Kilsyth Lady Cobras (20-6) v Knox Raiders (24-2), Kilsyth Sports Stadium, 7pm Saturday, September 1st

Kilsyth caused an upset in the Semi Final, beating Knox for the first time this year while giving the Raiders just their third loss for the season. In an even bigger boost for the Lady Cobras, this victory means they now grab home court advantage for the Conference Final.

For a team that looked indestructible throughout the regular season, the Raiders have taken on quite a shaky appearance in the past few weeks. They lost to Nunawading in the final round of the regular season, lost home court advantage to the Lady Cobras a fortnight ago, and were then pushed to the limit again by the Spectres last week. It was a courageous win in true finals conditions however, and that should put them in the right frame of mind going into Saturday night.
Key Players
Kilsyth: Kristen Barnes has steadily improved in her role as the only genuine big for the Lady Cobras, and her impressive play has worried Knox despite their superior size in the frontcourt. Barnes averages 12 points and six rebounds across their three meetings and was also the game’s top scorer in the Semi Final. Chantella Perera has had injury concerns this season but when she is at full strength, the guard is an MVP candidate. She enjoys the challenge of the Raiders, averaging 11 points and three assists against them.

Knox: Amy Denson is an absolute star of SEABL, and was outstanding in the Raiders victory last week recording 17 points and 17 rebounds against Nunawading. Her numbers against Kilsyth are just as impressive, averaging 14 points and nine rebounds. To cap it off, she finished the regular season with the second best field goal percentage in the league at 49%. Odette Andrew is the type of player that teammates must love to play around; an unselfish worker who never gives up. Her three point shooting percentage of 42 is the best in the competition and she can break the game open with a hot shooting streak.
Kilsyth: Sarah Parsons has the uncanny ability to fill whatever role is needed of her, be it point scorer, rebounder or bringing her teammates into the game with some timely assists. She won the Golden Hands award for the 2012 season and could be the game breaking player who takes Kilsyth into their first Championship match in four years.

Knox: Shanae Greaves plays an important part for the Raiders as the back-up centre for Emily Fryters. Off the bench, she has averaged eight points and five rebounds against Kilsyth. Greaves played just 16 minutes in the Semi Final but her superior size against a relatively small Lady Cobras frontcourt could see her given extended minutes this weekend.
Key Match ups
Kristen Barnes vs. Amy Denson
Barnes has the seemingly impossible task of guarding Denson, with her main objective keeping the ball out of the Knox superstar’s hands. Barnes’ effort in the Semi Final will give her confidence however, and if she manages to find her own shot at the offensive end, this battle will be crucial to the final outcome.
Kelly Wilson vs. Chantella Perera/Gemma Kerr
Due to her recent injury, Perera may not play big minutes, which means Kerr and Perera will possibly join forces against Kelly Wilson for most of the night. It’s also Kerr’s 250th match so she will be eager to put in a solid performance, but Wilson loves playing against Kilsyth, averaging 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists this year.
Previous Meetings This Year
Round 3                                           Round 17                                                   Semi Final
Knox 69 def Kilsyth 54 @ Knox    Kilsyth 41 def. by Knox 54 @ Kilsyth     Knox 60 def. by Kilsyth 66 @ Knox
Kilsyth were superb in their Semi Final meeting and will have enjoyed their weeks rest, while Knox shook off the cobwebs from that disappointment with a solid win against Nunawading. The rebound count will be one to watch, with the Raiders recording an amazing 25 offensive and 24 defensive boards last week. They also have no fear playing in Kilsyth, having won 11 of their past 12 matches there. This match should go down to the wire.
Prediction: Knox by 2.