THE Women’s SBL semi finalists for 2018 are settled after the Mandurah Magic and Kalamunda Eastern Suns closed the deal in their quarter finals at home on Friday night and the Lakeside Lightning and Perth Redbacks got the job done on the road.
All four Game 2 quarter-final match ups in the Women’s SBL took place on Friday night with the higher ranked Rockingham Flames and Willetton Tigers needing to bounce back on the road after losing Game 1 away while the Stirling Senators and Perry Lakes Hawks had to win at home to stay alive.
But none of that ended up happening with the regular season champion Lightning, second placed Redbacks, fifth placed Eastern Suns and sixth placed Magic all winning to advance to the semi finals.
That sets up two fascinating semi-final contests starting next weekend with the Lightning playing the Suns and the Redbacks facing the Magic with spots in the Grand Final on the line.
Friday night’s quarter-final Game 2 match ups saw the Perth Redbacks beat the Stirling Senators 76-65 at Warwick Stadium, the Lakeside Lightning defeat the Perry Lakes Hawks 71-68 at Bendat Basketball Centre and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns overcome the Willetton Tigers 79-73 at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
It was then a dramatic finish that led to the battle of the local rivals heading to overtime at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre, but the Mandurah Magic managed to beat the Rockingham Flames 71-63.
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SATURDAY WOMEN’S SBL RECAP – QUARTER FINALS WEEK 1
PARKER BACKS TIGERS BUT EYES ON LONG-TERM SUCCESS
FRIDAY WOMEN’S SBL RECAP – QUARTER FINALS WEEK 1
The battle of fourth and fifth between the Tigers and Eastern Suns always promised to be fascinating and it went up another level when the Suns won Game 1 at Willetton last Saturday night.
That put the pressure back on the Tigers to win at Ray Owen Sports Centre on Friday in Game 2 to keep their hopes alive of reaching a fourth straight semi-final series while Kalamunda was trying to close the deal on their home floor.
After Willetton had opened up an early 10-point advantage, Kalamunda began to pull away in the second quarter and went into half-time leading 43-40.
That lead had doubled to six by three quarter-time and they were able to close the deal to win by six and advance to the semi finals to set up a tantalising battle with Lakeside and former Kalamunda trio Craig Mansfield, Ali Schwagmeyer and Mel Moyle.
If Alex Ciabattoni was the Game 1 match-winner for the Eastern Suns, it was Jennie Rintala’s turn in Game 2 as she finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds on shooting 9/18 from the floor, 4/8 from three-point range and a perfect 4/4 from the foul line.
Ciabattoni made another strong contribution too with 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while Jorjah Smith added 12 points and four assists, Jewel Williams eight points and three boards, and Marlee Bushe-Jones eight points and two steals.
Leah Cotton top-scored for Willetton with 23 points and six rebounds before fouling out late. She shot 7/16 from the floor and 9/9 from the foul line.
Ashli Payne added 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Tigers, Emma Gandini nine points and two assists, and Ajay Johnson eight points, two rebounds and two assists. Sam Norwood had five points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
It has been a season for the Magic coming off last year’s Grand Final where one thing after another just seemed to keep going wrong whether it be the season-ending injury to Carly Boag or injuries to the likes of Casey Mihovilovich and Bree Klasztorny along the way.
But they managed to reach the playoffs from sixth position and then shock the third-seeded Rockingham on their home floor last Saturday night leaving the Flames shaken despite their big three of Maddie Allen, D’Lesha Lloyd and Taneisha Harrison.
That turned the heat back on Rockingham to respond on Friday night at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre to keep their season alive, but it was the Magic who continued on from last Saturday.
Mandurah raced to a 25-10 lead by quarter-time and despite the two teams only combining for 23 points in the second period, the Magic remained in control leading 34-24 at the main break.
Rockingham needed to respond and did so scoring 12 of the first 14 points of the third quarter and then it was virtually basket for basket the rest of the way.
The Magic did manage to open a three-point lead with a 5-0 run thanks to Casey Mihovilovich and Regina Palusna and they still led by three with 20 seconds left after two free throws from Anita Brown.
Taneisha Harrison missed two three-point attempts for Rockingham before J Gatti went to the line for Mandurah with the chance to ice the win. She missed both to leave the door open for the Flames and then she fouled Amanda Pether as she attempted a three on the buzzer
Pether was ice cool and nailed all three at the strip to send the game into overtime.
But the Magic dominated the extra period with 12 points to four to win by those eight points to eliminate the third-seeded Flames in two games and set up a semi-final battle with the Redbacks.
Mandurah’s imports were outstanding again with Anita Brown finishing with 20 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two steals despite only shooting 5/17. She did hit 10/13 from the foul line. Regina Palusna added 20 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists.
Casey Mihovilovich also only shot 6/19 from the field and 4/13 from downtown, but made a big contribution with 16 points, four assists, three steals and two rebounds.
Emma Klasztorny also had nine points and 13 rebounds for Mandurah while Kelly Bailey pulled in eight boards and blocked two shots. Encouragingly, Bree Klasztorny also returned from injury to play five minutes.
Rockingham coach Ryan Petrik knew he needed his imports to fire and he didn’t quite get that even though D’Lesha Lloyd had 20 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, and Taneisha Harrison 18 points and nine boards.
They shot a combined 15/56 from the field and 3-19 from downtown giving them 22/92 for the series from the floor and 5/33 from beyond the arc.
Again the Flames only had seven assists but 14 turnovers too to give them 16 assists and 34 turnovers for the two games.
Maddie Allen finished her fine season with another 13 points and 20 rebounds with Ariana Hetherington adding six points and three boards.
The quarter-final contest between the defending champion Lady Hawks and the regular season champion Lightning then moved to Bendat Basketball Centre on Friday night.
Lakeside had to work hard to win Game 1 on their home floor last Friday but the Lightning came out strongly this week with a 21-point to 16 first quarter and then 22 more points to 18 in the second period to head into half-time leading 43-34.
The Lightning went up by 18 at one stage and still led by nine heading into the fourth quarter but the Hawks weren’t ready to give up on their championship defence just yet after starting the season 1-9.
So just being in the playoffs was a good achievement and they did put up a big final quarter and got back within three points, but the Lightning steadied enough to win by that margin and make it 15 straight wins ahead of a semi-final battle with Kalamunda.
Ali Schwagmeyer finished with 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Lakeside with Sydnee Fipps adding 14 points and six boards, and Ash Grant 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Sam Roscoe also had nine points and five rebounds for the Lightning, Courtney Byrnes eight points, eight assists and seven boards, and Mel Moyle five points and three rebounds.
Sam Ashby top-scored for Perry Lakes with 14 points, three rebounds and two assists while Kristan Teasdale added 13 points, six rebounds and three assists, and Kate Anthony 11 points and five boards.
Toni Farnworth had nine points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists but only shot 4/15 from the field while Nat Burton had eight points, nine boards and four assists.
The job was then well and truly ahead of the Senators at Warwick Stadium to try to overcome a Redbacks team they had already lost to three times in 2018 by an average of 24.7 points.
The Redbacks controlled last week’s Game 1 despite the best efforts of Stirling, whose effort could never be questioned but their ability to make a shot certainly could be.
Perth then came out strongly in Game 2 on the road to lead 20-12 by quarter-time and while the Senators continued to fight hard, they could never quite get close enough to seriously challenge for the win.
After falling 19 points down in the third quarter, the Senators did show some encouraging fight led by Nicole Jorre de St Jorre and Amber Land, but they just didn’t get enough support and the Redbacks had too many weapons to win by 11 and advance to the semi finals against the Magic.
Makailah Dyer ended up top-scoring for the Redbacks with 18 points, four assists and three rebounds with Kayla Steindl (nee Standish) adding 15 points and 11 boards and Jess Jakens 15 points and six rebounds.
Nes’eya Williams was impressive with her energy for 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals with Alex Hayward contributing seven points and four rebounds too.
Amber Land was tremendous again for Stirling with 22 points, 11 rebounds and three assists with Nicole Jorre de St Jorre contributing 12 points and four boards.
But the Senators needed others to step up more especially imports Jasmine Martin (four points, three rebounds, three steals) and Janee Johnson (six points, five boards) who only shot a combined 5/25 from the field for the night.
Senators coach Glenn Clarke could never question the effort of his team, but when they again shot just 23/77 from the field at 29 per cent and 5/16 from downtown at 31 per cent combined with 17 turnovers, it was never going to get the job done against the Redbacks.
“The whole idea is to put the ball in the hole and we just shot a really low percentage of field goals in both games. In Game 1, we shot 27 more field goals than they did and we lost by 20 and in five out of the eight stats, we were actually better but still lost by 20,” Clarke said.
“It’s all about getting the ball in the hole because their effort is fantastic, they don’t stop and they always compete hard and compete for the ball. They could be down by 30 or up by 10 and they still compete but we just couldn’t make a shot.
“It’s hard but you need at least three or four players in double-figures and if your imports aren’t knocking them in, then you have to find someone else. Unfortunately we needed to find a couple of other girls to have a crack.
“At the end of the day, if they both knocked in some shots and got to double-figures, that would have given us three because Amber was incredible for us and had two double-doubles. She just needed more help and it had to start with the two imports.”
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – QUARTER FINALS WEEK 2
GAME 2 (BEST OF 3)
Stirling Senators (7) 65 lost to Perth Redbacks (2) 76 (Perth wins 2-0)
Perry Lakes Hawks (8) 68 lost to Lakeside Lightning (1) 71 (Lakeside wins 2-0)
Mandurah Magic (6) 71 defeated Rockingham Flames (3) 63 (Mandurah wins 2-0)
Kalamunda Eastern Suns (5) 79 defeated Willetton Tigers (4) 73 (Kalamunda wins 2-0)