THERE were another three critical matches in the Women’s SBL on Saturday night with the Perth Redbacks continuing their hot form, the Mandurah Magic ending their losing streak and the Perry Lakes Hawks overcoming the Kalamunda Eastern Suns in a cracking contest.
In the fourth last round of the 2018 regular season, the stakes are rising in every game as teams are either vying to finish as high up in the playoff race as possible or just to make it to the top eight altogether.
That saw Round 17 of the Women’s SBL begin on Friday night with the Willetton Tigers beating the Cockburn Cougars 83-54, the Lakeside Lightning beating the South West Slammers 92-68 and the Stirling Senators prevailing 72-69 against the Rockingham Flames.
That set the stage for three more critical matches on Saturday night with the Perth Redbacks beating the South West Slammers 71-52 while the Mandurah Magic defeated the East Perth Eagles 89-74 and the Perry Lakes Hawks beat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 84-79.
Saturday night in the Women’s SBL got underway with the Slammers backing up a loss to Lakeside on Friday by returning to Eaton Recreation Centre to host a Redbacks team on a six-game winning streak.
Taking on the league’s top two teams on back-to-back nights coming off a 33-point loss to the defending champions was always going to be a big ask for the Slammers and it proved to be the case.
The Slammers were able to stick with the Redbacks for much of the first half only trailing by two points at quarter-time and five at the half. But Perth pulled away in the second half outscoring South West 38-24 to end up winning by 19 points even without Makailah Dyer and Jess Hughes.
The Redbacks had plenty of players making strong contributions with Jess Jakens again top-scoring off the bench with 16 points and six rebounds on 8/14 shooting.
Kayla Standish added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Perth, Mikayla Pirini 14 points, five boards and four assists, Alix Hayward 10 points and four rebounds, and Nes’eya Williams seven points, 15 boards and three steals.
Charlotte van Kleef top-scored for the Slammers with 18 points and four rebounds while nailing 4/8 from three-point territory.
Tori Fisher added 14 points and eight rebounds for South West with Courtney Bayliss contributing eight points, seven boards and three assists.
The Eagles then hosted the Magic at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre with East Perth on a 28-game losing slide dating back to last year while Mandurah had also lost its past five despite remaining inside the top eight.
It was a tight opening half with the Magic only leading by four points at quarter-time and by five at half-time, but they were able to pull away in the third quarter with 28 points to 12 to be up 69-48.
To East Perth’s credit, they fought hard in the fourth period and outscored Mandurah 26-20 but the Magic still won by 15 points to improve to an 8-9 record and end their losing run ahead of hosting the Stirling Senators on Sunday.
Anita Brown top-scored once again for the Magic with 22 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals while Emma Klasztorny stepped up to deliver 20 points, five boards, four assists and four steals.
Casey Mihovilovich made a welcome return for Mandurah too and provided 12 points, five assists and two steals in just 14 minutes with Regina Palusna contributing 11 points, eight boards, four steals and three blocked shots.
Bree Fisher finished with 16 points, four steals, three rebounds and three assists for East Perth with Eryn Fisher adding 16 points, eight boards, five assists and five steals.
Ladondra Johnson also had 15 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the Eagles while Stacia Muparutsa contributed eight points.
The last game of the evening then took place at Bendat Basketball Centre featuring the defending champion Hawks who had won six of their last eight taking on an Eastern Suns team on a three-game winning streak and in fourth position.
So the stage was set for a tremendous contest and it didn’t fail to deliver with the Lady Hawks starting impressively with 27 points to 19 in the first quarter.
But Kalamunda hit back hard in the second period and went into half-time leading 48-47.
Perry Lakes again came out of the break strongly with 21 points to 13 and that was enough to set up the eventual five-point win to further consolidate them in the top eight at 8-11 having been 1-9 not too long ago. Kalamunda is now 12-7 as they try to hold on to fourth position.
Reigning Grand Final MVP Toni Farnworth delivered a huge performance for the Lady Hawks finishing with 29 points, nine rebounds and eight assists on shooting 9/19 from the field, 5/8 from beyond the arc and 6/8 from the foul line.
Her Perth Lynx teammate Nat Burton added 14 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists with Kate Anthony contributing 16 points and five boards, Emily Burton nine points, five rebounds and four assists, and Annika Renkema six points and five boards.
Alex Ciabattoni had another impressive performance for the Eastern Suns with 26 points and 10 rebounds on shooting 10/20 from the floor, 3/6 from downtown and 3/4 from the free-throw line.
Jennie Rintala also had 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Kalamunda with Jewel Williams contributing 11 points, four rebounds and four assists, and Jessie Edwards nine points, three boards and three assists.
WEEK 17 WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Willetton Tigers 83 defeated Cockburn Cougars 54
Lakeside Lightning 92 defeated South West Slammers 68
Stirling Senators 72 defeated Rockingham Flames 69
South West Slammers 52 lost to Perth Redbacks 71
East Perth Eagles 74 lost to Mandurah Magic 89
Perry Lakes Hawks 84 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 79
Mandurah Magic v Stirling Senators – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 12.00pm