THE Perry Lakes Hawks are looking to bounce back from their first loss in the Women’s SBL this Friday night to open Week 15 action with the Perth Redbacks facing a big task to get back on track while the Cockburn Cougars have a crucial double-header.
There are three games on Friday night to open Week 15 of the Women’s SBL with the Perry Lakes Hawks playing the Cockburn Cougars, the Rockingham Flames taking on the Stirling Senators and the East Perth Eagles battling the South West Slammers.
Then on Saturday night, the South West Slammers play the Kalamunda Eastern Suns, the Mandurah Magic tackle the Perth Redbacks and the Willetton Tigers face the Rockingham Flames.
Lastly on Sunday, the Cockburn Cougars also play the East Perth Eagles.
Friday night’s action begins with the Lady Hawks hosting the Cougars at Bendat Basketball Centre.
Perry Lakes suffered its first loss of the season last Friday night at the same venue at the hands of the Wolves. The Hawks now need to bounce back to avoid consecutive losses and to make reclaiming top spot all the more difficult.
They were without Gabby O’Sullivan with Nat Burton dealing with foul troubles last Friday but coach Deanna Smith will be looking forward to seeing how they rebound to that first loss.
The challenge of the Cougars will be a good one too with Cockburn coming into the game in eighth position at 6-10 and having won three of their past four games.
Just five points separated them when Perry Lakes won at Wally Hagan Stadium earlier this season as well.
Also on Friday night, the Flames host the Senators at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
Rockingham began life last Friday without Jacinta Bourne for the rest of the season with coach Ryan Petrik blooding his young talent with an eye to the future.
They have now lost seven straight games but do remain in ninth position at 4-12.
Stirling, meanwhile, sit fourth at 10-5 and bounced back well last weekend from a loss to Cockburn to beat the Redbacks to remain clear in the top four. They do need to keep winning to remain there though.
The last game on Friday night pits the Eagles against the Slammers at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre.
The Eagles and Slammers again occupy the bottom two spots on the table as they did in 2016. But both have shown enough to suggest they have improved and are on the right track this year with Friday’s contest to give a good insight into which team is perhaps tracking the better.
Then on Saturday night, the Slammers back up that Friday night clash with East Perth by playing the Kalamunda Eastern Suns at Eaton Recreation Centre.
The Suns come into the in 10th position at 4-12. While on paper they have a strong team and their best basketball is impressive, they do need to string wins together or they will end up missing the playoffs which based on talent would be an underachieving result.
The Magic are once again back at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on Saturday night hosting the Redbacks.
Mandurah has moved two games clear on top of the table at 16-1 following nine straight wins since going down to Perry Lakes back on May 12.
The Magic do need to keep winning to stay ahead of the Hawks, though, while the Redbacks just need to win to lock away their playoff berth.
Perth has lost five straight games but do remain in seventh position at 6-8. However to continue holding out the chasing pack, the Redbacks do need to get back to winning sooner or later.
Magic coach Randy Miegel is happy with how his team is travelling, but knows the Redbacks are dangerous.
“You can’t underestimate the Redbacks,” Miegel said.
“I think their strength is their back court with three legitimate scorers there so it will be up to us to try and contain them, and try to keep Harmon and Wallbutton quiet inside. It’s definitely not a game that we will be taking lightly.”
Willetton and Rockingham play also on Saturday night at Willetton Basketball Stadium but the circumstances are vastly different than recent years.
The two teams played off in the grand final of 2015 and the semi finals in 2016, but both teams are down on star power right now and playing largely youthful groups.
Willetton comes into the game on Saturday night still sitting fifth at 8-7 while Rockingham enters the round at 4-12 before playing on Friday.
The Tigers will again be without Desiree Kelley and Kate Malpass, but coach Simon Parker knows it’s not a game they can afford to drop if they want to lock away a playoff spot.
“It will still be tough for us to match up on them because they are a pretty mobile team. That’s their game plan I think to be mobile and up and trapping, and back into man to man so we have to be able to handle that,” Parker said.
“But vice versa, if our bigs are any good too they have to match up on us inside. It’s going to be another similar battle of our bigs against their mobile guards. If we can contain their three-point shooting, and scores off penetration we’ll be there or there abouts. It’s one of the must-win games that we need to get in the run home.”
The round concludes on Sunday at Wally Hagan Stadium with the Cougars hosting the Eagles. Cockburn will have already played Perry Lakes on Friday night while East Perth will have hosted the Slammers.
WEEK 15 WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perry Lakes Hawks v Cockburn Cougars – Bendat Basketball Centre 6.30pm
Rockingham Flames v Stirling Senators – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 6.30pm
East Perth Eagles v South West Slammers – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 6.30pm
South West Slammers v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Eaton Recreation Centre 6pm
Mandurah Magic v Perth Redbacks – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 6pm
Willetton Tigers v Rockingham Flames – Willetton Basketball Stadium 6pm
Cockburn Cougars v East Perth Eagles – Wally Hagan Stadium 12pm
Photo by Sports Imagery Australia