A modified 2020 WNBL season, featuring a condensed schedule and a focus on homegrown Australian talent, is now in the books. The Southside Flyers, led by Leilani Mitchell and Liz Cambage, defeated the Townsville Fire on Sunday to claim the championship.
The Southside Flyers defeated the Townsville Fire 99-82 in the 2020 WNBL Grand Final, earning their first WNBL Championship since 2012, when the club was known as the Dandenong Rangers.
Leilani Mitchell came up big for the Flyers. With 31 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range, five assists and four rebounds, Mitchell earned Grand Final MVP honors.
Liz Cambage, limited by early foul trouble, contributed 14 points and five rebounds for Southside.
Lauren Nicholson led Townsville with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists, in defeat.
The Grand Final victory capped an impressive season for the Flyers, who went a WNBL-best 11-2 during a regular season that was played from Nov. 11 to Dec. 13 before besting the Fire in the semifinal round of the playoffs.
Townsville, however, earned a trip to the Grand Final by edging out the Melbourne Boomers in last Thursday’s preliminary Final. Yet, once again, the Fire came up short to the Flyers.
The Flyers’ championship caps a condensed WNBL season in which 60 games were played over the span of six weeks. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, games were played in one of three Queensland locations — Mackay, Townsville and Cairns — both isolating the competition and allowing fans to attend the games in person.
Another precaution taken by the WNBL was a decision to not allow international players to compete. Australia is typically a popular offseason destination for WNBA players, but for the 2020 season, the only WNBA players competing were those who are Australian, such as Mitchell, Cambage and Ezi Magbegor.
Games from the 2020 WNBL season were streamed via YouTube and remain available for viewing.