ROUND 13 in the Women’s SBL starts on Friday night with the last two champions Lakeside and Perry Lakes going at it while the Flames’ clash with the Magic should be fascinating and that all leads to a Grand Final rematch in Mandurah on Saturday night.
With three matches on Friday night in the Women’s SBL and another four on Saturday night as the race for a finals berth continues to heat up, it’s going to be a fascinating weekend of action.
It all gets underway on Friday night with the Perth Redbacks hosting the East Perth Eagles at Belmont Oasis.
Then there is the Lakeside Lightning and Perry Lakes Hawks going to battle at Lakeside Recreation Centre in a contest featuring the past two champions in the Women’s SBL.
The last game on Friday night features two teams sitting on 6-6 records but are looking to emerge as championship threats and that pits the Rockingham Flames up against the Mandurah Magic at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
There’s then another four matches on Saturday night starting at Willetton Basketball Stadium at 5pm with the Willetton Tigers playing the Cockburn Cougars.
The Perry Lakes Hawks back up their clash with Lakeside on Friday by hosting the improving South West Slammers at Bendat Basketball Centre.
There’s then the Grand Final rematch at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre with the Mandurah Magic hosting the Lakeside Lightning.
The final game of the round is another crucial one with the Kalamunda Eastern Suns hosting the Rockingham Flames at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
The Round 13 action begins on Friday night at Belmont Oasis with the Redbacks hosting the Eagles.
Perth can’t afford to drop it with them currently sitting two games outside the top eight having lost their past couple of games. But with a team featuring Nes’eya Williams, Lauren Mansfield, Morgan Pullins and Taylor Roberts, they would expect to be better than 4-8.
It’s another chance for the Eagles, meanwhile, to show their improvement and already they have been more competitive despite a couple of losses to the Flames and Senators since their breakthrough win against the Tigers.
Also on Friday night, it’s the 2018 champion Lakeside against the 2017 champion Perry Lakes at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
It’s the first home game for the Lightning in over a month providing the chance for championship-winning guard Tiahrn Flynn to celebrate her 200-game milestone which she reached a couple of weeks ago during a loss on the road to the Senators.
It’s a big game for both teams with the Lightning returning to the top of the table with a win last week over the Redbacks with their new and big front court of Hannah Stewart, Ash Grant and Ellyce Ironmonger in action.
They now take on a Perry Lakes team coming into the game at 6-6 with their four-game winning run ending last week at the hands of the Eastern Suns.
But with Nat Burton there to match up with Ironmonger and Jamie Cherry to take on GeAnna Luaulu-Summers, there are plenty of match ups to look out for and it should be a terrific contest.
The last game of Friday night takes place in Rockingham between the Flames and Magic.
Neither team has quite reached their potential yet in 2019 and both come into the contest with 6-6 records making it a huge clash.
Despite the presence of Darcee Garbin, Maddie Allen and Christina Boag inside, the Flames haven’t quite got into gear and now they have signed Alex Ciabattoni.
They will be hoping Garbin gets more help this week after putting up 42 points in last week’s loss to Willetton, but it’s a Mandurah team that needs to win too.
They pulled one out of the fire last week thanks to Casey Mihovilovich against the Cougars but they still haven’t quite found the form that saw them reach the Grand Final last year.
They have lost centre Ginka Palusna as well but still have a good front court with Carly Boag, Emma Klasztorny and Bree Klasztorny, but import guard Delany Junkermeir does need to step up after a scoreless effort against Cockburn.
It could well be a season-defining contest between the local rivals who had championship aspirations coming into 2019.
Saturday’s action begins at Willetton Basketball Stadium with the Tigers hosting the Cougars.
Willetton comes into the game in fourth position at 11-5 having steadied with a win last week against Rockingham following disappointing losses to East Perth and Warwick.
The Tigers will now look to consolidate against a Cougars team on a 10-game losing streak. But Cockburn has been playing better than that suggests and should have beaten Mandurah last week and that elusive third win of the season isn’t too far away.
Also on Saturday night, Perry Lakes hosts the South West Slammers at Bendat Basketball Centre.
The Hawks are backing up their game at Lakeside on Friday night while the Slammers are fresh off beating the then top of the table Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena last Saturday night.
That was the performance of the season so far from the Slammers to improve them to a 6-7 record on the season and remain a game clear in the top eight.
They can now potentially start moving up the table further with another road win on Saturday night with coach Nathan Grover looking forward to the challenge of facing Deanna Black for the first time having worked with her as an assistant coach at Cockburn.
“It’s another big challenge and I’m looking forward to going up to a former mentor of mine. It’s always a good challenge against Perry Lakes and Nat Burton has just come back, and I expect them to have Megan McKay back too,” Grover said.
“They have a very big squad but I think we counteract that height pretty well. But this win over Joondalup will give us a lot of momentum and we won’t be going in afraid against one of the best teams in the league who won a title a couple of years ago.
“Cherry is a great talent and she’ll have a great match up with Mak, and Bianca will get a run at her as well. Then Brittni against Nat will be a good match up inside as well. We’ll go in confident, we’ll scout them well and I know a few of Doccy’s tricks from a few years ago. I’m really excited about it.
“It’s the first time we’ve seen them and we’ll go in with a bit of momentum, full of confidence and with a lot to prove.”
It’s then time for the second Grand Final rematch of 2019 with the Magic hosting the Lightning in Mandurah.
Nobody at the Magic would have forgotten the Grand Final they let slip after being in control for much of the night last year and now they get a chance to knock off the Lightning in front of their home fans on Saturday night with both teams having played on Friday.
The round then concludes at Ray Owen Sports Centre with the Eastern Suns hosting the Flames.
Rockingham will be fresh off having hosted Mandurah on Friday while the Suns will be fresh and desperate for a third straight win to continue to bang on the door of a top eight position.
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 13
Texture WA Perth Redbacks v Schweigen East Perth Eagles – Belmont Oasis 6.30pm
Lakeside Lightning v Scarboro Toyota Perry Lakes Hawks – Lakeside Recreation Centre 6.30pm
Class 1 Orthodontics Rockingham Flames v Cachet Homes Mandurah Magic – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 6.30pm
Willetton Tigers v Round 1 Fitness Cockburn Cougars – Willetton Basketball Stadium 5.00pm
Scarboro Toyota Perry Lakes Hawks v Print Sync South West Slammers – Bendat Basketball Centre 6.00pm
Cachet Homes Mandurah Magic v Lakeside Lightning – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Class 1 Orthodontics Rockingham Flames – Ray Owen Sports Centre 6.30pm