Bendigo Lady Braves and Brisbane Lady Spartans go head-to-head in our game of the week, plus we preview every match.
Game of The Week – Bendigo v Brisbane
Friday 14th August- 6:00pm @ Bendigo Stadium
Both teams are chasing second place in their respective conferences with the Bendigo Lady Braves possibly jumping up from fourth in the South Conference with a win while the Brisbane Lady Spartans can move up from third if results fall their way in the East.
The Lady Braves are peaking at the perfect time of the season, winning seven straight games after defeating Frankston last round. The addition of Elyse Penaluna (28 points and 25 rebounds) has completely turned around their Grand Final hopes while Stacia Robertson (eight points, five offensive boards) and Kerryn Harrington (13 points) continue to perform.
Brisbane sent a statement to the East Conference last weekend, beating second-placed Geelong by nine points. They forced 21 turnovers while four players reached double-figures, a team game reminiscent of their 2014 Championship winning form.
With favourable head-to-head results against both Launceston and Hobart, a win to the Lady Braves will give them every opportunity of snatching a double chance in the finals.
A sweep of the round will dramatically increase the Lady Spartans’ chances of a top two finish but as they own the margin against Geelong (by just a point), one win for the weekend could be enough. With a significant height advantage over any Brisbane player, Penaluna looms as the major road block for the visitors though.
Prediction: Bendigo by 8
Friday 14th August –
Hobart v Frankston
Failures against fellow finalists Bendigo and Kilsyth in consecutive weeks has been poor preparation for Hobart and a third straight loss could see them drop to fourth spot in the South. Frankston’s four-game winning streak came to an end last round but they should give the Lady Chargers more of a fight than their 13-point defeat from a month ago.
Geelong v Kilsyth
Although these sides sit second in the East Conference and first in the South respectively, both teams had a loss last weekend. For Geelong, it was their fourth defeat in five games and they will also have to contend with their 18-point loss from Round 4 when five Lady Cobras scored 15+ points. A repeat performance will see the visitors wrap up top spot.
Saturday 15th August –
Canberra v Geelong
The Capitals will have benefited from the bye last weekend, giving them 14 days rest in between games while Geelong will travel interstate within 24 hours after playing the night before. The Lady Supercats must rely on Brisbane losing at least one game to ensure second place in the East but can make the equation simpler with a sweep of the round.
Dandenong v Brisbane
The Rangers wrapped up first place in the East weeks ago but that has not stopped them winning, taking their streak to six with a 30-point smashing of Albury-Wodonga last round. Brisbane fell by 13 points in Round 10 to Dandenong when Jacinta Kennedy (17 points, 15 rebounds) attacked their smaller front court.
Kilsyth v Ballarat
Playing in Round 3 against Ballarat, her old club, Steph Cumming had a game-high 26 points as Kilsyth cruised to a 43-point victory. The Rush have improved since then as evidenced by their win over Nunawading last round and another surprise victory could place them just two games outside the top four after starting the year 1-11.
Albury-Wodonga v Nunawading
Nunawading will be looking to arrest their three-game losing streak and take some momentum into the finals but Albury-Wodonga will also be desperate to end their season on a high note after dropping nine consecutive matches. Kate Oliver’s superb recent form has seen her average 21 points and 8.4 rebounds in her past five games, pitting her in a critical contest with Kristina Baltic (16 and 15 in her past five).
Launceston v Frankston
Despite their 5-4 road record this season, Frankston will be hard-pressed to become just the second team to sweep the Tasmanian road trip as Launceston must win to have any shot at finishing in first place. The Tornadoes have a positive head-to-head record against all three fellow playoff sides and could set themselves up for a run to the Championship if they earn a double-chance.
Sunday 16th August –
Sandringham v Dandenong
The regular season concludes with a chance for Sandringham to record their first win streak of the year after they beat Albury-Wodonga last round. A rolled ankle to Brittany Smart is a concern but even if she makes the game, her clash with Aimie Clydesdale and Amelia Todhunter will not be easy after Clydesdale doubled Smart’s point total in their Round 6 meeting.