THE Lakeside Lightning got their championship defence off to the perfect start in Round 1 of the Women’s SBL while there were also first up wins for South West Slammers, Warwick Senators, Cockburn Cougars and Joondalup Wolves.
Round 1 of the 2019 Women’s SBL season got underway on Friday night with a Grand Final rematch at Lakeside Recreation Centre which saw the Lightning beat the Mandurah Magic 90-64.
The other Friday night fixture saw a thriller at Bendat Basketball Centre with the new-look Joondalup Wolves beating the Perry Lakes Hawks 69-66.
Saturday night began at Wally Hagan Stadium with the Cockburn Cougars holding out the Willetton Tigers for the 73-67 victory.
The Warwick Senators also beat the Perth Redbacks 94-82 at Belmont Oasis, the South West Slammers defeated the East Perth Eagles 90-68 at Eaton Recreation Centre and the Magic downed the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 69-67 at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
ROUND 1 WOMEN’S SBL MATCHES
The 2019 Women’s SBL season got underway with a Grand Final rematch at Lakeside Recreation Centre and it was the defending champion Lightning that prevailed with a 90-64 victory over the Magic.
With key players missing from both teams and plenty of changeover in the off-season, it took both teams time to warm up and that was shown with them only combining for the 28 points in the opening quarter.
Things opened up a little in the second with Lakeside leading 38-32 at half-time before they dominated after the break, outscoring the Magic 52-32 to win by 26.
The Lightning were closer to full strength and were boosted by the presence of Ali Schwagmeyer. She might not be expected to play out the season, but the triple MVP was a difference-maker as usual with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Captain Courtney Byrnes added 14 points and five assists with Ash Grant contributing 12 points, five boards, three assists and three steals, and Joondalup recruit Ellyce Ironmonger 10 points and 12 boards.
New import guard GeAnna Luaulu-Summers also had 12 points and nine rebounds in her SBL debut.
The Magic were minus frontcourt pair Ginka Palusna and Carly Boag but Casey Mihovilovich showed she isn’t ready to slow down with the 467-game veteran producing 17 points, seven rebounds and six steals.
Ash Sidebottom had 16 points and four rebounds for Mandurah and captain Rachel Halleen eight points.
PERRY LAKES HAWKS 66 lost to CHAMBERS FRANKLYN JOONDALUP CITY WOLVES 69
NIX WANTS TO BUILD SOMETHING SPECIAL AT WOLVES
The other Friday night game to open the season took place at Bendat Basketball Centre and there proved precious little separated the teams with the Joondalup Wolves prevailing 69-66 against the Perry Lakes Hawks.
Both teams are looking for significantly better seasons in 2019 with Perry Lakes only just scraping into the finals last season as reigning premiers while the usually powerful Lady Wolfpack won just the five games.
There’s plenty of reason to expect both teams to be big improvers this season and they started off taking part in a thriller. The game didn’t reach any great heights in the first half with the Wolves leading 33-24 at the break.
But it went up a notch in the second half until a Mikayla Pirini three and then a pair of Georgia Denehey gave the Wolves a five-point lead down the stretch.
The Hawks got back to within two when new import Jamie Cherry hit a three but that would be the last field goal of the game. Amber Land hit one free-throw for the Wolves before Cherry missed her attempt at tying the scores on the buzzer with the Wolfpack holding on to win.
It was a first up win for new coach Charles Nix with Kayla Steindl top-scoring with 17 points, 14 rebounds, five steals, three steals and three blocked shots.
Amber Land also had 14 points and five rebounds with Mikayla Pirini finishing with eight points and six assists, Georgia Denehey seven points, four rebounds and three assists, and Isabelle Miotti seven points, six boards and four assists.
The Hawks were without Nat Burton with Gabby O’Sullivan still tied up with AFLW duties but Jamie Cherry impressed with 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Rebecca Benson marked her SBL return with 13 points while Nikita Martin had 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists in her Perry Lakes debut which doubled as her 160th in the SBL and first against her old team.
The first Saturday night action of the 2019 season got underway at Wally Hagan Stadium and it saw the Cockburn Cougars hold off the fast-finishing Willetton Tigers.
The Cougars were in control for much of the evening leading by five points at quarter-time, six at half-time and 11 at three quarter-time.
Willetton did put in an improved fourth quarter and the last four points of the game brought the final margin back to six, but they ran out of time to mount a serious challenge down the stretch.
Neither team had a shooting night to write home about with the Cougars going at just 33 per cent on 20/60 while the Tigers went 25/84 at 29 per cent. The difference proved to be Cockburn hitting 11/29 from three with Willetton going 4/20.
There were plenty of rebounds to go around with the Cougars collecting 57 to 46 but the home team had a monstrous 29 turnovers of which Willetton scored 20 points from.
Matilda Muir showed that she could be one of the breakout stars in the league this season with the 25-year-old delivering 27 points, nine rebounds and three assists while shooting 6/10 from downtown.
Kisha Lee also had 21 points, 11 rebounds and four assists while knocking down 5/12 from three-point range.
Jodee Sontay enjoyed her first game with her new club with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists while Ruby Benn had eight points and five boards. Vanessa Michael celebrated her 150th game with four points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Taryn Priestly made her Willetton debut by playing against her former Cockburn team. She came off the bench and played 21 minutes for the Tigers for 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Hayley Winter top-scored for Willetton with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals while Emma Gandini contributed nine points, seven steals, four rebounds and two assists, Imogen Ayliffe eight points and 11 boards, and Emily Counsel 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.
PRINT SYNC SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 90 defeated SCHWEIGEN EAST PERTH EAGLES 68
FINALS THE GOAL FOR NEW SLAMMERS COACH
The South West Slammers have set their sights on returning to finals action in 2019 and new coach Nathan Grover made a winning start on Saturday night with a 90-68 victory over the East Perth Eagles.
It was a strong performance from the Slammers at Eaton Recreation Centre as they started off leading 25-21 by quarter-time before pulling away in the second term with 27 points to 13 to open up a 52-34 advantage at half-time.
South West remained in control through the second half winning by 22 points on the back of racking up 57 rebounds and 28 assists on the 33 made field goals.
There was encouraging signs for East Perth as well and plenty for coach Tanya Fisher to build on. They shot a reasonable 40 per cent from the field and did have 44 rebounds themselves. But the 20 turnovers saw the Slammers score 23 points off.
Brittni Montgomery proved tough to stop for East Perth in the low block with the new Slammers import amassing 25 points, 10 rebounds and two steals on shooting 12/16 from the field.
Courtney Bayliss added 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals with Makailah Dyer adding 14 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals, and returning championship-winner Bianca Donovan nine points and two steals.
Cameron Flynn showed plenty to suggest she’s ready to go to the next level with the Eagles top-scoring with 23 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Janee Johnson, who crossed in the off-season from Stirling to East Perth, had 14 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals while Rose Aryang contributed 10 points and three rebounds.
TEXTURE WA PERTH REDBACKS 82 lost to BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 94
ROUND 1 SPOTLIGHT: SENATORS START STRONGLY OVER REDBACKS
LONG-TERM REDBACKS SUCCESS GOAL FOR ALLEN
Teams with new coaches looking to build on playoff appearances in 2018 opened their season at Belmont Oasis on Saturday night with the Warwick Senators prevailing 94-82 over the Perth Redbacks.
There has been plenty of change at both the Redbacks and Senators since their playoff exits last year with Perth losing in the semi finals while it was the Redbacks who ended the season of Warwick in the opening round.
Neither team was at full strength for their season-opener either in the Redbacks’ annual Len Vlahov Tribute game.
Craig Allen’s debut as coach was without Lauren Mansfield while Dion Dagostino’s return to coaching in the SBL at the helm of the Senators saw his team still awaiting the arrival of second import Samaria Howard, Sam Roscoe, Stacey Barr, Maddison Hooper and the Throns girls.
The Redbacks came out impressively having made the semi finals in 2018 despite the new-look squad and by quarter-time they managed to lead 26-20.
But the Senators turned the tide in the second quarter piling on 34 points to 20 to lead 54-46 at half-time and they never looked back.
Warwick went on to win the game by 12 points having led by as much as 20.
It was a dominant showing inside from the Senators with 52 points in the paint 20 while they also collected 18 offensive rebounds for 12 second chance points.
It was a monstrous effort on the boards from Warwick finishing with 57 boards but Perth also did reasonably well with 51 of their own including 19 offensive for 14 second chance points.
There was a lot to like for Warwick in the victory with Tayla Hepburn announcing herself with 31 points and 17 rebounds on 14/22 shooting from the field.
New import Bianca Villegas added 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. That was an already impressive frontcourt duo with the Senators to welcome in Roscoe during the season as well.
Caitlyn Jones added 14 points and five assists also for Warwick with veterans Emma Berryman (nine points, four assists, three rebounds) and Nicole Jorre de St Jorre (six points, 11 boards, seven assists, three steals), leading from the front.
Chloe Forster also had eight points, four rebounds and two steals, and Emma Burke six points and six boards.
Nes’eya Williams showed for the Redbacks why she is one of the brightest young basketballers in the country with the 17-year-old opening the new season with 20 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks on shooting 7/14 from the field and 4/7 from three-point range.
Another young star, Rosie Deegan was impressive too on debut for the Redbacks with 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Jess Jakens also had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Denielle Lipscombe 11 points and four boards, and Alix Hayward eight points and six rebounds.
CACHET HOMES MANDURAH MAGIC 69 defeated KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 67
The Mandurah Magic backed up their tough loss on Friday with an impressive home-opener beating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns in a thriller 69-67 at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
The Magic might have lost Friday night’s Grand Final rematch to Lakeside on the road by 26 points, but they hit back well on their home floor to hold out the Eastern Suns by two points.
Mandurah looked to have the home win secured leading 65-58 with just under five minutes to go but the game had another twist to take yet. Jewel Williams and Jennie Rintala both scored for Kalamunda to make it a two-point game.
Scores were then all tied up when Rintala scored again in her 100th SBL appearance with the Suns before the evergreen Casey Mihovilovich responded to ensure her Magic won their home opener.
Mihovilovich ended the night with 14 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots with Emma Klasztorny impressive too with 14 points, 12 boards, four assists and two steals.
Import guard Delany Junkermeir contributed 13 points and four rebounds with Kelly Bailey adding 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals stepping into the starting role in the absence of captain Rachel Halleen.
It was a season-opener for Kalamunda with Tom Knowles’ team without import Katie Yohn but they would have taken plenty of heart from the showing in Mandurah.
Jennie Rintala was superb with 30 points and eight rebounds including going 5/10 from three-point range and hitting all seven from the line.
Jewel Williams finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, Hannah King six points and seven boards, and Tarryn MacPherson six points.