WNBL Round 15 preview: Lynx, Spirit to battle for top four

It is the second last round of the regular season and that means it's do or die for a couple of teams. It's hard to imagine games being any more intense or showcasing high quality, but fans can expect some big performances this week as players leave it all on the floor.

Game of the week

Both the Perth Lynx and the Bendigo Spirit have a couple of things in common; both sides have relied mostly on home grown talent to get to where they are, and both need to win this weekend if they want to secure a spot in the top four.

The Spirit have the advantage being one game ahead, but they play one less game over the next two rounds. To ensure they keep their spot in fourth, they need to beat the Lynx and have them in head-to-head.

Even if the Lynx win their next three games, they won't be able to progress into the top four due to losing to the Spirit twice this season. This game will arguably be the hardest of the Lynx's last three match ups, but they have gained more momentum than their opponents - who haven't won a game since Round 11.

This game will be sure to be physical, including high pressure defence and battle on the boards. The Lynx should look to utilise Lauren Scherf inside, as the Spirit have nobody to match her. If she manages to draw fouls on Alicia Froling and Megan McKay, then that can take them out of the game and weaken the Spirit's offence.

The Lightning need to find a new spark

The Adelaide Lightning's bad luck continues this season with their captain Steph Talbot bowing out of the season have done her ACL in the last round.

This is a serious blow for her team, who has heavily relied on her for her well-rounded game. Not only can Talbot put up big scoring numbers, but she plays an invaluable role on defence and due to her scoring prowess, is also good at dishing out assists after drawing the defence.

The Lightning sit second last on the ladder and with only two games left of their season, they don't have much to lose. Considering this, the Lightning's young guns should be able to get a good run in and really make the most of their extra minutes. Abby Cubillo, Sammy Simons and Issy Borlase (if she isn't out injured) can play with a lot more freedom and with more responsibility.

This will be a great test for them and will make for an exciting game against the Sydney Flames.

Battle for the top two

Not that this match up needed any more hype, however, at this point in the season it is a pivotal game: second (Southside Flyers) vs. third (Melbourne Boomers), it is sure to be another blockbuster.

The Boomers will be eager to finish in the top two and will be hungry to get their first win over the Flyers this season. Seeing as Lauren Jackson is out and they have their new addition in Leilani Mitchell, they will be ready and roaring.

Combine this with the elite performances of late from Cayla George and Tiffany Mitchell, and younger players Taylor Ortlepp and Miela Goodchild who are proven to be efficient offensively and you will struggle to see a way for teams to beat them.

Watch out for an intense battle between Opals up and comers, Kristy Wallace, and Maddi Rocci - who won't give each other anything easy.