By Grant Richardson
Game of The Week – Geelong v Bendigo
Saturday 11th July- 6:00pm @ The Geelong Arena
Playing the second game of a back-to-back, travel time could be an issue for the Bendigo Lady Braves as they visit the Geelong Lady Supercats, who will have had a three day break after their mid-week clash with Ballarat.
Sitting second in the East Conference, the Lady Supercats have won five straight games and is the only unbeaten team in the league at home. Their average winning margin at The Geelong Arena is 13 points but they will be playing without their leading scorer and rebounder in Sara Blicavs, who is overseas at the World University Games.
Bendigo did what they needed to against Sandringham last weekend, winning by 12 points to stay fourth in the South Conference. A move up the ladder looks difficult with a four game differential between third and fourth place but they must keep winning to hold off Frankston.
When they met in Round 7, the Lady Braves were four-point victors on the back of 25 points and nine rebounds from Stacia Robertson. With Blicavs absent, she could again feast under the rim but Tayla Roberts stands in her way.
In the back court battle, Alex Duck and Courtney Williamson could have the speed advantage but the experience of Kelly Wilson and Kerryn Harrington will make up for the loss of Tessa Lavey who is also at the World Uni Games.
Prediction: Geelong by 6
Friday 10th July –
Canberra v Sandringham
Although Canberra has won just three games for the year, one of those victories came against Sandringham in Round 5. They didn’t lose a quarter in that contest, winning by 17 points as Steph Talbot recorded 33 points and 17 rebounds but on World Uni Games commitments, she will be unavailable this weekend. The Sabres could take advantage in the front court as they attempt to end their 11-game losing streak but Alice Kunek will also be travelling with Talbot.
Bendigo v Launceston
Despite this being a battle between third and fourth in the South Conference, Launceston is four wins above the Lady Braves. Their ten-game winning streak was ended by Geelong last weekend, the day after they overcame Hobart but they were admirable in defeat without Emilee Harmon. Bendigo will also be missing a key piece in Tessa Lavey but of more concern is their 1-5 record against South Conference rivals.
Frankston v Hobart
The Lady Blues missed an opportunity to stay in touch with the South Conference top four with a loss to Nunawading last round. They are now three games off fourth place and will play this week without Maddie Garrick. The Lady Chargers bounced back from a Launceston defeat with a win against Ballarat and could take top spot with a successful weekend.
Albury-Wodonga v Brisbane
Putting an end to an eight-game losing streak which included a 49-point loss to Dandenong the night before, Albury-Wodonga beat Canberra by six points on the back of Kristina Baltic’s 12 points, 12 rebounds (seven offensive) and seven assists. Brisbane were 23-point victors when these sides met in Round 8 and will have had a 12 day break after not playing last round.
Saturday 11th July –
Dandenong v Launceston
The Tornadoes will be looking to recreate their effort from a fortnight ago, when they defeated Dandenong by eight points. The Rangers are 6-1 at home but with Aimie Clydesdale on World Uni Games commitments, Lauren Mansfield could take advantage in the back court as Mikaela Ruef and Alex Wilson battle with Jacinta Kennedy and Faith Probst under the rim.
Nunawading v Hobart
Ending a three-game skid, Nunawading held onto third spot in the East Conference with a win over Frankston last weekend. They own the best three-point defence in the league, allowing teams to shoot 24% but Hobart are the second best long-range shooting side with Kathleen Scheer (40%), Klara Wischer (39%) and Amy Kame (33) all capable.
Kilsyth v Brisbane
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Lady Spartans will visit Kilsyth who overpowered Sandringham last weekend. With Hobart threatening their top spot, the Lady Cobras will be intent on once again gaining some breathing room in the South Conference and their 17-point average winning margin at home will give them confidence. Brisbane look to have secured a finals spot but could still overtake Nunawading for a home final.