Siren Emerging Sports Writer Program participant alumni and hoops expert Seraphina Newton is back to share her top moments from the WNBL season so far
The New Year has come and gone and unfortunately I haven’t seen as much women’s basketball as I would have liked to, with COVID yet again wreaking havoc on the WNBL. Rounds have been cancelled, individual players and teams are being struck down with illness, it’s a good thing the players are used to a bit of adversity under these circumstances, but of course we hope that these athletes (and us fans!) don’t have to deal with the impacts of the pandemic forever! As the season continues to deliver us hoops fans the good in such trying times, here are my top five moments of the season so far.
MARINA MABREY WNBL DEBUT
The WNBL has seen many imports come and go over the years, some do well and others fail to live up to the expectations put upon them. Regardless, it usually takes a few games for imports to find their feet, not just in their teams, but in the league in general. This is not the case, however, for Marina Mabrey. After a long awaited start to the season for the Perth Lynx, Mabrey clearly didn’t feel like waiting any longer. The shooting guard shot seven three-pointers in her WNBL debut and had a total of 30 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Mabrey was a star in Perth’s close loss to Adelaide and she hasn’t taken a backwards step yet, continuing to be an offensive menace in every game after. It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited for an import and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the rest of the season.
ANNELI MALEY HUGE DOUBLE DOUBLE
If you’ve followed the WNBL, or even just women’s basketball in Victoria for a while, then I’m sure you would have heard of rebounding machine Anneli Maley. If you haven’t then make sure you tune into a game and check her out! Known for her tenacity and determination for grabbing boards, it comes as no surprise to see her getting big numbers in the rebound category. However, the addition of putting up big numbers offensively is something we haven’t yet seen from her in the WNBL, that is, until this season. In the Bendigo Spirit’s game against the UC Capitals, Maley put up an insane 38 points and 20 rebounds. I mean… WOW. Those numbers by themselves are something else, let alone together! Currently averaging a double double, it’s great to see her add the extra depth to her game at the WNBL level. I’ll be interested to see at the end of the season, which statistic is higher, either average points or average rebounds!
KELLY WILSON 400 WNBL GAMES
Well, Kelly Wilson’s 400th game was a long time coming, and even longer after being postponed twice. Although it wasn’t the UC Caps’ night, nothing could take away from the amazing achievement that is 400 WNBL games. Last year, after giving birth to a baby boy, Kelly wasn’t sure she would be making a return. After all, she has already won multiple championships and awards, it’s not like she had any more final things to accomplish before she ended her career. But for Kelly, it’s not about the accolades and rather the enjoyment she gets from playing—the same thing that kick-started her basketball journey as a young country kid. If it wasn’t for the hype surrounding the game, you might not have known it was a special occasion. Kelly went about business as usual, selflessly giving up shot opportunities to get her teammates involved and doing a little bit of everything around the court.
MY TOP 2 GAMES OF THE 21/22 WNBL SEASON SO FAR:
If you’re in isolation, on school holidays, avoiding crowds and staying home or just keen to watch some high quality basketball, I would recommend you start with these two WNBL games if you missed them. And if you didn’t, they are definitely worth a re-watch!
ADELAIDE LIGHTNING VS PERTH LYNX – ROUND 5 (Available to watch on Kayo)
This was one hell of a game to watch! With this being the Perth Lynx’s first game of the season due to COVID-19 border restrictions you might have expected Adelaide to have had the upper hand, but in fact it was Perth that came out with a bang and the intention to make up for lost time. They did not look like a team playing their first game… and I think that if these teams both played each other in the official round one, then the result would have been very different. Both teams had multiple players involved in the action with five players from the Lightning in double figures and four (almost 5) players from the Lynx. Give it a watch and see these two teams fight till the end!
MELBOURNE BOOMERS VS SOUTHSIDE FLYERS– ROUND 7 (Available to watch on ABC IVIEW)
It shouldn’t be a surprise that you see these two teams here, known for their rivalry that spans over many years. This season, the Melbourne Boomers have got the better of The Southside Flyers in all three games they’ve played. They took out the Michelle Timms’ Cup and so they seemed the obvious pick for their round seven clash. However, with both teams missing key players due to COVID protocols, the playing ground seemed a little more even. The Flyers fought with great hustle and really showed what they are capable of with their depth. This game was as close as it gets! The teams trading back-to-back threes, you’ll be on the edge of your seat till the last second – a must watch!
With the season still in full swing despite the ongoing challenges of managing the COVID-19 protocols, it’s the perfect time to switch on the WNBL and see the cream of Australia’s basketball crop in 2022 as we prepare for the FIBA 2022 Women’s Basketball World Cup to hit our shores in September!