Image via Sydney Uni Flames Facebook page.
Friday 21st June –
Sydney Metro Blues v Queensland Comets @ 6pm
The WNWBL returns to Sydney this weekend with the Blues hosting Round 3 as they aim to consolidate their top-two position on the ladder while continuing to make inroads on Perth in first place.
They begin the round against Queensland on Friday night who, after enjoying the bye a fortnight ago, will be coming into this contest fresh and ready.
The Comets split their opening round with a 2-2 record but that included a heavy loss to the Blues in their final game of the weekend. With a lighter schedule in preparation for this meeting, Queensland should be better equipped but they must limit their turnovers as that resulted in Sydney Metro putting up 42 more field goal attempts in that Round 1 clash.
Sydney Uni Fames v Perth Wheelcats @ 7.45pm
A top-four match-up concludes the Friday night action as the Flames and Wheelcats, who have only one loss between them, face off.
Perth moved to 7-0 last round and are winning games by an average margin of 19 points. However, their closest game so far this season came against the Flames in Round 2 when the Wheelcats only prevailed by four points.
That game was also Sydney Uni’s 2019 debut and they will be confident that they can improve on that performance after leading by four points with four minutes remaining before Perth finished on a 10-0 run.
A short roster has been a concern for the Wheelcats all season long and while it has not bothered them so far, the likes of Amber Merritt, Georgia Inglis and Sarah Vinci will again be tested this weekend and Annabelle Lindsay, Liesl Tesch and Hannah Dodd will aim to take advantage on Friday.
Saturday 22nd June –
Sydney Uni Flames v Queensland Comets @ 9am
Both the Flames and Comets back up from games on Friday night with an early morning clash on Saturday.
This will be their first meeting for 2019 and Queensland have the chance to stay in touch with the top four if they succeed in Round 3 but they will need to crash the glass as a committee to match the Flames’ bigs.
Through Alison Herring’s double-double average and help from Ella Sabljak and Ashley Gould, the Comets impressed under the rim in Round 1 but they will need to contend with Lindsay, Tesch and Stephanie Van Leeuwen who all sit in the top 15 in the league for rebounding.
Tesch’s incredible 20 assists against Kilsyth a fortnight ago has her averaging a near triple-double in 2019 and if she is able to connect the Flames’ offence in a similar fashion, Queensland will struggle to find answers for the home state side.
Sydney Metro Blues v Perth Wheelcats @ 10.45am
Things do not get any easier for the Wheelcats on Saturday as they battle the Blues 15 hours after a clash against the Flames in what will be a real test of their top of the ladder position.
If they come out on top, Perth will be well clear in first place but one or two losses drops them right back in the middle of the top-four pack.
They have already prevailed over Sydney Metro twice this season, by two points in Round 1 and 15 points in Round 2 with Merritt averaging 26.5 points, 15 rebounds and 6.5 assists across those contests.
Inglis has also averaged a double-double with assists against Sydney Metro but Georgia Munro-Cook has impressed in their meetings with 22 points and 12 boards per game while Courtney Ryan, the Blues’ second leading scorer, missed their Round 2 game.
Sydney Uni Flames v Kilsyth Cobras @ 12.30pm
At 2-4, Kilsyth currently sit inside the top four but having played a couple of extra games compared to Queensland, they will need to string some wins together to stay in front of their closest rivals.
Their two victories this season have come against Red Dust but they did prove themselves competitive when they met the Flames in Round 2, falling by 14 points.
Leanne Del Toso paced the side with 18 points and Teisha Shadwell collected 12 points and 14 rebounds in a match-up against her Devils team mate, Lindsay (34 points, ten boards). That contest will be one to watch again this weekend and could be the deciding factor in the game.
Perth Wheelcats v Queensland Comets @ 5.30pm
Playing their third game for the weekend, Perth and Queensland meet for the second time in 2019 on Saturday evening.
When they faced off in Round 1, the Wheelcats notched their highest score for the year with 85 points and finished with a +13 advantage in steals and +13 advantage in assists.
Three players recorded over 20 points including Merritt whose 34 points out-scored the Comets as a team while Natalie Alexander and Jacqueline Lane influence both ends of the floor as well. That spread of contributors will be the Comets’ biggest concern in this meeting.
Sydney Metro Blues v Kilsyth Cobras @ 7.30pm
While on the road, Kilsyth will still be hoping to take advantage of the Blues who will be playing their third game for the round and second for the day when they face off on Saturday night.
Last round, Sydney Metro set up their 26-point victory over the Cobras with a 43-20 first half but Kilsyth will take lessons out of their second half when they kept pace with the home side to minimise the scoreboard damage.
Munro-Cook had her own way under the rim, tallying 43 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and three blocks as her side shot 50% from the field. Kilsyth only hit 36% but will expect Bree Mellberg to have more of an impact offensively while Shadwell and Del Toso are capable of matching the efforts of Munro-Cook.
Sunday 23rd June –
Kilsyth Cobras v Perth Wheelcats @ 8am
Wrapping up a tough weekend, Kilsyth take on the ladder leaders on Sunday after games against the second placed Blues and third placed Flames the day before.
The Wheelcats will look to make the most of that but their shortened roster may also have to deal with some fatigue which leaves the door open for Kilsyth who will be buoyed by their Round 1 match-up.
The Cobras eventually fell by four points but did have the game tied with only a couple of minutes remaining before Alexander (nine points) and Inglis (18 points, nine assists) knocked down the last two baskets of the game.
Sydney Metro Blues v Sydney Uni Flames @ 9.45am
As was the case in Round 2, this weekend is capped with a cross-town clash between the Blues and the Flames which could also decide a top-two placing by the end of Round 3.
Sydney Uni took the honours a fortnight ago, overcoming a five-point deficit at quarter-time to win by 15 as Lindsay had 30 points and 12 rebounds while Tracey Carruthers added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Munro-Cook did all she could with 24 points, 12 boards and seven assists while Jess Cronje was handy with eight points and three assists.