Round 14- Game Previews

QBL Game Previews – Round 14

Men

Cairns Marlins vs Logan Thunder

The weekend kicks off with one of the matches of the round, between two teams vying to cement a top four finish and a home final. Cairns were able to get back on the winners list after a strong performance over Gladstone at home, defeating the Power by 22 points. Damon Heuir was able to return to some strong early season form, finishing with 22 points, whilst teammate Kuany Kuany recorded his second straight double-double with 18 and 12. Logan continued on their winning ways defeating Ipswich convincingly by 17. Mitch Young again dominated for the Thunder scoring 28 points on 75% field goal shooting. Logan no doubt goes into this with much better form, although Cairns have only lost once at home all season (in OT against Mackay). Despite what the recent form says, we’ll stick with the Marlins at home.

Ipswich Force vs Gold Coast Rollers

The Force were able to break their ten-game losing streak with a dominant win over the last-placed Mountaineers. Kyle Harvey scored 26 points to lead the team in the 24-point thumping, whilst 5 other teammates managed to score in double figures. In their second game of the weekend the Force only managed a season low 82 points, going down to Logan by 17. Kyle Harvey managed another 29 against the Thunder to finish off a great individual weekend. The Rollers went down at home to the Pirates in a close one. Despite the loss, the Rollers would be relatively happy with their performance considering South West’s dominance since the start of June. Gold Coast went into the last quarter with a 1-point advantage before going down by 8. In a well-rounded team performance, the Rollers were let down by a disappointing 21 turnovers which had a big say in the end result. This is a danger game for the Force as they continue to get used to life without James Legan, although we believe they will have too much offensive firepower for the Rollers.

Rockhampton Rockets vs Sunshine Coast Phoenix

The Rockets have kept their season alive with a massive Round 13 win over the top-placed Brisbane Capitals. Rockhampton have now won four of their past five and have been undefeated at home since May. Rashad Hassan put up an impressive 27 and 15 against the Capitals to receive QBL Player of the Week honours, whilst Jack Lopez was able to knock down 7 threes from a staggering 21 attempts, to go along with 5 steals. Sunshine Coast went down in a nail biter against the Spartans, which involved blowing a 12-point lead going into the last. Their offence struggled down the stretch only managing 6 points in the last 5 minutes. Despite the disappointing result the Phoenix still managed three 20-point scorers: Hogan, Hill and Kenyon. Kenyon also managed 13 rebounds and 6 assists, although he would like to forget his 10 turnovers, the most of any player this QBL season. Sunshine Coast has now lost three straight and has only one victory on the road all season. The Rockets have too much on the line to lose this at home.

Townsville Heat vs Logan Thunder

Townsville used a get out of jail card last Friday night against Gladstone, escaping with an 8-point win. Scores were tied with less than five minutes remaining before the Heat nailed 9 free-throws to secure the victory. Peter Crawford scored 23 for the home team, with Josh Wilcher putting up 21 of his own. Logan will be coming off a massive game against the Marlins on the Friday and one way or another this match will have huge Playoffs repercussions for the Thunder. If they manage to beat Cairns they will still be fighting for home court, but if they lose they will be fighting just for a Playoff spot. Despite what is on the line for the travelling Thunder, the Heat have proved to be almost unbeatable at home and we expect them to get the job done here.

Mackay Meteors vs Sunshine Coast Phoenix

The top of the table clash saw Mackay being knocked off at home for the first time this season falling to their second straight loss. Despite still being the same offensive juggernaut we saw in the first two months of the QBL season, the Meteors have given up 99ppg on the defensive end in the month of July. There is no doubt that their offense is the best in the league, but if their defense doesn’t improve they may struggle to win the title. Shaun Bruce is coming off another monster near triple-double (30 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists), whilst Lucas Walker had a crazy 27 and a round-high 18 rebounds. Somehow the Meteors still managed to lose to the Capitals, even with the huge games of Bruce and Walker. Mackay gave up an abysmal 22 three-point baskets to the Capitals. Mackay have now given up head-to-head to the Capitals and Heat who are now all equal in the loss column. We expect Mackay to put on a dominant display and win this one in convincing fashion, before sitting back and hoping Brisbane and Townsville both drop games in the final rounds.

Gladstone Port City Power vs USC Rip City

Gladstone are coming off two losses in Round 13 on the extremely difficult Townsville-Cairns road double. The Power were being extremely competitive against the Heat, before being blown out by the Marlins the following night. Ray Willis continued his stellar play averaging 34.5 points and 9.5 rebounds over the weekend. Remy Lawyer and Willy Shackleford both managed 5/13 from the field against Cairns to reach double digits, but the remaining 7 players to see the court scored a combined three points on 1/12 shooting. Despite their reassurance of late, no team will win in this league whilst managing only three bench points and their best player scoring 60% of his team’s overall score. USC managed to snap a three-game losing streak with a 10-point victory over the depleted Spartans. Rip City’s defense was great all game keeping the Spartans to 35% shooting and forcing 19 turnovers. Even with Gladstone currently sitting outside the Playoff race, this match is no walk in the park for USC, especially with their poor form of late. If USC manage to drop this they will have a difficult task to get a home final with a difficult Round 15 ahead. Rip City are aware of the stakes and will manage to escape Gladstone with a narrow victory.

Brisbane Capitals vs Brisbane Spartans

The Capitals had a mixed weekend managing to pull off a major victory over Mackay on Friday, before going down to Rockhampton the following night. Brisbane could be without Aaron Anderson who only managed 4 minutes of playing time against Mackay, before not suiting up against the Rockets. They managed an amazing 22 made three pointers against the Meteors which was a major reason for their victory. Jacob Davis was huge off the bench after Anderson went down, scoring 23 points, including 6 of 7 from downtown. Dusty Rychart was also extremely important on Friday scoring 20 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Like the Capitals, the Spartans went 1-1 over the weekend. They were again without Adam Gibson and also Tom Jervis who was at the Boomers camp. Will McDowell-White averaged 22 over both games, but struggled from the field, only shooting 35%. This is a do-or-die game for the Spartans to keep their season alive. Despite the importance of the game for the Spartans, the Capitals should be too strong in this one.

Toowoomba Mountaineers vs Gold Coast Rollers

Round 13 saw Toowoomba going down to Ipswich at home by 24 points. This is a disappointing result for the Mountaineers considering their opposition was without their star player. The home side only managed 37% from the field and 5 of 25 from deep. Despite this they managed a whopping 27 offensive rebounds with Manylok Malek pulling in 10 off his own. Star player Jalil Abdul-Bassit struggled only managing 4/16 from the field and they will find it extremely difficult to win without him hitting the scoreboard in a major way. This will be Gold Coast’s second match of the weekend. Due to their lack of depth, the Rollers may struggle to run out this match, despite it being their best chance of a victory since Torrey Craig left for the States. Considering this is 13th v 14th on the QBL ladder this game is up for grabs and our guess is as good as a flip of the coin.

South West Metro Pirates vs Toowoomba Mountaineers

The Pirates will be waiting around until Sunday afternoon for their first game of the weekend. Depending on other round results, this could be the perfect opportunity for South West to put themselves into that 4th position on the QBL ladder. The Pirates are coming into this match with four consecutive victories and have won 9 of their last 10. They are undoubtedly the hottest team in the league of the last two months and should make light work of their opposition. Toowoomba are playing their Grand Final the previous night against the Rollers and should be on the way down either after a huge win or a disappointing loss. South West comfortably.

Women

Cairns Dolphins vs Logan Thunder

The Cairns Dolphins have slipped from 5th to 9th in the past two weeks after suffering four straight losses. Cairns suffered a 16-point loss to Gladstone last Saturday and despite a strong first half were eventually put away in the final quarter by the Power. Alli Gloyd was again the top scorer for the Dolphins putting up 21 points and registering 9 total rebounds. The Dolphins ultimately couldn’t stop Tabatha Richardson Smith who collected a massive 44 points. Logan suffered just their second loss of the season in a nail-biting overtime clash with the Force at home on Sunday. Kate Gaze scored 26 points, Ula Motuga had 11 rebounds and Mikhaela Donnelly finished with 5 assists. Logan committed 31 fouls in the game, the most by any team in Round 13 and their ill-discipline allowed Ipswich to gain momentum in the final minutes of overtime. Cairns will be desperate for a win to get back into the eight, however Logan are also coming off a loss and should be able to get over the line in this one.

Ipswich Force vs Gold Coast Rollers

Ipswich put in one of their best performances of the season last Sunday taking down the powerful Logan Thunder in overtime on the road. This result came two days after the Force belted Toowoomba on the Friday night. The two victories now see Ipswich climb to 7th on the ladder with two games remaining. Markel Walker was outstanding on the weekend for Ipswich averaging 29.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. She was supported well by Shenita Landry who averaged 19, 10 and 6. Ipswich led the league in field goal percentage and assists last weekend and the team has now won 5 out of their last 6. The Gold Coast Rollers fought bravely on Saturday against South West and despite having not won a game all season, pushed the Pirates hard in the first half before fading out early in the second. Shanelle Tolley top scored for the Rollers with 19 points, whilst Ashli Payne grabbed 10 boards and Siarn Woods had 4 assists. Ipswich could cement a finals spot with a win and at home they will be far too strong for the Rollers.

Rockhampton Cyclones vs Sunshine Coast Phoenix

Rocky put in one of their better performances at home in Round 13 upsetting the Brisbane Capitals by 5 points. Even without Shanavia Dowdell, the Cyclones were able to claw back a final quarter deficit to register just their fifth win of the season. Cyclones’ captain Katrina Clifford led from the front with 23 points, whilst Christina Boag and Jordan Reynolds both claimed 10 rebounds each. Reynolds was also instrumental in Rocky’s offense with 8 assists. The Phoenix were hammered by competition leaders the Brisbane Spartans and registered the lowest score and worst field goal percentage in Round 13. Phoenix captain Erica Carlson was the shining light leading the team in points (18), rebounds (14) and assists (3). This will be the first game of a double-header for the Phoenix as they prepare for an even tougher matchup against Mackay the following night. Both teams look to be out of finals contention but with Rockhampton’s impressive win last week, they should win again at home.

Townsville Flames vs Logan Thunder

Townsville dropped out of the top 4 after a loss to Gladstone on Friday night after being blown away in the final quarter. The Flames were level at three-quarter time and despite a big game from Darcee Garbin who scored 27 points and 10 rebounds, were unable to match it with the Power down the stretch. Despite a couple more games to play, Townsville have now lost the head-to-head tiebreaker with the 4th placed Gladstone leading into the finals. Logan will be coming off a tough road trip to Cairns the previous night in preparation for this game. Despite a surprising loss at home to Ipswich last weekend, Logan still have the best shooting percentage of any team in the competition and will need to re-group for a tough double header in North Queensland. This will be a tight contest with Logan favourites to get the win.

Mackay Meteorettes vs Sunshine Coast Phoenix

Mackay have now lost two games in a row after a heartbreaking 1-point loss to the Capitals on Friday night. Tami Willey top scored for the Meteorettes with 21 points and led the team with 15 rebounds in a strong performance. Jillian Haughton registered 15 rebounds and 6 assists but turnovers hurt Mackay, with Brisbane scoring 18 points off Mackay’s errors. The Phoenix head into their second game of a double header with a finals’ spot out of reach. Sunshine Coast will look to rotate their bench to get some minutes into their younger crop of players. The Phoenix have given up the most fouls by any team this season, however they rank third in blocks with Erica Carlson the star performer. Mackay are still within a shot of making the top 2, but will need a big win here at home to keep the pressure on Logan.

Gladstone Port City Power vs USC Rip City

Gladstone continue to surge up the QBL ladder on the back of another outstanding weekend from Tabatha Richardson Smith. The Power won both their matches in Round 13 against Townsville and Cairns respectively to now sit in the top four with 2 rounds to play. Richardson Smith dominated her opponents over the weekend scoring an average 42 points per game as well as 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Her performances saw her being awarded another QBL Player of the Week title, her second in a row. The USC Rip have seen their finals hopes evaporate despite pushing the unbeaten Spartans to overtime on Sunday. The Rip put in their best performance of the season and an upset seemed on the cards before the Spartans managed to force the game into overtime and eventually win by 5 points. Claire O’Bryan top scored for the Rip with 18 points and 9 rebounds and was backed up by Jen Carden-David and Brooke Le Mar with 15 points each. Gladstone are firing and no team has been able to stop TRS in the last month. The Power will win and win well at home.

Brisbane Capitals vs Brisbane Spartans

There is no better time for the Capitals to knock off the undefeated Spartans than in the Battle of Brisbane this weekend at NAB Stadium. The Capitals remain 6th on the ladder despite a 1-1 record in their double header last weekend. After a brilliant 1-point win against 3rd place Mackay on Friday night, the Capitals suffered a disappointing loss to the Cyclones in Rockhampton the following night. D’Lesha Lloyd averaged 20 points and 12.5 rebounds over the weekend, whilst Heidi Freeburn averaged 19 points per game, Victoria Aldred 11 rebounds and Amy Lewis had 5 assists. Despite belting the Phoenix the previous night, the Spartans suffered an almighty scare on Sunday going into overtime against the USC Rip before prevailing by 5 points in a tough contest. Maddie Allen led the team in points and rebounds with 22 and 17 respectively. The shooting percentage was down for the Spartans despite putting up 10 more shots. Ashleigh Karaitiana was the top scorer for the Spartans on Saturday with 18 points and Allen again led the team in rebounds with 12. The Spartans are still ranked top of the league in assists, blocks, rebounds and give up the fewest turnovers and fouls. With these stats in mind, the Spartans should be able to get bragging rights over their namesake and cement top position heading into the final round of the season.

Toowoomba Mountaineers vs Gold Coast Rollers

Both teams head into this Round 14 clash without a win and both are desperate not to finish on the bottom of the ladder. Toowoomba and Gold Coast play each other again next week setting up a mini-series for 13th place. Toowoomba hosted Ipswich on Friday night and despite a good start to the game were ultimately beaten by 28 points. Francis Donders top scored with 13 points, whilst Kimberlee Wilson and Tea Charlton both gained 7 rebounds each. The Mountaineers registered the lowest number of rebounds and assists on the weekend – a stat that needs fixing this week against the Rollers. The Gold Coast will be coming off a tough road trip to Ipswich the night before with their sights firmly set on this contest. The Rollers were competitive for most of their match against the South West Metro Pirates in Round 13 but again their lack of points and low percentage shooting were big factors in their loss. Shanelle Tolley scored 19 points, whilst Ashli Payne had 17 and 10 rebounds for the Coast. This may not mean much for the rest of the competition but this game will be tightly fought with the loser facing the wooden spoon. Rollers in a close one.

South West Metro Pirates vs Toowoomba Mountaineers

The South West Metro Pirates have found themselves in the top 8 after a strong 15-point win over the Rollers on the Gold Coast. The Pirates were led by Stephanie Bairstow once again with a game-high 19 points and 3 blocks. Shelby Cheslek was again dominant in defence registering 13 rebounds in the Pirates’ big win. Their opponents Toowoomba will face off against fellow cellar-dwellers Gold Coast the night before and based on that result will either be full of confidence after their first win or despondent facing a likely wooden spoon. The Mountaineers will look to improve on their scoring as well as assists, turnovers and free throw percentage in which they are ranked last in the league in all three areas. The Pirates have a strong home court advantage and should punish Toowoomba setting up a fantastic last round before the finals series.

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