THE Perry Lakes Hawks and Mandurah Magic have been unstoppable forces so far in the Women’s SBL in 2017 but something has to give on Friday night when the two undefeated teams lock horns to open the Week 9 action.
It is Women’s Round in the SBL this weekend which means that the Men’s matches are up first with the Women’s contests put into the prime slots as a mark of respect for the occasion leading into Mother’s Day on Sunday.
It’s only fitting in Women’s Round that the two undefeated teams do battle when the Hawks play the Magic on Friday night. The Lakeside Lightning also take on the Stirling Senators and the Rockingham Flames play the East Perth Eagles.
Then on Saturday night, the Mandurah Magic host the Rockingham Flames, the South West Slammers take on the Cockburn Cougars, the East Perth Eagles tackle the Perry Lakes Hawks and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns face the Joondalup Wolves.
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The Lady Hawks and Magic both remain undefeated and have scarcely been challenged to date leading into the game of the season so far on Friday night at Bendat Basketball Centre.
The Hawks, under coach Deanna Smith, have taken all before them so far in 2017 beating the Stirling Senators, Kalamunda Eastern Suns, Cockburn Cougars, Willetton Tigers, Lakeside Lightning, Senators again, Perth Redbacks and South West Slammers.
Those wins have come at an average of 16 points a game with the Hawks averaging scoring 76.1 themselves and conceding just 60.1.
With Nat Burton, Gabby O’Sullivan and Janique Kautsky joining Toni Farnworth (nee Edmondson), Sarah Donovan, Lauren Jeffers, Kate Anthony, Mia Satie and company in the Lady Hawks team, they have made quite the impressive start to 2017.
But so have the Magic with coach Randy Miegel’s addition of Carly Boag and Nici Gilday to his line-up that still includes Casey Mihovilovich, Rachel Halleen, Emma Klasztorny and Bree Klasztorny has worked a treat.
They have won all seven of their games this season over Willetton, Lakeside, Kalamunda, Cockburn, South West, Joondalup and East Perth.
They have done so at an average of 24.6 points while scoring 83.6 themselves and conceding just 59.
Plenty could be learned by their first meeting of the season and someone will walk away with their first loss of 2017.
Friday night also sees the Lightning return to action hosting the Senators at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
Lakeside had the bye last week on the back of winning four of their last six games to improve to a 5-3 record in fifth position. They also have Ash Grant back in their line-up.
They host a Senators team who currently sits in third spot at 6-2 with their only two defeats coming from the Lady Hawks so it shapes as another fascinating contest between two teams looking to show their top four credentials.
Then the Flames return to Mike Barnett Sports Complex to host the Eagles.
Rockingham was down on some guard firepower last week in a loss to the Redbacks but will regain Jacinta Bourne to play East Perth. Her combination with new import Chastity Reed will be fascinating to watch.
The Flames come into the game at 3-5 in eighth spot while the Eagles have still won just the one game so far in 2017.
Then on Saturday night, the Magic and Flames both back up their big games on Friday by doing battle in the official opening of the redeveloped Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
Flames coach Ryan Petrik has no doubt that Mandurah will be looking to make a statement against his Rockingham team, but he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“Mandurah always get up for a Rocko game and that’s been great for us in previous years because it has given us almost like a finals game mid-season. Now they are really balling,” Petrik said.
“Obviously, we’ve been beating them fairly constantly the last few years so they owe us a few and most of the league has gone after us so far this year, and they will be no different. They look really good early and Randy has done a great job with their program.
“Carly Boag has been exactly what we thought she would be and Casey Milo just keeps being Casey Milo. They give us a great challenge and it’s also the official unveiling of their home court so they will be even more amped than normal.
“We’re also on the back end of a double-header but so are they and I’m sure we’ll get their best crack still. That’s exactly what we want because that’s when you find out if you are good enough or not.”
The Slammers return home to host the Cougars at Eaton Recreation Centre looking to win consecutive games following last Sunday’s win over the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
South West improved to a 3-6 record as a result to sit in ninth spot heading into the clash with a talented Cockburn team that has still won just the one game in 2017.
Slammers coach Peter Harper knows these are the type of games his team needs to win if they want to end up making the playoffs.
“We aspire to make playoffs this year so if you want to do that then these are the sort of games we need to be winning against teams level or below us,” Harper said.
“We had to win on Sunday against Kalamunda and we did and now Cockburn is another team that we want to stay on top of if we want to end up in seventh or eighth spot.
“We have to win games like these and then limit the damage against some of the top teams. We won’t have Tori (Dugan) back but the girls have been stepping up without her and we’ll look for them to continue to do that.”
The Eagles and Hawks also do battle on Saturday night at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre.
Both teams are backing up on Friday night too with East Perth having played Rockingham, and Perry Lakes coming off its top-of-the-table clash with Mandurah.
The round then concludes at Ray Owen Sports Centre with the Eastern Suns hosting the Lady Wolfpack.
It shapes as a surprisingly fascinating contest too with Kalamunda looking for its second win of the season and will have Devanny King in their line-up for the first time in 2017.
Meanwhile, last year’s minor premiers the Lady Wolfpack are currently on a four-game losing slide and desperately need to stem the tide and will have point guard and captain Shani Amos back for the contest.
WEEK 9 WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perry Lakes Hawks v Mandurah Magic – Bendat Basketball Centre 8.30pm
Lakeside Lightning v Stirling Senators – Lakeside Recreation Centre 8.30pm
Rockingham Flames v East Perth Eagles – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 8.30pm
Mandurah Magic v Rockingham Flames – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 7pm
South West Slammers v Cockburn Cougars – Eaton Recreation Centre 8pm
East Perth Eagles v Perry Lakes Hawks – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 8pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Joondalup Wolves – Ray Owen Sports Centre 8.30pm
Photo by Vikki Hile