SEASON PREVIEW: BE ACTIVE WESTERN STARS
BE ACTIVE WESTERN STARS
Last Year: 15 wins, 1 loss- Champions
Roster: Amber Merritt, Natalie Alexander, Anneka Bodt, Mary Friday, Chihiro Kitada, Sarah Vinci, Jocelyn Neumueller, Jonelle Morley.
On the opening night of the season, the Stars host the newest team in the league, the Heelers. They then face a double-header the following day, including a gold medal re-match between them and the Blues, but a bye in Round 2 gives them the opportunity to heal their tired bodies after the first weekend.
The frontrunners for the Championship as we head into 2017, the Stars have welcomed back last year’s 1-point MVP in Sarah Vinci as well as import Chihiro Kitada and 4-point MVP Amber Merritt as their main offensive weapons. Vinci showed her worth at both ends of the floor in the 2016 Grand Final, recording three steals, while Merritt was the competition’s best scorer with 30.4 points per game (ten more than any other player) to go with 11.5 rebounds per game (third in the league). Georgia Inglis is a loss and will hurt the Stars’ ability to impact the boards while Merritt and Kitada benefited greatly from her ability to distribute the ball. They will need to find a similar playmaker if they want to keep up their almost perfect record from 2016.
One To Watch:
Chihiro Kitada. A big coup for the Stars is the return of import Kitada who impressed in her ability to not only score and rebound (averaging a double-double of 20.2 points and 11.7 boards per game) but also in her ability to play alongside Merritt. As a serious offensive weapon, she opens up the floor further for Merritt with defenders having to acknowledge both of their shots while their combination on the glass has the ability to make their club the best rebounding team in the league once again.