WNBL Round 10 Preview
Thursday December 7, 2006
From Geelong to Perth, there’s six scintillating women’s basketball games across Australia in store this weekend as we enter Round 10 of the WNBL season.
Bulleen vs Canberra: Geelong Arena, Thursday 8pm
ABC Game of the Week: Broadcast on ABC2 from 8pm AEDT Friday, replayed on regular ABC-TV at 4pm on Saturday and again on ABC2 at 12:30pm on Sunday.
The WNBL goes regional to Geelong tonight in a crucial match for the 7-and-5 Boomers, who defeated Adelaide in Round 2 but have not beaten a team in the top four since.
Canberra (9-2) comfortably defeated Townsville last weekend and with the expected return of US import Jackie Stiles they will take the court at full strength in the first game of their Victorian double-header.
Canberra’s defensive strength is well noted - they concede a league-low 64 points per game - so Bulleen will need an increased offensive output from Sharin Milner (pictured)(14.3 ppg), Desiree Glaubitz (11.3 ppg) and Deanne Butler (10.2 ppg) to accompany world champion Opal Hollie Grima, who ranks second in scoring in the league at 18.9 points per game.
Jess Bibby (17.5 ppg) and Nivea Player of the Week for Round 9 Tracey Beatty (13.3 ppg) pose the biggest threat for the Boomers defence, while the tenacious Tully Bevilaqua and captain Kellie Abrams will form the core of Canberra’s formidable defence.
Sharin Milner needs seven assists for 500 with Bulleen.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Canberra 64 def Bulleen 62 in Canberra (Round 3).
Adelaide vs AIS: Distinctive Homes Dome, Friday 7:30pm
Adelaide (9-2) is undefeated at home this season and has beaten every team in the competition so far, excluding the AIS (1-9) who they are yet to meet.
With their recent good form and a formidable starting five of world champion Opal Erin Phillips (pictured), Sam Woosnam, Tracey Gahan, Lauren King and Jess Foley (US import Kristen Rasmussen is still injured), Adelaide strike fear into most opponents and should prove too strong for the young AIS.
In addition, the AIS have not beaten Adelaide in Adelaide since December 1998.
Adelaide leads the league in rebounding and has five players averaging double figures, while Cayla Francis has been the standout performer for the AIS this season, averaging 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Lightning captain Sam Woosnam needs 6 points for 1000 WNBL points.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Yet to play each other this season.
Dandenong vs Canberra: Dandenong Basketball Stadium, Saturday 7pm
The Capitals (9-2) smashed a depleted Dandenong side 77-46 in a grand final replay back in Round 1, but the Rangers are the only team in the competition that hold an overall head-to-head lead over Canberra, 23-18. The Rangers also hold a 12-10 head-to-head lead against Canberra in games played in Dandenong.
With several key players returning for the Rangers, the result here should be much different to the Round 1 result. Dandenong are desperate to stay in touch with the top four while Canberra will look to maintain their spot on the competition table.
Jenna O’Hea leads the league in points per game with 19.7 and is the team’s key rebounder along with world champion Opal Emily McInerny. But O’Hea has spent the week competing for Caulfield Grammar at the National Schools competition in Geelong, so coach Gary Fox will need to manage her court time.
The game will mark Jess Bibby’s first return to Dandenong after she departed the Rangers at the end of last season, while former Capitals captain Eleanor Sharp will act as assistant coach to Carrie Graf.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Canberra 77 def Dandenong 46 in Canberra (Round 1).
Perth vs AIS: Perry Lakes Stadium, Saturday 7pm
In a game that may well decide this year’s wooden spoon, both teams come into the clash on a 9-game losing streak.
Perth’s only win this season was against the AIS in Round 3, but they have come close to a second win several times.
The AIS, in comparison, have been blown off the court in their recent matches, so the opening stanza could well decide the match.
The AIS will back up from a game against league leader Adelaide, while Perth will have had six full days to prepare for the game.
After a quiet start, Crista Hays has been posting impressive figures for Perth and has formed a strong combination with forward Carly Wilson (pictured), who averages 18.8 points and seven rebounds per game as Perth’s most consistent player.
This game looms as the AIS’s best chance to register their second win of the 06/07 season. They last won in Perth in January 2006.
Carly Wilson needs 22 points for 2000 WNBL career points.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Perth 76 def AIS 58 in Canberra (Round 3).
Sydney Uni vs Townsville: Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre, Saturday 7pm
Head-to-head this season the ledger sits at one apiece and, interestingly, each team’s win has come at the others home ground – Sydney Uni won 82-73 in Round 1 at SeaFM Stadium and Townsville won 92-90 in Round 5 at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic centre.
Both teams will have had a full week to prepare for the clash but Townsville may have a late psychological edge after the late return of their key forward Rohanee Cox (17.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game), who was initially expected to miss games for an extended period due to an illness of a family member.
Despite Cox’s inclusion, Townsville will need Jennifer Crouse (pictured) (9.0 ppg), Tania Heritage (9.0 ppg) and Claudia Brassard (7.0 ppg) to step up and reduce the scoring pressure placed on Cox and the Fire’s 19-year-old star guard Renae Camino.
The Fire’s defence will be stretched by Sydney Uni, who lead the league in points per game at 84 and have seven players who average in double figures. Townsville will need, at the very least, to win the defensive rebounding battle if they are to improve on their uninspiring win loss record.
This will be Tania Heritage’s 100th game for Townsville.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Townsville 92 def Sydney Uni 90 in Sydney (Round 5).
Bulleen vs Dandenong: Veneto Club, Sunday 4pm (Local derby)
Both sides will play their second game of the round in this clash and with Dandenong on the cusp of the top four a W here could make or break their season.
Dandenong have dominated the Victorian local derby over recent years and hold a 28-12 head-to-head lead overall and a 12-7 lead in games played in Bulleen.
The league’s top two point scorers per game – Jenna O’Hea (19.7) and Hollie Grima (18.9) will be focal points of their team’s offences.
Dandenong sit last in the league for total rebounds per game and their rebounding capabilities will be put under the blow torch with the likes of Grima, Karen Ashby and Desiree Glaubitz suiting up for Bulleen.
However, the Rangers can pile on the points at a rapid rate so the Boomers must contain O’Hea, co-captain Caitlin Ryan (13.7 ppg) and Larissa Cavanagh (12.9 ppg).
A pleasing statistic for Boomers coach Cheryl Chambers is the fact that her team commits the least turnovers per game in the league.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Dandenong 78 def Bulleen 70 in Dandenong (Round 5).
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