Four Braves players have shared the large majority of scoring honours, with Kelly Wilson leading the way on 22.2 PPG. Gabrielle Richards will perhaps be the most important of the lot though, with a consistent stat line across every feature reading; 17.5 points, 12 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 0.4 blocks. For the Spectres, who only play one game this weekend, the same thing goes in terms of a weight of scorers. Kathleen Scheer (16.1 PPG) leads five Nunawading players who average over 11 points per game to go with her nine rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 blocks also handy. She will be key alongside the likes of Eliza Chilcott for overall impact, with the round’s results set to prove ladder defining.

In other games, the middle and bottom sections of the table are set to be shaken up as five other games are set to take place between sides separated by less than three spots. It should make for an exciting weekend of action, with the top of the table in particular an interesting aspect across Saturday and Sunday.

Round 8 fixtures:

Friday, May 24:

Diamond Valley Eagles (17th, 1-9) vs. Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (18th, 0-11)

Saturday, May 25:

Albury Wodonga Bandits (7th, 6-3) vs. Kilsyth Cobras (9th, 5-4)
Ballarat Rush (15th, 2-6) vs. Launceston Tornadoes (12th, 3-6)
Frankston Blues (13th, 2-7) vs. Hobart Huskies (11th, 4-5)
Geelong Supercats (1st, 10-1) vs. Dandenong Rangers (2nd, 9-1)
Knox Raiders (6th, 6-2) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (17th, 1-9)
Nunawading Spectres (4th, 7-3) vs. Bendigo Braves (3rd, 8-1)
Waverley Falcons (14th, 2-7) vs. Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (18th, 0-11)

Sunday, May 26:

Dandenong Rangers (2nd, 9-1) vs. Bendigo Braves (3rd, 8-1)
Eltham Wildcats (8th, 6-4) vs. Hobart Huskies (11th, 4-5)
Melbourne Tigers (10th, 5-5) vs. Knox Raiders (6th, 6-2)
Launceston Tornadoes (12th, 3-6) vs. Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (18th, 0-11)
Ringwood Hawks (5th, 7-2) vs. Frankston Blues (13th, 2-7)
Southern Sabres (16th, 2-8) vs. Ballarat Rush (15th, 2-6)

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