WNBL1 Preview: Week 2 (24/25 October 2020)

Five previously scheduled games are now down to three this weekend as teams work tremendously hard to ensure that basketball can still continue in these tricky times.

We take a look below at the trio of games in question and what WNBL fans can look forward to in week two.

BA London Lions II (0-0) v Ipswich (0-0)

Champions Ipswich get their season under way this weekend on the road in Barking against a Lions side also making their debut.

Ipswich won both their games against this weekend's opponents fairly comfortably a year ago, running out 94-47 winners in Suffolk before claiming the return leg 86-68 in East London.

Barking should have a youthful side out in this one, with just four of their roster for this season aged 20 or over. Plenty of eyes will also be on reigning MVP Harriet Welham as she makes her season debut for Ipswich.

Ipswich head coach Nick Drane said: “Then first game of the season is always exciting, but there’s a little extra this year for obvious reasons. After eight months without a competitive game of basketball, we are finally back.

"Barking is always a tough place to play, and with all of the new guidelines in place it’s going to make away games even more of a mental test. We are looking forward to the challenge.”

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Harriet Welham drives the lane for Ipswich last season (Nick Winter)

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Anglia Ruskin University (0-0) v COLA Southwark Pride (1-0)

Anglia Ruskin will be eager to get their season started on the right foot, but to do so they'll need to overcome a Southwark side that's already up and running.

Following a shock result in week one, beating last season's third place side Reading 72-52, CoLA will be looking to build on that performance here. Simona Henshaw (16 points, nine boards) and Isi Ozzy-Momodu (10 points, 10 rebounds) will both be hoping to stay hot for the visitors.

For ARU, their home opener is a trip into the unknown. Seven of last year's roster have now departed, including D1W Team of the Year selection Madeline Homoly, plus the Rhinos have a new head coach in Jacob Lloyd. How the defending National Cup champions handle that transition could dictate their early season form.

ARU head coach Lloyd: “We’re all excited to be getting the season underway this weekend against a talented CoLA side.

"They’ll be on a high after their impressive performance against Reading last weekend, and it will be a good test for us to see how far we’ve come over the preseason.

"We’ve had some high energy practices this week and we’re hoping we can bring that onto the floor this Saturday.”

MISSED WEEK 1? READ THE RECAP HERE

WNBL DIVISION ONE SEASON PREVIEW

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Bristol Academy Flyers (0-1) v Team Solent Kestrels (0-0)

Bristol were one of just four teams to play last week, though the opener didn't go well as they lost out 68-58 away to Worcester.

Mai Zailbeti and Fiona Fox both made it into double digits in that game and will look to keep their scoring touch going this weekend.

Solent came flying out of the traps last year, winning all four of their opening fixtures including an away game against eventual champions Ipswich. The South Coast side would love a repeat of that form to begin 2020/21.

Key to that push could well be last season's Team of the Year selection Krisztina Velkey. The Hungarian guard will be looking to build on 14.9ppg/7.9rpg/4.9apg numbers from a year ago.

Bristol head coach Pedro Vega: "After a frustrating performance last week, it’s great to get back on the floor against an always well coached Solent side.

"If we can get a 40 minute performance and knock down some shots hopefully we will be somewhere close to where we want to be."

Bristol captain Fiona Fox: "We're looking forward to playing Solent this weekend it’s always a competitive fixture we will need a strong performance to get the result we want."

This weekend's fixtures:

Saturday 24th October

BA London Lions II v Ipswich- LIVE STATS

Anglia Ruskin University v COLA Southwark Pride - LIVE STATS

Bristol Academy Flyers v Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS