THE Lakeside Lightning have kept its hopes of returning to the Women’s SBL Grand Final for 2017 alive by winning Game 2 of its semi-final series against the Mandurah Magic on Friday night.
The Lightning went into the clash at Lakeside Recreation Centre needing to win to force a Game 3 and did so, ending up beating the Magic 86-78.
That now sets up a deciding Game 3 at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on Saturday night with the winner to advance to Friday night’s Women’s SBL Grand Final at Bendat Basketball Centre.
The other semi-final series enters Game 2 on Saturday night at Willetton Basketball Stadium with the defending champion Willetton Tigers facing the minor premier Perry Lakes Hawks.
The first of the Game 2 semi-final match ups in the Women’s SBL took place on Friday night with the Magic taking a 1-0 lead in the series over the Lightning following an 86-76 victory in Game 1 last Saturday night in Mandurah.
That set the stage on Friday night at Lakeside Recreation Centre with the Magic a chance to advance straight to the Grand Final and the Lightning needing to win to force a Game 3.
The Magic came out on fire on the road opening a 10-2 lead after just three minutes with Rachel Halleen hitting two threes and Carly Boag delivering the other four points for the visitors.
Mandurah remained in control leading 25-15 by quarter-time but early in the second term the Lightning went on a 7-0 run to draw level having scored 12 of the opening 14 points of the quarter.
Lakeside continued with that momentum to score 31 points in the second quarter to lead by a point at the main break.
The Lightning did well to continue that momentum with 21 points to 14 in the third quarter and that was enough to see them hold on for the eventual eight-point victory.
That means that Lakeside is one win away from its first Women’s Grand Final appearance since 2014 and fourth overall with the Lightning chasing a second championship and first since 2006.
Mandurah remains one win away on its home floor from a fifth Grand Final appearance overall and first since 2009 with the Magic still chasing that maiden championship.
The Lightning claimed the Game 2 victory despite shooting just 4-of-29 at 13 per cent from three-point territory. They went at 37 per cent from the field but amends at the foul line shooting 26 from 27.
The Magic, meanwhile, kept in touch thanks to their three-point shooting nailing 12-of-28 but they got to the line just 14 times while also losing the rebound battle by 13 and coughing up 20 turnovers.
Lakeside’s big names might not have had the Game 1 they hoped for, but they all made up for that on Friday night. Sydnee Fipps led the way in that regard with 30 points and eight rebounds on the back of shooting 10-of-17 from the field and 9-of-9 at the foul line.
Ali Schwagmeyer ended up with 21 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals despite shooting just 5-of-16 from the field. She did go 10-of-11 at the stripe.
Sam Roscoe delivered 14 points and six rebounds while Ash Grant contributed 14 points and nine boards while Jess Van Schie was important with two points, eight assists and five steals.
The Magic couldn’t deliver the all-round performance they did in Game 1 despite Nici Gilday top-scoring with 24 points, six rebounds and three assists. She shot 9-of-18 from the field and 3-of-6 from deep.
Emma Klasztorny had a good night off the bench with 15 points and eight rebounds but she had to play 23 minutes with Carly Boag restricted to 24 and Bree Klasztorny to 22. Boag finished the night with 11 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists, and Klasztorny four boards, three steals and two assists.
Casey Mihovilovich added 11 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Mandurah and Rachel Halleen 11 points.
The deciding Game 3 takes place Saturday night in Mandurah while it’s Game 2 night in the other series between the Willetton Tigers and Perry Lakes Hawks.
WOMEN’S SBL GAME 2 SEMI FINAL RESULTS
Lakeside Lightning 86 defeated Mandurah Magic 78 (Tied 1-1)
WOMEN’S SBL GAME 2 SEMI FINAL FIXTURES
Willetton Tigers v Perry Lakes Hawks – Willetton Basketball Stadium 6pm (Hawks lead 1-0)
WOMEN’S SBL GAME 3 SEMI FINAL FIXTURES
Mandurah Magic v Lakeside Lightning – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 7pm
SUNDAY (if required)
Perry Lakes Hawks v Willetton Tigers – Bendat Basketball Centre 12pm
Photo by Sports Imagery Australia