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WNBL 2014/15 Round 16 Preview
It's getting towards the business end of the season now with playoff aspirations well and truly on the line. How can Dandenong match-up against the 'Big 2' of the WNBL in Townsville and Bendigo? Will their wonderful run continue deep into the playoffs?
Who will snatch an unlikely fourth and final play-off spot, Sydney Uni, UC Capitals or the Melbourne Boomers? This week further cements who is looking most likely to grab an opportunity at post-season success.
Do the Adelaide Lightning have one final run left in them after their ever conquering weekend just five days ago?
All that and more, in The Pick and Roll's Round 16 WNBL preview!
Adelaide Lightning vs. Sydney Uni Flames
Friday 6th February, 5:00pm local
The Adelaide Lightning surprised the entire WNBL community with back to back victories last weekend.
Photo Credit: Michelle Couling Photography
With this success brought about the Lightning moving up the WNBL ladder for just the first time this season. Now, with more expectations put on the surprising Adelaide side this week, they have a great chance at spoiling the Flames' chances at the playoffs.
Sitting half a game behind the UC Capitals as it stands, the Flames will have all eyes on the prize when they travel to Adelaide and do battle with the Lightning.
Leilani Mitchell will be buzzing after her mid-week success, a contract signing with WNBA champions Phoenix Mercury. Hoping to bounce off that success, the Flames will be hoping she can deliver the goods in an all-round performance on the floor.
Sydney by 9
Townsville Fire vs. University of Canberra Capitals
Friday 6th February, 7:00pm local
Sitting pretty at 15-4 atop of the league table, the Townsville Fire host the ever inconsistent University of Canberra Capitals.
Cayla Francis, similar to Leilani Mitchell in the previous game, will be hoping to extend her week of success after signing with the Phoenix Mercury as well.
The WNBL MVP candidate will once again look to deliver for her team, as well as finding the needed help from her teammates, most notably the in-form Steph Cumming.
With Lauren Jackson going down and now confirmed out for the remainder of the season, this UC Caps team is now well and truly Abby Bishop's (of course, if you didn't know that already!).
Two MVP candidates for this season will go toe to toe on Friday night in a game that has many questions to be answered.
How well can the Capitals stand up to the league's best? Will the continue their mini-push towards the playoffs? Can Townsville live up to expectations and not slip before the final hurdle?
This is one of the games of the round!
Townsville by 3
Melbourne Boomers vs. Dandenong Rangers
Saturday 7th February, 3:00pm local ABC TV
Talking about games of the round, here's game of the round number 2! And what a game to have on ABC TV this weekend, the Melbourne Derby.
The Boomers' season is on the line here against the surging Dandenong Rangers and what better team to come up against when your backs are against the wall: your rivals.
For the very thin Boomers at this stage of the season, it's now a matter of finding that extra gear that can kick them into a finals position.
In this game however, stopping the key runs that Dandenong are so famous for making this season is vital to their success. With their opponents ability to put the ball in the bottom of the net, led by none other than Opals superstar Penny Taylor and WNBA veteran Cappie Pondexter; Melbourne will need to keep the scoreboard ticking themselves in they want to play a run and gun style of game.
Photo Credit: Michelle Couling Photography
For Dandenong, it's simply about using their size advantage in Lauren Scherf, Annalise Pickrel and Alice Kunek. If one or two of these players can have a big game, it goes a long way to yet another win for the streaking Rangers.
Dandenong by 7
West Coast Waves vs. Sydney Uni Flames
Saturday 7th February, 6:30pm local
A bottom place position isn't an unknown feeling for these West Coast Waves, however the next best feeling will be to quickly avoid slumping into it.
After such a bright start to the season, the Waves have only gone backwards and their pre-season aspirations all but down the toilet.
The Flames on the other hand, will be looking to back up as their weekend road trip continues after playing the Lightning in Adelaide the night before.
While it may seem like an easy road trip on paper, Sydney Uni cannot and won't assume that these two games are in the bag.
Teams must always play for forty minutes if they are to earn a victory in the WNBL.
Sydney by 4
Bendigo Spirit vs. Melbourne Boomers
Sunday 8th February, 2:00pm local
The Bendigo Spirit will host the Melbourne Boomers on Sunday in a game that could quite possibly have many questions in the bank. That of course, is depending on the result of the Boomers/Rangers contest.
If the Rangers were to win, this game nearly becomes irrelevant to the Melbourne squad as their season hopes are all but over.
However, if the Boomers were to be victorious on Saturday on ABC TV, then this game is on for young and old.
Will Melbourne have enough left in the tank for when they meet the Spirit? Bendigo are in prime position to take all the points in this game, however can certainly be seen as a danger game for the Spirit if Melbourne can ride all of their momentum from the day before.
As Bendigo will look to put this game out of reach early, look for Player of the Week Gabe Richards and Kelsey Griffin to put their feet down and dominate.
Bendigo by 12
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