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Big V 2015: State Championship Women Season Projections
With the Big V season underway for 2015, #TeamPnR’s Dean Zardo takes a look at how the State Championship Women’s clubs are stacking up for the campaign ahead.
Hume City: Hume’s chances of going back-to-back rest largely on Colleen Planeta’s shoulders, and the import and her side started well in round one. A comfortable win over new-look McKinnon, in which Planeta dominated with 27 points and 12 boards, was a perfect start, with Viv Saad also started the season strongly. The Broncos will be right up there with the best in the league again this season, and despite some strong challenges from a few other sides around them, should remain the title favourites in 2015 for the time being.
Credit: Big V Media
Ringwood: The Hawks absolutely blew Warrandyte away in round one in an ominous warning to their competition, with the win even more impressive given Amber Hegge was on the sidelines with an injury. However, the big news was the performance of new import Lauren Oosdyke, who torched the Venom for 32 points and 12 boards whilst shooting an incredible 14-of-17 from the floor. If that is what we can expect from Oosdyke and when Hegge returns, we may well see the most potent one-two punch in the league, and that is saying something given the roster that Waverley has put together.
Waverley: Speaking of the Falcons, they have also put together a formidable roster that is set to make this season very interesting at the top. With Tegan Cunningham returning, the addition of young Opal and WNBL star Carly Mijovic has propelled the Falcons right into title contention just like that. Throw in the part time services of former WNBL listed, and sister of Tegan, Caitlin Cunningham, who played twice in round one but won’t be hanging around for the whole season, and the Falcons will be very tough to beat in the early going at least. Of course, last season the Brigitte Ardossi debacle derailed their season and that is always a possibility to happen again, but if they can click and hold it together this time the Falcons will make life very hard for the Broncos and the Hawks at the pointy end of the season.
In The Mix
Bulleen: The Boomers, who capitulated in the final round of 2014 to hand over their playoffs spot to Waverley, look to be in the hunt again in 2015 after putting together an exciting roster of relative unknowns. The obvious loss is All-Star guard Funda Nakkasoglu, who went to college at the end of last season, which leaves a massive hole in Bulleen’s offense. However, early signs are they will be able to cover her loss with a few new pieces. Despite Lauren Pearce sitting with injury in round one, the Boomers took it to Waverley to eventually go down by 12 points, with the likes of Allie Drennan, Pip Whelan and youth league-rostered Emma Pearce all impressing. They will probably need to add another star to compete with the top sides, but a finals berth is within reach once Pearce returns.
McKinnon: The Cougars were poor in their round one clash with Hume City, managing just 42 points as they unveiled their new-look line up featuring two highly touted imports in Jayne Strand and Kendall Rodriguez. The former looked solid before fouling out, while the latter played 36 minutes and struggled to get into the game but showed signs. If both players can find their stride early in the season and regulars Alex Lough and Julie Brookhouse can re-capture their best form after a sub-par 2014, the Cougars will undoubtedly be right there in the finals hunt again.
Credit: Big V Media
Southern Peninsula: The Sharks, in their first season in the Big V top flight, may well prove to be the surprise packet of the season. They were ultra-impressive in round one, wiping the floor with lowly Melbourne to run out 37-point victors. Of course, there will be much tougher tests this season and whether they can match it with the finals contenders will be interesting to see, but led by Ella Hellessy and Kiwi-born import Chevannah Paalvast, who both torched the Tigers, the Sharks may prove to have what it takes to challenge for an unlikely finals berth.
Not Far Off
Eltham: The Wildcats are hard to read for 2015, with the loss of Hayley Munro a crushing blow but the addition of Olivia Bontempelli sure to help them overcome that to some extent at least. Bontempelli was the only player in double digits as they scraped past Diamond Valley in a low-scoring slog to open their season, and it is hard to see where the offense will come from at this stage with the absence of Munro leaving a gaping hole. Whether or not some of Eltham’s unknowns will step up and provide the spark is yet to be seen, but so far it looks as though the Wildcats are just off the pace this season and will struggle to match it with those above them.
Warrandyte: The Venom girls were blown away to the tune of 62 points in round one, only managing a poultry 37 points for the match in the process. Offense was their problem in 2014 as well, and obviously that will need to improve if they are any chance of finishing above the bottom feeders. However, there is reportedly an import on the way and the Venom will be hoping that she provides the offensive spark that they have been so sorely lacking. Amanda Hederics and Meg Dargan will otherwise be the leaders, with the unknown of the import keeping them above the bottom feeders, just, for now.
Could Be A Long Year
Diamond Valley: The Eagles finished their opening game with a total of just 39 points, yet somehow only lost by single digits. That included 17 points in the third term, leaving a total of just 22 for the remaining quarters in a putrid offensive display. The loss of Carly Turner has hit hard at the Eagles, and if it wasn’t for captain Katie O’Neill, who accounted for 23 points of their 39 and seven of their 12 total field goals made, it could’ve been a hell of a lot uglier for the Eagles. It could be a very long year down at Diamond Valley unless they make a key signing or find a spark from within their current playing group, but both of those aren’t likely.
Credit: Big V Media
Melbourne: The Tigers came up against newcomers Southern Peninsula and were embarrassed to the tune of 37 points in round one, and after a dismal 2014 campaign the signs are that it won’t get much better in 2015. The Tigers’ starting five hasn’t changed much at all, which is not a good thing, and consistent effort at both ends is going to be hard to come by. 57 points isn’t a bad start at the offensive end, but giving up 94 to a side who played in a lower division last season doesn’t really bode well either. Ilena Gentile, Peri Kalka and Courtney Gaze are the key trio for Melbourne this year, and despite all three being very good young players, they aren’t ready to be the leaders of a championship women’s side.
Sherbrooke: The Suns ran into Waverley in round one and were obliterated as many expected they would be. A number of off-season changes in the playing group and in the coaching staff meant the Suns were always going to be behind the eight-ball to start the season, but they did uncover a gem in the process. Esther Timmermans played a handful of games for Bulleen last season before moving to Sherbrooke for 2015, and she finished with 29 points and 12 boards, which is even more impressive given her side scored 46 for the entire match as a team. However aside from Timmermans and a couple of solid youngsters, there isn’t much to get excited about in Sherbrooke this season.
To find your local club’s fixtures and results, and to keep up to date with all the league news and information over the season, head to www.bigv.com.au or click here.