THE Lakeside Lightning and Perth Redbacks finished one and two at the end of the Women’s SBL regular season and opened their playoff campaigns with Game 1 quarter-final victories on Friday night on their home floors.
The Women’s SBL playoffs for 2018 got underway with two Game 1 quarter-final match ups on Friday night with the two teams looking to make a winning start to their post-season campaigns on their home courts.
That’s what ended up happening with the Perth Redbacks proving too strong for the Stirling Senators, winning 92-67 at Belmont Oasis.
The Lakeside Lightning then made it 14 straight wins by going one-nil up against the defending champion Perry Lakes Hawks, winning 81-75 at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
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The playoffs for 2018 began on Friday night at Belmont Oasis with the Redbacks trying to consolidate their tremendous regular season that saw them earn second position with a 17-5 record up against a Senators team having reached the finals for a second straight year under coach Glenn Clarke.
With Kayla Steindl (nee Standish) playing her first game since marrying Clint Steindl in Hawaii and with her new husband on hand to watch with support from Mitch Norton and company, the Redbacks worked their way on top to a five-point advantage at quarter-time.
The Redbacks then caught fire through the second quarter with some hot shooting from Steindl who opened the period with an individual 8-0 run. When Makailah Dyer had her own 5-0 run and then Mikayla Pirini nailed two threes in the space of a minute, the home team was right in control leading 45-29 at half-time.
Only Amber Land inside was giving Stirling a glimmer of hope with the Redbacks doing a tremendous job on Senators import duo Jasmine Martin and Janee Johnson. As the game wore on the pair shot just 4/19 for the night and 0/4 from deep for just a combined 10 points, two rebounds and one assist.
The Redbacks extended their advantage to as much as 31 points with a 15-0 run during the second half and while the Senators did show some fight through the final period, it was still a 25-point win for Perth.
The Redbacks have now won the three meetings with the Senators this season by 27, 22 and 25 points so it will take some turnaround from Stirling at Warwick Stadium in Game 2 next Friday.
Redbacks coach Charles Nix was happy to see his team’s strong regular season form translate into the post-season with a host of players ensuring they answered every Stirling challenge.
“We’ve been really conscious of the fact that we needed to play a style of basketball throughout the year that we thought would translate to the playoffs, but you don’t really know until you are out there competing against someone,” Nix said.
“A lot of things went well for us and we understand we’re going to have to play at that level, or possibly better, to get through next weekend.
“For you to be a successful playoff team in this league, you need to have depth and players who can step up from time to time.
“We’ve been massive on trying to build a culture where everyone has a role to play so I’m really pleased that anytime we needed a bucket we were able to step up and different individuals took their opportunity.”
Kayla Steindl ended the night with 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Redbacks on the back of shooting 7/13 from the field, 2/3 from long range and 5/5 from the foul line.
Nix never doubted that she would slot right back into the team in top form after her wedding too.
“Obviously with Clint having a Wildcats contract and her having a contract with the Lynx, while they were away they were working out anyway. As a professional, she was always going to slip straight back in so we were really confident,” Nix said.
“I didn’t want to ride her into the ground and you’ll notice her minutes were down, and it was fantastic that we were able to do that this week but we’re hoping we’ll see her keep improving as the playoffs evolve.”
Mikayla Pirini added 21 points and seven assists for Perth with Makailah Dyer contributing 15 points and six rebounds, Nes’eya Williams nine points, Bianca Donovan eight points and three assists, and Alix Hayward six points, four boards and two blocks in her 200th SBL appearance.
Amber Land played a virtual lone hand for the Senators finishing with 25 points and seven rebounds on shooting 11/23 from the field and 3/7 from three-point range.
Jodee Sontay added eight points, nine rebounds and five assists for Stirling with Emma Berryman, Janee Johnson and Nicole Jorre de St Jorre scoring six points apiece.
The other Game 1 taking place on Friday night was at Lakeside Recreation Centre between the regular season champion Lightning and defending champion Lady Hawks.
That set the stage for a tantalising first against eighth opening round series and it didn’t fail to deliver in the opening game.
The teams couldn’t be separated at the end of the first quarter with scores tied at 18-apiece before Perry Lakes pulled away through the second with 26 points to 19 to lead 44-37 at the break on the back of triples to Toni Farnworth, Kate Anthony and Milli McCarthy in the final two minutes.
Then after still being seven down with 3:45 left in the third quarter, the Lightning got going with the next seven points. Two Courtney Byrnes three-pointers then saw them up by five and still by three at three quarter-time despite a late three for Perry Lakes from Anthony.
A three-point play to Ash Grant helped Lakeside to a six-point lead early in the fourth and while the Hawks continued to fight hard, they could never get closer than three points with Lakeside going up one-nil with the six-point win.
Game 2 will now be at Bendat Basketball Centre next Friday.
Sydnee Fipps top-scored for the Lightning with 23 points, three rebounds and two steals including hitting 4/9 of her three-point attempts.
Ali Schwagmeyer also had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Lakeside with Ash Grant contributing 17 points, four boards, four blocks and three steals, and Courtney Byrnes 13 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Sam Roscoe also ended up with six points and Jess van Schie two points, four rebounds and two assists in her 300th SBL appearance.
Captain Kate Anthony top-scored for the Hawks with 22 points, four rebounds and two assists while shooting 7/11 from the floor, 4/7 from deep and 4/4 from the foul line.
Toni Farnworth added 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for Perry Lakes with Kristan Teasdale contributing 13 points and five boards. Nat Burton pulled in 19 rebounds and dished out five assists to go with six points on 3/13 shooting.
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – QUARTER FINALS WEEK 1
GAME 1 (BEST OF 3)
Perth Redbacks (2) 92 defeated Stirling Senators (7) 67
Lakeside Lightning (1) 81 defeated Perry Lakes Hawks (8) 75
Rockingham Flames (3) v Mandurah Magic (6) – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 6.00pm
Willetton Tigers (4) v Kalamunda Eastern Suns (5) – Willetton Basketball Stadium 7.00pm