Dandenong Rangers will be out to stop dangerous Adelaide import Nia Coffey when they face the Lightning on Saturday.
The athletic WNBA 23-year-old has posed some big problems at power forward despite being a small 185 centimetres for the position.
Rangers coach Larissa Anderson will have a plan for Nia Coffey.Credit:Mick Connolly
Coffey had a 21 points and 20 rebounds against Bendigo Spirit last month and Rangers coach Larissa Anderson said Coffey was similar to Perth import Asia Taylor with her size and athleticism.
“She is having a great season and really started off with a bang,” Anderson said.
“She is like Asia Taylor in being that smaller power forward who is a headache to match up on – it’s funny how the whole league seems to have gone to small-ball line-ups this season.
“It does go in trends, last season everyone seemed to have a big centre.”
Coffey leads the WNBL in rebounding with 11 per game but the Lightning also have some explosive guards including Nicole Seekamp, Steph Blicavs, Lauren Nicholson and Aimie Clydesdale.
The Rangers will also feature an unconventional line-upwith Rachel Jarry playing as an undersized power forward, Betnijah Laney at small forward and the taller Carley Mijovic using her outside shooting to draw out defenders.
The Rangers enjoyed some big wins to open the season but have sturggled to click in recent weeks. But what has boosted spirits is a strong week at training and the belief the team has more growth to come.
Laney has been a figurehead in the team’s offence and her ability to attack the basket will be crucial, as will creating openings for guards Bec Cole, Tessa Lavey, Jarry and Mijovic.
Both the Rangers and Lightning had tough losses last round and have matching 2-3 win-loss records heading into this game.
What has heartened Anderson has been the response from her side this week after Melbourne Boomers hammered them 101-75 last round, their third loss in succession.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks but we all knew there would be challenges thrown at us,” Anderson said.
“Some games haven’t gone our way but to the girls' credit we have had two of our best training weeks and I can’t ask for more than that.”
The Lightning also include two ex-Rangers in guards Blicavs and Clydesdale, two players who were key performers when the team made the grand final two seasons ago.
“Blicavs and Clydesdale were a big part of our team and we both know each other well,” Anderson said.
“I won’t reveal what we will do but hopefully the girls follow the scout and can get it done.”
Dandenong Rangers play Adelaide Lightning at Titanium Security Arena on Saturday at 5.30pm AEDT.
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