05/03/2024

Cayla George in action for the Sydney Flames. (Photo: Kris Saad/ Supplied)

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

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 8 of the 2023/24 season.

1. Perth Lynx

Record: 7-3, Previous Ranking: 2nd

The Perth Lynx find themselves at the top of the Power Rankings after several weeks with a ten-point win against the Southside Flyers seeing them overtake Townsville.

The charge was led by Aari McDonald and Amy Atwell who together scored a combined 52 points. Atwell was the top points scorer for the match with 27 points, adding to her two rebounds. While McDonald had 25 to go with her eight assists and six rebounds.

Like it has been all season, the Lynx were strong when it came to scoring from a turnover as they were able to capitalise on most opportunities that they were given, scoring 30 points from turnover. While they were also strong on the fast break with the side able to convert 30 points out of a fast break. 

Games this week: UC Captials, Townsville Fire  

2. Townsville Fire

Record: 8-2, Previous Ranking: 1st

A loss to the Melbourne sees Townsville get knocked out of the top spot of the rankings, as it went down by 20 points. The Fire were without skipper Sami Whitcomb who returned to Perth to be with her family for Christmas.

Even though it was a convincing defeat, the Fire were still showing off their depth scoring 22 points from players coming off the bench and making an impact. They were also strong off the fast break, scoring 13 points off the fast break.

When it comes to individual players, it was Courtney Woods who stepped up for the Fire scoring 22 points to go with her five rebounds.

The Fire will be looking to bounce back when they take on a red-hot Sydney Flames and current power rankings leaders in the Perth Lynx. 

Games this week: Sydney Flames, Perth Lynx 

3. Melbourne Boomers

Record: 7-4, Previous Ranking: 4th

It was a mixed bag of results for the Boomers, who were without their star import Jordin Canda.

After a comprehensive loss at the hands of Sydney, Melbourne were able to turn it around and come away with a win over the ladder leaders in Townsville.

No Boomers player was able to score higher than 15 points in the opening match against the Flames with co-captain Keely Froling leading the way with 14 points, two assists and nine rebounds in what ended up being a 28-point defeat.

Against Townsville, it was Naz Hilmon who was continuing her strong debut season in purple. Hilmon finished the match with an equal game-high 22 points to go with her one assist and eight rebounds. While Froling backed up her performance from the previous contest, ending the game with 17 points, four assists and 11 rebounds in what was a 20-point victory to the visitors.

Games this week: Bendigo Spirit 

4. Southside Flyers

Record: 6-4  Previous Ranking: 3rd

It was a valiant effort from the Flyers this week as they fell just short against the Lynx who are fast rising to be up there with the Fire in the standings.

In a 10-point defeat, the Flyers showed that they remain one of the most potent offences with Mercedes Russell netting 20 points and 12 rebounds in a strong frontcourt effort. Bec Cole added 19 points and six assists herself in the resilient display, with young promising forward Nyadiew Puoch adding 11 of her own along with nine rebounds.

With a fixture it’ll be hoping to win coming up, Southside will be looking to get the result and stay within touching distance of the top of the standings.

Games this week: Adelaide Lightning 

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5. Sydney Flames

Record: 6-5, Previous Ranking: 7th

It was another double-win round for the up and down Flames.

An excellent win over Melbourne and a solid victory over Bendigo see the Flames rise back above .500 and back into finals contention with our top four.

The Melbourne fixture saw Lauren Nicholson once again star, leading from the front with 24 points. She was helped by some welcome cameos from Emma Clarke and Paige Bradley, stuffing the stat sheet with all-round performances. They scored 30 points between them, as well as 13 assists and six rebounds as well.

Nicholson added a further 20 in the Bendigo game with Cayla George posting an almost triple double. The veteran put up 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in 29 minutes.

The Flames will look to seize this momentum and move up into the top four come round 9.

Games this week: Townsville Fire 

6.  Bendigo Spirit 

Record: 3-7, Previous Ranking: 5th

Bendigo weren’t able to get the job done on the road, with the Sydney Flames coming out victorious by eight points.

The major positive for the Spirit was their impact players able to be injected into the game to make an impact, with the Spirit scoring 27 points off the bench. The Spirit were also able to mop up their own ball, getting 17 second chance points for the game.

When it comes to individual efforts, the charge was led by skipper Kelsey Griffin who was once again excellent for the Spirit. The Spirit captain finished with 14 points, four assist and six rebounds.

The Spirit will be looking to re-group as they face the Boomers this week, in what is sure to be a strong contest.

Games this week: Melbourne Boomers

7. UC Capitals 

Record: 2-8, Previous Ranking: 8th

It’s now two wins in a row for the Capitals who were definitely the slowest starters of the season.

A solid win over Adelaide led by a sensational Jade Melbourne means that Canberra are starting to make moves in the right direction.

Melbourne was terrific with 31 points alongside seven assists and five rebounds. As usual, her efforts were supplemented by Alex Sharp who had 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the win. And a welcome sight for UC Capitals fans as Monica Okoye had a great contribution, netting 16 points while playing 34 minutes. 

The more the Capitals can get contributions outside of Melbourne and Sharp, the more they can challenge the teams above them in the standings. If Okoye and Nicole Munger perform well again, they could end up causing an upset over the Lynx and re-establish themselves in a big way.

Games this week: Perth Lynx 

8.   Adelaide Lightning 

Record: 3-9, Previous Ranking: 7th

The Lightning has fizzled out in a major way as this season has progressed. They fell by 13 points to the Capitals who took their second win of the season with that victory.

On the brightside, five Lightning players posted double digits with Borlase and Mansfield scoring 16 points each.

The current obstacle of the Lighting is getting the most out of their lineup in terms of depth. While most teams have a 10 player rotation, Adelaide usually only uses eight or nine which leads it to being spread too thin.

Working on more rotations while getting production from the bench must be a point of emphasis if the Lightning are to turn their season around.

Games this week: Southside Flyers

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