THE race for second position in the Women’s SBL remains alive after a Rockingham Flames win over the Perth Redbacks on Saturday night with wins also for the South West Slammers, Lakeside Lightning, Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Willetton Tigers.
Round 18 in the Women’s SBL began on Friday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Joondalup Wolves 85-61 and the Mandurah Magic defeating the Willetton Tigers 81-54.
There were then five big contests on Saturday starting late afternoon with the Rockingham Flames beating the Perth Redbacks 83-69 at Belmont Oasis and the South West Slammers defeating the Cockburn Cougars 83-80 at Wally Hagan Stadium.
Then later on Saturday night, the Lakeside Lightning beat the Joondalup Wolves 91-60, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns defeated the Mandurah Magic 78-74 and the Willetton Tigers bounced back to down the East Perth Eagles 84-63.
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The Saturday action in Round 18 of the Women’s SBL got underway with an afternoon contest at Wally Hagan Stadium between the Cougars and Slammers, with both teams needing a win to remain any chance of reaching the playoffs in 2018.
And it was a tight affair for three quarters with the Slammers up by a point at quarter-time, the Cougars by four at half-time and then Cockburn still four points to the good heading into the fourth quarter.
But in the final period, the Slammers took over outscoring the Cougars 26-19 to end up winning by three points to improve to 8-12 on the season and ending their three-game losing run. Cockburn has now lost three straight at 6-14.
Slammers co-captain Courtney Bayliss delivered a big performance of 29 points, eight rebounds and three assists while shooting 7/18 from three-point territory.
Tori Fisher added 19 points and nine rebounds for South West with Charlotte van Kleef contributing 16 points and four boards, Tayah Burrows 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Georgia Denehey four points, five boards and five assists.
The Cougars were once again without Kisha Lee and couldn’t quite win in her absence despite 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals from BJ Moyes.
Ruby Benn added 15 points and five rebounds for Cockburn, Steph Jones 14 points and seven boards, and Isabelle Miotti 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The other Saturday afternoon clash took place at Belmont Oasis and it was set to be a tantalising match up between the second placed Redbacks and third placed Flames.
The Redbacks regained import guard Makailah Dyer from injury while without Kayla Standish who is getting married to Clint Steindl in Hawaii, and the Flames got back import Taneisha Harrison for the battle.
The Flames were able to pull away in the second quarter with 22 points to 11 and that ended up setting up the eventual 14-point victory that keeps the battle for second place in the Women’s SBL well and truly alive.
The win improves the Flames to a 14-5 record with games against Lakeside, Joondalup and Cockburn to come while the Redbacks are 16-5 with the Round 19 bye and then a clash with the winless East Perth Eagles.
D’Lesha Lloyd top-scored for Rockingham with 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists with the returning Taneisha Harrison contributing 18 points, six boards, two assists and two steals.
Ariana Hetherington contributed 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Flames while Maddie Allen had 12 points, 16 rebounds and a stunning eight blocked shots.
Dena English added nine points and two assists and Chelsea Armstrong eight points and two assists as well for Rockingham.
The returning Makailah Dyer had 21 points and four rebounds for the Redbacks with Bianca Donovan adding 13 points, three assists and two rebounds off the bench.
Mikayla Pirini had nine points, three rebounds and three assists for Perth, and Nes’eya Williams eight points and eight boards.
The league-leading Lightning continued their winning ways at Lakeside Recreation Centre on Saturday night up against the Lady Wolfpack.
The Wolves had been competitive and led the Perry Lakes Hawks at home on Friday night before being outscored 20-2 to start the second half.
It was a similar story against Lakeside with the Wolfpack sticking with them only trailing by six at half-time before the Lightning dominated the second half with 54 points to 29 to end up winning by 31.
Lakeside has now won 11 in succession to be clear in top spot at 19-1 while Joondalup has lost 12 of its last 13 to be 5-15.
Sydnee Fipps top-scored for Lakeside with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists with Sam Roscoe adding 17 points and nine rebounds, and Ali Schwagmeyer 17 points, seven assists and six boards.
Ash Grant also had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Lightning and Courtney Byrnes seven points and six assists.
Lightning coach Craig Mansfield expected a tough challenge from the Wolves despite their ladder position and was pleased with the way his team responded especially in the second half.
“I actually really rate the Wolves and they are very good at getting possession and protecting their possessions. In the first quarter we had a little trouble keeping them off the glass and I don’t think it’s any secret that rebounding is something we are striving to do better every week,” Mansfield said.
“They only had 11 turnovers the whole game so they make you earn what you get, and in the first half they got back on defence really well. As the second half wore on, I think we are a little bit deeper and more able to generate some offence individually.
“Craig coaches well but they have to generate most of their offence off their structures whereas our girls bail me out a little bit more. As games wear on, that kind of tells and we shot the ball a bit better in the second half so overall I’m really happy with that win.”
Amy Kidner top-scored for the Lady Wolfpack with 19 points and nine rebounds before finishing the game distressed on the bench.
Chelsea Belcher added 13 points for the Wolves and Kourteney Zadina seven points, four boards, three assists and two steals.
Willetton then headed to Morley Sport and Recreation Centre to take on the winless East Perth needing to bounce back from a surprisingly large 27-point loss at home to Mandurah on Friday.
The Tigers did bounce back well in the finish and set up the win in the second quarter holding the Eagles to just six points while scoring 26 themselves.
Willetton went on to win the game by 21 points to steady at a 12-8 record to be 1-1 this weekend while East Perth remains winless in 20 games of 2018.
Leah Cotton top-scored for Willetton with 20 points and four rebounds on 8/13 shooting from the field.
Hayley Winter added 11 points for the Tigers while Desiree Kelley contributed 10 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists, Sam Norwood 10 points and nine boards, Ashli Payne nine points, six assists and five boards, and Sophie Maines nine points, eight rebounds and three assists.
East Perth import Ladondra Johnson did what she could to make the Eagles competitive with 26 points, six rebounds and four steals.
Eryn Fisher added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles while Stacia Muparutsa had seven points, six rebounds and four assists, and Cameron Flynn seven points and seven boards.
The last game of the night took place at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre with the Magic looking to continue their momentum from a big road win over the Tigers on Friday.
But the Eastern Suns needed a win to consolidate fourth position too so the stage was set for a terrific contest.
Kalamunda managed to lead 31-29 at half-time before the Suns got rolling in the third quarter with 24 points to 10 to end up in control leading by 16 heading into the fourth.
The Magic refused to give it up and put up 35 points in the final quarter but ultimately fell four points short with the Suns improving to a 13-7 record in fourth spot while Mandurah is now 9-11 with two games and rounds remaining.
Jennie Rintala finished the night with 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Eastern Suns with Alex Ciabattoni contributing 17 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.
Jessie Edwards also had 12 points for the Suns with Marlee Bushe-Jones adding nine points, Jorjah Smith eight (four rebounds, three steals, two assists) and Jewel Williams seven (four boards).
Anita Brown put in a huge performance for the Magic made up of 36 points, six rebounds and two steals.
Regina Palusna added 11 points and eight rebounds for Mandurah, Emma Klasztorny 10 points, seven boards and four assists, and Casey Mihovilovich eight points, seven steals, five assists and four rebounds.
WEEK 18 WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Joondalup Wolves 61 lost to Perry Lakes Hawks 85
Willetton Tigers 54 lost to Mandurah Magic 81
Perth Redbacks 69 lost to Rockingham Flames 83
Cockburn Cougars 80 lost to South West Slammers 83
Lakeside Lightning 91 defeated Joondalup Wolves 60
Mandurah Magic 74 lost to Kalamunda Eastern Suns 78
East Perth Eagles 63 lost to Willetton Tigers 84