THE final month of the regular season in the Women’s SBL begins this weekend as the stakes involving every game go up a notch starting on Friday night in Round 17 with three games where each one has plenty riding on the results.
There are three matches in the Women’s SBL to open Round 17 on Friday night starting with the Willetton Tigers hosting the Cockburn Cougars with one team trying to stay in the top eight and the other trying stay in touch.
The league-leading Lakeside Lightning then host a South West Slammers determined to stay in a playoff position too while the Stirling Senators try to stay in the playoff hunt up against the third placed Rockingham Flames.
There are then three more matches on Saturday night with the South West Slammers playing the Perth Redbacks, the East Perth Eagles taking on the Mandurah Magic and the Perry Lakes Hawks facing the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
The round then concludes on Sunday afternoon with the Mandurah Magic hosting the Stirling Senators.
Round 17 in the Women’s SBL begins on Friday night with the Tigers taking on the Cougars at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
Willetton comes into the contest in fifth position having now lost three games in succession including last Saturday night at home to the league-leading Lightning.
That has them now two games out of a top four spot but still three games clear of the chasing pack in fifth. So a win on Friday keeps the Tigers in touch of the top four and keeps them clear still at least in fifth.
A lot of the Cougars’ challenge will depend on the availability of star import Kisha Lee. She led Cockburn to a win over Stirling last Friday but then didn’t play in Saturday’s loss to the Redbacks.
The Cougars come into the round in 10th position with a 6-12 record. Eight wins got two teams into the Women’s playoffs last year.
Also on Friday night, the league-leading Lightning host the Slammers at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
Lakeside is on a nine-game winning run with a 17-1 record and has all but wrapped up the regular season championship with the second placed Redbacks having three more losses. But any loss for the Lightning now and it opens the door slightly for Perth and Rockingham.
So the Lightning will be throwing everything at getting a 10th straight win with the Slammers determined to put in a better showing after a 33-point loss to Perry Lakes last Saturday night.
Georgia Denehey will be back on Friday to strengthen the back court with the Slammers looking to stay in the top eight. They currently sit in seventh position with a 7-10 record but precious little separates teams from sixth to 11th right now.
The last game of Friday night then takes place at Warwick Stadium with the Senators hosting the Flames in another game with plenty on the line for both clubs.
The Senators come into the contest having lost their past two, including last Friday to the Cougars, to be sitting in ninth position with a 7-11 record.
Rockingham, meanwhile, will still be hoping for a top two finish currently sitting third at 13-4.
So with the Senators needing to win to try and break into the top eight and the Flames trying to stay in top two contention, there’s plenty at stake at Warwick Stadium for both teams on Friday night.
There are then another three Saturday night Women’s SBL matches in Round 17 starting with the Slammers hosting the Redbacks at Eaton Recreation Centre.
The Slammers will be coming off playing the Lightning at Lakeside on Friday night while the Redbacks will be making their only appearance of the weekend.
Perth is in some ominous form on a six-game winning streak including wins last weekend over the Cougars and Magic by a combined 27 points. They are also the only team to beat Lakeside and are sitting pretty in second position on a 15-4 record.
Then also on Saturday night, the Eagles play the Magic at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre with both trying to put an end to their respective losing streaks.
East Perth is still yet to taste victory in 2018 losing all 18 matches and the Eagles are on a 28-game losing run going back to last year.
Mandurah, meanwhile, remains in sixth position despite having lost five in-a-row to slip to a 7-9 record.
The absence of Casey Mihovilovich and Carly Boag continues to hurt, but it was an improved showing on Sunday against the Redbacks by the Magic and if they can play like that more regularly, they will win more than they lose in the run home.
The final match on Friday night shapes as another cracking contest with the Hawks hosting the Eastern Suns at Bendat Basketball Centre.
Perry Lakes now sits inside the top eight for the first time in a long time in 2018 following last Saturday night’s 33-point victory against the Slammers on their home floor that saw them bounce back quickly from a loss on Friday to Rockingham.
The Hawks are now in some ominous form with the defending champions having won six of eight games after losing nine of their first 10 in 2018.
Kalamunda is coming off the bye but remains in fourth position with a 12-6 record on a three-game winning run setting the stage for quite the battle on Saturday night.
The round then concludes on Sunday afternoon with the Magic playing the Senators at Mandurah Aquatic Recreation Centre.
Mandurah will have already played East Perth on Saturday night with Stirling come off hosting Rockingham on Friday.
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 17
Willetton Tigers v Cockburn Cougars – Willetton Basketball Stadium 6.30pm
Lakeside Lightning v South West Slammers – Lakeside Recreation Centre 6.30pm
Stirling Senators v Rockingham Flames – Warwick Stadium 6.30pm
South West Slammers v Perth Redbacks – Eaton Recreation Centre 6.00pm
East Perth Eagles v Mandurah Magic – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Bendat Basketball Centre 6.00pm
Mandurah Magic v Stirling Senators – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 12.00pm