THINGS are really heating up now in the Women’s SBL coming into Round 12 of the 2018 season with two nights of three games apiece leading into the All-Star Game on WA Day.
Round 12 in the Women’s SBL begins on Friday night with the Cockburn Cougars playing the Rockingham Flames, the Mandurah Magic taking on the South West Slammers and the East Perth Eagles facing the Perry Lakes Hawks.
There are then three more matches on Saturday night with the Joondalup Wolves hosting the Stirling Senators, the Lakeside Lightning playing the Willetton Tigers and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns facing the Perth Redbacks.
That all leads into the All-Star Game at Bendat Basketball Centre with the Women’s contest beginning at 12pm.
The North team’s starters will be Jennie Rintala (Kalamunda), Kayla Standish (Perth), Toni Farnworth (Perry Lakes), Nikita Martin (Joondalup) and Alex Ciabattoni (Kalamunda) for the Charles Nix coached team.
Their bench will feature Mikayla Pirini (Perth), Amber Land (Stirling), Jess Jakens (Perth), Eryn Fisher (East Perth), Makailah Dyer (Perth) and Emma Clarke (Perry Lakes).
While Ash Grant (Lakeside), Anita Brown (Mandurah), Sydnee Fipps (Lakeside), Ali Schwagmeyer (Lakeside) and Georgia Denehey (South West) are starting for South.
Coming off the bench will be Maddison Allen (Rockingham), Kisha Lee (Cockburn), D’Lesha Lloyd (Rockingham), Courtney Bayliss (South West), Courtney Byrnes (Lakeside), Ashli Payne (Willetton) and Charlotte Van Kleef (South West). They will be coached by Lightning’s Craig Mansfield.
Friday night’s Women’s SBL action begins at Wally Hagan Stadium with the Cougars hosting the Flames.
Cockburn comes into the contest after a loss last Saturday night to the league-leading Lightning but they are back on their home court on Friday trying to stay in touch with the top eight and improve on their 4-8 record.
It will be a big ask against a Rockingham team sitting second at 9-3 following big wins last weekend against the Willetton Tigers and East Perth Eagles and who are looking to maintain pressure on Lakeside in top spot.
Then also on Friday night, the Magic and Slammers do battle at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre with both desperate for a win.
Mandurah has hit a tough patch and not only is Carly Boag sidelined for the season with a knee injury, but they were missing Casey Mihovilovich and Rachel Halleen as well despite beating the Wolves last Saturday night on the road by two points.
That improved the Magic to a 7-4 record on the season but they need to keep winning to stay in touch with the top four while the Slammers also need a win to stay inside the top eight.
The Slammers are coming off the bye last weekend and will be hoping to start building some momentum after the break starting Friday against the Magic.
Then lastly on Friday night, the Eagles and Hawks meet in a contest of the bottom two teams right now at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre.
East Perth also finished last in 2017 winning only two games while Perry Lakes lost just twice on the win to the minor premiership and then winning the championship.
The Eagles have gone even younger in 2018 under coach Tanya Fisher and have lost their opening 13 games as a result by an average of 35.7 points. Their losing streak is now 23 stretching back to losing the last 10 also last season.
The Lady Hawks might be second last at 3-9 but they looked vastly better last weekend with two wins over the Wolves and Redbacks led by Nat Burton and Toni Farnworth. Another win on Friday and the defending champions are right back in the playoff race.
Then on Saturday night in the Women’s SBL, it’s the Battle of Joondalup with the Wolves hosting the Senators for the first ever time at HBF Arena.
Both teams need a win too with Stirling attempting to stay inside the top eight and Joondalup trying to break in.
The Senators currently sit in seventh spot with a 5-8 record having lost twice last weekend to the Redbacks and Tigers. The Lady Wolfpack, meanwhile, are on a six-game losing run at 4-9 including losses in Round 11 to the Hawks and Magic.
There might only be room for one in the playoffs of 2018 heightening the stakes in the Battle of Joondalup.
Also on Saturday night, the league-leading Lightning host the Tigers in a tantalising match up at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
Since their lone defeat of the season at the hands of the Redbacks, the Lightning are back on a three-game winning run to sit clear on top of the Women’s SBL at 11-1.
They are coming off a solid 11-point road win to Cockburn last Saturday night coming into this Saturday’s contest with the third placed Tigers.
Willetton struggled against Rockingham last Friday night for the second time this season, but responded well 24 hours later to beat Stirling by six points to improve to a 9-3 record coming into the clash with Lakeside.
The final game in Round 12 in the Women’s SBL then takes place at Ray Owen Sports Centre with the Eastern Suns hosting the Redbacks.
Kalamunda is the hottest team in the league right now having won five straight before the bye last weekend.
The Suns will be hoping to continue that momentum and improve on an 8-4 record to put pressure on for a top four spot against a Redbacks team who sits fourth at 9-4 having lost on Saturday night at home to Perry Lakes in the absence of Kayla Standish.
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 12
Cockburn Cougars v Rockingham Flames – Wally Hagan Stadium 6.30pm
Mandurah Magic v South West Slammers – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 6.30pm
East Perth Eagles v Perry Lakes Hawks – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 6.30pm
Joondalup Wolves v Stirling Senators – HBF Arena 6.00pm
Lakeside Lightning v Willetton Tigers – Lakeside Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Perth Redbacks – Ray Owen Sports Centre 6.30pm
Women’s All-Star Game
North v South – Bendat Basketball Centre 12pm