Round 3 of the 2022/23 WNBL season wrapped up two weeks ago with some exciting matchups highlighted by the Townsville Fire vs Southside Flyers game. The break gives some time to reflect on who ranks where in the Power Rankings ahead of the beginning of Round 4.
Note: Last week's rankings are in brackets.
1. Bendigo Spirit (1)
The Spirit did not play in Round 3 but still hold the top spot in the Power Rankings. There is nothing the teams close to them did during the previous round that identified a possibility of Bendigo needing to be knocked down the placings.
2. Townsville Fire (2)
Coming into this game, there was uncertainty around how the Fire were going to respond to the amount of talent the Flyers boasted. The team did find a way to beat the Flyers however, albeit in a close contest.
Townsville defeated Southside 71-86 with four players scoring in double digits. Lauren Nicholson led the way with 25 points and eight rebounds, Stephanie Reid followed with 15 points and seven assists, and imports Tianna Hawkins and Mikaela Ruef scored 14 points each.
Right now, it seems as though no team can get in their way from staying at second. But their upcoming matchup against the Spirit might prove otherwise.
3. Melbourne Boomers (3)
Placing the Boomers at third after blowing the Canberra Capitals out of the water in a 103-68 clinic, was hard due to how well they played throughout the whole game. The only reason they're placed below Townsville is due to who each team faced and beat.
Seven Boomers players hit double digits in scoring including Cayla George, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Rachel Brewster, Mia Murray, and Kristy WWallace. Each of the aforementioned players all played a phenomenal game but two really stole the show.
Tiffany Mitchell scored 21 points on 50 per cent shooting with seven assists and two steals. But the player of the game was probably the New Zealand centre, Penina Davidson.
Davidson played a season high 23 minutes but that was not in blow out scrub time. Nelson-Ododa was benched for undisclosed reasons so Davidson came out and played extremely hard. She ended the game with 19 points, five rebounds, and two assists. The best part of that stat line though is the fact she shot 100 per cent from the field. A pperfect nine from nine.
4. Southside Flyers (4)
There wasn't enough to move the Flyers down in the Power Rankings and moving them up was definitely not happening. In the halftime interview, Lauren Jackson stated that their defense was playing terribly and that is an understatement.
The Flyers had absolutely no answer for Lauren Nicholson and co, couldn't build their offence off of Jackson's 21 points and import Kayla Thornton's 16. Nothing went right for Southside but they still hold the edge over AAdelaide in this week's placement.
5. Adelaide Lightning (6)
Kierstan Bell put on an absolute show - to the elation of fans of the team and the league - with her best game in her overall professional career. She recorded a stat line of 22 points and six rebounds to help lead her team to a 87-67 win over the Sydney Flames.
Bell may have been a key catalyst in this win but you can't discredit the efforts from Lauren Mansfield. Mansfield joined the torching of the Flames putting up 23 points.
This win is the reason why the Lightning were able to flip with the Lynx and move up the rankings. The 20-point win supersedes a single digit victory by a landslide.
6. Perth Lynx (5)
Throughout this whole game it seemed like the Lynx were going to drop it at home to one of the worst teams in the league. The Flames fought tooth and nail against the Lynx to try and come up with an upset. In Perth fashion, it came out with the 80-72 win due to the heroics of Amy Atwell with 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block and a 14 point and 13 rebound double-double for Lauren Scherf.
Other players like Robbi Ryan (13 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals), Sami Whitcomb (13 points, five assists, and two steals), and Chloe Bibby (15 points) contributed big time to help power the Lynx over the Flames.
The only reason why Perth swapped with Adelaide was due to the differential in points of the team's wins over the same exact team.
7. Sydney Flames (7)
The Flames had two opportunities to get their first win of the season in Round 3 but did not live up to the task. They were quite close to beating the Lynx, losing 72-80. Import Jocelyn Willoughby carried the team recording 26 points. They played hard in that game but couldn't quite get past the high powered offence led by Amy Atwell and Lauren Scherf.
Their second game of the round against the Lightning was an unexpected blow out. Unfortunately for the Flames, they were met with the likes of Kierstan Bell and Lauren Mansfield. The bright side for Sydney is that Tiana Mangakahia produced her best game of the season with 15 points and four rebounds.
8. Canberra Capitals (8)
Nothing about this season is going right for the Capitals and even saying that is an understatement. Their 68-103 loss against the Boomers pretty much solidified how terrible their season's gone thus far.
It's not like they didn't have some players who played super well. This team was pretty much carried by their two imports, Rae Burrell and Dekeiya Cohen. Burrell shot at a terrible 29.4 per cent from the field but did have 15 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Cohen was their best player, shooting a team high 67 per cent from the field with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Unfortunately for Canberra fans, that would be the last they'd see of Cohen. The team announced that the two parties mutually agreed to part ways. Although the reasoning is unknown, one can assume team performance, much like the situation last year in Sydney with Chelsea Dungee and Rennia Davis.
Round 4 of the 2022/23 WNBL season begins on Wednesday, November 30 with the Adelaide Lightning against the UC Capitals at Adelaide Arena from 6pm ACDT.
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