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New season tonight for WNBL


THE WNBL'S historic first best-of-three semi finals tip off tonight with last year's grand finalists definitely behind the eightball.

Defending champion Townsville starts its "threepeat" quest away to regular season champion Sydney while 2016 runnerup Perth similarly has its work cut out on the road to Dandenong.

Get along if you can because they promise to be huge matches.

 V

THERE was precious little in this season-series between the teams most likely to burn you, the Flames and the Fire. Sydney won it 3-1 but its wins were by one, six and one, its loss by two. There was overtime in there as well! Sydney boasts the league's premier point guard in Leilani Mitchell, and Belinda Snell has been awesome with the ball as well. How Jennifer Hamson and Asia Taylor fare against Suzy Batkovic and Kayla Standish will be pivotal because from there, the onus falls onto Kelly Wilson and Mia Murray to match it with their Olympic-experienced opponents. At home and with more consistency in their game, the Flames should start with a 1-0 lead.

V

IT may be tough to believe but Dandenong not only won its season-series over Perth 3-1, but its winning margins were by 20, 21 and 22. The Rangers' one reversal, in Perth, was by 10. But just last round, when Final Four positioning was at stake, Dandenong recorded its biggest win of the season over the Lynx. It's tempting to wonder if Perth coach Andy Stewart kept anything up his sleeve but he was wearing a polo so it's doubtful. The key to containing the Lynx appears to be focusing on Sami Whitcomb and Carley Mijovic, and Dandenong has an array of players coach Larissa Anderson can turn to for that, sustaining pressure. A tighter game but a Rangers win.

And if you can't get there, tune in!

Feb 25

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