Women's Previews - Round 9
South Adelaide Panthers (1-7, 10th) v North Adelaide Rockets (5-2, 4th)
Saturday June 2, 6.30pm at Marion
The South Adelaide Panthers can get off the bottom of the ladder if they can upset the red-hot North Adelaide Rockets at Marion.
The Panthers finally got on the board in Round 8, defeating the Sturt Sabres 57-56. Lauren Fisher (9 points) was the hero, converting a free throw with seven seconds remaining. However, it was Jess Hansberry who helped get them into a winning position, scoring a third of her team’s points and setting up four other baskets.
Hansberry is the team’s leading scorer with 11.8 ppg.
Meanwhile, the Rockets are announcing themselves as premiership candidates. Wins over the Eagles in Round 7 and Centrals last week means the Rockets have soared into fourth position. A win here would have them in the top three at the half-way point.
The Rockets’ new-found form has coincided with Jo Hill’s return, but it is Jamie Lee Peris who is causing headaches for opposition defenders. Peris is averaging 16 ppg at 56 per cent and 10 rebounds, and made five of her six shots in the win over the Lions. Lauren Mansfield (14.3 ppg, 5 rpg, 6 apg) is another who has made a late start to the season, and like Hill, the Rockets are unbeaten with her in the line-up.
Last time they met, the Panthers pulled off a big win at Hillcrest. The Rockets were also road winners at Marion.
It would take an almighty turn of fortunes for the Panthers to win this one.
West Adelaide Bearcats (1-7, 9th) v Eastern Mavericks (4-4, 6th)
Saturday June 2, 6.30pm at Port Adelaide
The past is history: just ask the West Adelaide Bearcats and Eastern Mavericks, who meet at Port Adelaide on Saturday.
Last season, the Bearcats were a dominant force, while the Mavericks would have been glad when the season finally ended. The head-to-head scorelines (122-41 and 100-24) reflect just that.
Both sides made wholesale changes for different reasons during the summer, and the Mavericks are clearly the beneficiary. While the Bearcats would be wondering where their next win is going to come from, the Mavericks are going about business in a totally different fashion, and have now won three straight and four of five.
The Mavericks have a lot of work to do if they are to pinch a finals spot, but unlike the Bearcats, they can dare to use the F word. And for their best player Tess Madgen (32.5 ppg, 14 rpg, 4.4 apg), the Halls medal may as well be handed out already.
Madgen had 41 on 15/28 shooting in the Mavs’ 84-70 win over Woodville last week. She was ably assisted by Tenille Searl (14 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists), who had the best game of her rookie season.
Madgen’s 41 was three points more than the Bearcats could muster as a team against Norwood. With Trudy Holland, their top player, out of the line-up, all the pressure is heaped on to Ashlea Vordermaier (8.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg), Narelle Vanleuven (10.6 ppg, 6 rpg) and Kate Shierlaw (9 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
The Mavericks have not beaten the Bearcats since July 6, 2008, but it appears things will not be this way much longer.
Woodville Warriors (2-5, 7th) v Sturt Sabres (1-7, 8th)
Saturday June 2, 6.30pm at St Clair
The Woodville Warriors will be hoping their competitive efforts can finally result in a W when they play host to the Sturt Sabres on Saturday.
The Warriors have a percentage of 82.65, which is much higher than last year’s 70.91, showing their genuine improvement. They stayed close to the Mavs throughout last week’s fixture, but after closing to within two early in the fourth, they only scored four of the game’s next 27 points.
Ashleigh White is averaging a team-high 10.7 ppg and 7.1 rpg. Katherine Perkas (10.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg) is not far behind, while Tara Buttress (8.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg) has also been good.
Amy Shaw (16.5 ppg, 7rpg) has been the Sabres’ best player this season, but has only played in four games due to injury. Only Jess McPhail (10.8 ppg) is sitting in double figures.
The Warriors have not beaten the Sabres in the last seven seasons, but they have an excellent chance to break their duck this time out.
Central District Lions (6-2, 2nd) v Southern Tigers (6-2, 3rd)
Saturday June 2, 6.30pm at Starplex
2012 surprise packets the Southern Tigers will be hoping to push the Central District Lions out of second position when they make the long trip north on Saturday.
The Tigers have shown their potential with wins over fellow top-five sides North (Round 1) and Forestville (Round 8). Last week, the Tigers came from seven points down at quarter-time to defeat the reigning champs 77-72.
Alexandra Ciabattoni, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds against Forestville, is third in the league in scoring, averaging 22.4 ppg. The Tigers also have two of the top four rebounders in Simone Nelson and Genna Anderson, and have been further boosted by the return of Ashleigh Spencer from the US (15.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg in 2011).
The Lions were in control against the Rockets at quarter-time last week, but then suffered their first capitulation of an otherwise outstanding start to the season. They were outscored 39-62 in the final three quarters, ultimately going down by 14 points. Jess Mahony had a team-high 15 points.
Mahony and Elizabeth Keane (16.8 ppg) are the players to stop if the Tigers are to cause the Lions their first home loss, though D’Lesha Lloyd’s transfer to Bulleen makes this more feasible. The Lions swept the Tigers last season, but other than that, the Tigers have always been on top in this head-to-head fixture.
Home court advantage should see the Lions home, but write off the Tigers at your peril.
Forestville Eagles (5-3, 5th) v Norwood Flames (8-0, 1st)
Saturday June 2, 6.30pm at Wayville
In the Match of the Round, the Forestville Eagles will try to end the Norwood Flames’ unbeaten run when the two sides face off in the Grand Final rematch.
After a streak of 17 wins in 18 matches, the Eagles have suddenly dropped three on the trot. The Eagles have had opportunities to win all three and have not lost by more than five, proving their execution down the stretch is failing them.
Olivia Thompson has been the key figure for the Eagles. She is second in the league in scoring (26.4 ppg) and first in rebounding (14.9 rpg). The Eagles also happen to boast the league leaders in assists (Alex Duncan with 7.6 apg), three point percentage (Jess Fergus at 48 per cent), and free throw percentage (Georgia Minear at 87.1 per cent).
There is nothing flashy about the Flames’ style, but they sure know how to get the job done. There is no more indicative game than last week’s 69-38 victory over West Adelaide.
Amy Lewis and Jess Foley combined for 31 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists in that game. Both sit in the top five in scoring with 18 ppg and 21 ppg respectively. Centre Rachel Herrick (8 ppg, 7.9 rpg) is a player the Eagles have had trouble with in some of the previous clashes between these sides.
Expect a close game here with both teams capable of a win, but the Flames have a great opportunity to get one back on the Eagles.
By James Woite