New Flame to reignite old rivalry with Slammers
A familiar face will line up for the Rockingham Flames tonight against the PrintSync South West Slammers, when former teammate Dena English meets her old side for the first time since moving clubs.
English played for the Slammers last season, but made the move to the Flames and has prospered, averaging more than 16 points a game, despite Rockingham having just one win from their first four games.
The two sides have a long history, with the Slammers defeating the Flames in the 2012 grand final.
Flames coach Ryan Petrik said he was not concerned that English’s game could be impacted by coming up against her old side.
“Generally it does have an impact, but how much depends on the person,” he said.
“It’s not like she played there for 10 years and then left.
“Dena gives us another play-maker since Sami (Whitcomb) has gone to the WNBA.”
Petrik said the Flames would have to work hard to stop Slammers import Brittany Hodges, as they will be without their two main centres.
Former WNBA draftee Chastity Reed is yet to arrive, while back-up tall Ashlee Sidebottom is out with an injury.
This gives the Slammers a good advantage, as Hodges leads the competition in rebounds (14 rpg) and is third in scoring (22.33ppg).
Petrik said the Flames would have to limit the quality of delivery to Hodges under the post.
“It would have been good to see Hodges against a former WNBA draftee,” he said.
“It is going to be about buying time off the clock and limiting her a supply a bit.”
Slammers coach Peter Harper said his side would have to concentrate on defence this weekend to stop English and Jacinta Bourne.
“We have the players to do it, we just need to execute,” he said.
“Dena and Jacinta like to penetrate and score. If we hold their two main ball-users off that will help.”
Harper said Georgia Denehey was in doubt because of a cork in her quad.
Perimeter shooting will also be a key to winning this weekend, according to Harper.
“We need to start to improve our perimeter shooting,” he said.
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