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Women’s SBL Preview – Quarter Finals Week 2
Kalamunda Eastern Suns, Lakeside Lightning, Mandurah Magic, Perry Lakes Hawks, Perth Redbacks, Rockingham Flames, Round Previews, SBL, Stirling Senators, Willetton Tigers, WSBL News

Women’s SBL Preview – Quarter Finals Week 2

ALL four Game 2 quarter-final matches take place this Friday night with the Perth Redbacks, Lakeside Lightning, Mandurah Magic and Kalamunda Eastern Suns trying to advance but the Stirling Senators, Perry Lakes Hawks, Rockingham and Willetton Tigers are out to force deciding Game 3s.

It was a fascinating opening weekend to the Women’s SBL playoffs with the top two teams the Lightning and Redbacks winning well on their home floors, but the lower ranked Eastern Suns and Magic gave themselves a golden chance now at home to advance to the semi finals.

All four of the Game 2 contests will take place this Friday night with the Stirling Senators taking on the Perth Redbacks at Warwick Stadium from 6.30pm.

The other matches are standalone affairs so tip-off is at 7pm with the Perry Lakes Hawks hosting the Lakeside Lightning at Bendat Basketball Centre, the Mandurah Magic facing the Rockingham Flames at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre, and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns playing the Willetton Tigers at Ray Owen Sports Centre.

Wins for the Redbacks, Lightning, Magic and Suns will see them straight through to the semi finals.

Wins for any of the Senators, Hawks, Flames and Tigers and they will go on to play deciding Game 3 matches on Saturday night with Perth, Lakeside, Rockingham and Willetton to be the home teams as the higher seeds.

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The first Game 2 on Friday night takes place at Warwick Stadium and features the Senators needing to win at home over the Redbacks to keep their season alive and force a deciding Game 3.

The challenge is ahead of Stirling who not only lost last Friday night at Belmont Oasis by 25 points, but also lost to the Redbacks by 27 and 22 points during the regular season.

Amber Land battled almost a lone hand last Friday night and for the Senators to be any chance of winning, they need imports Jasmine Martin and Janee Johnson to step up. They went just 4/19 from the field combined last Friday night for only 10 points, two rebounds and one assist.

The Senators need at least triple the output from the duo this weekend to be any chance and to get more help for Land from the likes of Nicole Jorre De St Jorre, Jodee Sontay, Hannah Throns and Rebekah Throns.

The Redbacks deserve to be feeling good heading into Game 2 on the back of their three big off-season signings Kayla Steindl (nee Steindl), Makailah Dyer and Mikayla Pirini coming up huge in the opening game of the series.

Redbacks coach Charles Nix is hoping his team comes out firing from the start on Friday night because ideally they would rather not be forced into a deciding Game 3 back at Belmont Oasis on Saturday night.

“At this time of the year, if you can reduce the amount of games you have to play then that probably helps you get it done in the end. But we aren’t looking any further than next weekend so we will be preparing for that whether it’s one game or two,” Nix said.

“Complacency could be an issue and we’ve discussed that. We match up really well against them so for us it’s just important that we stick to our system, play Redbacks basketball and with the intent that we feel we need to progress.

“I’ve been in this situation before personally of being one-nil up in the quarters and lost it, as recently as last year, so we won’t be complacent. We understand that there’s a lot on the line and if we don’t play at our best, Stirling will come out and knock us off.”

The next game features the Lady Hawks up against the Lightning with the defending champion Perry Lakes trying to push the regular season champion Lakeside to a third game.

The Lightning were too strong last Friday night at home winning Game 1 by just six points in a competitive hit out.

The Hawks will take heart from the way they were able to stick with the Lightning throughout the night with 22 points from Kate Anthony, 19 from Toni Farnworth, 13 from Kristan Teasdale and only six from Nat Burton who did pull down 19 rebounds.

The Lightning did get 60 points from Sydnee Fipps, Ali Schwagmeyer and Ash Grant to make it 14 wins on the trot and they do deserve to go in favourites for Game 2. But the Hawks will like their chances of at least being able to force a Game 3 back at Lakeside on Saturday night.

Perhaps the toughest series to call coming into the playoffs, and even more so now, is between the Eastern Suns and the Tigers ahead of Friday night’s Game 2 at Ray Owen Sports Centre.

The two teams finished the regular season on identical records with the Tigers only earning home court advantage through winning the series split over the Suns.

But Kalamunda showed winning on the road was no obstacle last Saturday night with the Suns going to Willetton Basketball Stadium and winning 72-65 to give themselves the chance of claiming the series at home on Friday night.

Alex Ciabattoni was the difference last Saturday night with 31 points and nine rebounds for the Eastern Suns and with the support of Jennie Rintala, Rebecca Motroni, Jewel Williams and Jorjah Smith, if they can fire again they will be tough to stop.

But Willetton did win at Kalamunda late in the season to secure that fourth position so they won’t mind needing to win out there to force the decider back on their home floor on Saturday night.

The Tigers will need someone to stand up though. They had a bunch of solid contributors last Saturday night but nobody prepared to grab the game and put the team on their back. Someone will need to do that this week for them to get to a fourth straight semi-final series.

The last game on Friday night is then another fascinating one with the Magic hosting the Flames at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.

The Flames finished the regular season in third spot and the Magic in sixth, but that looked anything but the case last Saturday night at Mike Barnett Sports Complex with Mandurah beating Rockingham 72-48.

The Magic didn’t exactly turn it offensively themselves, but they sure as hell did force the Flames into a disastrous offensive night where they shot 19/70 from the field at 27 per cent, 4/25 from three-point range at 16 per cent and even 6/11 at the foul line at 54 per cent.

Mandurah also forced Rockingham into 20 turnovers as they managed just nine assists along with outrebounding them 67-53.

It was a complete shutdown job by a Magic team rocked by the loss of Carly Boag all season and still playing without Bree Klasztorny. They just sneaked into sixth spot after reaching last year’s Grand Final, but left Rockingham last Saturday night feeling good about another semi-final appearance.

But the Flames still have a chance to turn that appearance around and it has to start with imports D’Lesha Lloyd and Taneisha Harrison. They combined to shoot 7/36 last Saturday night along with 2/14 from three-point range to combine for just 17 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and eight turnovers.

For the Flames to turn it around and win, they need more than their imports to fire but for coach Ryan Petrik he knows it needs to start there and he’ll get a good indication early on just how switched on his group is.

“It started from the first ATO set and the first one at the start of the game was run the complete opposite way. They ran it for a Dena English post-up and that’s not the action,” Petrik said.

“It was designed for D’Lesha so we knew 35 seconds in that they weren’t switched on. We’ll get an idea next week if it’s different if we can run any sort of offence. But that’s also Mandurah getting us out of our actions so credit to them.

“This is why you coach. Clearly I’d rather win by 30 than lose by 30, but to go home now and do the homework to try and turn this around is why I’m coaching for this sort of challenge.

“Before the game, I told the girls to not fail the plan and let the plan fail you but this week is all about working out what did and didn’t work, and whether we followed the plan and it didn’t work, or if we never even gave the plan a chance. I thought when we followed stuff we were OK, we kept them to shooting 33 per cent and that would have won us every other game this season.

“The problem was our offence went at 27 per cent and you’re not going to win anything doing that. Defensively we can live with how we played but clearly we need to generate more offence. Luckily we have two superstar Americans who can’t possibly play any worse than that.

“When you lose bad, it’s easy to make the adjustments because when you win by 30 you don’t try to do much different. I love this challenge, as annoying as it is and as much as you’d rather not have it. But it is part of why you coach.”

WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – QUARTER FINALS WEEK 1
GAME 2 (BEST OF 3)
FRIDAY
Stirling Senators (7) v Perth Redbacks (2) – Warwick Stadium 6.30pm (Perth leads 1-0)
Perry Lakes Hawks (8) v Lakeside Lightning (1) – Bendat Basketball Centre 7.00pm (Lakeside leads 1-0)
Mandurah Magic (6) v Rockingham Flames (3) – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 7.00pm (Mandurah leads 1-0)
Kalamunda Eastern Suns (5) v Willetton Tigers (4) – Ray Owen Sports Centre 7.00pm (Kalamunda leads 1-0)

GAME 3 (if required)
SATURDAY
Perth Redbacks (2) v Stirling Senators (7) – Belmont Oasis 6.00pm
Lakeside Lightning (1) v Perry Lakes Hawks (8) – Lakeside Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Willetton Tigers (4) v Kalamunda Eastern Suns (5) – Willetton Basketball Stadium 6.00pm
Rockingham Flames (3) v Mandurah Magic (6) – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 7.00pm

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