Weekly Wrap: Basketball is officially back on home soil.

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Our local ballers hit the ground running this week, as elite basketball made its comeback with the NBL and the WNBL launching over the weekend.

WNBL: A two-game opening round saw plenty of action and plenty of Opals. The Southside Flyers were too strong for a fierce Bendigo Spirit as the 2020 reigning champion’s wealth of experience sealed the victory. Sara Blicavs opened her campaign with a bang, hitting 27 points and 11 rebounds, while returning to the WNBL, Flyers’ new recruit Abby Bishop slotted comfortably into the well-oiled Flyers team. Maddie Garrick and Leilani Mitchell made their debut in fresh colours while Tessa Lavey and Anneli Maley were standouts for the Spirit.

The UC Capitals snatched victory away from the Sydney Uni Flames with a come-from-behind three-point win. The Caps’ thrilling charge came from WNBA import and WNBL Player of the Week Brittney Sykes, who kept Flames’ recruit Shyla Heal quiet while contributing all over the court on debut. Her 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks combined with the experience of Captain- and tough nut- Kelsey Griffin (12 points, 12 rebounds, three assists) led to the Caps victory.

The first Froling sister showdown for the season saw Alicia get one up on Keely, however, the rematch is set for next weekend.

Earlier in the week, the youngest senior Opal and UC Capitals’ guard, Jade Melbourne was awarded the Rising Star at the CBR Sport Awards, a recognition of athletes who have shown excellence through their sporting achievements and supporting the Canberra community.

NBL: Matthew Dellevadova hit the NBL court for the first time however was denied his first win in the United uniform as the Sydney Kings notched up a five-point victory over Melbourne. Chris Goulding will most likely return from a minor hamstring injury in round two to make his first appearance for the NBL season.

Brian Goorjian’s Illawarra Hawks got the job done over the Adelaide 36ers, a victory led by Duop Reath on debut for the club, tallying 18 points and nine rebounds while NBL newcomers, the Tasmanian JackJumpers claimed their first-ever victory in a dramatic fashion, defeating the Brisbane Bullets in overtime.

NBA:  Oklahoma City Thunder’s Josh Giddey continues to rise as he was awarded the NBA Western Conference’s Rookie of the Month for games played in October and November. Currently averaging 10.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and a steal per game, Giddey sits eighth in scoring, third in rebounds and first in assists amongst rookies in the league.

B-League: Nick Kay and the Shimane Susanoo Magic are back on the winners list after losing two in a row. Strong in defense, Kay contributed eight rebounds (six defensive) and three steals while also hitting the scoreboard with 20 points and nine assists. The Magic are currently sitting third on the Western Conference standings with a 12-4 record.

EuroLeague: Bec Allen and Valencia Basketball retained undefeated status after completing the six-game group phase of the EuroCup Women. Allen’s top performance came in the final game where she hit 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

College: Taran Armstrong continues to thrive at CBU (California Baptist University) as he sits second in the Western conference for assists, averaging 7.6 per game, and just earned himself a third Freshmen of the Week honour.


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