ROUND 5 PREVIEW
Be Active Western Stars v Sydney Uni Flames – Friday 1st June @6pm
Be Active Western Stars v Sydney Uni Flames – Saturday 2nd June @6.30pm
For the first time since opening night, the Stars and Flames will meet this weekend in what looms as a difficult challenge for Sydney Uni as first hosts last on the ladder.
The Flames have enjoyed an extended break, returning to the court for the first time in a month and a half this round and they will be hoping that gives them an extra boost against the Stars who have featured in every round so far this year.
That lack of games has contributed to Sydney Uni sitting at the bottom of the ladder but if they can pick up a win this weekend, or potentially sweep both games, they will put pressure on the loser of the Red Dust/Kilsyth series this weekend.
The Flames will need to overcome a 38-point loss to the Stars from Round 1 though when the hosts tripled their assist tally while also finishing with a 12-3 advantage in steals.
Amber Merritt top-scored with 34 points in that clash and while she may be feeling the effects of a long week of warm-up games for the World Championships against Germany before heading over to Japan next week, her influence is still the biggest obstacle for the Flames to overcome.
Liesl Tesch and Sarah Stewart have experience on their side and will be tasked with matching Merritt on the scoreboard but the visitors still need to be wary of Chihiro Kitada as well who recorded a triple-double in their last meeting.
Red Dust Lady Heelers v Kilsyth Cobras- Saturday 2nd June @7pm
Red Dust Lady Heelers v Kilsyth Cobras - Sunday 3rd June @9am
With only four games remaining in the regular season for the Lady Heelers and Cobras after this round, the loser of the series will find it very difficult to reach the 2018 playoffs while the winner will keep their grasp on fourth place.
Red Dust only have two wins for the season but one of those came against the Cobras on opening night when Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy and Shelley Chaplin each recorded double-doubles in a 45-36 victory.
Chaplin will be in a similar situation to a couple of other players this weekend as they prepare for an overseas trip to Japan next week right after a six-game series against Germany on home soil but the Lady Heelers will need her to perform at both ends if they are to repeat their effort from the first meeting.
Kilsyth’s Leanne Del Toso and Bree Mellberg may also be feeling the effects of a lot of court time recently but they have a lot to play for in Round 5 as two road victories would put the Cobras right back in the playoff conversation.
If fatigue does become an issue, both teams will be looking to the likes of Taylah Parry and Teisha Shadwell to provide a boost though and their respective benches could have a big say in the outcome of these two games.