IT was Anzac Day action in the Women’s SBL on Wednesday afternoon with three matches taking place that saw the Willetton Tigers win while unveiling their new imports with the Stirling Senators and Perth Redbacks also winning away from home.
The Round 6 matches in the Women’s SBL began back on Friday evening with the Stirling Senators beating the Perry Lakes Hawks 70-63, the Joondalup Wolves defeating the Cockburn Cougars 69-59 and the Rockingham Flames downing the East Perth Eagles 92-60.
There was then just the one clash on Saturday night with the Rockingham Flames beating the South West Slammers 78-51 at Eaton Recreation Centre.
That led into the three Anzac Day matches that saw the Willetton Tigers beat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 88-78, the Stirling Senators defeat the Cockburn Cougars 66-62 and the Perth Redbacks down the Mandurah Magic 84-68.
Willetton and Kalamunda continued their traditional Anzac Day contest at Willetton Basketball Stadium and for the occasion the Tigers unveiled new imports Ashli Payne and Leah Cotton.
Both new arrivals made a solid contribution too as Willetton improved to a 4-1 record on the season with the 10-point victory over the now 3-4 Kalamunda.
Desiree Kelley stepped up to lead the way for the Tigers with 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists on shooting 9/18 from the field.
Zoe Harper added 15 points and four rebounds with Ajay Johnson contributing 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Emma Gandini eight points, four boards, two assists and two steals.
Payne then finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals, and Cotton 10 points, four assists and three rebounds.
Alex Ciabattoni delivered another strong all-round performance for the Eastern Suns finishing with 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Jewel Williams added 16 points for the Suns, Jennie Rintala nine points and nine rebounds, Alecia Knowles eight points, Rebecca Motroni six points and six assists, and Hannah King six points and seven rebounds.
Despite a nine-point third quarter, the Senators continued their improved form after a slow start to the season to beat the Cougars by four points at Wally Hagan Stadium.
Cockburn held Stirling to just nine points in the third quarter with scores tied heading into the fourth, but the Senators finished the stronger to win by four points and improve to a 3-4 record against the now 2-4 Cougars.
Amber Land continues to do a power of work inside for the Senators and finished with another 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Jasmine Martin added 16 points, four rebounds and three assists for Stirling, Janee Johnson 14 points and 10 boards, Carlie Massey seven points and Jodee Sontay six points and six rebounds.
Kisha Lee was playing against the team she played with last season for the first time and didn’t quite get the win, but she did deliver 25 points and 12 rebounds.
BJ Moyes added nine points for the Cougars, Isabelle Miotti eight points and four rebounds, and Vanessa Michael eight points, seven rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocked shots.
Two teams expected to be genuine contenders in 2018 then did battle with the Magic hosting the Redbacks at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
Both teams entered the game having lost just one game so far this season too so the stage was set for a fascinating contest with the Magic unveiling new import big Regina Palusna too.
The Redbacks came out with a point to make and blew the Magic away early racing to a 42-19 advantage during the second quarter with some stunning three-point shooting.
But Mandurah was always going to fire back and they did so to even briefly take the lead during the third quarter. However, to Perth’s credit they kicked away again and took away the impressive 16-point victory.
The Redbacks have now won five straight games since an opening night loss to Lakeside while the Magic slipped to 5-2 with the loss.
The Redbacks ended up shooting 11/21 from three-point range for the game while the Magic hit just 4/22 of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Kayla Standish top-scored for Perth with 18 points to go with 13 rebounds while shooting 6/13 from the floor and 2/3 from long range.
Mikayla Pirini added 14 points, five rebounds and four rebounds for the Redbacks including 3/6 from beyond the arc, Makailah Dyer 12 points three assists with 2/6 from deep, Jess Hughes nine points and three rebounds, and Bianca Donovan eight points and three boards with 2/4 from three-point land.
Jess Jakens continued her career-best form with another 15 points on 7/14 shooting.
Anita Brown top-scored for the Magic with 17 points and eight rebounds but she had an off shooting game going 6/19 from the floor.
Rachel Halleen added 11 points and nine rebounds for Mandurah, Casey Mihovilovich 11 points, six assists and four boards, and new import Palusna eight points, three rebounds and three blocked shots while sporting a significant knee brace.
Redbacks coach Charles Nix was especially happy with the way his group responded to Mandurah’s third quarter comeback to pull away and win impressively.
“We obviously started really well and played at our tempo and controlled the way the game was going, but then they made some adjustments that slowed us up by playing the style of game that they wanted to play,” Nix said.
“We got caught shooting mid-range jump shots and not penetrating, which is the basis of everything we do. But we made the adjustments going into the fourth and we felt with the way we rotate players and like to play that we’d run over them, and thankfully that was the case.
“In saying that, we feel really fortunate that we caught them with their import just arriving. I think she is going to impact the league significantly, she’s a great size and can shoot the ball. Next time we play them I expect them to be a different looking team.”
WEEK 6 WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perry Lakes Hawks 63 lost to Stirling Senators 70
Joondalup Wolves 69 defeated Cockburn Cougars 59
Rockingham Flames 92 defeated East Perth Eagles 60
South West Slammers 51 lost to Rockingham Flames 78
WEDNESDAY (ANZAC DAY)
Willetton Tigers 88 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 78
Cockburn Cougars 62 lost to Stirling Senators 66
Mandurah Magic 68 lost to Perth Redbacks 84