WNBL Round 1 preview: Adelaide Lightning, Melbourne Boomers tip off new season

The WNBL is back! Australia has ridden the high of the Matildas this year and has shown just how much hype women's sport can bring. There's no reason it should stop now, with the likes of Lauren Jackson -- arguably Australia's all-time best player -- playing another season in the WNBL, why wouldn't you want to tune in!

It all starts in Adelaide, where the Lightning face off against the Melbourne Boomers. You can watch it live on ESPN!

Game of the week

Adelaide Lightning vs. Melbourne Boomers

Heading into this match, on paper, the Boomers look to be the higher calibre team. However, it being Round 1, you never know. The Lightning have retained more players from last year than the Boomers, so may have the advantage in better understanding each other's game.

Sara Blicavs and Aimie Rocci will be looking to use their experience to lead their team over the line, both have played with newcomer Taylah Simmons in the NBL1 league, so the transition should be seamless. They will be down an Opal in Kristy Wallace, who is out indefinitely through injury.

For the Lightning, they will need guard Lauren Mansfield to step up and not only run the show but be aggressive offensively. Izzy Borlase made quite the opening statement in last year's Round 1 game and will need to bring the same energy this year. For newcomer Isabelle Bourne, she will have the tough task ahead of her against the likes of Keely Froling and Sara Blicavs. If her preseason games were anything to go by then she seems more than up to the challenge.

Player to watch

Tess Madgen (Sydney Flames)

After facing an injury that saw her sidelined for the majority of the 2022/23 season, Madgen will be eager to get back on court. She has been public about her love for playing under Guy Molloy, so we can expect to see her at her best and full of confidence. Not to mention she will be playing alongside Cayla George, someone's game that she knows very well. With the Olympics just around the corner, the Opals' captain will be aiming to build form and set herself up for success. This new team has acquired multiple point guard options that can open up Madgen for most offensive opportunities. In saying that, Molloy will likely still look for her to control the tempo when necessary.

Key matchup

Gemma Potter (UC Capitals) vs. Izzy Borlase (Adelaide Lightning)

These two youngsters play a similar style of game, and it should serve as an exciting matchup to watch. Both girls have length, like to get in the lanes on defence, and can score both off the drive and from deep. They each have something to prove this season, Borlase winning the Betty Watson Youth Player of the Year award last season, now all eyes are on her to see what she can do next. Potter is returning after her second ACL injury and having been pegged as a future Opal, it will be interesting to see how she goes after two years off. What we do know is that we can expect a high paced, athletic, and all-round shoot out from these two in their Round 1 matchup.

Round 1 games

Lightning vs. Boomers - November 1 via ESPN
Lynx vs. Flames - November 3 via 9NOW
Spirit vs. Fire - November 4 via 9NOW
Flyers vs. Boomers - November 4 via 9NOW
Capitals vs. Lightning - November 5 via 9NOW