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Rd8 WNBL: Seasons on the line

ROUND 8 of the WNBL is particularly big for finals aspirants Townsville, Dandenong and Adelaide, while fourth-placed Bendigo also is under the pump.

Perth, Canberra and Melbourne appear safely tucked away in the top three spots but a berth in the Final Four still is very much up for grabs.

Perth and Canberra will provide another finals preview this round but the heat is on Bendigo to retain fourth spot, away to defending champion Townsville and also to winless Sydney.

Last week's loss in overtime to the Fire looms largely over the Spirit because a road loss here means the season-series for Townsville, which is worth another win if the two teams are locked later.

And the Flames simply have to show something after their dismal downfall last round at home to Perth, making that too a danger game for Bendigo.

Dandenong can wrap its series against Adelaide 2-1, making it increasingly difficult for Lightning to climb back into the post-season.

Adelaide backs up at home to incoming Canberra so its season easily could hang on this round.

Townsville has to head in to Melbourne to face its 2017-18 grand final victim Melbourne again and with the Boomers looking to cement their spot at the head of the table, this too looms as huge in playoff aspirations.


Bendigo at Townsville


TOWNSVILLE has a chance now at home to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in its season-series against Bendigo, following last round's controversial 89-82 win in overtime. The Spirit were unhappy with the treatment playmaker Nat Hurst dealt with but drew an outstanding game from centre Rebecca Tobin against the WNBL's benchmark, Suzy Batkovic. Unfortunately for the Spirit, Tess Madgen also had a blinder, posting a career-best 14 assists. At home, this should smell like Fire.


Adelaide at Dandenong

STILL missing co-captain Stephanie Blicavs, Adelaide will need a big game from WNBA centre Kayla Alexander to reverse last week's loss to the Rangers in Traralgon. Rebecca Cole, Betnijah Laney and Rachel Jarry with a double-double, paced Dandenong, whose 17-9 third quarter put a lid on it. Lightning's record at Dandenong is not too bad but another scorer needs to step up in Blicavs' absence or the Rangers clinch the season-series 2-1.

Canberra at Perth

THE Capitals threw down the gauntlet to the Lynx in Perth earlier this month ... and came away licking their wounds, beaten 71-65. Kelsey Griffin went off for 30 and 18 in that loss, including a whopping 10 offensive rebounds and there's no question Canberra is a championship contender. But so is Perth, which has been winning on the road as well as home while steadily finding and refining its identity. Smashing Sydney will have done further wonders for the Lynx's confidence but the Caps come in off a rugged win over Melbourne and maybe this time, will find the answers.

Townsville at Melbourne

GUY Molloy has his team starting to come together again after a prolonged period of player absences through injury. Unlucky to lose in Canberra, the Boomers escaped Adelaide but were not impressive doing so and must lift for what assuredly will be a desperate Townsville team. The Fire haven't beaten Melbourne in Melbourne for a while but if they beat Bendigo, a win here would put their record into the black. Cayla George, Ezi Magbegor and Kalani Purcell will have their work cut out but Lindsay Allen, Steph Talbot and PotW Jenna O'Hea should secure another W.

Bendigo at Sydney

HUMILIATED last week by 46 points at home as their 2018-19 record slumped to 0-10 and their losing streak fell to 12, Sydney MUST show character and bounce back against a Spirit team coming in from Townsville. Bendigo already twice has lowered Sydney's colours and no team wants to be the one to give the Flames their first win, which does bring added pressure. How the Spirit fared in Townsville plays a role too, as does just who Sydney will suit for this contest. If the Flames have everyone back, this could be their breakthrough. If not, it's a Bendigo clean sweep.

Canberra at Adelaide

THE truth about the Lightning is somewhere buried deep amid the self-serving drivel produced by Adelaide Basketball's media this week. And the truth is coach Chris Lucas has assembled a wonderful low-budget team which is competitive every night. It took the Capitals to the wire in Canberra and it can pull off an upset on Sunday too. Adelaide is missing Stephanie Blicavs' scoring threat but has unveiled one of the league's marquee imports in Nia Coffey and a terrific team player in Kayla Alexander. Containing the steamroller which is Canberra again would show this team's wonderful heart and desire.

Nov 29

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