With the WNBL season less than a week away, we take a look at the five most anticipated matches to pencil in the WNBL calendar for this season.
Dandenong Rangers vs Melbourne Boomers
Round 1, October 5, Dandenong Stadium
There is no better way to kick off the season than with the cross town rivals Dandenong and Melbourne. The off-season period will make this one even more highly anticipated, with the likes of Liz Cambage and Jenna O’Hea returning to the WNBL to launch the league being back on our screens. It will be interesting to see how the Rangers try and stop Cambage, with Carley Mijovic and Kayla Pederson having to rotate through the tough task. Jenna O’Hea and Stephanie Blicavs (nee cumming) will be the match-up to watch in this game, with these scoring machines expected to expected to dominate. Melbourne’s Brittany Smart had a stellar 16/17 season, but will have her work cut out for her in this one coming up against Spain’s veteran point guard in Laia Palau who is Dandenong’s newest recruit.
Sydney Uni Flames vs Townsville Fire
Round 3, October 19, Townsville Stadium
These two teams had plenty for the highlight reel last season, with their regular season games against each other all being decided by less than 10 points. Expecting nothing less from the reigning champions who will travel to Townsville’s home court for this one. Sydney have bolstered their roster with the addition of Katie-Rae Ebzery, and Townsville have done the same with Cayla George returning to the team. Townsville will have height on their side, but Sydney aren’t a team to be underestimated.
Canberra Capitals vs Adelaide Lightning
Round 1, October 8, National Convention Centre
Both teams have made some big changes over the off-season, and expecting the Round 1 game to have high intensity and plenty of scoring. Nat Hurst makes her return to the WNBL, and the veteran point guard will come up against Nicole Seekamp who will be very important to this Adelaide team. The battle inside is highly anticipated for this one, as Adelaide’s talls in Abby Bishop and Laura Hodges take on WNBA veteran Mistie Bass and probably the most exciting young talent in the country, Ezi Magbegor. Jordan Hooper makes her comeback to the league as well, and will expect her shot to be on fire as usual in this one.
Bendigo Spirit vs Perth Lynx
Round 2, October 14, Bendigo Stadium
Both Bendigo and Perth have had some exciting matches in the past, and it’s certainly expected it will be no different as Perth travel to the country town to make amends for their finals campaign which was cut short last season. Bendigo’s newest recruit Betnijah Laney will come up against her old side, and looking forward to seeing her battle it out against Alice Kunek. Kayla Standish will have the job to look after Kelsey Griffin – not an easy one and we’re expecting the Bendigo stalwart to be at her usual brilliance. Bendigo will have to try and find a way to stop the dynamic Sami Whitcomb who is fresh from a WNBA campaign with Seattle and will be at her best.
Melbourne Boomers vs Townsville Fire
Round 1, October 7, State Basketball Centre
The highly anticipated return of Liz Cambage to the WNBL gets even better when she takes on veteran Suzy Batkovic in Round 1. Both players are fierce competitors and play with a lot of passion, expecting this to be intense from the get go. Both Melbourne and Townsville have some majorly skilled ball handlers, with the Boomers’ Brittany Smart and Maddie Garrick taking on Michaela Cocks and Kelly Wilson. Expecting Mia Murray to have the job on Jenna O’Hea, as the bold defender will try and limit her impact.