IT’S Round 2 of the Women’s SBL starting this Friday night with three of the four teams looking for their first victories of 2018 before home openers for the Lakeside Lightning and South West Slammers on Saturday night, and then the Stirling Senators hosting Willetton on Sunday.
The second round of the 2018 Women’s SBL season gets underway with two matches on Friday night which sees the Perry Lakes Hawks play the East Perth Eagles at Bendat Basketball Centre, and the Perth Redbacks face the Kalamunda Eastern Suns at Belmont Oasis.
There are then three matches on Saturday night with the South West Slammers playing the Mandurah Magic at Eaton Recreation Centre, the Lakeside Lightning taking on the Perry Lakes Hawks at Lakeside Recreation Centre and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns battling the Joondalup Wolves at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
The round then concludes on Sunday at Warwick Stadium with the Stirling Senators battling the Willetton Tigers in a rematch from last year’s quarter-final series.
Starting Friday night, the Lady Hawks are back home against the Eagles in a battle of last year’s champions and the wooden spooners.
But Perry Lakes had anything but the start they were hoping to their championship defence last Saturday night losing at home in a Grand Final rematch to the Mandurah Magic by 24 points.
So they will be out to make amends for that to begin their double-header weekend but the Eagles will be trying to bounce back too from a tough opening to Tanya Fisher’s tenure as coach following a 29-point defeat at the hands of the Cockburn Cougars last Friday night.
The other Friday night fixture is also a fascinating one with the new-look Redbacks playing host to the Eastern Suns.
The Redbacks have a new coach in the form of Charles Nix and a new-look playing group led by Perth Lynx WNBL star Kayla Standish. But their season started with an 11-point home loss last Friday night to the Lakeside Lightning.
Meanwhile, Kalamunda’s season started well on Sunday on their home floor with a nine-point win over the South West Slammers even with Jennie Rintala not yet arrived.
Rintala still won’t be there on Friday night against the Redbacks, but the Suns had Alex Ciabattoni in good touch recorded almost a triple-double on Sunday with Jorjah Smith, Jewel Williams and Rebecca Motroni also strong contributors.
Eastern Suns coach Tom Knowles is looking forward to the challenge against the Redbacks on Friday night and then backing up against the Wolves on Saturday.
“Redbacks will be definitely tough. I watched them play against Lakeside and Kayla is going to be very hard for us to guard. We’ll have to try and keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible,” Knowles said.
“The Wolves will be tough as well obviously. We played them at the Blitz with a young group so that doesn’t really give a good indication but they are going to be a tough challenge for us too especially when we are still without Jennie.”
Then on Saturday night, the Slammers are at home for the first time in 2018 playing host to last year’s runner-up, the Magic.
South West came up short away to the Eastern Suns on Sunday but will look to take it up to a Mandurah who couldn’t have been more impressive last Saturday night beating Perry Lakes by 24 points.
Lakeside also made an impressive start to 2018 last Friday night beating the Redbacks by 11 points on the back of pushing the Magic to three games in the semi finals last year. They host the defending champion Hawks on Saturday night with Perry Lakes having played East Perth on Friday.
The other Saturday night game pits Kalamunda against Joondalup with the Suns having played the Redbacks on Friday night. The Lady Wolfpack, meanwhile, are coming off a loss at HBF Arena last Saturday night to Sami Whitcomb and the Willetton Tigers by 19 points.
The round then concludes on Sunday with Whitcomb and those Tigers in action again up against the Senators at Warwick Stadium.
Stirling started its season with a narrow road loss to Rockingham last Friday night while Willetton had that Whitcomb-inspired win over the Lady Wolfpack at HBF Arena.
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 2
Perry Lakes Hawks v East Perth Eagles – Bendat Basketball Centre 6.30pm
Perth Redbacks v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Belmont Oasis 6.30pm
South West Slammers v Mandurah Magic – Eaton Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Lakeside Lightning v Perry Lakes Hawks – Lakeside Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Joondalup Wolves – Ray Owen Sports Centre 6.30pm
Stirling Senators v Willetton Tigers – Warwick Stadium 12.00pm