Back at home for Round 6

OUT TO IMPRESS: Zitina Aokuso will be one to watch when the Pioneers women host Nunawading Spectres this Friday night. Picture: JAMES MURPHY

James Murphy

THE Mount Gambier Pioneers women will kick off Round 6 of NBL1 South basketball when they host Nunawading Spectres at Wulanda this Friday night.

The home team enters the clash in third position, with seven wins from eight games and will chase another win on home ground.

The Pioneers women have not been bested at home yet this campaign, but the 15th-placed Sabres – who have two wins from eight games – will not go down without a fight.

The competition is as tight as ever and that was reflected in last Saturday’s clash with Geelong.

Geelong entered that round in 15th position, while the Pioneers sat at the pointy end of the table, but the former secured the honours by two points in a thriller.

The league is overflowing with talent and every team can be a threat, which is the mindset coach Matt Sutton will have his Pioneers in heading into the round.

Plenty of that talent currently calls Mount Gambier home and the Pioneers have an impressive roster in 2024.

Zitina Aokuso has showcased what she is capable of without the injury woes of last season and she enters the clash off the back of three consecutive double-doubles.

She will be one to watch again this Friday night, while Sherrie Calleia also enters the match off an impressive weekend.

The depth of the side has been a highlight so far this year, with the entire starting five shooting double figures in their latest hitout, with further firepower coming off the bench.

Haliegh Reinoehl has been a scoring machine and her pairing with Aokuso is as dangerous as they come, while the likes of American import Sammantha Fatkin and captain Isabella Brancatisano have also had standout games of late.

Looking at Nunawading’s list and they have some capable ballers.

The team enters off a win against Diamond Valley, where Rachel Antoniadou top scored for the Spectres with 20 points, with Batabe Zempare and Isabel Feller also well into double figures.

The Pioneers will need to be at their best, but should emerge from the round with a ninth win based on current form.

The game tips off at 6pm and will be followed by the men’s match at 8pm.