Roll The Dice: Victoria
After a cracking regular season, we’re finally at the pointy end as we prepare for the 2014 NWBL Finals Series.
In the lead up, we’ll delve into the strengths of our final four and discuss what needs to go right for them to finish on top when they each roll the dice during the 2014 NWBL Finals Series.
Finished Regular Season: 4th
League Offensive Ranking: 3rd (1,060 points scored)
League Defensive Ranking: 4th (959 points against)
There were a lot of expectations on Victoria leading into 2014 with perhaps the two biggest offseason additions to their roster in Tristan Knowles and Shawn Russell.
Victoria has a 3-6 record against the rest of the top four and despite getting extremely close twice, are the only top four team not to have beaten Perth this year. Having said that; the more this team play together, the better they get.
A Del Toso-less Victoria were swept by Wollongong in round 7 which cost them second spot on the ladder, but it’s that man Daniel Del Toso that could hold the key to a Victorian Championship in 2014.
Knowles and Russell will almost always draw the attention of opposition defenders meaning Del Toso will often be left with a mis-match. The 3.5 player is well over six feet tall and when he posts up around the edge of the keyway, he’s almost unstoppable.
Knowles and Russell average 28 and 17 points per game respectively, while in the new look Victorian team; Del Toso averages just 11, his lowest since 2010. If Victoria can exploit the Del Toso mis-match and look to bring him into the game offensively, they’ll be very difficult to stop.
Michael D’Amelio is another one Victoria will be looking to bring into the game. He shoots the ball extremely well and if they can get him some open looks, opposition defenders will be spread extremely thin trying to lock down all of Victoria’s scoring threats.
How will teams combat Victoria in the 2014 NWBL Finals Series? Look for teams to try and limit their offensive output by keeping one of the Victorian high pointers in the back court. Josh Allison and Damon Fent and will be working overtime helping guys up and down the floor and their ability to do so will have a huge impact on where Victoria finish the 2014 season.
Written by Joel Mackenzie