Sydney Uni ends the season on a roll, while Perth stumbles slightly in the final week.
The defending WNBL champions, the Sydney Uni Flames, will enter the 2018 finals series on a five-game winning streak and with home court advantage in their series against the Townsville Fire.
The Flames beat the Fire on Friday night 107-81 and followed that up with an 75-673 win over last-placed Bendigo to finish the year at 14 wins and 7 losses. The Fire also finished the year at 14-7 but lost two of their three regular-season games against Sydney Uni, meaning the Flames will host games 2 and 3 (if needed) in their semi-final series.
The other semi-final series sees top-seeded Perth Lynx holding home court advantage over fourth-placed Melbourne. With the overall first seed already sewn up, the Lynx lost to the University of Canberra Capitals 74-69 on Friday night, before dropping their final game 83-51 to Townsville.
While the losses ultimately had no bearing on Perth’s position the ladder, injuries could be an issue with the finals looming. Centre Amanda Dowe played just 5 minutes against the Capitals and did not suit up against Townsville, while guard Sami Whitcomb played just 7 minutes against the Fire after falling awkwardly and landing on her right wrist in the second quarter.
In the weekend’s other games, Adelaide finished their season on a winning note, downing Bendigo 87-74 on Friday evening to finish 5th on the ladder, while the fourth-placed Melbourne Boomers warmed up for their semi-final series against Perth with a dominant 80-45 win against Dandenong. The Boomers, led by a 20-point, 10 rebound night from centre Elizabeth Cambage, held Dandenong scoreless for the entire fourth quarter after leading by 14 at the final break.
Cambage finishes the season as the league’s leading scorer (23.7 points per game) and rebounder (10.5 rebounds per game).
The semi-finals start on Wednesday night. Each series will use an ‘away-home-home’ format, with Melbourne hosting Perth in game one of their series; Townsville then hosts Sydney Uni on Thursday. My full series previews will be up later in the week.
Semi-Final 1- Perth v Melbourne:
- Game One: Wednesday January 3, State Basketball Centre, 7:30pm AEDT
- Game Two: Friday January 5, Bendat Basketball Centre, 9:30pm AEDT
- Game Three: Sunday January 7, Bendat Basketball Centre 5pm AEDT (if needed)
Semi-Final 2- Sydney Uni v Townsville:
- Game One: Thursday January 4, Townsville Stadium, 8:00pm AEDT
- Game Two: Saturday January 6, Brydens Stadium, 3:00pm AEDT
- Game Three: Monday January 8, Brydens Stadium, 7:30pm AEDT (if needed)