ROUND 15 of the Women’s SBL couldn’t start on any more an important note with two matches featuring plenty of playoff ramifications with the Rockingham Flames taking on the South West Slammers, and the Perth Redbacks taking on the Willetton Tigers.
All four teams in action in the two games on Friday night in the Women’s SBL occupy top seven positions in the standings making the results crucial before there are another four games taking place on Saturday evening.
Friday night in the Women’s SBL begins with the second placed Rockingham Flames playing host to the seventh ranked South West Slammers.
Then at Belmont Oasis, two teams with genuine championship aspirations in 2018 lock horns as the Perth Redbacks take on the Willetton Tigers.
The action doesn’t stop there, with four more matches taking place on Saturday night including the South West Slammers backing up by hosting the Joondalup Wolves.
The Lakeside Lightning also play the Mandurah Magic, the Cockburn Cougars host the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and the Perry Lakes Hawks take on the Perth Redbacks.
Friday night in the Women’s SBL begins at Mike Barnett Sports Complex with the Flames hosting the Slammers.
It’s a crucial game for both clubs with the Flames seeing their five-match winning streak come to an end last Saturday night at the hands of Kalamunda at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
Rockingham remains in second position with an 11-4 record despite the loss but it did leave them three losses behind the league-leading Lakeside and on the same number of wins of the fifth placed Eastern Suns.
That leaves the Flames needing the win on Friday to retain second position while the Slammers are in need of the win as well making for what should be a tremendous contest.
The Slammers beat the East Perth Eagles by nine points at home last Saturday night to retain seventh position with a 6-8 record but that’s only one win ahead of the 10th placed Cockburn and two ahead of the 11th placed Joondalup.
So while South West starts Round 15 in seventh position, they are guaranteed of nothing and will be throwing everything at trying to get the win in Rockingham.
Then at Belmont Oasis on Friday night, it’s the Vern Hiddlestone Memorial Game as the Redbacks host the Tigers in a battle between the current third and fourth placed teams.
Perth comes into the game having won its last two matches, including a 26-point win over the Wolfpack last Friday night, as the Redbacks improved to an 11-4 record to remain in touch for a top two finish.
The Tigers suffered a 20-point defeat at the hands of Perry Lakes last Friday night and that’s the last game they will have played heading into Round 15, but they do remain in fourth position at 10-5. A loss and they could find themselves out of the top four by the end of the round though.
That leads into four more tantalising match ups on Saturday night starting with the Slammers hosting the Lady Wolfpack at Eaton Recreation Centre.
The Slammers will be coming off playing in Rockingham on Friday while the Wolves make the journey south on a nine-game losing run to be in 11th spot with a 4-12 record. But if they are going to stay in the playoff race, this is a game they need to go and win.
In a rematch of last year’s semi-final battle, Lakeside hosts Mandurah at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
The Lightning now sit three games clear on top of the table at 15-1 after beating the Cougars in a nail-biter last Friday night. That means they have won seven straight heading into Saturday’s clash with a Magic team struggling in the absence of Casey Mihovilovich and Carly Boag.
Mandurah hasn’t been able to recapture its form that saw them reach the Grand Final in 2017 and they are just clinging to a playoff spot currently on a three-game losing run at 7-7 heading into the daunting trip to Lakeside.
Cockburn and Kalamunda also do battle on Saturday night in another contest featuring two teams playing their only games of Round 15 when they meet at Wally Hagan Stadium.
It’s another important game for both teams with the Cougars trying to break into the top eight and the Suns into the top four.
Cockburn pushed Lakeside all the way last Friday night before falling two points short which means they remain in 10th position with a 5-10 record and they do need to start stringing some wins together to stay in the playoff hunt.
Then there is Kalamunda who won twice impressively in Round 14 against Rockingham by 14 points and then Stirling by nine to improve to an 11-6 record and be knocking right on the door of the top five.
The final game of the weekend should be another beauty with the on-fire defending champion Lady Hawks hosting the Redbacks at Bendat Basketball Centre.
The Redbacks will be coming off hosting Willetton on Friday night while Perry Lakes is fresh coming off a fifth straight win last Friday night, when they beat the Tigers by 20 points.
Perry Lakes did lose nine of the first 10 games in 2018 to start its title defence in horror fashion, but they’ve now won five straight to be 6-9 and knocking right on the door of the top eight and they will likely be in there by the end of the round with a win on Saturday night.
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 15
Rockingham Flames v South West Slammers – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 6.30pm
Perth Redbacks v Willetton Tigers – Belmont Oasis 6.30pm
South West Slammers v Joondalup Wolves – Eaton Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Lakeside Lightning v Mandurah Magic – Lakeside Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Cockburn Cougars v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Wally Hagan Stadium 6.00pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Perth Redbacks – Bendat Basketball Centre 6.00pm