The 2015/16 Wattle Valley WNBL tips off on October 9 with an incredible two-day opening round of competition setting the scene for a huge season of Australian women’s basketball.
Basketball Australia’s General Manager of WNBL & Competitions Paul Maley said that clubs and fans alike will benefit from a Wattle Valley WNBL fixture that is commercially-focused.
“The fixture for the Wattle Valley WNBL 2015-16 season is really exciting,” he said. “We worked hard to achieve an equitable schedule for all teams whilst striking a balance between easing travel burdens on the players with maximising crowd attendances for each club. We feel like we have done that and there are some great initiatives that have come from the clubs, like the New Year’s Eve clash in Perth between the Perth Lynx and JCU Townsville Fire. It’s going to be a great season.”
A total of 108 games will be played across the regular season across the 18 rounds, with two teams – SEQ Stars and Perth Lynx – joining what is already recognised as a top-tier competition worldwide.
“I’m very excited about the schedule,” said SEQ Stars’ head coach, Shane Heal. “We are proud to offer all SEQ Stars fans games on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with no game conflicting with the junior representative games in south-eastern Queensland. We will have some themed games that include Friday the 13th, Valentine’s Day and also Australia Day for our fans.
“I feel like we have put together a very good team in our first year that can make the playoffs and compete with the best teams in the league immediately,” Heal continued.
“We can’t wait to take on Townsville as the league Champions and we know this will become an immediate rivalry because they have what we want; we are not shying away from that. It will also be a great test in our first game at home against Bendigo who have played in three-straight Grand Finals, winning two.”
Meantime, Perth Lynx head coach, Andy Stewart said distance won’t prove to be a hurdle for his team.
“While we face some challenging road trips in 2015/16, we look forward to turning our home games at the Bendat Basketball Centre into a cauldron for opposition teams and an exciting family-friendly environment for our fans.
“We can’t wait to begin our journey as the new-look Perth Lynx.”
Two bye rounds have been scheduled, the first over the Christmas weekend and the second mid-January when many of the Wattle Valley WNBL stars are on Jayco Australian Opals’ duty at the Rio test event.
As previously announced, the finals series will get an added boost with the winner of the Wattle Valley WNBL Championship will be decided in a best of three series, changing from a one-off game. The Wattle Valley WNBL Championship Finals Series begins March 12 with game two schedules for March 18. A third game if necessary will be played with a 48-hour turnaround on March 20.
SEQ Stars have the honour of getting the season underway with the opening game tipping off against 2014/15 runner-up Bendigo Spirit on Friday, October 9.
The following day, fellow new-comers Perth Lynx will hope to begin their season with a win over Brydens Sydney Uni Flames.
Reigning Wattle Valley WNBL Champions, JCU Townsville Fire will then face a grand final rematch against Bendigo Spirit who will hope to close out their tough Queensland road trip with an away victory.
Other talking points throughout the season include:
In Round 2, MAC Adelaide Lightning have their first game under their new licence against Brydens Sydney Uni Flames on Saturday, October 17.
The first game of the Michelle Timms Cup – the annual battle against Victorian rivals Jayco Dandenong Rangers and Deakin Melbourne Boomers that’s now in its 11th year – will be played on Saturday, November 7.
Deakin Melbourne Boomers’ Coach Guy Molloy said the Round 5 match-up looms as just the start of two particularly exciting weeks for his team.
“Although as coaches we never look past the next game, I particularly noted in my calendar the Round 5 clash with our crosstown rivals the Dandenong Rangers, followed by a chance to take on the reigning premiers the following week in Townsville when they host their Heritage Round,” he said.
New Adelaide Lightning-recruit, Leilani Mitchell, fresh from another outstanding season in the WNBA for Phoenix Mercury, will face-off against her former team, Brydens Sydney Uni Flames on Friday, November 13 with both outfits looking to overcome any superstitious hoodoos.
In Round 10, the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames will close out their tenure at the Qantas Area against JCU Townsville Fire in a must-see double-header with Sydney Kings on Sunday, December 13.
Perth Lynx fans can farewell 2015 in what is sure to be an exciting clash against JCU Townsville Fire on New Year’s Eve at Bendat Basketball Centre.
“I’m looking forward to the 2015-16 Wattle Valley WNBL Season with eager anticipation, especially given the influx of talent, changing line-ups and quite a few new coaches in the league. All of this growth and change gives the league and the fixture so much excitement and anticipation,” concluded Molloy.
The full schedule can be found here.
The schedule for MAC Adelaide Lightning can be found here.
The schedule for Bendigo Spirit can be found here.
The schedule for UC Capitals can be found here.
The schedule for Jayco Dandenong Rangers can be found here.
The schedule for Deakin Melbourne Boomers can be found here.
The schedule for Perth Lynx can be found here.
The schedule for SEQ Stars can be found here.
The schedule for Sydney Uni Flames can be found here.
The schedule for JCU Townsville Fire can be found here.