Take an in-depth look at the Grand Final for the SEABL women.
By Grant Richardson
Dandenong Rangers (19-3) v Kilsyth Lady Cobras (17-5), Dandenong Stadium, 5.45pm, Saturday, September 12
Dandenong proved too good for Geelong for the second time in a fortnight, advancing to the Grand Final with a 20-point victory. The win was their tenth in a row and was set up by a 46-25 opening half. With Dandenong Stadium hosting the Championship game, the Rangers will finish the season having played six of their final seven matches on their home court.
In a nail-biting finish, the Lady Cobras overcame Bendigo 79-77 last weekend to claim the South Conference title. After falling to the Lady Braves in the Semi-Final, Kilsyth came out with all guns blazing to lead by nine at quarter-time but the visitors slowly clawed their way back into the contest. On the final play of the game, Tessa Lavey was sent to the free-throw line with her team trailing by two but she was unable to connect on either attempt to the relief of the Lady Cobras.
A high-scoring affair should be expected when these sides meet as they own the two most potent offences in the league. They are the only teams to average 80+ with Kilsyth sitting second on 81.7 points per game, behind Dandenong’s 83.2. The Rangers are also the best field goal shooting team in the competition at 45 per cent and 34 per cent from the three-point line, while the Lady Cobras sit second at 44 per cent overall; amazingly they shoot their two-point field goals at 50 per cent.
Dandenong: Proving herself again as one of the league’s best bench players, Tenaya Phillips will help stretch Kilsyth’s defences thin as she regularly scores double-figures in 20 minutes or less. She has averaged 11 points at 39 per cent shooting in the playoffs while one of her best regular season games came against Kilsyth in Round 1 when she collected 18 points and two assists, drilling three of her six three-pointers for the year.
Kilsyth: Sarah Parsons went close to a triple-double when these sides last met, recording ten points, 12 rebounds and seven assists with three steals. She stuffed the stat-sheet last week against Bendigo, dominating under the rim to collect 20 points, 13 boards, six assists, two steals and two blocks. With retirement supposedly looming, she will be desperate to go out on a high note.
Key Match ups
Jacinta Kennedy vs. Cassie Sant
Rounding herself into some brilliant form ahead of a return to the WNBL, Kennedy would cap off a dominant season if she could lead the Rangers to a Championship on Saturday night. She is averaging a double-double of 12.5 points and 12 rebounds in the playoffs and dominated in the Round 1 clash with 25 and 10 although Sant has impressed recently with 15.5 points and eight boards in the finals. Kennedy’s work on the offensive glass allows the Rangers to score a majority of their second chance points as well as dictate the tempo of the match and this is where Sant must devote most of her work to halt the Rangers’ game-plan. The Kilsyth centre does own the height advantage, which she must utilise in this all-important battle.
Previous Meetings This Year
Dandenong 76 def. Kilsyth 62
The shooting ability of Steph Cumming and Chantella Perera in the back-court should be of concern for Amelia Todhunter and Aimie Clydesdale while Sant has the height and nous to keep Kennedy quiet. However, Kennedy could be in the best form of her SEABL career while Dandenong’s defence cannot be underestimated. Playing on the road for a second straight week could also hinder the Lady Cobras, especially against the Rangers who have not left the sanctuary of Dandenong Stadium the entire playoffs.
Prediction: Dandenong by 4
|DAN||Kennedy 18.6||Kennedy 9.3||Todhunter 3.1|
|KIL||Cumming 21.1||Parsons 9.8||Parsons 5.2|