There were five games in Round 1 of the WNBL with three teams playing multiple games in the fixture. The highlighted match-up was the season opener between the Perth Lynx and the Melbourne Boomers which was an impressive performance from last year's Champions, but the best game of the week came via the Southside Flyers with Lauren Jackson against a talented Adelaide Lightning squad in a close game.
Note: The Sydney Flames did not play in Round 1 so they will not be ranked.
1. Melbourne Boomers
The Melbourne Boomers picked up right where they left off after last season when they defeated the Perth Lynx to win the Championship. Round 1 saw them return to Perth for a rematch of Game 2 of the Grand Final series.
The difference between these two teams is evident after the weekend's performances. Melbourne brought back a ton of pivotal pieces, players such as Cayla George and Tiffany Mitchell, albeit losing Ezi Magbegor and Lindsay Allen. Their additions of Kristy Wallace and Mia Murray proved fruitful in their 104-88 blowout.
Import and Indiana Fever guard Tiffany Mitchell set the tone for the Boomers early and continued it on until the final buzzer. Mitchell was quite literally everywhere on the floor, impacting the offence and defence. She finished with 32 points on 50 per cent shooting, three rebounds, nine assists, and four steals.
In addition to Mitchell's outburst, Cayla George put up a double-double with a stat line of 21 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Newcomer, and current Atlanta Dream guard, Kristy Wallace burst onto the scene in the purple and gold with a line of 24 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Melbourne completely dismantled Perth and showed the league that they're still as dominant as ever and stay at the top of the rankings.
2. Bendigo Spirit
The Spirit, perhaps surprisingly, sent shockwaves throughout the league in the opening round. The team of newbies in a new era along with the likes of Anneli Maley swept the week, defeating the Canberra Capitals 105-85 and the Perth Lynx 85-66.
Although they were ranked seventh in the pre-season rankings, it was mainly concerning uncertainty regarding team chemistry and not overall talent.
Maley keeps on leading this team to oblivion. In these two matchups, she averaged 11.5 points and 10 rebounds. Newcomer Kelsey Griffin tore it up against her former team, scoring 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Those are only two of the impact players in this stacked Bendigo squad who helped steer this team to a perfect 2-0 round and a five spot jump in the power rankings.
It may be early into the season but the Spirit look ready to lead the way and give the Boomers a run for their money.
3. Townsville Fire
The Fire only played in one game this round but it was enough to lock them in at third in the rankings. In the preseason preview, the main issue that needed to be cleaned up were assists to turnovers . There are never a "good amount" of turnovers per game that you want but a pretty accepted measurable number is less than 12.
In the 104-68 demolition of the Capitals, they turned the ball over 11 times. Even more impressive, they shared the ball well, recording 25 assists.
Lauren Nicholson set Townsville on fire with her shooting. She recorded 35 points on 73 per cent shooting and was just unstoppable. She wasn't alone in her team's offence. Import and Atlanta Dream centre Tianna Hawkins scored 15 points, on 65 per cent shooting, and 12 rebounds for a double-double. Mikaela Ruff joined the party, nearly recording a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Overall, the complete dismemberment of Canberra by this offence allowed the Fire to keep their spot at third on the ladder heading into Round 2.
4. Southside Flyers
The Flyers got off to a strong start in this season's WNBL, getting a 99-91 win over the spirited Adelaide Lightning.
Import player Kayla Thornton and talented Australian guard Maddison Rocci put together an offensive showcase to display Southside's offensive firepower.
Thornton put up the second highest scoring performance from an import with 21 points on 62 per cent from the field, showing how efficient she can be on the offensive end of the floor. Thornton also collected eight rebounds on the night.
Maddison Rocci has always been an exciting guard talent for some time now, and she got off to an excellent start showing improvement from beyond the arc hitting four of her seven shots from outside. Rocci also chipped in with seven assists and three steals, showing her terrific all-round arsenal.
Holding off the Lightning in Round 1 is an important momentum builder for the Flyers as they're set to take on the Boomers for the Michelle Timms Cup in Round 2.
5. Adelaide Lightning
The highest ranking team to have lost on our list is the resilient Adelaide Lightning who fell short in a thriller against the Southside Flyers.
Teenage prodigy Isobel Borlase scored 25 points and brought down nine rebounds in one of the best season performances yet.
At only 18 years old, Borlase looks like an excellent prospect for the future and poised to play a significant role in the Lightning's season.
While there weren't too many stand out performances, import Kierstan Bell and experienced guard Lauren Mansfield added in 14 points each in the resilient stand against Southside.
The Lightning will be hoping to bounce back as they have a double fixture in Round 2 against the Fire and Boomers, respectively.
6. Perth Lynx
It was probably the exact opposite way the Lynx wanted to start with two straight losses against the Boomers and Spirit to kick off their WNBL season.
The Lynx were competitive in the first half of their opening game, leading the Boomers a few times throughout the course of the match, but fell away in the second half, and never got going against the Spirit in that respective match-up.
There are however a couple of bright spots for the team out west as they've had two different players have huge offensive performances in each game. Sami Whitcomb scored 30 points in the loss to the Boomers and Chloe Bibby scored 28 points against the Spirit.
If these players can get going at the same time, the Lynx have the potential to be one of the more dangerous offensive teams going forward this season.
7. UC Capitals
The team that unfortunately rounds off this list is the UC Capitals. They suffered two heavy losses with a 20-point defeat to the Spirit and a very disappointing 36-point loss to the Fire.
Import players often have a profound impact on a team's performance and the Capitals' imports have looked like good acquisitions early on the season with Dekeiya Cohen and Rae Burrell averaging 28 points per game between them.
The problem here for the Capitals is that they already seem to be heavily reliant on these players just two games in which is a lot to expect considering Burrell is a first year player out of college.
The only consistent rebounding the Capitals are getting is the impressive 11.5 per game from Cohen and the solid 6.5 per game from Alex Bunton.
Failing to secure the rebound on the defensive end always spells trouble for a team so this is an area where the Capitals will need to improve if they're to move up the rankings for Round 2.
The Capitals take on the Lynx in Perth for Round 2 which both teams will see as a crucial game in the early period of their seasons.
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