NEWCASTLE'S Waratah Basketball League women's title defence suffered another blow when they were thumped 83-50 by Bankstown Bruins at Bankstown on Sunday.
The Hunters were chasing a win to try to leap-frog the Bruins and climb towards the top four but struggled to establish any offensive rhythm and were monstered on the boards.
Bankstown shot 41 per cent to Newcastle's 29 per cent and out-rebounded the Hunters 47-32. The loss left Newcastle with a 4-7 win-loss record in sixth spot. Bankstown (6-4) climbed to fourth after beating Illawarra 57-38 on Saturday.
Suzy Batkovic led Newcastle with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Cassidy McLean chipped in with 10 points and six boards.
An undermanned Newcastle (2-12) pushed second-placed Bankstown (10-4) in the men's game on Sunday before going down 92-77. Youth League captain Jakob Dorricott top-scored for Newcastle with 21 points. American import Dane Suttle added 18 points and Jacob Foy had 12.
AAP reports: former Hunters junior Ben Simmons is poised to get more high-class help as the Philadelphia 76ers shape an NBA super-team of the future.
The 76ers have reportedly agreed to a deal with Boston that will give them the No.1 overall pick at Thursday's draft.
They are expected to use it to acquire top point guard prospect Markelle Fultz, who worked out with the team at their practice facility in Philadelphia on Saturday.
The deal, reported by the NBA website and set to be finalised on Monday, would mean longtime strugglers the 76ers get the No.1 draft pick for a second successive year, having acquired Simmons in that spot last year.
If they sign Fultz, the 19-year-old would join a super line-up of young talent including 20-year-old Simmons, centres Joel Embiid (23) and Jahlil Okafor (21), the No.3 picks in 2014 and 2015 respectively, plus 23-year-old Croatian forward Dario Saric. 76ers coach Brett Brown has indicated Simmons could be used as point guard next season.
But the arrival of Fultz would take some playmaking pressure off the more versatile Simmons, probably allowing him to play the No.2 spot as he returns to action after missing his entire first NBA season with a foot injury.
Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 25 games during his lone college season at University of Washington, excelling on a team that finished 9-22 and lost their final 13 games.
The AP reports that over the past 10 seasons, only two other freshmen had a better scoring average in college: Kevin Durant for Texas in 2006-07, and Michael Beasley for Kansas State in 2007-08.
Again hard-hit by injury, Philadelphia improved to post a 28-54 win-loss record last season, after winning 19, 18 and 10 games the previous three seasons.
But with Simmons fit and Fultz now in the offing to join the mix, fans who have endured some truly dismal times, must feel much better times are not so far off.