THE year is flying by, which means the upcoming Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season is approaching faster than ever. Each team will be ramping up their preparations, with plenty of improvements to be made for every side. With the clubs looking to amend the areas that hurt them in the most recent season. With this in mind, we take a look at the teams that led key statistical categories throughout the 2020/21 season, and how it affected their performance, as an indicator for the season ahead.
Points per game:
Southside Flyers – 97.4
Townsville Fire – 80.4
The league champions proved a class above this season on their way to glory, and it shows with their dominance in this category. The Flyers were far and away the best offensive side the competition saw this season, which is indicated in their league-best points per game total, with a significant margin separating them from the other teams. As an indicator, the Flyers averaged 34 more points per game than the bottom ranked team in this category. The Flyers were able to fire on all cylinders on the offensive end for a large part of the season, with the champions able to put up a winning score on a consistent basis. Their scoring was boosted by the arrival of superstar Liz Cambage, who averaged a league-high 23.5 points per game.
The Townsville Fire were in second place with an average that is more than admirable, with 80.4 points still good for second place in the league, so their grand final appearance makes plenty of sense.
Field goal percentage:
Southside Flyers – 50.9
Townsville Fire – 45.8
Melbourne Boomers – 43.1
Once again, the Flyers were able to excel in another crucial category, producing an astounding shooting percentage from the field, making over half their field goal attempts. This is an impressive number in any league across the world, with the champs making 550 of their shots from 1080 attempts. Their system allowed the ball to move around the court to find the player with the best look at the hoop, and it also helped that their players were skilled and composed enough to sink their shots. Shooting a percentage this high guarantees some level of success, given they were able to sustain this for a long period of time.
Unsurprisingly, the Fire came in at second place to match their second-best scoring average. The fire were able to make just under half their shots, and it translated to a strong performance on the court. In third place, the Melbourne Boomers were able to make the most of their opportunities, with their impressive shooting numbers delivering wins on more than a few occasions.
Rebounds per game:
Sydney Uni Flames – 42.2
Perth Lynx – 41.9
The Sydney Uni Flames were the most dominant team on the boards this season, leading the league in this category. However, they were unable to convert this into wins, with the team finishing fifth on the ladder when season’s end rolled around. Their success in this area was boosted by the efforts of Anneli Maley, who led the league in rebounds per game with 12.1. She was a force to be reckoned with during the season, always outpositioning her opponents and securing vital boards in each of her outings.
The Perth Lynx came in second place, trailing by just 0.3 rebounds per game, while the UC Capitals were able to crash the boards to great effect throughout the season, which sees them third in the league in this category. This is the first category mentioned that does not feature the champion Southside Flyers, who actually ranked second last in this area. This perhaps demonstrates rebounding performance does not always translate directly into wins or losses.
The Southside Flyers were able to show that succeeding in the first two categories will hold a side in good stead when it comes to on-court success, and rebounding may not be as crucial to this as many believe.
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