QBL 2019 season: Complete guide to women’s competition
FROM the south of the state to the north, we have the complete guide of every team in the women's Queensland Basketball League season.
LAST SEASON: 12th (6-12)
COACH: Bronwyn Marshall
INS: Francis Donders (Toowoomba 2017), Shanavia Dowdell (Rockhampton), Georgia Fagan (GC Rollers), Audrey Fuller (Capitals juniors), Georgia Woolley (Capitals juniors)
OUTS: Akilah Bethel, Amy Lewis (Ipswich Force), Mikaela King (Ipswich Force), Diana Neves
MAIN WOMEN: Shana via Dowdell has been a major star in the QBL for Rockhampton and has won several titles and will need to recapture her best form for the Capitals, while Francis Donders will be a threat from the three- point line.
LAST WORD: Despite the additions of Dowdell and Donders, the Capitals will be a very young side and if their import pairing can't produce big in each game, they may find it hard to compete for a spot in the playoffs.
LAST SEASON: Champions, won grand final over Townsville (19-3)
COACH: Rebecca Stephens
CAPTAIN: Aja Parham
INS: Odette Isaac, Karli Currie, Leah Scott (USC Rip)
OUTS: Jess McDowell-White (US College), Ambrosia Anderson (Europe), Romy Baer (Europe)
MAIN WOMEN: The Spartans have been the most dominant team in QBL history and with Aja Parham leading the way and former SEABL stars Odette Isaac and Karli Currie back at Carina along- side new import Leah Scot t, they have one of the most talented rosters in the league again.
LAST WORD: While the Spar tans still have a lot of talent and experience, the losses of import duo Anderson and Baer will be hard to cover, especially in the playoffs. However, this group should still feature in the playoffs but can they go as far as repeating their championship success of the past two seasons?
LAST SEASON: 9th (8-10)
COACH: Kerry Williams
INS: Shaneice Swain (under-age basketball), Indiah Bowyer (under-age basketball)
OUTS: Robin Perkins (Europe), N'Dea Bryant (Europe), Jade Kennedy (unavailable), Rachel Prior (unavailable), Myra Donkin (relocated)
MAIN WOMEN: The Dolphins are going young in 2019, putting faith in Australian junior representatives Shaneice Sw ain and Indiah Bowyer, while rising star Summah Evans, who recently attended an NCAA college camp, will be asked to do more.
LAST WORD: The yet-to-be-named imports will need to be elite to make the Dolphins competitive in 2019. Losing their local core of Jade Kennedy, Rachel Prior and Myra Donkin leaves a massive hole in their defence and offence. The Dolphins' playoff drought looks unlikely to be ended this year.
GLADSTONE PORT CITY POWER
COACH: Ray Cooper
INS: Brandi Wingate (BLK Slavia Pra-ha), Gabby Oram (local competition), Amarah Coleman (DePaul College)
OUTS: Amanda Frost (Mt Gambier Pioneers), Caralie Wilson, Erin Geer, Jennifer Mathurin, Jordan Smith, Tanaya Atkinson
MAIN WOMEN: Brandi Wingate and Amarah Coleman loom as players with class for Gladstone. Wingate stands at 188cm and can play inside and out of the paint, while Coleman is a 180cm combination guard. Briana Bailey is also expected to step up after a solid season last year. Milomilo Nanai and Ash- leigh Kelman-Poto will provide grunt as post players.
LAST WORD: The Power will have their challenges this season but are expected to improve on 2018. Depth could be a challenge, especially against some of the WNBL-laden teams. Having said that, Power proved last year they can match it with the best - they just need to do it for the whole 40 minutes.
GOLD COAST ROLLERS
LAST SEASON: 13th (3-15)
COACH: Cassie Dover
INS: Jackie Luna-Castro (Mexico), Ariana Moorer (US), Sar ah Ambrose, Grace George, Susannah Walmsley, Courtney Peate
OUTS: Alicia Carline, Opal Mader, Hannah Beede, Nyah Morris, Kate Hewett, Dana Brown
MAIN WOMEN: International representative Jackie Luna-Castro and Ariana Moorer should make an instant offensive impact. Su zi Walmsley has WNBL experience and along with Carleigh Patrick and Australian junior representative Grace George will provide much more depth to the side's scoring options. With Sar ah Ambrose added and Siarn Woods and Courtney Peate returning, the defence looks good too.
LAST WORD: This year's playing group looks stronger and should allow better rotation. That would give the Rollers the chance to play an up-tempo, high-intensity game at both ends.
LAST SEASON: 3rd, lost semi-final to Southern Districts (17-3)
COACH: Brad George
CAPTAIN: Bree Farley
INS: Amy Lewis (WNBL), Kaili McLaren (import), Makaela King (Brisbane/ Rockhampton), Grace Ellis (Ipswich junior), Lauren O'Sullivan
OUTS: Gintare Mazionyte (import returning home), Kate Head, Meg Essex MAIN WOMEN: Kaili McLaren will join the Force's American shooting star Amanda 'AJ' Johnson, who was recruited by the Sydney Flames' WNBL team during last year's QBL season. The Force have also been strengthened by well- travelled WNBL player Amy Lewis, who is expected to work well with captain Bree Farley and young guns Rachel Mate and Georgia Williams. LAST WORD: After their best regular season in QBL history last year, the Force have bolstered their depth in a bid to go one better this year. Coach Brad George is a QBL veteran who knows how to get the best out of his players.
LAST SEASON: 11th (7-11)
COACH: Brayden Heslehurst
CAPTAIN: Mikhaela Donnelly
INS: Ashley Taia (S D S partans), Mikaela Ruef (Launceston SEABL), Jayden Fuiava (year off), Neferatali Notoa (Ipswich), Peyton Soloai (GC Rollers), Alana Fraser (Townsville)
OUTS: Zitina Aokuso (Geelong), Jackie Luna-Castro (GC Rollers), Tiarn Wood, Cassie Carroll (retired), Ula Motuga (US College), Monika Faerber (US college), Mikaila Sione (US college), Hazel Fui (US college),
MAIN WOMEN: Logan will rely heavily on their 'big three' of Mikhaela Donnelly, Ashley Taia and Mikaela Ruef. Jayden Fuiava returns to the line-up and is a WNBL-quality prospect who will provide a major boost.
LAST WORD: Logan have talent but outside of their core they are very young. Have the roster to return to the top eight and if their young stars can produce, could be a big factor.
LAST SEASON: 7th, lost quarter-final to Ipswich (9-10)
COACH: Ian Haughton
CO CAPTAINS: Jacqui Zelenka and Heidi Freeburn INS: Alex Delaney (Sydney Flames), Leeza Burdgess (US Import), Erica Covile (US Import), Marianna Tolo (short term - Canberra Capitals), Jameson McMullen (Southern Districts Spar tans), Chantal Thomas (returning)
OUTS: Mia Loyd (South West Metro), Ruvanna Campbell (overseas)
MAIN WOMEN: Leeza Burdgess adds some much-needed size and a presence inside the paint for the Meteorettes, while Alex Delaney provides a perimeter shooting threat. Heidi Freeburn is the glue for the Mackay team and will lead them in the backcourt again this season.
LAST WORD: The Meteorettes will be aiming for the playoffs again and their increased depth means they loom as genuine threats.
NORTH GOLD COAST SEAHAWKS
LAST SEASON: 8th, lost quarter-final to Townsville (9-10)
COACH: Robert Sleaford
INS: Jamie Jones, Katie Deeble, Deja Middleton (US import), Rebecca Gear
OUTS: Bridget O'Brian, Leeza Burdgess, Ashley Zandi
MAIN WOMEN: Casey Samuels will again be key for the Seaha wks after re-signing with the club following an impressive stint with WNBL outfit Townsville Fire. Deja Middleton will provide plenty of experience after professional playing stints in Turkey, Poland, Czech Republic, Lebanon and most recently in Lithuania.
LAST WORD: The Seahawks have used their off-season wisely and have brought in a number of quality players as well as promoting some juniors, like Australian representative Katie Deeble, to the senior ranks. Coach Robert Sleaf ord believes that after a year in the QBL, his players understand what it takes to succeed at the top level.
LAST SEASON: 4th, lost semi-final to Townsville (12-8)
COACH: Chris Muggeridge
CAPTAIN: Katrina Clifford
INS: Alice Kunek (Poland), Abby Bishop (Poland), Jacinta Vandenberg (Italy). OUTS: Shana via Dowdell (US), Aaryn Ellenberg (US), Christina Boag (WA), Taylah Evans (Melbourne).
MAIN WOMEN: Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alice Kunek (pictured) brings a wealth of experience and leadership after captaining the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL in 2017. An elite defender, she can swing between a multitude of positions. WNBA champion and Olympic bronze medallist Abby Bishop is the most deco- rated player to put on a Rockhampton Basketball singlet.
LAST WORD: The Cyclones were run off the floor by a fast-finishing Townsville in a semi last year. Muggeridge will insert former Opals duo Bishop and Kunek into an already solid local core.
SOUTH WEST METRO PIRATES
LAST SEASON: 5th, lost quarter-final to Cyclones (15-4)
COACH: Steve Edwards
INS: Mia Loyd (Mackay), Sydney Wright, Tylah King (US College), Kayla Roberts (US import)
OUTS: Charmian Mellars, Kalani Purcell (NZWNBL). Natalie Purcell, Nicole Seek amp, S arah Elsworthy (Big V), Amanda Beetson (retired)
MAIN WOMEN: South West's import duo in Mia Loyd and Kayla Roberts will be players to watch for the Pirates. Maddy Willey will also play a key role as she is sure to have more responsibility than previously. Also watch for Tylah King who had several clubs chasing her signature.
LAST WORD: South West have lost a lot of talent and experience from 2018 but have replaced them with two solid imports and some up-and-coming young talent. Will be looking to improve on last year's effort and they are sure to sur- prise some teams.
SUNSHINE COAST PHOENIX
LAST SEASON: 6th, lost quarter-final to Southern Districts Spartans (12-7) COACH: Jaime Campbell
CAPTAIN: Amy Browne
INS: Amy Benjamin (SBL), Madeline Campbell (SBL), Zoe Campbell (SBL), Casey Lockwood (hiatus) Carlie Smith (Rip City), Dustie Obah (SBL), Chelsea Reiffel (SBL), Georgia Berry (SBL), Alexis Hyder (Hogsbo, Sweden)
OUTS: Ashlee Wallace (retired), Abby Bishop (Rockhampton), Nat Hurst (Albury/Wodonga)
MAIN WOMEN: The imports will play significant roles but Carlie Smith and former WNBL player Casey Lock- wood have got great pedigree. The former is on the way up, while the latter should bring a strong presence, helping to develop those around her.
LAST WORD: They should still be competitive and could still be a playoffs threat, despite losing Bishop and Hurst. The squad has a blend of experience and youth, which should set them up for the next five years.
LAST SEASON: 15th (0-18)
COACH: Kabe Cicolini
INS: Anita Brown (Mandurah Magic/ USA), Kristina King (West Virginia NCAA), Demi Skinner (Southern Tigers), Mickey Heuston (Southern Districts), Charlie Kiehne (Gold Coast), Kirby Harley, Hannah Lennan.
OUTS: Malena Washington, Donnaiz- ha Fountain, CelesteWilliams, Alana Gerhardt, Elaine Black, Emily Derksen, Taylor Valach.
MAIN WOMEN: After an all-star season in the WA State League, Anita Brown provides shot creation, leadership and a cool head. The addition of 188cm Demi Skinner and 190cm US import Kristina King should see the Mountaineers a little longer across the front line than seasons past.
LAST WORD: 2018 was a tough year for the Mountaineers and unsurprisingly there has been a big roster turnover. New head coach Kabe Cicolini will need to bring an unfamiliar group together to return to the winner's circle.
LAST SEASON: 2nd, lost grand final to Southern Districts (18-4)
CAPTAIN: Micaela Cocks
COACH: Luke Brennan
INS: Kourtni Perry (Lithuania), Elyse Kiploks (Charlestone)
OUTS: Darcee Garbin (Herner, Germany), Stella Beck (Launceston Tornadoes), Haylee Andrews (University of Portland), Miela Goodchild (Duke University)
MAIN WOMEN: Micaela Cocks is a WNBL veteran and her versatility makes her one of the most important players in any side. Alex Fowler is an Australian under-17 representative who continues to improve every season.
LAST WORD: The Flames were the best side during last year's regular season but they fell at the final hurdle against the Southern Districts Spar tans. They have lost some experience this season but local young guns such as Chailee Ward and Shaylee Browning could prove key as they look to go one better this time around.
USC RIP CITY
LAST SEASON: 10th (7-11)
COACH: Jay McCracken
CAPTAIN: Biancia Abbott
INS: Maddison Rocci (Canberra Capitals), Tahlia Tupaea (S ydney Uni flames), Chevannah Paalvast (Diamond Valley SEABL), Yasmin Miller (Ringwood), Liisa Ups, Katherine Ups (Buffalo College).
OUTS: Carli Smith (Phoenix), Kris Langhorn (Canberra Academy), Hannah Shaw (England), Leah Scot t (Southern Districts Spar tans), Jen Carden-David (time off ), Lani Scheibner (time off).
MAIN WOMEN: Maddison Rocci, fresh from a Canberra Capitals WNBL championship victory, Tahlia Tupaea and Chevannah Paalvast are are set to play key roles for Rip City. All three join the club with plenty of WNBL and international experience behind them.
LAST WORD: Coach Jay McCracken is aiming for the playoffs and despite a 70 per cent turnover of talent from last season, is confident it can be done.