The Evening Game

Sports with brains. Pop culture with heart.

 

SEABL Prospect watch: womens' prospects

SEABL Prospect watch: womens' prospects

In this new column, we take a look at some of the most interesting players in the SEABL. This may include College-bound young stars, WNBL players looking for a new deal and anyone else that catches our eye. Stay tuned for future instalments, which will look at the men’s prospects and take a close look at the Centre of Excellence talent.

Sara Blicavs on Chantel Horvat: “She’s going to be a big part of Australian basketball in years to come, you can already tell that”

Tayla Roberts (Launceston Tornadoes)

A somewhat enigmatic player at WNBL level after a hugely promising junior career, Tayla Roberts has straight up dominated the SEABL this year. After moving to the Torns, she kicked off her season with a monster 35 point, 17 rebound effort in a tight win over Frankston. Roberts is the only player to rank in the top five for both points per game (23.8, first in league) and rebounds per game (10.8, fourth in league).

Few players can deal with her size and upper body strength and she often draws double and triple teams as players can’t keep her out of good post position or off the boards. Reaping the benefits of a reliable hook shot, she has also shown promising signs of an increased shooting range, connecting on 6/9 three-pointers this season. Take it as read that WNBL teams will be paying close attention.

 

 

 Tayla Roberts and Anneli Maley combine for WNBL club side Adelaide Lightning.

Tayla Roberts and Anneli Maley combine for WNBL club side Adelaide Lightning.

Anneli Maley (Dandenong Rangers)

Bound for elite eight school Oregon, Maley is currently playing for the Dandenong Rangers. Already an elite rebounder (9.2 per game, 10th in league despite playing relatively low minutes), Maley is getting to the free throw line and displaying the kind of tools that saw Adelaide coach Chris Lucas describe her as a “wonderful athlete” and that has placed her high on the wish list of a number of blue chip colleges. When she adds some scoring polish to her game, watch out.

Kimberley Hodge (University of Sydney Sparks)

Sydney have a development-based team, with a range of youthful prospects filling out the roster around a handful of Flames players. Amongst the youth brigade is centre Hodge, who is only slight, but has the kind of height and length which will attract attention from higher level scouts. With a high release and a difficult to defend baby hook which she can employ from the low post, Hodge is an intriguing prospect in a team chock full of raw youth.

Tayla Roberts (hand up) is guarded by Kimberley Hodge in a University of Sydney v Launceston SEABL clash.

 

Chantel Horvat (Geelong Supercats)

To call Horvat, a 6'1 guard, a prodigious talent would be underselling her rapid ascent; she holds the record for the youngest SEABL player ever, having appeared in the competition aged just 14. 

Rated as a five-star recruit by American scouts who are already enraptured by scoring ability and athletic gifts, Horvat ranks as one of the brightest prospects in a hugely promising new generation of Australian basketballers.

Talking to The Evening Game earlier this week, WNBL star and Geelong teammate Sara Blicavs said she saw a lot of herself in the UCLA-bound youngster. “She’s very raw, athletic, very fast. Going to college is going to be huge for her, because she’s already got the skills, athleticism and raw talent, that’s already there. She’s going to improve on decision-making and just getting more court time against tougher players is going to be huge for her. She’s going to be a big part of Australian basketball in years to come, you can already see that”.

Kimberley Hodge SEABL highlights video by bpi134..

Chloe Bibby (Bendigo Lady Braves)

Bibby is getting to the line more than any other player in the competition (59 FTA, first in the league) and is also crashing the boards (63, fourth in the league). She poured in 20 points on 7/11 shooting in a win against the Tornadoes, racking up a +21 plus/minus. She also dominated against Sandringham, collecting 30 points and 11 rebounds. A prolific, multi-dimensional scorer at junior representative level, the 6’1 forward is headed for Division 1 school Mississippi State University.

Monique Conti (Melbourne Tigers)

The reigning WNBL rookie of the year is a real livewire player, with excellent handles, speed and ability to get to the hoop and navigate through traffic. Still only 17, her progress is ahead of schedule and she leads all players in assists per game despite international calibre point guards Aimie Clydesdale and Lauren Mansfield also playing in the league. Teams can’t exactly negate her impact by sagging off her and forcing her to shoot either; she has connected on 20 three-pointers, behind only renowned long-range shooters Carley Mijovic and Sarah Graham.

 Monique Conti in WNBL action for the Melbourne Boomers.   

Monique Conti in WNBL action for the Melbourne Boomers.

 

Coming soon on The Evening Game:

- Head of WNBL Sally Phillips on the broadcast deal and the league's bright future

- Dandenong Rangers star Sara Blicavs on her re-signing with the club and grand final revenge.

WNBL: Sara Blicavs on returning to the Rangers, new TV deal and grand final revenge

WNBL: Sara Blicavs on returning to the Rangers, new TV deal and grand final revenge

WNBL: Opals star Rachel Jarry is returning as a better player

WNBL: Opals star Rachel Jarry is returning as a better player