In the Spotlight: Romelda Aiken

Champion Data, Thursday, 28 April 2011.

The Queensland Firebirds' Jamaican import Romelda Aiken is an imposing figure, standing 196cm, and is once again having a season to remember underneath the goal. She played her 50th ANZ Championship game in Round 10, and like all previous seasons, she has consistently delivered goal after goal for the Firebirds. She has scored an incredible 408 goals with 71 misses this season, giving her a shooting percentage of 85.2% (3.9% better than last season) which is good whilst not being great as it places her 6th overall for the competition for shooters who have scored 100 goals or more for the season. For Aiken to take that next step into superstardom she needs to break that 90% shooting percentage mark and become a top-three shooter.

Whilst Aiken is difficult to stop in close, registering 395 from 460 at 85.9%, it is her long range shooting that has been a low percentage this year, scoring only 13 goals there this season for a percentage of just 68.4%. In 2010 she only scored 10 goals from the long bomb area for a percentage of 41.7%. There is no doubting her shooting skills but statistically there is much room for improvement if Aiken is to become the most feared shooter in the game.

A statistic that does stand Aiken out from the rest is her rebounding skills. Whilst she has missed 71 goals this season, she has rebounded the ball on 53 occasions. It's Aitken's versatility as a rebounding shooter that makes her dangerous, often retrieving the ball and scoring on her second attempt. In comparison, Aiken currently has 19 more rebounds than her teammate Laura Geitz who controls the defensive end for the Firebirds.

An area of concern for the Firebirds is that Aiken has produced the third most number of turnovers for the competition with 50. Her hands are the reason for this as she has dropped passes from team mates on 25 times, 5 more than her shooting rival Cathrine Latu from the Northern Mystics.

Is Romelda Aiken the key to the Firebirds' success? Statistically, I would say no. She is definitely one of the reasons for their team success and has improved significantly from last year, but there are six other teammates on the court that are also contributing to the Firebirds' consistency, including a defensive unit that has limited the number of goals the opposition have scored from 2010 to 2011 by 3.8 goals per match.

Romelda Aiken is a wonderful player whose smooth silky skills are a pleasure to watch. She is in a team that is on the verge of being the first ANZ Championship side to go through the entire competition undefeated. Aiken is on the precipice of greatness in the next few seasons, however to achieve greatness which she most definitely has the potential to do, she needs to:
1.Turn those sometimes lazy looking missed shots into vital goals
2.Increase her shooting percentage from a very respectable 85.2% into the low 90% range
3.Maintain her rebounding ability (from less opportunities due to a higher scoring rate)
4.Decrease her turnover rate and improve her often bad court handling skills
5.Winning a title will help also