WNBL1 Preview: Week 8 (5/6 December 2020) - live streams, stats and more

As we move a step closer to December's mid-season break, this weekend's five games make up the biggest selection of WNBL matches so far this year.

WNBL1 not only provides the quantity this week, but also quality as there are some excellent match-ups across the country for fans to get their teeth into.

On Sunday, unbeaten leaders Ipswich host a Solent team that ran them close just a few weeks ago. That game is also set to break new ground for the season as fans will be in attendance for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Elsewhere, Cardiff are the final team to get their season under way as they travel to Loughborough to tip us off on Saturday afternoon.

We've got a preview of both those games below plus the three others that are also lined up for the weekend. Links to live stats and live streams are at the bottom of the page.

Loughborough Riders (2-2) v Cardiff Met Archers (0-0)

Cardiff, the final team in WNBL1 to get their season under way, travel to Loughborough tomorrow to face a Riders team coming off a confident win last weekend.

The Midlands side took care of business as they moved their record back to .500, knocking off Thames Valley 72-53 thanks to a 21-point performance from Robyn Ainge that earned the guard FocusHoops Team of the Week honours.

American Makana Stone has also been averaging a healthy double-double of 15.7ppg and 16.7rpg, the Archers will need to have a plan in mind for slowing the Riders' forward down or she could take over another WNBL contest.

Last weekend's loss was Thames Valley's first game of the new campaign, Cardiff will be hoping that lightning doesn't strike twice for debuting sides in Loughborough tomorrow.

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Nottingham Trent University (3-2) v Worcester Wolves (3-1)

Two teams that have started the season in positive fashion lock horns tomorrow as Worcester hit the road and head to Nottingham to take on NTU.

Both have come unstuck at the hands of leaders Ipswich, but there's certainly no shame in that as the Suffolk programme continues to develop their young core into a well-moulded unit capable of toppling any WNBL side in the country.

Despite their positive opening results, both Nottingham and Worcester enter tomorrow's contest off the back of defeats, with Trent losing 75-66 in Solent last Sunday, and Worcester came out 2nd best at home to leaders Ipswich 75-63.

NTU's Mady Burdett made the FocusHoops Team of the Week for her efforts on Saturday, lifting her team to a 71-66 win over Reading to kick off Nottingham's double-header, whilst Worcester's Inma Bautista (16P/6R/2A/20EFF) also impressed despite the Wolves falling to defeat.

Both players will hope to swing tomorrow's contest for their side, though only one will be successful.

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Elsewhere this weekend

Three further games remain this weekend, including Reading Rockets (1-3) trying to kick start their season away to Thames Valley (0-1)

Surprisingly, the Rockets have struggled so far this season after finishing third a year ago, though their last two defeats have come by five points or less. Perhaps the Berkshire outfit are close to turning a corner, but Cavs would no doubt like to stop Reading in their tracks and secure their first win of the season.

After last playing a competitive game in late October, Anglia Ruskin (1-0) finally get back onto the court tomorrow as they host Solent (3-2) in what should be a highly entertaining contest.

ARU's ability is ever-present this season, winning their only game to date 69-50 against Southwark. If they can still product that level of play after such a long lay-off remains to be seen, especially since Solent are now five games into their season and come into this one off the back of a win over Nottingham.

Finally, there is an extra reason for basketball fans to cheer this weekend as Ipswich's (5-0) home contest against Solent (3-2) on Sunday is set to be the first game since the Covid-19 pandemic began to allow spectators.

The club is managing this arrangement closely with Basketball England and the game is invite-only, but it is another huge step forward for the sport during a tough period. To have fans enjoying the sport first hand going forward is sure to be a huge boost for teams across the country.

And what a game to do it in, with two leading teams going head-to-head. Ipswich beat Solent on the South Coast 79-71 in late October, and no doubt the Kestrels will be itching for revenge to close the weekend out.

This weekend's fixtures:

Saturday 5 December

1pm - Loughborough Riders v Cardiff Met Archers - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
3pm - Thames Valley Cavaliers v Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
3:30pm - Anglia Ruskin University v Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS
4pm - Nottingham Trent University v Worcester Wolves - LIVE STATS

Sunday 6 December

1pm - Ipswich v Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS

Main image credit - Loughborough basketball