IT is Heritage Round in the SBL this weekend and there couldn’t be a better way to open proceedings in the Women’s competition than three games on Friday night with five of the six teams involved foundation clubs.
The SBL is celebrating Heritage Round in Week 16 of the 2018 season and that will feature three matches on Friday night, another three on Saturday evening and then one more on Sunday afternoon in the Women’s competition.
Five of the six teams involved on Friday night were there for the start of the SBL back in 1989, with the only exception the Rockingham Flames who joined the Women’s SBL in 1992.
They take on the Perry Lakes Hawks at Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Friday night with the Stirling Senators also facing the Cockburn Cougars at Warwick Stadium and the East Perth Eagles playing the Joondalup Wolves at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre.
The three matches on Saturday night then sees the Perry Lakes Hawks host the South West Slammers, the Willetton Tigers play the Lakeside Lightning and the Cockburn Cougars take on the Perth Redbacks.
The final game of Heritage Round in the Women’s SBL takes place noon on Sunday at Belmont Oasis with the Perth Redbacks playing the Mandurah Magic.
Heritage Round in the Women’s SBL begins on Friday night with the Flames hosting the Hawks at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
It shapes as a crucial game for both clubs with Rockingham needing the win to stay in the top two hunt and Perry Lakes also still needing to break into the top eight.
Rockingham did beat the South West Slammers at home last Friday night but it wasn’t enough to hold on to second position with the Redbacks replacing them. So the Flames are 12-4 entering Friday’s clash and they can’t afford a loss if they hope to still finish second.
It’s not going to be easy against the defending champion Lady Hawks though.
Following a horror start to the season where Perry Lakes lost nine of its first 10 matches, the Hawks went on a five-game winning run before going down to the Redbacks last Saturday night.
They now sit in ninth spot at 6-10 still a game outside the top eight meaning they need to keep winning to remain a chance of earning a playoff berth to remain a chance of defending their championship.
Also on Friday night, the eighth placed Senators host the 10th placed Cougars at Warwick Stadium in yet another contest with plenty at stake.
Stirling had the bye last week on the back of a loss to the Kalamunda Eastern Suns the previous Sunday, but the Senators have held on to eighth position despite that with a 7-10 record.
That leaves things within Stirling’s own hands in terms of holding on to a spot in the playoffs if they can keep winning but Cockburn certainly wouldn’t have given up on breaking their way in.
The Cougars currently sit 10th at 5-11 but a win on Friday night puts them right back in the hunt.
The game will also be the first time that Kisha Lee plays at Warwick Stadium as an opposition player. She played with Stirling last year before joining Cockburn in 2018 and she is in some form, coming off 42 points and 15 rebounds last Saturday night in a loss to the Eastern Suns.
The last game on Friday night then pits the Eagles and Wolves up against one another at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre.
It would be quite the understatement to say that both teams are desperate for a win and combined they are on 37-game losing streaks.
The Eagles will go in thinking they are a genuine chance of winning their first game of 2018 and ending a 27-game losing run given their improved form prior to last week’s bye and since the arrival of import Ladondra Johnson.
The Lady Wolfpack have now lost 10 in-a-row as well to sit in second last position at 4-13 but they certainly won’t want to become the first team to lose to East Perth in 2018.
There is then another three games on Saturday night starting with the Hawks hosting the Slammers at Bendat Basketball Centre.
Perry Lakes will be coming off its crucial clash in Rockingham against the Flames on Friday eyeing off the Slammers’ spot currently inside the top eight.
That makes it a massive game for the Slammers who beat the Wolves at home last Saturday night to steady themselves in seventh position at 7-9.
With the Slammers trying to further solidify themselves in the top and the Hawks trying to break in, it’s a clash with plenty at stake.
The Tigers then host the Lightning at Willetton Basketball Stadium in what shapes as another tantalising contest.
Willetton has now lost its past two, including going down to the Redbacks at Belmont Oasis last Friday night and the Tigers have slipped out of the top four in the process.
They currently sit in fifth place at 10-6 and another loss to the league-leading Lightning on Saturday night and their job of breaking back into the top four becomes all that harder.
The Lightning enter the game on top of the Women’s SBL on an eight-game winning streak with a 16-1 record with a three-game gap on the rest of the field.
The last game on Saturday night sees the Cougars host the Redbacks at Wally Hagan Stadium.
Cockburn will be coming off its trip to Warwick Stadium to play Stirling on Friday while the Redbacks will start their double-header on the road against a desperate Cougars outfit.
But Perth is in good form having won four in-a-row to be now in second position on the table with a 13-4 record.
Round 16 in the Women’s SBL concludes on Sunday afternoon with the Redbacks hosting the Magic at Belmont Oasis.
Perth will have played the night before against Cockburn while the Magic enter the contest on a four-game losing run and just clinging to a spot in the top eight with a 7-8 record as they struggle to remain afloat in the absence of Casey Mihovilovich and Carly Boag.
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 16
Rockingham Flames v Perry Lakes Hawks – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 6.30pm
Stirling Senators v Cockburn Cougars – Warwick Stadium 6.30pm
East Perth Eagles v Joondalup Wolves – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 6.30pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v South West Slammers – Bendat Basketball Centre 6.00pm
Willetton Tigers v Lakeside Lightning – Willetton Basketball Stadium 6.00pm
Cockburn Cougars v Perth Redbacks – Wally Hagan Stadium 6.00pm
Perth Redbacks v Mandurah Magic – Belmont Oasis 12.00pm