ROUND 5 PREVIEW
Friday 14th July -
Sydney Uni Flames v Minecraft Qld Comets @6pm
After almost a month since the conclusion of Round 4, the WNWBL returns for the final round of the regular season. Expect an entertaining battle with the Flames, currently sitting second, still having the chance to finish outright first while the Comets need a couple of wins to ensure they hold off Red Dust for that final playoff position.
Queensland have not been able to get past Sydney Uni in two previous meetings but they did come close in Round 3, falling by just eight points as Hannah Dodd and Annabelle Lindsay combined for 32 points to hold off Mari Amimoto’s game-high 25 points.
Be Active Western Stars v Red Dust Lady Heelers @8pm
There is little room for error for Red Dust this weekend as they likely need at least two wins to earn a finals position although the Stars have a lot to play for themselves as they can still surpass the two Sydney teams and grab first place with a successful round.
The Lady Heelers have not been able to get close to the Stars in previous meetings this year though with Amber Merritt and Chihiro Kitada owning the paint and leading their side to more than double Red Dust on the boards. Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy and Deanna Smith will look to buck that trend on Friday night.
Saturday 15th July -
Sydney Metro Blues v Minecraft Qld Comets @10am
Due to their head-to-head results against the Lady Heelers, the Comets need only two wins this weekend to officially book their finals spot so theoretically that could be achieved by Saturday morning.
It’s easier said than done though as they come up against the top two teams in the league, having lost by an average margin of 18 points against the Blues in two previous meetings. In their most recent clash, Amimoto had 20 points and 12 rebounds but Cobi Crispin and Courtney Ryan combined for 47 points and 22 boards.
Sydney Uni Flames v Be Active Western Stars @12pm
If ladder positions stay the way they are heading into Round 5, this contest will be a preview of the first final with the Flames and Stars currently sitting second and third respectively.
The Stars will back themselves to overtake Sydney Uni on the ladder, having already beaten them twice in 2017. That means they own the head-to-head should they finish on the same amount of points regardless of Saturday’s outcome but with a triple-double average against the Flames, Kitada is the player to watch in this contest.
Red Dust Lady Heelers v Minecraft Qld Comets @2pm
Backing up for their third game of the weekend and second within four hours, the Comets may be vulnerable heading into this clash and the Lady Heelers will have to take advantage, especially if they fall the night before to the Stars.
A win in this meeting for the Comets will book their place in the finals though as they could lose every other game and the Lady Heelers could win every other game and the teams would still be tied on points. They have each taken a game in the season series with Red Dust succeeding in Round 1 by 23 points before Queensland got their revenge by 15 points in Round 4 to set up a mouth-watering encounter.
Sydney Metro Blues v Be Active Western Stars @4pm
The Blues were able to restrict the influence of Merritt and Kitada in these clubs’ first meeting and take a big win before succeeding by 25 points in the second clash when Merritt missed through injury.
Both teams should be at full strength this weekend though in a battle between first and third. The likes of Sarah Vinci will be required for the Stars to garner a full team performance against Sydney Metro who have had Bridie Kean, Georgia Munro-Cook and Jess Cronje all average double-figure scoring against the visitors.
Sydney Uni Flames v Red Dust Lady Heelers @6pm
The final game of the regular season for the Lady Heelers is a tough one as they are pitted against Sydney Uni, a team they have lost to twice by an average margin of 31.
In their debut season, Red Dust have been led by O’Kelly-Kennedy and Clare Nott while Smith and Georgia Inglis have also impressed with some young guns in Taylah Parry and Tahlia Hagart gaining some valuable experience on court as well. They will continue to develop and lead the Lady Heelers into the future but the Flames should be too strong on Saturday night and secure a top-two placing.
Sunday 16th July -
Be Active Western Stars v Minecraft Qld Comets @11am
Depending on previous results, these clubs may know their final position coming into this contest but if placings are still up in the air, expect both teams to be fighting tooth and nail.
If the Stars drop all three games prior to this and the Comets claim three wins, they could move into third place and relegate the Stars to fourth with another victory. Both clubs have claimed wins in the season series with Queensland prevailing in Round 3 behind double-doubles to Amimoto and Alison Herring before the Stars bounced back the next round to win by 24 as Merritt scored 38 points and Kitada had a triple-double.
Sydney Metro Blues v Sydney Uni Flames @1pm
With Round 5 being hosted at the Sydney Uni Sports and Aquatic Centre, this weekend will be capped off by an interstate clash between the Blues and the Flames.
Sitting in the top two spots at the moment, this could be a preview of the Grand Final but if the clubs cannot move from their ladder positions by Sunday afternoon, they may play their cards close to the chest and save some strategies for the playoffs. While Sydney Metro sit a game clear of them, they have lost both games against the Flames this year so cannot afford the luxury of finishing on the same amount of points either.