Portlaoise Panthers learn National Women's Basketball league fate

Brian Lowry

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Brian Lowry

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brian.lowry@leinsterexpress.ie

Portlaoise Panthers learn National Women's Basketball league fate

Portlaoise Panthers Claire Melia in action

The Portlaoise Panthers will play in the South conference of the Women’s Division 1 basketball league for the 2020/2021 season.

Basketball Ireland have revealed this morning that they will be joined in the southern conference by Limerick Celtics, NUIG Mystics, Tipperary Knights, UL Huskies and St Paul's Killarney who are back in the Women's National league for the first time since 2012.

The league will start on the weekend of October 17th and 18th, while the Women’s National League Committee (WNLC) has announced that entrance fees have been reduced by 50% for next season only. It matches last week’s commitment by the Men’s National League Committee (MNCC) for sides competing in the Men’s Super League and Division 1.

LYIT Donegal, who will be competing at Women’s National League level for the first time, are in the five-team Division 1 North Conference, alongside Belfast Phoenix Rockets, Swords Thunder, Griffith College Templeogue and Ulster University.

Each side will play their Conference opponents on a home and away basis, with one match against each side from the opposing Conference. It means that the North Conference will have a 15-game regular season, while the South Conference will have a 16-game regular season.

The top three teams in the North and South Conference’s will advance to the playoffs, with each Conference winner automatically into the semi-finals.

The second-placed finisher in the North Conference will play the third-placed finisher in the South Conference and vice versa, with the winners advancing to the semi-finals.

Chair of the Women’s National League Committee (WNLC), Breda Dick, said: “We had a meeting with Division One clubs and there was universal backing for the Conference system. The WNLC are conscious that clubs are dealing with the challenges that Covid-19 poses and the Conference system will lead to reduced travel costs for clubs. We have also halved the entrance fee for participating sides in both the Super League and Division One.”

Participation fees for the 2020/21 season will now be €250 per club.