Take an in-depth look at both Conference Finals for the SEABL women.
EAST CONFERENCE FINAL
Dandenong Rangers (19-3) v Geelong Lady Supercats (13-9), Dandenong Stadium, 6.00pm Saturday, September 5
Dandenong trailed by two points at half-time in their Semi-Final but a dominant 28-13 third term secured the victory over Geelong. They hit 6-10 from long range with the win ensuring they will play throughout the finals at home, a distinct advantage against the Lady Supercats who will travel up the highway for the second time in three weeks.
Geelong were made to fight by a resilient Nunawading side last weekend, winning 57-53 on the back of a 15-9 final term. They were out-scored by 21 from beyond the arc but their hard-nosed defence was on display in the second term when they held the Spectres to five points on 1-17 shooting.
Across their three meetings this season, Dandenong hold a 40-32 advantage in offensive rebounds, allowing them an average of nine more shot attempts per game. The Lady Supercats will struggle to cover all of the home side’s front court threats with Faith Probst, Jacinta Kennedy and Alison Downie having all recorded 4+ offensive boards in at least one of those clashes.
Dandenong: With Amelia Todhunter having played just ten games this season, point guard Aimie Clydesdale has stepped up to improve her point average from 8.8 to 13.5 a game. Although she missed the Round 15 match-up, she has averaged 19.5 against the Supercats at 52% shooting and her recent work with the Australian Opals squad has only honed her skills. The return of Todhunter has turned the Rangers back court into one of the most dangerous in the league.
Geelong: Relatively quiet in their two regular season meetings, Tayla Roberts recorded a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds in the Semi-Final after tallying 10 and 9 in the previous two games. Her work under the rim against the likes of Kennedy will be critical to the Supercats hopes while Geelong will also rely on her for their second chance opportunities.
Key Match ups
Sara Blicavs vs. Faith Probst
Geelong’s leading scorer and rebounder, Blicavs will need to be at the top of her game if the visitors are to hand Dandenong just their second home loss of the season. 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists was a solid performance in the Semi-Final but she dominated the paint in Round 5 with 25 points and 14 boards. Probst does not need to contribute offensively and can focus on shutting down her direct opponent but even with 200+ games experience and three Championships, containing Blicavs will not be an easy task.
Previous Meetings This Year
Round 5: Round 15:
Dandenong 85 def. Geelong 75 Geelong 59 def. by Dandenong 96
@ Dandenong @ Geelong
Dandenong 78 def. Geelong 68
The home court advantage looks to be Dandenong’s greatest asset while a week’s break will also be advantageous after Geelong played a gruelling match against Nunawading in the Preliminary Final. Larissa Anderson is 3-0 in Conference Finals as head coach of the Rangers and only big games from Blicavs and Roberts will upset that record.
Prediction: Dandenong by 4.
|DAN||Kennedy 18.7||Kennedy 9.1||Todhunter 2.9|
|GEE||Blicavs 19.5||Blicavs 10.8||Duck 3.5|
SOUTH CONFERENCE FINAL
Bendigo Lady Braves (15-7) v Kilsyth Lady Cobras (14-8), Bendigo Stadium, 7.00pm Saturday, September 5
Out-scoring Kilsyth 43-23 in the second half of their Semi-Final clash, Bendigo’s back-court combination of Kelly Wilson and Tessa Lavey collected 48 points on 18-35 shooting as well as nine rebounds and nine assists. They both played almost the entire match and are unlikely to give the Lady Cobras any respite this weekend.
Maintaining their streak of not losing two consecutive matches all season, Kilsyth defeated Launceston in the Preliminary Final, 75-62. Although they fell by 16 to Bendigo the week before, 12 more offensive rebounds led to 14 more field goal attempts so if they can be more efficient at the offensive end, they have the recipe to overcome the Lady Braves.
In each of these team’s three previous meetings, the victor has asserted themselves with a dominant second-half performance. In Round 5, Kilsyth blew the match open with a 37-15 third-quarter after they led by just four at the main break. Bendigo bounced back with a 14-5 third-term in Round 16, holding the Lady Cobras to 1-17 shooting and extending a six-point lead to 15. A fortnight ago, Kilsyth took a two-point advantage into half-time but could not keep up with the visitors who shot 69% from the field in the final term to run out comfortable winners.
Bendigo: One part of Bendigo’s nationally representative back-court, Kelly Wilson has been a scoring machine all season, averaging 20 points a game. That production has increased to 23 points on 27-57 (47%) shooting against Kilsyth while averaging six assists and playing every minute in all three encounters.
Kilsyth: The second best scoring team all year, Kilsyth have averaged 22 points less than their season average in the past two games against Bendigo. Steph Cumming is their leading scorer and despite suffering an illness in the Semi-Final, still top-scored for her side with 18 points. A clean bill of health this weekend should see her back to her best form which has her placed as one of the season MVP candidates.
Key Match ups
Cassie Sant v Elyse Penaluna
Penaluna was absent for Bendigo’s Round 5 thrashing at the hands of Kilsyth but once she arrived, the centre recorded double-doubles in Round 16 and the Semi-Final. Sant was the game-changer in that first clash with 27 points and 11 boards but has been kept more quiet recently, averaging 15 and 6.5 since. The winner on the boards has won all three meetings so this battle should be the barometer for Saturday night’s game.
Previous Meetings This Year
Round 5: Round 16:
Bendigo 70 def. by Kilsyth 102 Kilsyth 63 def. by Bendigo 64
@ Bendigo @ Kilsyth
Kilsyth 60 def. by Bendigo 78
An injury to forward import Stacia Robertson has seen her return home to the US prematurely for rehabilitation. This will cut into Bendigo’s depth which is a strength of their opponents but Penaluna is more than capable of holding her own under the rim while the Lady Braves’ guard combo of Lavey and Wilson looms as Kilsyth’s biggest obstacle.
Prediction: Bendigo by 6.
|BEN||Penaluna 20.3||Penaluna 12.4||Wilson 6.3|
|KIL||Cumming 21.1||Parsons 9.6||Parsons 5.1|