WE are two rounds into the 2019 Women’s SBL season with five teams remaining undefeated after the Cockburn Cougars, Lakeside Lightning and Joondalup Wolves won again on the weekend and the Rockingham Flames started their new era on a winning note.
Round 2 got underway in a standalone fixture on Friday night at Mike Barnett Sports Complex which saw the Rockingham Flames play their first game of the season and defeat the Perry Lakes Hawks 85-72.
Then on Saturday night, the defending champion Lakeside Lightning won their 19th straight match beating the Willetton Tigers 76-69 while the Cockburn Cougars beat the East Perth Eagles 98-66.
The Joondalup Wolves stayed unbeaten in 2019 under new coach Charles Nix beating the Warwick Senators 92-71 and the round concluded with a second thriller already this year between Mandurah and Kalamunda, with the Magic winning 76-75 at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
Following two rounds of the 2019 season, the Cockburn Cougars, Lakeside Lightning and Joondalup Wolves all sit on 2-0 records while the South West Slammers and Rockingham Flames are 1-0.
The Mandurah Magic are 2-1 and the Warwick Senators 2-1 while the Kalamunda Eastern Suns, Willetton Tigers, Perry Lakes Hawks and East Perth Eagles are 0-2, and the Perth Redbacks 0-1.
CLASS 1 ORTHODONTICS ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 85 defeated PERRY LAKES HAWKS 72
Round 2 got underway in the Women’s SBL at Mike Barnett Sports Complex with the new era for the Rockingham Flames getting underway with an 85-72 victory over the Perry Lakes Hawks.
The Flames had the bye in the opening round while their men travelled to Geraldton but coach Craig Reynolds’ tenure in charge taking over from Ryan Petrik began in impressive fashion with the 13-point home win over the Lady Hawks.
It was a tight first half between two teams that took part in the playoffs in 2018 and are recent championship winners. Rockingham led by a point at quarter-time and still just by that solitary point by half-time.
The Flames began to pull away in the third quarter to lead 61-56 by three quarter-time and then finishing off with 24 points to 16 in the last term to win by 13.
There wasn’t a whole lot between the teams in most areas but the Flames did shoot a little better. They ended up going 29/70 at 41 per cent from the field and 10/23 from beyond the arc at 43 per cent. The Hawks shot 24/65 at 36 per cent from the floor but did go at 9/18 at 50 per cent from three.
The major difference was the 23 turnovers the Hawks gave up of which the Flames were able to score 17 points from.
While the Flames don’t yet have the services of Darcee Garbin, the front court looked impressive led by Perth Lynx star Maddie Allen who finished the night with 20 points, 14 rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists while shooting 7/13 from the field.
Christina Boag made her SBL debut with seven points, 13 rebounds, seven steals and two assists too.
Recently married captain Chelsea Petrik showed she’s healthy again and ready for a bigger impact in 2019 producing 11 points and two assists including going 3/5 from downtown showing how valuable her 273 games of experience is.
Ella Kennedy was a strong contributor too with 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals with Paris Duffield making her Rockingham debut coming off Lakeside’s championship with 11 points with 3/5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Janelle Adams also had eight points, six assists and four rebounds with Ariana Hetherington adding nine points and two steals.
Rebecca Benson might have taken a break from the SBL in 2018, but she showed she’s still one of the league’s purest scorers for the Lady Hawks with 27 points and six rebounds while going 6/8 from three-point territory.
Import guard Jamie Cherry finished with 16 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists for Perry Lakes, Sarah Donovan 11 points and six boards, and Nikita Martin six points and seven rebounds.
WILLETTON TIGERS 69 lost to LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 76
The defending champion Lakeside Lightning continued their impressive winning run on Saturday night beating the Willetton Tigers 76-69 at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
Willetton is still awaiting its imports and coach Simon Parker is tackling the start of the season with a young group so it was always going to be a significant challenge up against the Lightning on Saturday night.
The Tigers started their season losing on the road to Cockburn in Round 1 while the Lightning were impressive and emphatic beating the Magic in a Grand Final rematch, further setting the tone of the challenge ahead of Willetton.
Despite Lakeside opening up a 43-33 lead by half-time, the Tigers fought hard and closed the deficit during the third quarter and it was just a five-point game heading into the final period.
Willetton was still just five points down when Taryn Priestly hit a basket with a minute to go, but Ash Grant responded for Lakeside and the Lightning ended up winning by seven for a 19th consecutive win going back to 2018.
Ash Grant had a standout night for Lakeside with 25 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots while shooting 11/14 from the floor.
New import guard GeAnna Luaulu-Summers also had 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists while captain Courtney Byrnes contributed 11 points, six rebounds and three assists, Ali Schwagmeyer six points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals, and Ellyce Ironmonger 11 boards.
Willetton battled hard despite still being well short of full strength. Desiree Kelley ended the evening with 16 points, six rebounds and six steals with Emma Gandini contributing 13 points, eight boards and five assists, Imogen Ayliffe nine points and three rebounds, and Lauren Gandini six points, three boards and two steals.
But it was 264-game point guard Taryn Priestly in her second appearance for Willetton who was the standout with 20 points and five assists including shooting 7/11 from the field and 3/5 from long-range.
SCHWEIGEN EAST PERTH EAGLES 66 lost to ROUND 1 FITNESS COCKBURN COUGARS 98
The Cockburn Cougars continued their winning start to the 2019 season beating the East Perth Eagles 98-66 at Herb Graham Recreation Centre on Saturday night.
The Eagles have decided to call the Mirrabooka venue home in 2019 and it was a tremendous turnout for their first game there for the season despite East Perth falling to Cockburn.
The Cougars backed up their opening round win over Willetton at home by beating East Perth by 32 points to build some early season momentum ahead of a match up with the Rockingham Flames in Round 3 before the Round 4 bye.
While Cockburn did outscore East Perth every quarter, it was really only the second quarter that they pulled away scoring 27 points to 10. The Eagles were able to be competitive the rest of the way and they are showing they have improved in 2019 despite now being on a 34-game losing run.
Cougars import Kisha Lee had a night out showing that she’s ready to fully take the league by storm in her third season. She was impressive at both the Senators and Cougars the past two years, but she looks primed to go up another level in 2019.
She finished the night with 38 points, six rebounds and three assists on shooting 14/22 from the field and 7/14 from downtown.
The Cougars were missing captain Vanessa Michael who is with the Australian Indigenous team playing in New Zealand at the Four Nations Cup this week, but they still had plenty of contributors in the win.
Matilda Muir produced 12 points, four rebounds and four steals, Kiera Dunhill 10 points, three boards and two steals, Akim Lual 10 points and eight rebounds, and Jodee Sontay eight points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in her first appearance against East Perth since the 340-game veteran went south in the off-season.
It was a remarkably youthful East Perth team on the floor with 11 of their players used only totalling 303 games of experience in the SBL when you take out the 198-game experience of Fiona Heart.
They still fought hard with Stacia Muparutsa ending up top-scoring with 18 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Janee Johnson produced 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals with Bree Fisher contributing nine points and four boards, Kailee Booth eight points and three rebounds, and Rose Aryang seven points and six boards.
CHAMBERS FRANKLYN JOONDALUP CITY WOLVES 92 defeated BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 71
DAGOSTINO WANTS SENATORS TO BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES
It was the annual Battle of Joondalup at HBF Arena on Saturday night with the Joondalup Wolves continuing their strong start to the new season beating the Warwick Senators 92-71.
The Lady Wolfpack won just five games in 2018 but that was always likely to be a blip on the radar for a team used to being a contender and with coach Charles Nix now in charge, they have built some impressive early season momentum.
The Wolves started the season beating the Perry Lakes Hawks and now have backed it up with a 21-point home win over a Senators team who had looked good seven days earlier as well, beating the Perth Redbacks by 12 points.
There was a lot to like about the Wolfpack performance as they collected 25 offensive rebounds while dishing out 21 assists to 12 turnovers, and that was despite the absence of guards Georgia Denehey and Shani Caldwell. They forced Warwick into 30 turnovers, scoring 25 points off those.
Amber Land was playing her 143rd game in the SBL but it was her first ever against the Senators and she led the way for her new club with 17 points, nine rebounds, four steals, two assists and a block.
Isabelle Miotti finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists for Joondalup too with Chelsea Belcher contributing 12 points and two assists, Kayla Steindl 11 points and eight rebounds, Amy Kidner 10 points and nine boards, and Mikayla Pirini nine points and four assists.
The Senators are still awaiting the arrivals of Samaria Howard, Sam Roscoe, Stacey Barr, Rebekah Throns and Hannah Throns while import big Bianca Villegas was limited to 12 minutes with foul trouble and had just four points, three rebounds and two assists.
Caitlyn Jones was tremendous for Warwick with 24 points including shooting 5/11 from three-point range with Tayla Hepburn producing another 16 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Emma Burke also had 10 points and 14 rebounds, and 372-game veteran Nicole Jorre de St Jorre eight points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 75 lost to CACHET HOMES MANDURAH MAGIC 76
For the second time in a week the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Mandurah Magic played out a Women’s SBL thriller, with the Magic once again prevailing this time by a solitary point on Saturday night at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
The two teams went at it the previous Saturday night in Round 1 of the 2019 Women’s SBL season with Mandurah winning 69-67 in a contest featuring two sides that reached the semi finals in 2018.
It was always likely to be another tight affair with the return encounter seven days later this time with Kalamunda playing its home-opener for 2019.
And the Eastern Suns did start promisingly to lead 21-13 by quarter-time but things were tight by half-time with the Suns narrowly on top 37-35.
Jennie Rintala hit six points on her own to start the second half and the Suns took control leading 46-37 after just two minutes. Kalamunda still remained in control leading by nine soon after when Jewel Williams hit a three.
Their lead grew to 10 when Rintala hit a pair of free-throws and remained that with a minute to go in the third quarter when Rintala nailed a three.
But the Magic put on some full-court pressure and that unsettled the Suns with the visitors able to go on a 6-0 run to close the quarter to be just four down at three quarter-time.
Emma Klasztorny continued her monster night for Mandurah with another offensive board and put back to start the fourth term. She added another bucket to bring the Magic within two before a Casey Mihovilovich three put them in front 66-65.
The game then took a significant turn the way of the Magic when Rintala fouled out with seven minutes remaining before Klasztorny and Rebecca Motroni traded baskets with Mandurah leading 68-67.
Mandurah were then four up with less than four minutes remaining but some strong drives to the bucket from Lauren Jeffers in her fascinating match up with Mihovilovich got her to the stripe and she put the Suns back on top.
A Kasey Miegel steal and layup had Mandurah back in front soon after before Jeffers responded with a huge three for the Suns to lead 75-74. Magic import Delany Junkermeir answered with a mid-range jumper before a frantic finish full of turnovers by either side with the pressure right up.
In the end, ex-Magic guard Georgia Adams had a chance at the game-winner for the Suns but it wouldn’t fall and Mandurah held on for the 76-75 win.
Emma Klasztorny put in a warrior-like performance for the Magic finishing with 19 points, 17 rebounds and two steals while shooting 7/14 from the field.
She got superb support from 469-game veteran Casey Mihovilovich who had 24 points, eight rebounds, six assists, six steals and two blocked shots.
Delany Junkermeir also had 12 points and five rebounds for Mandurah, and Kasey Miegel eight points and two steals.
Losing Jennie Rintala with seven minutes to go when she fouled out undoubtedly hurt the Eastern Suns too with her still finishing with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Lauren Jeffers showed how important a pick up as an experienced point guard she will be for the Suns. Just 18 months ago she almost won Grand Final MVP at the Perry Lakes Hawks and the 155-game veteran had a strong night with 15 points and four rebounds.
Rebecca Motroni added 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals with Georgia Adams contributing nine points, four rebounds and three steals, and Jewel Williams eight points and three boards. Carla Drennan finished with four points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.