THE Women’s SBL Grand Finalists will be decided this weekend with the Mandurah Magic having the chance on Friday night to advance straight through but the Lakeside Lightning will have other ideas before things heat up again between the Perry Lakes Hawks and Willetton Tigers.
We are now just a week away from the Women’s SBL Grand Final for 2017 at Bendat Basketball Centre next Friday night with the Mandurah Magic and Perry Lakes Hawks one win away from advancing, and the Lakeside Lightning and Willetton Tigers needing two wins this weekend to get there.
The first of the Game 2 semi-final match ups takes place on Friday night at Lakeside Recreation Centre with the Lightning hosting the Magic.
A win for Lakeside and Game 3 will be at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on Saturday night. A win for the Magic and they are through to the club’s fifth Women’s SBL Grand Final appearance still chasing that elusive first championship.
The other series then gets going again with Game 2 on Saturday night at Willetton Basketball Stadium with the defending champion Tigers hosting the minor premier Hawks.
Perry Lakes can win to advance straight to the Grand Final while a win for Willetton and Game 3 will be at Bendat Basketball Centre on Sunday.
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The first Game 2 semi-final match up takes place Friday night at Lakeside and the Lightning have to win to keep their season alive.
Lakeside has been impressive this season and had won eight straight matches up until last Saturday night in Mandurah when the Magic claimed Game 1 of the semi finals on their home floor.
The Magic took out the Game 1 win 86-76 and it was both on the back of command performance from their back court and front court.
Mandurah’s guards Nici Gilday (32 points, five rebounds) and Casey Mihovilovich (17 points) were both tremendous were as were Carly Boag (14 points, 18 rebounds) and Bree Klasztorny (12 points, seven boards) inside.
That puts the heat back on Lightning imports Ali Schwagmeyer and Sydnee Fipps to get up more shots and points, and for Sam Roscoe and Ash Grant to stand their ground better and have more presence inside.
But the Lightning have answered every challenge so far this season so Friday night is shaping up as a fascinating Game 2, and if they can win, then anything can happen with the Grand Final spot on the line for Game 3 on Saturday night in Mandurah.
Then attention turns to the series between the defending champions and the minor premiers and the two powerhouse women’s clubs through the history of the SBL.
Perry Lakes proved too strong last Friday night at Bendat Basketball Centre winning 93-81. The Lady Hawks opened a handy lead early and even though the Tigers made a couple of runs, they never seriously threatened.
Willetton didn’t get much out of its bigs and were without Zoe Harper so the Tigers will look for better efforts from Emma Lobb and Sam Norwood, in particular, and for Harper to make an impact upon return.
The Tigers will also need more from their guards and especially defensively to do a better job shutting down Lauren Jeffers, Kate Anthony and Gabby O’Sullivan.
But Willetton has the experience of having won last year’s championship on the back of the heartbreak of losing the previous year’s Grand Final. So this is not unfamiliar territory and if the Tigers can get the job done on their home floor on Saturday night, anything can happen Sunday.
Perry Lakes, though, deserves to head into the weekend full of confidence that the experience of Toni Farnworth and Nat Burton, and then their next tier of Anthony, Jeffers, O’Sullivan, Sarah Donovan and Emily Burton can carry them far in 2017.
SEMI FINALS GAME 2 WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Lakeside Lightning v Mandurah Magic – Lakeside Recreation Centre 7.30pm (Magic lead 1-0)
Willetton Tigers v Perry Lakes Hawks – Willetton Basketball Stadium 6pm (Hawks lead 1-0)
SEMI FINALS GAME 3 WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES (if required)
Mandurah Magic v Lakeside Lightning – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 7pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Willetton Tigers – Bendat Basketball Centre 12pm
Photo by Sebpix Photography