North Queensland’s feast of WNBL basketball

The 2020 WNBL season will tip off with a blockbuster double-header in Mackay on November 11, featuring defending champions the UC Capitals against the Adelaide Lightning.

The entire season will be played in a North Queensland hub in Mackay, Cairns and Townsville, with 60 games of world-class women’s basketball inside six-weeks until December 20.

McDonald’s Mackay Multi-Sports Stadium will host four double-headers, including a further three on Sunday, November 15, Monday, November 16, and Wednesday, November 18.

Townsville will host 32 games, including 28 games of the regular season to be played at Townsville Stadium and the four-game finals series (two semi-finals, preliminary final, and grand final) at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue.

All three Victorian teams will feature in the opening night of action in Townsville on Thursday, November 12 when the Melbourne Boomers meet the Sydney Uni Flames at 6pm (local) and Liz Cambage’s Southside Flyers clash with the Bendigo Spirit at 8pm (local).

Townsville Fire recruit Lauren Nicholson has declared she has come to win a WNBL title for the north. Townsville will host WNBL games this season as part of a North Queensland hub. Picture: News CorpSource:News Corp Australia

Over the course of the regular season, Townsville will host four stand-alone games and 12 double-headers, culminating with a double-header on Sunday, December 13 before the finals series begins on Wednesday, December 16.

With the fixtures now confirmed, Cairns Pop-Up Arena will play host to 20 games in all, comprising of eight double-headers and four stand-alone encounters.

First-up for Far North Queensland fans will be a double-header on Saturday, November 21 involving the Southside Flyers and Perth Lynx at 6.30pm (local), closely followed by UC Capitals and the Sydney Uni Flames at 8.30pm (local).

All eight teams will feature in at least two games while in the Tropics, with Townsville Fire versus Bendigo Spirit (5pm local) and Adelaide Lightning versus Deakin Melbourne Boomers (7pm local) completing proceedings in Cairns on Friday, December 11.

Basketball Australia head of women in basketball Lauren Jackson said fans were in for a feast of elite basketball when Australia’s longest-running elite women‘s sporting league tips off for 2020.

“This festival of basketball will provide fans throughout North Queensland and further afield with the opportunity to see some of the best basketballers in the world, including former, current and future Olympians,” Jackson said.

“It’s a challenging fixture that will test the depth of each team’s roster as they rotate through Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.

Canberra Capitals players Maddison Rocci, Olivia Epoupa and Kia Nurse celebrate winning last year’s WNBL championship. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“As a league, we all can’t wait to converge on North Queensland to contest the 41st season of the WNBL, which will definitely be like no other before.”

Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter declared the season would not have been possible without the enormous sacrifice of many and the support of the Queensland government.

“It’s important to acknowledge the significant sacrifices being made by the players, coaches, officials and club staff to deliver this unique season,” Rechter said.

“Everyone is giving up a lot to ensure the season goes ahead in what is a pivotal period for Australian women’s basketball as we head into the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of Queensland Government along with that of Cairns Regional Council, Mackay Regional Council and the City of Townsville who all recognised the benefit of hosting this world-class women’s sporting league in North Queensland.”

For the 2020 season, the league will work to the Queensland government’s indoor venue capacity rules that require a COVID-safe plan for each event.

For game days involving all double-headers, fans will require just the one ticket to watch all the action.

Ticketing information will be released later this week when local fans should be poised to act, as demand is expected to be high across all three cities.

The WNBL season will tip off with the UC Capitals against the Adelaide Lightning at 50pm (local), directly followed by local favourites, Townsville Fire taking on Perth Lynx at 7.00pm (local).

Source: Read Full Article