By Grant Richardson
Game of The Week – Dandenong v Hobart
Sunday 24th May- 12:00pm @ Dandenong Stadium
Both sides will be on the second night of a back-to-back as the Dandenong Rangers look to increase their advantage on top of the East Conference while the Hobart Lady Chargers search for consistency.
Dandenong extended their winning streak to three last weekend with an 88-64 trouncing of Sandringham. They dominated the rebounds 47-17 while Aimie Clydesdale (32 points) and Jacinta Kennedy (25 points, 10 rebounds) combined for 24-38 shooting from the field.
Hobart recorded their best win of the season to maintain second spot in the South Conference, beating Canberra 80-60 and winning every quarter. Only five Lady Chargers’ scored but they dominated with Amy Kame (23 points, five rebounds and six assists) and Kathleen Scheer (25 points and 20 rebounds including 10 offensive boards) starring.
Alongside Klara Wischer (7.5 rebounds per game) and Kylie Mccauley (7.2), Kame and Scheer complete an intimidating front court. Dandenong’s Kennedy is the leading offensive rebounder in the league but her and Clare Papavs (7.6) will have their hands full on Sunday.
Where the home side can take advantage is with Clydesdale and Tenaya Phillips in the back court. Combined, they are averaging 28 points per game and are compensating for the loss of Amelia Todhunter with Rachel Antoniadou playing a handy role too. The likes of Emma Dennis and Gabby Mann do not need to match them in scoring but their defensive effort will have a big impact on the outcome.
The Rangers will be returning from a match in Ballarat but Hobart’s four hour trip from Albury the night before is a tougher task. Add to that an average winning margin of 18 points for Dandenong at home and the Lady Chargers will need to be at the top of their game.
Prediction: Dandenong by 6
Saturday 23rd May -
Canberra v Nunawading
Bec Cole was dealt a severe blow last weekend, suffering a season ending knee injury in a loss to Geelong so Nunawading. They will now need Nicole Romeo and Hayley Moffatt to step up in order to hold onto their top two spot in the East Conference. The playing field will be evened with Canberra missing Steph Talbot on Opals duty in Europe. She leaves a massive hole in the Capitals side, leading them in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game.
Sandringham v Brisbane
A topsy-turvy match saw Brisbane prevail over the CoE last weekend by one point. They have gone WLWLW over their past five games and will be looking for some consistency against a Sabres side that they also beat by just a point in Round 3. Sandringham were unable to win a quarter against Dandenong last week and are winless at home while they will be without Opals star Alice Kunek (17 points, seven rebounds per game).
Bendigo v Geelong
Opals duties will also affect this game as Bendigo will lose potent scorers Tessa Lavey and Kelly Wilson while Geelong will be without Sara Blicavs and possibly Rosie Fadljevic who took a nasty fall in their clash against Nunawading last week. Incredibly, the Lady Braves are undefeated on the road and winless at home but a two week break since their last game will have given them time to prepare. For Geelong, Ebony Rolph has impressed in the past two weeks and could see her role increase further without Blicavs.
Frankston v Launceston
Despite 10 more offensive rebounds and 12 more second chance points, Frankston were touched up by Kilsyth to the tune of 37 points last round. A victory would put an end to their three game losing streak and could place them in the South Conference top four but the Tornadoes have the front court talent in Mikaela Ruef and Alex Wilson to contend with Kelly Bowen and Emily Fryters. The visitors will also want to prove themselves on the road where they average almost 12 points less per game.
Albury-Wodonga v Hobart
Ashton Eaton began her career with Hobart but has been flourishing with Albury-Wodonga in 2015, improving her points, (6.3 to 8.5) rebound (2.8 to five) and assist (2 to 3.5) numbers. The Lady Bandits earned their first win last round, accounting for Ballarat. That confidence will help them as imports Kristina Baltic and Alison Bouman face Hobart’s front court stars in Kame and Scheer.
Ballarat v Dandenong
In a battle of top vs. bottom in the East Conference, Dandenong will look for a fourth straight win while the Rush would dearly love a maiden victory on the road. Clydesdale is flourishing in the absence of Amelia Todhunter and should provide a cracking contest against Abbey Wehrung who leads Ballarat with 14 points per game.
Sunday 24th May –
Kilsyth v Launceston
Kilsyth certainly look the team to beat this season, scoring 100+ for the third time in the past three weeks. Cassie Sant (shooting 63%) and Steph Cumming (52%) are deadly at the offensive end while the Lady Cobras also share the ball better than any other side, averaging 17 assists per game. They will have to be careful against the Tornadoes though who are the third best team in interceptions with eight steals a game.
Geelong v Brisbane
In this battle of third vs. fourth in the East Conference, both sides will be on the second night of a double-header. Having scored 20+ in her past two games, Alex Duck could provide a headache for Karlie Currie and Cassie Smith but Brisbane should have the advantage in the front court if Emma McDonald (23 points last week) can take advantage of Blicavs’ absence.