QBL Game Previews – Round7

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Sunshine Coast Phoenix v Rockhampton Rockets

After starting the season 4-0 the Phoenix have dropped their last three matches, including the last two by over 20 points. In round 6 they suffered a heavy loss at the hands of the Mountaineers 99-120. Booker and Robateau again led the way with 34 and 27 points respectively, but ultimately their inability to look after the basketball (18 turnovers) and to prevent the home side from scoring was the difference in the game. The Rockets are coming off a narrow defeat to Mackay in which Rockhampton only played 6 players for the entirety of the match. Despite the loss, there should be a lot of positives to take out of the match, with all players contributing across the board. Mitchell and Lopez were strong performers for the road team, both shooting well above 50% including 6 threes from Lopez. Over the past month the Rockets form is far superior than that of the Phoenix and they will have too many offensive weapons for the Phoenix to stop.

 

North Gold Coast Seahawks v Gladstone Port City Power

The Seahawks are still looking for their first win of 2018 after starting 0-7. They will not get a better opportunity than against the travelling Power who are coming off their first and only win of the season. Unfortunately for North Gold Coast their streak of 15+ point losses have now hit 5 after a 21-point drumming by the Thunder in round 6. The squads’ offensive struggles continued only managing 34% from the field. Gladstone picked up their first W of the season with a 5-point victory over the winless Spartans. The match was tied after three periods before Taylor Young (27 points) took over down the stretch. Gladstone defended the three-point line extremely well keeping the Spartans to only 3 for the match on a horrific 13% from downtown. Despite the Power’s struggles to this point in the season, it is difficult to see where the Seahawks first victory is going to come from. Power just.

 

Cairns Marlins v Southern Districts Spartans

The Marlins will be fresh after a bye in round 6 which came at a great time after dropping three of their last four, with the only win being over the bottom-placed Seahawks. This match will bring up the end of a 5-game home stand and they will look to finish on a high note before going back on the road. Cairns will have a great opportunity to do so against a winless Spartans outfit who currently hold an 0-5 record and in second last on the ladder. Southern Districts were in great position to record their first win of the season being within 1-point of the Power in the final minutes, before multiple late turnovers cost them any chance of the victory. Will Magnay was huge for the visitors with 29 points on 12-14 shooting to go along with 8 boards and 5 blocks. The Spartans have headed North for the second week running and considering their inability to get the points against the Power, it is difficult to see them getting this one in Cairns. Marlins comfortably. 

 

USC Rip City v Logan Thunder 

Arguably the Match of the Round, with two top-4 teams going head to head on the Sunshine Coast. USC have managed to pull off 5 straight victories after dropping their opening match, whilst the Thunder have won their last 4 – all by a minimum of 18 points. USC were able to fight off a determined Capitals outfit in round 6, who held the lead inside the final minutes before clutch threes from Isaih Tueta and Lance Hurdle got Rip over the line. Both men were on fire from deep in the contest with Tueta connecting on 8-11 and Hurdle 7-15 for the match. Louis Ilton’s massive 8 offensive boards gave the road side plenty of second chance opportunities. For Logan, Mitch Young continued his stellar form with 30 points and 17 rebounds including 8 offensives. Sean Carroll dished an impressive 15 dimes in the absence of Rayshawn Simmons. Obi Kyei also scored an efficient 20 points off only 11 shots. This will undoubtedly be Logan’s biggest test of the last month and we are giving USC the slight edge on their home court.

 

Brisbane Capitals v Sunshine Coast Phoenix 

The Capitals suffered a narrow four-point loss to USC in round 6 and will be ruing giving up a final minute lead. Brisbane are sitting in the bottom half of the ladder with a 2-4 record after an inconsistent start to the season. Mick Tarrant’s men will have a great opportunity to get back on the winners list against a struggling Phoenix side who they dismantled by 28-points on their home deck back in round 4. Sunshine Coast were without their star import Roy Booker in that contest and he will be back in uniform for this contest. Aaron Anderson was impressive with 7 steals against USC and he will look to make Booker’s job as hard as possible and add to his league-leading turnover tally. With Sunshine Coast coming off a game the previous night, we are backing the fresher and younger bodies of the Capitals to get the job done at home.

 

South West Metro Pirates v Gladstone Port City Power

The Pirates are coming off an embarrassing loss against the top-placed Townsville Heat in round 6. South West only managed a dismal 56 points for the entire contest, which is far and away the lowest total of any team this season. This performance says a lot about Townsville’s dominance, as the Pirates still hold a positive 4-3 record and are in the playoff picture. Despite being the lowest scoring side in the competition, South West hold the second most efficient defense in the whole competition. On the other hand, Gladstone are the second worst defensive team in the league, which should provide the Pirates an opportunity to get their offense rolling. The Power will be playing the middle game of their three-match Southern road trip, and likely coming off a victory against the winless Seahawks. Even with a confidence-filled Power squad entering Hibiscus Sports Complex on Saturday night, we think the Pirates will get back on the winners list.

 

USC Rip City v Rockhampton Rockets 

Both sides will enter this contest coming off challenging matches on the previous night. Despite both sides putting up similar offensive numbers in the early part of this season, USC is a top-three defensive team throughout their opening 6 matches of 2018. It is hard to compare the form of these two sides considering USC are yet to play any of the Big 4 from up north and Rockhampton coming up against those sides in question in 4 of their 6 matches. Although USC have the home court advantage in this one, we think that Rockhampton has the ability to cause an upset and finish their Sunshine Coast double with another victory.

 

Toowoomba Mountaineers v Ipswich Force 

Despite still sitting in 11th on the ladder, Toowoomba have proven to be somewhat of a surprise packet this season. After dropping their opening three matches by an average of 26 points, the Mountaineers have since had a positive record going 3-2 in their last 5. This has been largely thanks to league-leading scorer Damon Bozeman who is averaging 34 points a night and already has two games with at least 46 points… yes that it right, 46 points. Teammate Harold Ridgeway is also having a strong season for Toowoomba averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds. The squad will be full of confidence after their 21-point win over Sunshine Coast Phoenix and will see no reason why they can’t continue their hot form as Ipswich come to town. Ipswich who sit only one spot above the Mountaineers are coming off the bye in round 6 and will be fresh and looking for revenge after their three-point home loss to Toowoomba a fortnight ago. Despite suffering the loss in their past match, we expect Ipswich to bounce back on the road and to make the necessary adjustments to get the job done.

 

Townsville Heat v Southern Districts Spartans

Since dropping their match on opening night, the Heat have had an impressive run of 6 straight victories. In round 6 Townsville completed the challenging South triple header with wins over Toowoomba, South West and Gold Coast. Surprisingly it seemed like Rodney Anderson’s men just seemed to get better as the weekend went on winning by 10, 31 and 30 as the weekend progressed. Despite sitting middle of the range on the offensive end, the Heat are far and away the league’s best defensive sides keeping their opponents to only 74 points per game. We look to see this trend continue as the winless Spartans come to town for their second game of the weekend. Southern Districts own the league’s second-worst offense and considering Townsville kept South West to 56 points on the road, it is difficult to see the Spartans scoring anywhere near enough points to get close in this one. Townsville easily.

 

Logan Thunder v Ipswich Force

The Thunder will enter Sundays home matchup with Ipswich coming off a challenging Friday trip up the coast to USC and Ipswich will have played the previous night against the rejuvenated Mountaineers. As mentioned above, Logan have been on a tear since dropping both games of their North road double in round 1 and have looked a completely different outfit since returning home. Ipswich have again proven to this point in the season that they have the ability to score with most teams, but it is their efforts on he other side of the ball that continue to let themselves down. The Thunder should be too strong in this one.

 

Gold Coast Rollers v Gladstone Port City Power

The Rollers are coming off a disappointing result against the reigning champion Heat, in which they suffered a 30-point home loss. For the second round in a row they will be facing a side who will be playing their third game of the weekend. Despite this Power being a completely different beast to that of Townsville, Gold Coast will have learned not to take anyone lightly who steps onto the court at The Southport School on a Sunday afternoon. The Rollers still hold a .500 record at 3-3 and a victory could put them back in the playoff picture come the midway point of the season. We have predicted the Power to be 1-1 to this point of the weekend and realistically have the chance to fly home with another win under their belt, although we think that the rested Rollers should be able to manage a home victory and send Gladstone home with the L.

 

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North Gold Coast Seahawks v Gladstone Port City Power

The Seahawks remain in the top 8 after a tough 6-point win against Logan in Round 6. Casey Samuels was outstanding playing the entire game scoring 29 points including 6 threes and 6 assists. Leeza Burdgess had 24 of her own shooting at just over 55% from the field while also contributing with 7 rebounds. The Seahawks take on a Gladstone outfit who were heavily beaten at home by the Spartans last week. The Power were led by Amanda Frost who scored 32 points and Milomilo Nanai with 20 and 9 rebounds however, the Power committed 32 turnovers on the night and their rebounding continues to struggle – averaging the lowest in the league. It’s the first of a triple header for Gladstone this weekend and considering both teams’ form going into this one, the Seahawks are favourites at home.

 

Sunshine Coast Phoenix v Rockhampton Cyclones  

The Phoenix travelled to Toowoomba in Round 6 and came away with a big win belting the Mountaineers by 22 points. Natalie Hurst, Abby Bishop and Amy Browne were again the leaders against Toowoomba. Hurst had 27 points, 9 assists and 5 steals; Bishop had 25 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists; and Amy Browne had 18 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. The Phoenix offense has been one of the best in the league this year with the team averaging over 27 assists a game as well as being ranked highest in three-point shooting and second in points. The Phoenix will tackle the Cyclones in Round 7 in Rocky’s first of two games on the Sunshine Coast for the weekend. Rocky were fantastic in Mackay with a brilliant fourth-quarter come from behind win against the Meteorettes last week. Shanavia Dowdell won Player of the Week honours with an incredible 33 points shooting at over 72% from the field to go along with a league-high 21 rebounds. She found great support from Aaryn Ellenberg who scored 28 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists in the win. With the form of Dowdell and Ellenberg up against Hurst, Bishop and Browne this shapes up to be the match of the round. Phoenix are slight favourites at home.

 

Cairns Dolphins v Southern Districts Spartans  

The Dolphins enjoyed a much-needed bye in Round 6 and currently sit in 12th place with a 2-5 record in 2018. N’Dea Bryant has been a welcome addition to Cairns averaging over 26 points in her two games for the club along with 11 rebounds on the defensive side of the ball. Cairns will enjoy being back at home against a Spartans team full of confidence from their big win over Gladstone. Seven Spartans scored 10 points or more last Saturday with Ashley Taia top-scoring with 17. Rebecca Haynes pulled in 14 rebounds and 7 assists while the Spartans welcomed Romy Baer for her first game of the year scoring 14 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists along with 5 steals and 3 blocks. This will be a tough struggle in Cairns, but the form of the Spartans should be too good for the Dolphins in this match-up.

 

USC Rip City v Logan Thunder  

Both teams face a double-header this weekend with this game an important one in the context of the season. The Rip sit 11th on the ladder just one spot below Logan on percentage. USC fought back from a disappointing first half against the Capitals but in the end, they fell short by 9 away from home. Bianca Abbott was the top scorer with 16, whilst Carlie Smith had 13 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists. Logan went down to the Seahawks in Round 6 despite a huge game from Mikhaela Donnelly. The Logan captain scored 31 points shooting at just over 55% from the field and had 8 assists and 3 steals in the process. Zitina Aokusa continues to be a big factor in defence with 12 rebounds and 3 blocks to go along with her 17 points on the offensive side of the ball. Both teams are desperate for a win with a place in the top 8 a far reach for the loser going forward.

 

Brisbane Capitals v Sunshine Coast Phoenix  

The Caps snapped a three-game losing streak last week against the Rip with a hard-fought 9-point win at home. Akilah Bethel top scored with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Amy Lewis had 15 whilst Madison Woodford and Diana Neves each had 12. The Caps are in eighth spot going into their battle against a Phoenix outfit bolstered by the strength of Hurst, Bishop and Browne. Hurst and Bishop are averaging 24 and 22 points each respectively and the performance of Amy Browne the past few weeks has been very encouraging for Mark Hauser’s team. The Phoenix beat the Capitals back in Round 4 on the back of the performances from Bishop and Hurst as well as Ashlee Wallis who top scored that night with 21 points. Phoenix should have enough firepower to take this one, but it may come down to the wire in Auchenflower.

 

South West Metro Pirates v Gladstone Port City Power  

The Pirates suffered their first loss of the season last week going down to Townsville 70-82. Sarah Elsworthy top-scored with 16 points, whilst Madelyn Willey and Natalie Taylor each had 15. The Pirates were without Nicole Seekamp their top-scorer who was absent for the game as was Jade Kirisome who had been averaging 13 points a game this season. The Pirates’ next opponent is Gladstone who will be playing their second game of a massive triple-header in southeast Queensland in Round 7. With limited depth, the Power will once again rely on their big impact players such as Amanda Frost, Milomilo Nanai and Ashleigh Kelman-Poto who are all averaging over 12 points a game. Frost is currently the ninth ranked scorer in the league and her influence will be crucial for Gladstone. The Pirates will look to get back on the winners list with a big win at home and they should get the job done.

 

USC Rip City v Rockhampton Cyclones  

The Rip play their second home game of the weekend this time against an ever-improving Rockhampton outfit. Leah Scott continues to be the go-to-girl for USC and is averaging 26 points a game playing big minutes. She will need more support from her teammates and the Rip will be hoping that Bianca Abbott and Carlie Smith can put up another big game against Rockhampton’s star duo Shanavia Dowdell and Aaryn Ellenberg. Both are averaging over 23 points a game and Dowdell’s field goal shooting is 67% – a clear leader in the league. Rockhampton’s defence has been clicking in the past weeks and now the team sits third in steals and blocks in the league. The Cyclones will be backing up from a tough game against the Phoenix the night before, but they should still be favourites in this one.

 

Toowoomba Mountaineers v Ipswich Force  

Toowoomba continue to struggle in 2018 losing both their Round 6 games against Townsville and SC Phoenix respectively. The Mountaineers faced two of the strongest teams this year but were unable to get into both games suffering heavy losses. Donnaizha Fountain has been the shining light for the team since coming over from the States and she led from the front once again over the weekend with a game-high 37 points against Townsville and 20 the following Sunday against the Phoenix. Kimberlee Wilson was impressive coming off the bench against the Phoenix scoring 12 points to go along with a team-high 13 rebounds and 7 assists. Ipswich enjoyed a week off in Round 6 and will face their fist of two games away this weekend. Amanda Johnson has been one of the best players in 2018 and her dominance should continue in Toowoomba. The Force remain unbeaten and will keep that streak going with a big win against the Mountaineers.

 

Townsville Flames v Southern Districts Spartans

Townsville remain undefeated in season 2018 after a fantastic triple-header last weekend. The Flames won all three games by an average of 22 points against Toowoomba, South West Metro and Gold Coast. Darcee Garbin was outstanding across the three games with averages of 25 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Ainsley Walsh hit 23 points against Toowoomba and Miela Goodchild had 20 against Gold Coast. Townsville are the highest ranked team in points scored this year and have four players averaging over 14 points each game. The Spartans will back up from their trip to Cairns the following night for this crucial encounter. Southern Districts have been strong defensively this year and will once again hope to have plenty of contributors for this clash. Townsville however are flying and should keep their perfect run intact.

 

Gold Coast Rollers v Gladstone Port City Power

Gold Coast continue to search for their first win in 2018 after suffering a massive 30-point loss to the top of the table Flames in Round 6. Alicia Carline was the top scorer for the Coast with 17 points and amassed a game-high 15 rebounds. Kate Hewett was strong from the field shooting at 66% to score 12 points however, the Rollers committed an unacceptable 35 turnovers with the Flames capitalised on scoring 38 points off these errors. Gladstone will face their third game in three days and will welcome the battle against the lowly Rollers. If the Power can work on their defence and shut down Carline and Hewett they should be able to get away with a win from the weekend.

 

Logan Thunder v Ipswich Force

Logan are just outside the 8 and this contest against the Force is vital for the remainder of their season. Both teams will be playing their second game of the round, but the advantage is with Logan who have an extra day to prepare and will be playing at home in front of a raucous crowd. Ipswich are unbeaten and providing they beat the winless Mountaineers on Saturday they should remain favourites for this clash. Logan’s Zitina Aokusa has been sensational in defence but she will have the biggest job of all taking on Amanda Johnson on Sunday. This match-up should be a great battle with Logan’s home crowd a huge factor. Johnson will look to dominate once again and if she does it should be another win for the Force.

 

 

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