14/04/2024

Cayla George in action against her old side. (Photo: Sydney Flames)

The second edition of The Inner Sanctum’s WNBL Power Rankings for season 2023/24 has dropped, with Round 2 producing some entertaining basketball as all teams continue to get into rhythm.

These WNBL Power Rankings are based on the squads’ current form and short-term expectations. They aren’t a prediction of where teams will finish the season on the ladder, but rather an expectation on how they will perform in their upcoming games with consideration given to injuries and form.

Here are The Inner Sanctum’s WNBL Power Rankings ahead of Round 3 of the 2023/24 season.

1. Perth Lynx

Record: 2-0, Previous ranking: 1st

The Perth Lynx picked up where they left off with a strong win against the Adelaide Lightning in Perth. The Lynx ran away with the game in the last quarter to secure their second win of the season.

Import Aari McDonald was excellent, continuing her great start to her time in red, finishing with 29 points, 11 assists and one rebound. McDonald has proved to be one of the key playmakers for the Lynx in the first couple of weeks.

Captain Anneli Maley has been important on the glass this season, finishing the match with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Amy Atwell and Emily Potter were critical for the Lynx, scoring 17 and 13 points respectively.

Games this week: Vs Bendigo Spirit

2. Melbourne Boomers

Record: 2-0, Previous ranking: 2nd

The Melbourne Boomers continued their fine form this season with a strong win over the Sydney Flames in the club’s first match against former coach Guy Molloy and former Boomer Cayla George.

The Boomers gained recruit Monique Conti for the match, who returned from her AFLW commitments with Richmond, scoring a few crucial buckets upon her return. 

Jordin Canada picked up where she left off, making the toughest tasks look easy. She finished the match with 20 points, 13 assists, and four rebounds.

Games this week: Vs Bendigo Spirit 

3. Southside Flyers

Record: 2-1, Previous ranking: 5th

The Southside Flyers have started to find their rhythm, collecting two wins across the round, including a win over the reigning champions Townsville Fire.

Southside was behind for most of the game until Nyadiew Puoch scored eight of its last 13 points and converted two free throws in the dying seconds of the game to take the lead by a point.

Mercedes Russell continued her strong season, finishing with 22 points against the Fire. Maddi Rocci proved to be important against the Capitals, finishing with 28 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. 

Against the Capitals, the Flyers were able to push through without captain Bec Cole, who went down after a knock to her back during the second quarter of the opening game which also saw her miss the game against Townsville. 

Games this week: At Adelaide Lightning

4. Townsville Fire

Record: 1-1, Previous ranking: 3rd

Townsville Fire were dealt their first loss since January 5th this year, snapping a 17-game winning streak at the hands of the Southside Flyers.

Townsville let itself down with Southside scoring 18 points from turnover. As well as allowing the Flyers to get out on the fast break, scoring six fast break points.

The positives were Steph Reid and Courtney Woods proved important for the Fire with the pair leading from the front. Reid finished the match with 18 points, seven assists, and five rebounds. While Woods finished with 15 points and four rebounds. 

Games this week: Vs UC Capitals

5. Adelaide Lightning 

Record: 1-2, Previous ranking: 4th

The Adelaide Lightning recorded their second loss for the season after going down to a red-hot Perth Lynx outfit.

Although they couldn’t come away with the win, young gun Isobel Borlase was again a force to be reckoned with, finishing the match with 20 points, four assists, and five rebounds. 

Import Brianna Turner put herself on the map and proved important on the glass, collecting 23 rebounds to go with her 14 points and five assists.

Games this week: Vs Southside Flyers 

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6. Sydney Flames

Record- 1-2, Previous ranking: 8th

It was a better round this week for the Flames, kicking off proceedings with their first win of the season against the Bendigo Spirit. Although, they got beaten by a strong Melbourne Boomers outfit.

Import Didi Richards had a breakout game against the Spirit, especially when it came to getting the all-important rebounds in crucial stages of the match. She finished the game with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. 

The Flames went head-to-head with the Boomers during the last quarter, but captain Cayla George fouled out of the game when the game was on the line and the momentum shifted back into the hands of the Boomers.

Recruit Lauren Nicholson also had strong performances across the two games and led the comeback against the Boomers in the final quarter, putting up some crucial buckets.

Games this week: Vs UC Capitals 

7. UC Capitals

Record: 0-2 Previous ranking: 8th

It was a disappointing match for the Capitals after they lost to the Flyers.

Canberra showed some good signs during the game, but a Southside masterclass in the fourth quarter saw the team run away with the game.

Alex Sharp was again strong with 14 points, three assists and six rebounds. While Jade Melbourne was able to set up opportunities for the Capitals and score crucial buckets with the WNBA rookie finishing with 11 points, six assists, and three rebounds. 

It’ll be about finding a consistent four-quarter performance for the Capitals, with the team showing glimpses of a strong brand of basketball.

Games this week: At Sydney Flames, At Townsville Fire

8. Bendigo Spirit

Record: 0-2, Previous ranking: 7th

The Bendigo Spirit were dealt a close loss against the Sydney Flames with the Spirit unable to get over the line in a nailbiting match.

Bendigo were able to get its eye in when it counted with Alex Wilson and Mehryn Kraker scoring some crucial buckets later in the final quarter.

Kraker continued her fine form at the Spirit with 14 points, four assists, and seven rebounds. While Alex Wilson was also strong with 13 points, three rebounds, and four assists.

Captain Kelsey Griffin once again missed the clash with a hamstring injury but is expected to feature in round three.

Games this week: Perth Lynx, Melbourne Boomers

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