Lady Supercats captain Alex Duck concedes her line-up faces a largely unknown quantity when it plays host to SEABL newcomer Diamond Valley at the Arena in round 6 of 2018 action.
“You go in a bit blind but having said that we did get to play them in the pre-season tournament,” the energetic guard said of the tenth-placed Eagles.
“They certainly didn’t have their full strength squad, but most of them were there and they’re definitely a tough team.
“They’ve got a couple of WNBL players and they’re tall, which we’re not, other than Chelsea Poppens.”
The Eagles’ top-tier alumni include former Dandenong Rangers and now Canberra Capitals centre Lauren Scherf who at 196 centimetres, a full eight centimetres taller than Poppens, looks set to pose a sizeable challenge for the reigning champions.
While Scherf is the visitors’ standout with 21.7 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, another WNBL Capital and New Zealand native, Chevannah Paalvast (17ppg, 4.7rpg), is likely to be a key playmaker in the backcourt.
Emerging talent Abbey Wehrung has transitioned from regional arch-rival Ballarat Rush to join the League’s latest franchise and will be looking to build on her 11 points-per-game average across the Eagles’ opening eight games, while Geelong supporters will take more than a passing interest in the performance of former Lady Supercat Maddi Rocci (10ppg).
“Those girls are typical of the players that will make it hard to match up against,” Duck said. ‘It’s going to be a tough challenge.”
The hard-working leader is determined to see some good come from an exhausting weekend across Bass Strait that saw two narrow losses.
“The Tassie road-trip was a tough one, particularly with that gap in the middle, on the Saturday, we were just hanging around waiting for Sunday’s game,” Duck said.
“It was always going to be a tough weekend and we lost both games by small margins.
“The positive thing that came out of it was that it wasn’t our best basketball, yet we were still in the position to win the games.”
Duck also acknowledges that it will take time to blend two new imports, Daniela Wallen and Poppens, into the mix to achieve a result commensurate with their obvious talent.
“They only had a week of training with us before the weekend,” she said.
“That was always going to be a big adjustment.
“But once we get a few trainings under our belts and let the girls get the feel for Australian basketball I think we’ll be a force to be reckoned with for sure.”
Despite their 2017 top-dog status, Duck dismisses the notion that her side has become the hunted in the new year.
“In fact, I feel like we’re underestimated,” she said.
“In the pre-season of last year I don’t think anyone even tipped us to be in the top four and as you know we ended up winning the championship.
“So even though we did win last year, I still think we go in as underdogs in most games.
“Having said that, we like that challenge and I think it plays to our advantage.”