Nunawading Spectres and Dandenong Rangers go head-to-head in our game of the week, plus we preview every match.
By Grant Richardson
Game of The Week – Nunawading v Dandenong
Saturday 18th July- 5:45pm @ Nunawading Stadium
First place visits third in the East Conference. The Nunawading Spectres are trying to regain their form while Dandenong continue to cruise, opening up a three game lead on top of the ladder.
Nunawading is 1-4 in their past five games, falling to Hobart by 11 points last week. Nicole Romeo is beginning to find her range, hitting 8-15 from the three-point line in her last two matches while Carly Wilson has been a solid addition, averaging ten points and four rebounds.
However, an average of 17 turnovers per game has been the catalyst for their losses and the most immediate area of concern for the Spectres.
Dandenong was very strong against Launceston last round, holding them to 54 points while winning by 18. They will also take confidence from their 17-point victory over Nunawading earlier in the year, when Jacinta Kennedy owned the paint with 21 points and 11 rebounds- seven offensive.
The Spectres’ line-up has changed significantly since that clash but Kennedy remains a concern alongside Clare Papavs with Wilson and Lucy Dawson likely tasked with keeping them off the boards. Point guards Aimie Clydesdale and Nicole Romeo could also have a game-defining battle in the back court if the Dandenong star returns in time from her World University Games commitments.
The stakes will be high for the home side as a loss could put an end to their top two chances but Dandenong are 6-2 on the road and are yet to lose to a conference rival in 2015.
Prediction: Dandenong by 8
Friday 17th July –
Hobart v Bendigo
Winning all but one quarter in games against Nunawading and Frankston last weekend, Hobart took their road record to 7-2. They will now play four of their final six games at home as they look to secure top spot in the South Conference. Bendigo, sitting fourth, fell just short of Launceston in Round 13 but their win over Geelong has given them a three-game buffer from Frankston who are their only threat in the finals race.
Frankston v Albury-Wodonga
Although the Lady Bandits could not string together their first win streak of the season last weekend, their five-point loss to Brisbane contained positive signs. They scored their second highest total of the year while Ashton Eaton’s 20 points was a season high. Frankston has won just one of their past four and will be looking to Kelly Bowen and Emily Fryters to contain Kristina Baltic and Alison Bouman who both had double-doubles last round.
Saturday 11th July –
Sandringham v Frankston
In a battle of fifth vs. sixth in the South Conference, Sandringham would see this as a real opportunity to end their 12-game losing streak but they did fall to Frankston by 28 in Round 11. The Lady Blues won every quarter in that contest and shot 51% with Kate Gaze and Bowen combining for 54 points. Brittany Smart missed the match though and the Sabres average 12 more points when she plays.
Canberra v Brisbane
Brisbane is hanging on to fourth spot in the East Conference after being overrun by Kilsyth last weekend before just escaping Albury-Wodonga. Even with seven players, Canberra got the job done against Sandringham with Kristen Langhorn (26 points and 10 rebounds) and Julie Forster (25 and 14) starring. Their domination in the front court will test the likes of Odette Andrew and Holly Smith.
Albury-Wodonga v Kilsyth
Kilsyth continue to nip at the heels of first placed Hobart in the South Conference, winning their past three games. They breezed past the Lady Bandits by 24 points in Round 11, with Chantella Perera collecting 30 points, four assists and six steals. Albury-Wodonga will also have to overcome their 1-3 record on the second game of back-to-backs where their average losing margin is 17 points.
Launceston v Bendigo
Playing each other for the second time in as many rounds, Launceston would be looking for a second straight win to own the psychological advantage over Bendigo should they meet again in the playoffs. The Lady Braves shot a dismal 1-16 in the opening quarter last weekend to trail by 25 points but they fought back to only fall by six. Kelly Wilson controlled the back court with 29 points but Mikaela Ruef (18 and 20 rebounds) is the main obstacle for the visitors.