ROUND 2 WNWBL PREVIEW

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Friday 7th June –

Sydney Uni Flames v Perth Wheelcats @ 6pm

After having the bye in Round 1, Sydney Uni hit the court for the first time in 2019 and will take on the Wheelcats to begin Round 2.

Maintaining the roster that saw them finish the regular season in fourth spot before claiming the bronze medal last year, the Flames will be aiming for an improved regular season in 2019 that will enable them to make a real run at the gold medal.

Annabelle Lindsay will be the driving force, coming off a college Championship in the USA as well as a bronze medal with the Under-25 Devils where she finished first for the tournament in points (18.3) and rebounds (16) per game.

She and the Flames will have to be at their best though to unseat the Wheelcats who went through Round 1 undefeated, winning by an average margin of 20 points.

Only having seven players hit the court does not seem like a recipe for long-term success but Perth are more than capable of continuing their winning streak if the likes of Amber Merritt (24.8 points per game) and Georgia Inglis (17 points, 7.5 assists) keep firing.

Sydney Metro Blues v Red Dust Lady Heelers @ 8pm

With the Sydney Sports and Aquatic Centre hosting this weekend’s Cluster Round, the Blues will have home court advantage against Red Dust on Friday night.

The Lady Heelers are a team that was unable to get on the winners list in Round 1 after four consecutive losses that included a 50-point defeat to the Blues.

They were playing their second game of the day when they last met but Sydney Metro were able to restrict the Lady Heelers to just 11 points.

Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy and Trudi Lines will be looking to improve their shooting percentage to increase that offensive output while Taishar Ovens could receive more ball-handling duties as the season wears on after impressing at the Under-25 World Championships where she tallied just two turnovers in over 120 minutes of game time.

Saturday 8th June –

Sydney Metro Blues v Kilsyth Cobras @ 10am

Sydney Metro back up from their Friday night outing with a meeting against Kilsyth who went 1-2 through the opening weekend.

Beginning with a win over Red Dust before suffering narrow defeats to Queensland and Perth, the margin in both those losses will give them confidence that they are a top-four team this season.

Teisha Shadwell, another star of the Under-25 World Championships who averaged 8.9 points and finished fifth for rebounds (9.1) and seventh for assists (3.2) overall, averaged a monster double-double in Round 1.

She will wage her battle on the boards against Georgia Munro-Cook and Courtney Ryan but will be aided by fellow up-and-comer Bree Mellberg as well as established star Leanne Del Toso.

Sydney Uni Flames v Red Dust Lady Heelers @ 12pm

Both teams will follow up their Friday night contests with their second game of Round 2 on Saturday afternoon.

In addition to Lindsay, the Flames have national talent through Hannah Dodd and Liesl Tesch who were their second and third leading scorers last season while Tesch also finished first for assists. That experience is unmatched by Red Dust who, on the other hand, have some burgeoning talent through Ovens and Lily Poulter who turned 14 just last month.

Height will be a concern for the Lady Heelers coming into this contest and Deanna Black, who averaged a near double-double last weekend, is another player who will have an important role to play in reducing the influence of Lindsay.

Sydney Metro Blues v Perth Wheelcats @ 2pm

This clash is a re-match of the opening game of the 2019 season which saw Perth escape the Blues by just two points.

Trailing for almost the entire second half and by as much as eight points late in the third quarter, Perth remained close enough to make a final charge down the stretch.

Inglis had four points and Sarah Vinci added six in the fourth term including the last four points of the game before Munro-Cook and Maryanna Latu missed attempts in the final 20 seconds to just fall short.

Merritt (18 points, 13 rebounds, six assists) went head-to-head with Ryan (20 points, 11 rebounds) at the offensive end and their battle on the scoreboard will be one to watch again in Round 2.

Sydney Uni Flames v Kilsyth Cobras @ 4pm

A dynamic duo during the Under-25 World Championships and the most dominant front court pairing, Lindsay and Shadwell now face off when the Flames host the Cobras on Saturday afternoon.

Shadwell was the main distributor for Lindsay while their combined efforts in the paint and on the glass were a major reason for the Australian Devils’ success. It will be interesting to see whether that knowledge of each other’s game proves to be helpful when they face off this weekend.

It will be the second game of the day for both clubs so fatigue may play a factor as well but that is where experienced heads from the Flames including Tesch and Sarah Stewart will come in handy.

Perth Wheelcats v Red Dust Lady Heelers @ 6pm

The final clash of a three-game road trip for Perth sees them take on Red Dust for the second time in a fortnight.

While it was a match-up between the top and bottom teams on the ladder and the Lady Heelers’ final game of the round, Red Dust put in their most efficient offensive performance to score 47 points in a 20-point loss.

The Wheelcats will be aiming to tighten up their defensive structures to keep Red Dust from staging an upset but if it is another free-flowing contest, the Lady Heelers will be in with a chance.

O’Kelly-Kennedy had 26 points and Black knocked down a three-pointer on her way to 17 points but despite having only seven players, Perth saw everyone hit the scoreboard to contribute to the victory.

Sunday 9th June –

Red Dust Heelers v Kilsyth Cobras @ 10am

Capping off a tough weekend that will see them play four road games in three days, Red Dust finish Round 2 against the Cobras who only sit a win above them on the ladder coming into this weekend.

When they met in Round 1, Kilsyth prevailed by nine points thanks to a 14-0 second quarter but the Lady Heelers ran out the game well, winning the second half 22-18.

They also held the Cobras to 31% shooting overall and will need to produce a similar performance defensively to reverse last week’s decision while O’Kelly-Kennedy will another have important task in matching the rebounding output of Shadwell in the battle of the front court.

Sydney Uni Flames v Sydney Metro Blues @ 12pm

A Sydney based Cluster Round concludes on Sunday afternoon with a derby that is also a re-match of last year’s bronze medal playoff.

The Blues entered the 2018 finals in third spot and three games clear of the Flames on the ladder but Sydney Uni peaked at the right time of the year and defeated Sydney Metro in the Semi-Final and bronze medal game.

Lindsay was a beast in the contest, collecting 40 points and 17 rebounds and Sydney Metro will again be pushed to match her under the rim in Round 2.

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