WNBL Round 13 preview – Crucial clashes for top four spots, John Cain Arena blockbuster

WNBL Round 13 preview – Crucial clashes for top four spots, John Cain Arena blockbuster

If you thought the last round was intense, then you’re in for a treat this week! There is no looking past the doubleheader between the Townsville Fire and the Perth Lynx, but also the history-making match between the Sydney Flames and the Southside Flyers at John Cain Arena. There are four more rounds until finals, and it’s a crucial one, so cancel your weekend plans and tune in!

Key clashes for top four

The Townsville Fire and the Perth Lynx teams battled hard to remain in the hunt for a place in the top four ahead of the upcoming finals.

The Fire have the advantage of already being one of the four, but they have been challenged and chased by a couple of teams sitting below them. One team is at the top of the pack and gaining speed. They are so close to taking out the Fire and being promoted to fourth place on the ladder.

These teams play each other twice this round and the Lynx will try to get two out of two; after seven wins in a row, what’s another couple? Both teams are relatively evenly matched, both possess power from their bigs to their smalls, and you can count on there to be a shootout on the offensive end. However, in saying that, both of Fire’s star players are likely to be out with injury and so they will be lacking in that department.

The Fire and Lynz meet twice in Round 13. Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Well, it was until recently. As of Tuesday, it was reported that the Townsville Fire had signed Shyla Heal and she was cleared to play the upcoming round. You only need to play seven games to qualify for the final and the Fire have seven games left – how convenient!

Considering the drama surrounding the Sydney Flames and her father, Shane Heal, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Shyla used to play for the Fire under Shannon Seebohm and alongside Lauren Nicholson and Steph Reid, so will be in familiar territory.

It’s nice to see something that seems to be out of Shyla’s control doesn’t ruin her chances of playing in the WNBL because that would just be a waste of talent. But will the increasing pressure and the circumstances of being thrust into a new team be too much?

Can the Flames rise to the occasion? Editor’s picks

It’s a historic moment for women’s basketball as John Cain Arena will host its first ever WNBL game. The game will feature the Southside Flyers with powerhouse Lauren Jackson against the Sydney Flames, the Flames coming in as the underdogs.

In saying that, the Adelaide Lightning showed last week that the Flyers were beatable, even though they didn’t actually get the win. The Lightning and the Flames have had similar difficult seasons, with regards to losing imports and struggling to play consistently well, which has resulted in them both being at the bottom of the ladder. They also have something else in common, and that is their gritty, never-give-up style of play that causes them to continue to pressure teams.

If the Flames can follow their lead, then they might just steal the win and give the crowd at John Cain Arena a real show!

Boomers after payback

Just two rounds ago, the Melbourne Boomers were upstaged at home by the Bendigo Spirit in a late comeback. The Boomers were in control for most of the game, but the determined Spirit team continued to chip away at the lead, and several players stepped up, especially in the absence of Kelsey Griffin.

The Boomers are on a two game losing streak and won’t be looking to make it three. You can expect to see Cayla George and Tiffany Mitchell shooting again, and Kristy Wallace will be at her best again, hitting those mid-range jumpers like we know she can.

The Boomers will need to bring the same level as the Spirit and make an extra effort to stay out of trouble if they want a chance to win this game.

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