WNBL Round 9 Preview

photo credit: Ryan Wick via photopin cc

Logan vs West Coast

Time: 7:30PM

Logan Metro

Friday 29th November

Who's hot?

Logan: Tegan Cunningham - 18 points, 6 rebounds - last week vs Canberra

West Coast: Natalie Burton - 9 points, 5 rebounds - last week vs Bendigo

With Shani Amos being a distinct possibility of earning her first game of the season this week, a game that would have been a push-over two weeks ago for Logan just became a whole lot tougher. Also, it doesn't help that the return of Natalie Burton has aided this West Coast side in its push to become a big-name team in the league, giving opponents in recent weeks such as Bendigo and Adelaide a tough time. With their last win coming on the 1st November against the Sydney Uni Flames, Logan are scathing for a victory. Emma Langford will be the key for Logan in their quest for victory. Being the worst team at protecting the rim in the league, it'll be up to Langford to help limit the offense of the Waves from inside the key where Natalie Burton has been playing well recently. Despite all these factors, Logan - with the likes of Tegan Cunningham and Hannah Zavecz - should have the fire-power to beat the young Waves side. Logan by 9

Bendigo vs Adelaide

Time: 3PM

Bendigo Basketball Stadium

Saturday 30th November

GAME IS ABC TELEVISED

Who's hot?

Bendigo: Kelsey Griffin - 29 points, 10 rebounds - last week vs West Coast

Adelaide: Laura Hodges - 23 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists - last week vs Bendigo

A terrific comeback in Adelaide last week wasn't enough to get the win last week for the Lightning where they brought a 19 point deficit back to 8 to end the game. Last week, it was a disappointing performance by the Adelaide squad against Bendigo. The Adelaide squad underperformed and relied too much on Laura Hodges who went 18/52 from the field if you exclude her production. On the other hand, Kelsey Griffin dominated in the paint last week against Adelaide, with 29 points and 10 rebounds on a 65% shooting performance. For any chance of an Adelaide win, stopping the three towers that roam the paint in Elyse Penaluna, Kelsey Griffin and Gabe Richards will be needed. It is no easy task to go against three of the league's premier bigs, but Adelaide will need someone other than Laura Hodges to stop these 3. After last week's debacle where Bendigo almost lost the game due to sloppy play and weak defense in the final quarter, Bendigo coach Bernie Harrower will make sure his sides head is screwed on right for the entirety of the game and ensure that there would be no repeat in this matchup. Bendigo should be able to do the double on Adelaide in two weeks, but it won't be easy. Bendigo by 5

Canberra vs Sydney Uni

Time: 7PM

Lauren Jackson Sports Centre

Saturday 30th November

Who's hot?

Canberra: Abby Bishop - 23 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals - last week vs Logan

Sydney Uni: Katie-Rae Ebzery - 22 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists - last week vs Melbourne

Canberra are back at home for their first time in a long time (Round 5) and back to face them are the relentless Sydney Uni Flames who've come off an inspiring second half where they held opponents Melbourne to 28 points in the second half, securing a much needed 12-point win. Abby Bishop and Alex Bunton have become a fearsome frontcourt duo underneath the rim. In two games last week, Alex Bunton picked up 34 rebounds, while Abby Bishop picked up 17 over the weekend, and will likely be a tough matchup for the Sydney talls. However, Katie-Rae Ebzery was really something else last week. Her 22 point, 5 rebound performance catapulted her into the top-10 for scoring, while leading Sydney to an impressive win over 2nd-placed Melbourne. With help from Renae Camino, Alicia Poto and Rohanee Cox who all made double-digit points, Sydney's combined team effort is a difficult one to stop as any one player is capable of producing. This should be a big match between two sides looking to sneak into the top 4. If Sydney can keep Canberra off the boards, Sydney will win. Unfortunately, I can't see that happening and I believe that Canberra's second chance points will give them that edge over Sydney. Capitals by 3

Townsville vs West Coast

Time: 7PM

Townsville RSL Stadium

Saturday 30th November

Who's hot?

Townsville: Suzy Batkovic - 25 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals - last week vs Canberra

West Coast: Antonia Edmonson - 10 points, 2 assists - last week vs Bendigo

West Coast travel north to play Townsville in their second game in two days, completing their Sunshine swing. Coming into a game against the Fire will be no easy feat for the Waves who will be coming off a game the previous night in Logan. Stopping dominant frontcourt superstar Suzy Batkovic and holding her to a low shooting percentage will be necessary for the Waves. Shooting at an appalling 33% on the year, Natalie Burton or which ever player assigned to her will have to make Batkovic force shots, and bad ones at that. Last time out against the Waves, Olivia Thompson, Micaela Cocks and Steph Cumming all scored 12 points or more. However, West Coast will need to crack down on D this week to prevent Townsville ending up with the number 95 next to them on the scoreboard. Townsville looks like the perfect outfit to take on the West Coast side with talent all across the team and another dismal week back up on the West Coast seems emminent. Fire by 14

Dandenong vs Melbourne

Time: 7:30PM

Dandenong Basketball Stadium

Saturday 30th November

Who's hot?

Dandenong: Had the week off

Melbourne: Chelsea Poppens - 23 points, 16 rebounds (7 offensive) - last week vs Sydney

This weeks biggest game will involve two of the top 3 teams. Cross-town rivals, Melbourne will look to get the edge against a Dandenong side that has dropped their previous 3 games but were given the week off to think about the terrible performance they had put in over the past few weeks. A game that should easily gather an audience of over a thousand, the crowd will be a big factor in tipping the scales in favour of either team. Furthermore, the battle between WNBA bigs Kayla Pederson and Chelsea Poppens will be the most enthralling match-up in the game. Chelsea is coming off a terrific 23 point, 16 rebound game against the Sydney Uni Flames where she received little help in the second half. Similarly, Kayla Pederson has had great performances where she dominated the boards in recent games, pulling down 12 in her last 3 out of 4 games. Which ever player that plays harder on defense against each other should give their team the edge. Australian Opal Jenna O'Hea is coming off her worst performance of the year where she only finished with 9 points, showing us all that she is in fact, human. She'll be sure to right the wrongs of her game against Sydney and aim to beat her former team, along with Alice Kunek. I see Tess Madgen pulling out another big performance, leading Melbourne to a win over rivals Dandenong away from home, making up for the disappointing 15 point loss against the Rangers early on in the season. Melbourne by 2

Melbourne vs Adelaide

Time: 2PM

State Basketball Centre

Sunday 1st December

Who's hot?

Melbourne: Nicole Romeo - 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists - last week vs Sydney

Adelaide: Jess Foley - 15 points, 3 rebounds - last week vs Bendigo

The last game of the 6-game round sees Adelaide face Melbourne in what should be a closer encounter than the last time these two teams played. In the previous encounter, the game was convincingly won by Melbourne with a 22 point difference, however this time round, the Adelaide side is without former coach Peter Buckle who was fired after a series of uninspiring performances. Lucky for the Lightning, new coach Richard Dickel has them playing under a new exciting pace which as led them to a 1-point win over Townsville before going down by 8 against reigning premiers Bendigo. However, this new pace of Adelaide will need to be proceed cautiously as the last time Adelaide found themselves at the State Basketball Center, the Boomers guards pressured the Lightning into 19 turnovers, a statistic they won't want to see ever again. Adelaide look to have found play behind star Laura Hodges since last time out, with Jess Foley, Jenni Screen and Angela Marino all putting in high-scoring performances since Laura was left alone in their last game. For an Adelaide chance this week, it cannot be Laura vs Melbourne, it needs to be Adelaide vs Melbourne. Coming off a game the night before, the Boomers will look to carry over the momentum back to the State Basketball Center. Melbourne will complete the double this weekend. Boomers by 11