SEABL Women- Finals Week 1

SEABL Women- Finals Week 1

Take an in-depth look into all four Semi's in Week 1 of the SEABL women's finals.

By Grant Richardson

EAST CONFERENCE SEMI-FINAL 1

Dandenong Rangers (19-3) v Geelong Lady Supercats (13-9), Dandenong Stadium, 5.30pm Saturday, August 22

Form

The Rangers could not have asked for a better run to the playoffs, finishing six wins clear of their nearest rival while winning their past eight games. They own a daunting 10-1 record at home, having not lost there since May and are unbeaten against the East Conference with a 12-0 record.

Geelong were victorious against Canberra in their final game of the regular season but they have won just two of their past seven. They also fell in both previous meetings with Dandenong including a 59-96 smashing in Round 15, less than a month ago.

Key Stat

With the best shooting percentage in the league (46%), Dandenong are also the highest scoring team this season with 83.8 points per game compared to Geelong’s 74.6. In their two meetings this season, the Rangers have eclipsed their average total while shooting 50% from the field.

X-Factor

Dandenong: Jacinta Kennedy has always been a solid contributor in her SEABL career but she has taken her game to another level this season with 19 points and nine rebounds per game. She has recorded ten double-doubles for the year and torched the Lady Supercats in Round 5 with 31 points on 14-21 shooting while helping the Rangers win the rebound battle in both clashes.

Geelong: Having toured Europe with the Opals and recently defeating New Zealand in the Oceania Championships, Sara Blicavs will be riding high on that international experience. If she returns in time to play for Geelong this weekend, the Lady Supercats’ chances will dramatically improve as they are 8-3 with her on the court and 5-6 without her.

Key Match ups

Amelia Todhunter vs. Cortney Williamson

Battling injury throughout the year, Todhunter has managed to play the past five games of the season after missing almost two months. Her point production is well down though, having not reached double-figures in her last four matches. Williamson is not a big scorer herself but a brilliant distributor, sitting third in the league for assists with 3.6 a game. Her speed and versatility around the court will put Todhunter’s knee to the test but the big stage will not faze Dandenong’s triple-Champion.

Previous Meetings This Year

Round 5:                                                                          Round 15:
Dandenong 85 def. Geelong 75                                  Geelong 59 def. by Dandenong 96
@ Dandenong                                                                @ Geelong

Overall:

The return of Blicavs will drastically help Geelong’s chances as she provides a willing contest in the front court for the likes of Kennedy and Clare Papavs. In the previous clash that she missed, Dandenong won the rebound count by 16 but no matter the line-up that the Lady Supercats provide, the home court advantage for the Rangers should be too much.

Prediction: Dandenong by 10.

 

 Leaders Points Rebounds Assists
DAN Kennedy 19.1 Kennedy 9.0 Todhunter 2.9
GEE Blicavs 19.9 Blicavs 11.2 Williamson 3.6

 

EAST CONFERENCE SEMI-FINAL 2

Brisbane Lady Spartans (11-11) v Nunawading Spectres (10-12), Carina Stadium, 7.00pm Saturday, August 22

Form

In a battle against Nunawading for third and fourth spot throughout the year, Brisbane grabbed a home final late in the season despite dropping their last two games. A strong win over Geelong in Round 17 secured the placing but they have been unable to recapture the form that saw them win the 2014 Championship.

The Spectres owned a 4-1 record before losing their star point guard, Bec Cole, to an ACL injury and have struggled for consistency since then, winning just one of their past four games. They did beat Brisbane in Brisbane by 25 points in Round 5 but Cole played that match and scored a game-high 18 points.

Key Stat

The Lady Spartans are the worst rebounding team in the league, averaging 31.7 per game compared to Nunawading’s 35.8. They have won the count just twice all season although both times resulted in victories so the likes of Emma McDonald and Holly Smith must try to at least break even in the battle on the glass.

X-Factor

Brisbane: The visitors own the second best three-point defence in the league but that will not stop Sarah Graham, who averages almost six long range attempts per game. She is hitting those shots at 35% but has managed just 2-9 in her two clashes with Nunawading. If she finds her stroke, Brisbane should put together a total that is out of reach of the Spectres.

Nunawading: Nicole Romeo’s production has dropped after she was one of the premier scorers of the past few seasons but she has sacrificed points for a well-rounded game, combining 14 points with 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. She still has the ability to explode at the offensive end though, with Nunawading owning a 3-0 record when she scores 20+.

Key Match ups

Holly Smith vs. Kate Oliver

With a six centimetre advantage over any Brisbane player, Oliver should dominate the boards against the worst rebounding team in the league. Controlling the paint should see Nunawading manage the pace of the match but Oliver has averaged just 3.5 rebounds in games against the Lady Spartans so far this season.

Previous Meetings This Year

Round 5:                                                                          Round 11:
Brisbane 48 def. by Nunawading 73                          Nunawading 50 def. by Brisbane 53
@ Brisbane                                                                     @ Nunawading

Overall:

The trademark of Brisbane’s Championship winning season in 2014 was their range of scorers and although their depth is not as prominent this year, it should be enough to overcome the depleted Spectres. Expect a low-scoring affair with Romeo and Oliver needing to be at their efficient best to carry Nunawading over the line.

Prediction: Brisbane by 6

 

  Points Rebounds Assists
BRI Andrew 15.1 McDonald 4.9 Graham 2.3
NUN Oliver 15.5 Oliver 5.8 Romeo 3.3

 

SOUTH CONFERENCE SEMI-FINAL 1

Kilsyth Lady Cobras (17-5) v Bendigo Lady Braves (15-7), Kilsyth Sports Centre, 7.30pm Saturday, August 22

Form

Dropping two of their last five games tarnished the Lady Cobras’ record slightly as they were made to fight until the final round to secure top spot. They own a 9-2 record at home with an average winning margin of 15 points but Bendigo did overcome them in their own arena just three weeks ago.

Coming into the playoffs with the best recent record of any team, Bendigo has won eight straight games to storm into second place and earn a double-chance. Their 9-2 road record is the equal-best in the league and they should have Tessa Lavey and Kelly Wilson returning from Opals duty to combine with fellow national player, Elyse Penaluna.

Key Stat

Kilsyth have dropped just three matches to conference rivals this season but all three defeats came at the hands of fellow finalists Launceston and Bendigo. With no easy matches for the rest of the season, the home side will have to quickly regain their consistency against quality opposition.

X-Factor

Kilsyth: A SEABL stalwart since 2004, Sarah Parsons does not get the accolades she deserves after a 250+ game career. As a 174cm small forward, she can play competitively in the back or front court and her superb ability to read the play has seen her record 13 double-doubles and one triple-double (14 points, 12 rebounds, ten assists) this year. Her all-round game has been on show against Bendigo, averaging 15.5 points, 9.5 boards, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and a block.

Bendigo: Joining the Lady Braves mid-season after a stint with the Centre of Excellence, Elyse Penaluna has taken advantage of some time with the Australian Opals to hone her game. She is on a streak of six straight double-doubles (at an average of 23.6 points and 14 boards) while her presence helped the Lady Braves get over the line in the team’s second meeting.

Key Match ups

Steph Cumming vs. Kerryn Harrington

Usually getting the toughest defensive job for Bendigo, Harrington will look to contain the league’s third best scorer in Cumming. The Kilsyth shooting guard has averaged 17 points against the Lady Braves but has shot just 39%, down from her season average of 48%. If Harrington can affect her rhythm in similar fashion, the visitors should be able to keep the Lady Cobras to a manageable total.

Previous Meetings This Year

Round 5:                                                                          Round 16:
Bendigo 70 def. by Kilsyth 105                                    Kilsyth 63 def. by Bendigo 64
@ Bendigo                                                                      @ Kilsyth

Overall:

Kilsyth have a vast range of scorers with four players averaging 12+ points per game but this match hinges on the return of Tessa Lavey. After controlling the pace of both Oceania Championship matches at the point guard position, Lavey’s combination with Penaluna will provide a headache for the home side which could be too much to overcome.

Prediction: Bendigo by 2.

 

  Points Rebounds Assists
KIL Cumming 21.1 Parsons 9.5 Parsons 5.2
BEN Penaluna 21.1 Penaluna 12.3 Wilson 6.2

 

SOUTH CONFERENCE SEMI-FINAL 2

Hobart Lady Chargers (15-7) v Launceston Tornadoes (14-8), Hobart Netball and Sports Centre, 7.30pm Friday, August 21

Form

With top spot on the line prior to Round 17, Hobart lost their last three games of the regular season and just managed to hang on to a home final. They have not beaten Launceston this year, scoring 15 less per game against them than their season average of 74.

The Tornadoes also missed an opportunity to grab a double-chance with three defeats from their past five games while they now have to travel after a loss to Frankston in Round 18. They should not fear being away from home though, as their 7-4 road record is just as good as their 7-4 home record.

Key Stat

Although these sides boast possibly the two most impressive front courts in the league, Hobart’s influence at the defensive end is far more prominent than Launceston’s, doubling them in blocks per game. This game will be won and lost in the paint but if the Tornadoes are forced to shoot from outside, they will struggle to record a winning score.

X-Factor

Hobart: In her third season with the Lady Chargers, Kathleen Scheer has made progress through the playoffs every year. Debuting in 2013, Hobart reached the Preliminary Final before falling in the Grand Final to Brisbane last year. Increasing all her stats in 2015 (19.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists), the power forward will be looking to take the final step and carry her team to the ultimate glory.

Launceston: As none of Hobart’s true point guards are averaging more than a point per game, Lauren Mansfield should theoretically run riot for Launceston. She has scored less than ten points just once this season while averaging 16 points and 5.5 rebounds against the Lady Chargers. Her speed up and down the floor will be integral against the front-court heavy line-up of the hosts.

Key Match ups

Amy Kame vs. Alex Wilson

Wilson has scored 12 points or less just six times this season but two of those instances have come against Hobart. Kame only played in Round 5 but torched the opposition with 28 points and six rebounds. Both players are proven scoring machines and although the Tornadoes have other avenues to goal, Wilson will still need to hit the scoreboard to keep Launceston’s perfect streak against the Lady Chargers alive.

Previous Meetings This Year

Round 5:                                                                          Round 12:
Launceston 72 def. Hobart 66                                    Hobart 52 def. by Launceston 80
@ Launceston                                                                @ Hobart

Overall:

Although this clash is a Tasmanian rivalry, a home final is still an important advantage as Launceston will travel more than two hours to get to Hobart on Friday night. Their regular season wins hold them in good stead though and if they can maintain their shooting percentages from those games against the physical front court of Hobart, the Tornadoes should advance to the second week of finals for the first time in five years.

Prediction: Launceston by 4

 

  Points Rebounds Assists
HOB Scheer 19.1 Wischer 8.9 Kame 3.0
LAU Wilson 18.4 Ruef 14.7 Mansfield 3.5