THERE were three tantalising match ups to open Round 13 in the Women’s SBL on Friday night with the Cockburn Cougars staying in the playoff hunt, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns remaining in touch with the top four and the Lakeside Lightning shaking off the Stirling Senators.
There were three matches in the Women’s SBL on Friday night coming off the 2018 All-Star Game on the WA Day Monday public holiday, and each of them had considerable implications for each team involved.
That ended up seeing the Cockburn Cougars defeat the Joondalup Wolves 75-55, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns defeat the East Perth Eagles 76-69 and the Lakeside Lightning hold off the Stirling Senators to win 82-77.
Starting with the bottom placed Eagles hosting the fifth placed Eastern Suns at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre, East Perth took it right up to Kalamunda.
The Suns might have had three All-Stars in their midst, but the youthful Eagles showed no fear with Kalamunda leading by just five points at quarter-time and 11 by the main break.
That lead had grown to 14 by three quarter-time but the Eagles refused to go away and delivered 23 points to 16 in the fourth quarter in some of their most encouraging basketball of the season.
But Kalamunda got the crucial seven-point win in the finish to improve to a 9-5 record while East Perth slipped to 0-15 and lost a 25th consecutive match.
Jewel Williams top-scored for the Eastern Suns with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals while shooting 6/11 from the field and 3/7 from three-point range.
Alex Ciabattoni produced another 14 points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots with Jennie Rintala contributing 14 points, eight boards and three steals, and Jesse Edwards seven points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
East Perth was boosted by the arrival of Ladondra Johnson who produced 20 points and seven rebounds in her first game for the Eagles.
Her young teammates lifted with her presence with Rose Aryang finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds, Eryn Fisher 13 points, four boards, three assists and two steals, Bree Fisher 13 points, four steals and three assists, and Cameron Flynn six points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals.
Then at Lakeside Recreation Centre, the Lightning continued their hot form but it took a come from behind effort in the fourth quarter to do so against the Senators.
Stirling came to Lakeside ready to make a statement against the league-leaders and for three quarters they were on track, leading by six points at quarter-time and then still being up 56-52 at three quarter-time.
But the Lightning found another gear to put up 30 points to 21 in the last period to win by five and improve to a 13-1 record while the Senators slip to 6-9.
The Lightning continued to share the ball remarkably well to have 26 assists on 34 made field goals with reigning MVP Ali Schwagmeyer putting up 24 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists on shooting 11/22 from the floor.
Sydnee Fipps added 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Lakeside with Ash Grant contributing 14 points and 10 boards, Sam Roscoe 11 points, six rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists, and Courtney Byrnes nine points, six assists and three boards.
Janee Johnson delivered an impressive performance for the Senators with 22 points and three rebounds while Jasmine Martin finished with 17 points and Amber Land 13 to go with 14 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Jodee Sontay also had nine points and seven rebounds for Stirling.
The final game in the Women’s SBL on Friday night took place at Wally Hagan Stadium with the Cougars and Wolves both needing to win to remain in the playoff hunt.
After a tight opening half, Cockburn pulled away on its home floor in the third quarter with 22 points to nine and backed it up with a strong final period to win by 20.
That snapped a three-game losing run for the Cougars to improve them to a 5-9 record while the Wolves slipped to 4-11 and have now lost eight on the trot with coach Craig Friday again absent.
Kisha Lee delivered a monster performance for Cockburn with 29 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and two assists on 11/19 shooting from the floor and 6/6 from the free-throw line.
Isabelle Miotti added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists while Lauren Thompson added 13 points, five boards and two blocks, and Vanessa Michael eight points and 10 rebounds.
Amy Kidner battled hard with 18 points and eight rebounds for Joondalup who sorely missed key players Nikita Martin, Ellyce Ironmonger and Shani Amos.
Abbie Ironmonger finished with nine points and five assists as well, Tayla Pipes eight points and six rebounds, and Kourteney Zadina seven points and six boards.
WEEK 13 WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Cockburn Cougars 75 defeated Joondalup Wolves 55
East Perth Eagles 69 lost to Kalamunda Eastern Suns 76
Lakeside Lightning 82 defeated Stirling Senators 77
South West Slammers v Willetton Tigers – Eaton Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Stirling Senators v East Perth Eagles – Warwick Stadium 6.00pm
Mandurah Magic v Perry Lakes Hawks – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Lakeside Lightning – Ray Owen Sports Centre 6.30pm