ROUND 2 PREVIEW
Preview Round 2 of the 2018 season, headlined by a Grand Final re-match between the Blues and Flames.
Sydney Metro Blues v Sydney Uni Flames- Friday 13th April @6pm
Sydney Metro Blues v Sydney Uni Flames- Saturday 14th April @6pm
Sydney Uni Flames v Sydney Metro Blues- Sunday 15th April @10am
A re-match of last year’s Grand Final will have a different tone to it this weekend with both teams aiming to string some wins together after struggling slightly through Round 1.
The defending Champions own a 2-2 record after wins against the Comets and Lady Heelers surrounded defeats at the hands of the Cobras and the Stars.
Georgia Munro-Cook paced them with a double-double average of 22.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game while Kylie Gauci brought her team mates into the contest with an average of 6.8 assists. The Blues played with only six members though and Maryanne Latu was absent for one of the games so they will be desperate to get some stocks in to boost them in the coming weeks.
Courtney Ryan was one player who was absent and she will provide an offensive punch after averaging 14.1 points per game last season but without her, Sydney Metro can becoming one-dimensional at the offensive end while they also owned the worst defence in the league through Round 1.
The Flames will be looking to exploit that in their first chance for revenge since last year’s Grand Final loss but they had similar concerns through the opening weekend with just six players hitting the scoreboard as well.
Liesl Tesch and Hannah Dodd were impressive though while Brodie Palmer looks capable of leading them in 2018 with 10.3 points and 12.3 rebounds across four games. Her clash with Munro-Cook in the paint will be a key battle but if the likes of Tracey Carruthers and Stephanie van Leeuwen can exploit Sydney Metro’s leaky defence, they should be able to improve on their current 1-3 record.
This weekend will also be the last time Sydney Uni hit the court until Round 6 in mid-June so they will be keen to carry some momentum into the break.
Be Active Western Stars v Red Dust Heelers- Friday 13th April @6pm
Red Dust Lady Heelers v Be Active Western Stars- Saturday 14th April @6pm
Red Dust Lady Heelers v Be Active Western Stars- Sunday 15th April @9am
The WNWBL heads west for the first time in season 2018 with the Stars to host the Friday night clash before the series turns to the Lady Heelers for Saturday and Sunday.
While it is a top vs. bottom clash on the ladder, Red Dust only sit last with five points overall due to a forfeit win over Kilsyth. They own a 2-2 record so the Stars cannot take them easy this weekend after the Lady Heelers got the better of Queensland a fortnight ago.
The addition of Shelley Chaplin this season has already paid dividends for Red Dust and she did a bit of everything in Round 1 including averaging double-figures in scoring alongside Clare Nott while Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy also impressed. They need to find a few more avenues to the basket to become a serious threat but their main concern regards restricting their opponents from totaling a winning score.
The Stars won all four games through Round 1 with an average margin of 36.3 points and the combination of Amber Merritt and Chihiro Kitada were once again very damaging.
Slowing them down on the scoreboard is a tough enough ask for the Lady Heelers but they also need to be wary of their passing ability with Sarah Vinci and Georgia Inglis also dangerous offensively. It will take a true team effort from Red Dust to shut down the Stars’ range of weapons.
Kilsyth Cobras v Queensland Comets- Friday 13th April @6pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Queensland Comets- Saturday 14th April @3.30pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Queensland Comets- Sunday 15th April @10am
Personnel issues plagued Kilsyth through Round 1 but they fought through the adversity to claim two impressive victories over Sydney Metro and Sydney Uni and they now get to play their first home games of 2018 which should provide the team another lift.
Queensland suffered through a tough opening weekend but finished on a high note with a six-point victory over the Flames and they will use that performance as a building block heading into Round 2.
Cobi Crispin’s move to the Comets saw her lead the team for points, rebounds and assists a fortnight ago but she needs more help at both ends of the floor with her side giving up the second most amount of points overall.
She will take on fellow Australian Glider Leanne Del Toso in a battle on the scoreboard and in the paint but the Cobras will be helped by the performance of 2017 Best New Talent award winner, Teisha Shadwell who averaged 13 points and 11.8 boards in Round 1.
With Jamie Villalon and Isabel Martin also helping to crash the glass, Queensland could struggle to secure the rebounds and that will enable the Cobras to control the tempo of their three meetings.