21/02/2024

Lauren Nicholson facing her former side. (Photo: Kris Saad/supplied)

The seventh edition of The Inner Sanctum’s WNBL Power Rankings for season 2023/24 has dropped, presented by Inner Sanctum contributors Callum Logie, Elly McNerney and Lauren Rosenberg. 

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.

You can view last week’s Power Rankings here

Here are The Inner Sanctum’s WNBL Power Rankings ahead of Round 7 of the 2023/24 season.

1. Townsville Fire 

Record: 8-1:  Previous week ranking: 1st 

Dominant offence against a fellow competitor in the Flyers alongside a solid 22-point win over an admittedly streaky Flames team kept Townsville at the top of our leaderboard this week. 

Five different players registered double digits in points against Southside, with Stephanie Reid’s 22 leading what was the best offensive performance of the season. The primary difference in this fixture however was outside shooting, Townsville sinking 42% of their 3-point attempts. 

In the Sydney fixture, they were carried through with an impressive rebounding display led by Mikaela Ruef’s 15. Winning the rebound battle by a resounding 23 in a display of physical dominance in the front court. Courtney Woods and Sami Whitcomb scored 19 and 18 points respectively in an impressive all around display for the high flying Fire team. 

Game this week: Melbourne Boomers 

2. Perth Lynx 

Record: 6-3,  Previous week: 3rd

Moving up the rankings this week is the Lynx after a solid performance against an inconsistent Flames side, taking home a massive 40-point win over in Perth in what was a dominant performance by the home side. 

Perth’s strength continues to be their depth, with the Lynx’s bench players once again making an impact on the scoreboard. The Lynx scored 36 points by players who came in off the bench and as the stats show, continue to make an impact whenever injected into the game. 

The charge was led by Amy Atwell and Miela Goodchild, Atwell was the leading point scorer for the game recording 21 points to go with her one assist and four rebounds. While Goodchild wasn’t to far behind, scoring 18 points to go with her two rebounds and two assists. 

Game this week: Southside Flyers 

3.  Southside Flyers 

Record: 6-3  Previous week ranking: 4th 

As much of a mixed bag as you could have foreseen for the Flyers in this batch of fixtures as they suffered a tough loss to the aforementioned Fire before bouncing back with a solid 10-point win over up and comers Bendigo.

One thing that Southside certainly does not lack is offensive firepower. In their defeat to the Fire, the Flyers still managed to put up 78 points with Jasmine Dickey and Mercedes Russell scoring 20 points each. They were supported by the in-form Bec Cole who put up a 16-point, 10-assist double double in the loss. 

The next time out was even more impressive at that end. 91 points lead by Cole and Maddi Rocci with 24 each meant that the momentum was quickly snatched back by one of the most exciting teams to watch in the league this season. Southside’s back court is excellent, and if they get Cole and Rocci consistently firing together, they will be a tough team to stop. 

Games this week: Perth Lynx 

4. Melbourne Boomers 

Record: 6-3, Previous week ranking: 2nd 

It was a disappointing round for the Melbourne Boomers, having lost two games to two teams outside the top four. To make matters worse, they were without star Jordin Canada for the game against the Lightning as well as most of the game against Canberra after a collision with Capitals star Jade Melbourne.

Although there was a silver lining with dual code star Monique Conti getting more minutes and was strong across both games. Scoring 10 points in the match against Canberra while up against the Lightning Conti scored eight points to go with her four assists. 

Fellow import Naz Hillmon was strong in the game against Canberra, especially under the net. Scoring 14 points to go with her 12 rebounds, eight of which were offensive. Sara Blicavs led the charge for the Boomers against the Lightning scoring 21 points, four assists and 10 rebounds. 

It’ll be a challenging week for the Boomers as they look to bounce back from two straight losses, with one of their two upcoming games against the reigning champions in Townsville who have been going from strength to strength. 

Game this week: Sydney Flames, Townsville Fire 

5.  Bendigo Spirit 

Record: 3-6, Previous week ranking: 6th

The Bendigo Spirit split their matchups this round with an 81-77 win over the Adelaide Lightning and a 91-81 loss to the Southside Flyers. They showed an immense amount of fight in both games against two vastly different opponents. 

Against Adelaide, Bendigo was able to limit Brianna Turner to a measly three points on 12.5% shooting. They forced the Lightning into 16 turnovers with 10 of those coming off steals. On offence, five players hit double-digits in scoring. Mehryn Kraker led the way with 20 points, Alicia Froling and Alex Wilson had 15, and Casey Samuels and Kelsey Griffin scored 10. 

Their loss against the Flyers was not a bad one by any means. Their offensive production was prominent as four players scored in double digits. Kraker led the way with 20, Griffin scored 18, Abbey Wehrung sank 15, and Alicia Froling recorded 11. They were vastly outmatched in the perimeter defense department. Bendigo allowed Southside’s guards to score 66 points and could not come up with any answers on defense.  

Games This Week: Adelaide Lightning, Southside Flyers  

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6.   Adelaide Lightning 

Record: 3-8, Previous week ranking: 7th

The close-loss curse has finally been broken by Adelaide after getting the win over the Melbourne Boomers away from home. Adelaide was one of three teams that had the double game, having also gone down to the Bendigo Spirit earlier in the round. 

Adelaide was strong on the fast break points across both of their matches, against the Spirit they recorded 16 fast break points to the Spirits six. While against the Boomers they scored 13 points off a fast break to the Boomers five. 

In the game against the Spirit, it was Lauren Mansfield and Isabelle Bourne who led from the front for Adelaide. Mansfield scored 28 points to go with her three assists and one rebounds, while Bourne scored 25 points to go with her one assist and five rebounds. 

In the match against the Boomers, it was Izzy squared that dominated for Adelaide with both Bourne and Isobel Borlase putting on a show at the Boom Box. Borlase scored 21 points to go with her two assists and 12 rebounds, nine of which were defensive. Then for Bourne, she scored 15 points to go with one assist and seven rebounds. Import Brianna Turner was strong under the hoop and on defence, claiming 14 rebounds with nine of those being defensive as well as one block and four steals. 

Game this week: UC Capitals 

7. Sydney Flames 

Record- 4-5, Previous week ranking: 6th

After the Flames burned bright in our power rankings last week, they were more flickering this week with two tough losses against the Lynx and the Fire. The Flames can take solace in that they’re two of the top teams in the league, but Lauren Nicholson and co will need to become more consistent to prove they’re a team that will compete with the best. 

In the Perth fixture, turnovers and shaky shooting were their downfall as only Cayla George and Ahlise Hurst were able to score more than 10 points in the defeat. 

It was an equally challenging time scoring against Townsville, as only Nicholson managed double digits with only 11 points. Scoring 48 points in a 40 minute game is always going to make getting the win a tough ask, but as we’ve seen just last week, the Flames have great fight and tenacity which could see them fly back up the rankings with some good results in round 8. 

Games This Week: Melbourne Boomers, Bendigo Spirit  

8. UC Capitals 

Record: 1-8 Previous weeks ranking: 8th

The Capitals were ever so close to getting bumped up to seventh in the power rankings but the Flames edged them out. Regardless, Canberra showed their grit and tenacity against the mighty Melbourne Boomers where they defended their home court 84-72. 

Jade Melbourne was a star per usual. She continues to run the offence with ease and put up eye-popping numbers that fans know and love. She finished with a double-double of 30 points, five rebounds, 10 assists, and two steals. Alex Sharp took advantage on the defensive boards as she also earned a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. 

Overall, Canberra completely overwhelmed Melbourne to secure the upset. Although Melbourne’s Jordin Canada left due to concussion, Melbourne is full of weapons and the young Canberra team was able to crack down and secure the win. 

Games this week: Adelaide Lightning

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