THE Perth Redbacks ensured they are right back in the Women’s SBL playoff hunt with an impressive Friday night victory at Belmont Oasis over a Willetton Tigers team who remain the great enigma of the competition.
It was a big game for both clubs at Belmont Oasis on Friday night with the Tigers looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Cockburn Cougars while the Redbacks had to win to avoid falling further behind the teams inside the top eight.
But from the start when the Tigers’ intensity was low and they coughed up some poor turnovers, the signs were ominous that this would be another off night for Willetton whose rollercoaster ride continued.
The Redbacks took full advantage with Perth Lynx WNBL and Australian Opals superstar guard Lauren Mansfield delivering her best game of the SBL season producing a triple-double as the Redbacks romped to the 94-63 victory.
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It’s a significant result for the Redbacks who improve to a 6-9 record on the season with the win ahead of a Saturday night clash with the Cockburn Cougars at Wally Hagan Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Tigers will now have two weeks to stew over the loss that leaves them still inside the top four at 11-7 but with only four games of the season remaining.
For Tigers coach Simon Parker, it was another frustrating performance for him to be stuck on the sidelines watching where the team just didn’t follow the scout and were made to pay for it.
“I think it was everything that ended up costing us. Firstly our intent just wasn’t there to win the
game, so that’s half the problem when their attitude isn’t right. Then we just couldn’t guard the penetration,” Parker said.
“We worked on our rotations and stuff all week but couldn’t guard the penetration and then the next person wasn’t there for the rotation and it just allowed them to go pass, pass, pass and layup.
“The most disappointing thing was not guarding that penetration. When you have Lauren Mansfield standing at the three-point line with no one next to her, it’s asking for trouble and we should have been up on her to make someone else beat us. We talked about it but we just didn’t get done what we needed to.”
Three turnovers from Willetton in the opening two minutes set the tone for the night with the Redbacks opening up a 21-16 advantage by quarter-time.
There was an offensive outburst from both teams in the second term with a combined 59 points but it was the Redbacks remaining on top with 35 points to 24 to take a 56-40 lead into the half-time break.
The Redbacks continued to dominate and take care of the sloppy Tigers to outscore them in the second half 38 points to 23 to come away with the crucial 31-point victory.
Lauren Mansfield produced her best game with the Redbacks finishing with a triple-double made up of 24 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds and four steals.
She had plenty of support too with Morgan Pullins delivering 17 points and 11 rebounds while Rosie Deegan contributed 16 points and five rebounds, Nes’eya Williams 13 points and nine boards, Alix Hayward 10 points and six rebounds, and Jess Jakens nine points and four boards.
It was tough going for Willetton with Laina Snyder still top-scoring with 15 points to go with 15 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and four assists despite shooting just 6/23 from the floor.
Hayley Winter finished with 13 points and four rebounds for the Tigers, Wendi Bibbins 11 points and six boards, and Desiree Kelley eight points and five rebounds.
It was a decidedly sloppy performance from the Tigers as well finishing with 26 turnovers for the night from which the Redbacks scored 30 points from.
Willetton also only shot the ball at 31 per cent while also going 5/24 from the three-point line.
At the end of the day, Parker saw the writing on the wall early on that the Tigers weren’t switched on but he now hopes that a two-week break can spark them back into action to end this current run of having lost four of five games.
“We gave Nes’eya Williams probably 10 points just from directly passing the ball to her and that started in the first two minutes of the game. We set the tone that we were going to turn the ball over in the first two minutes and I think we ended up at 26 turnovers,” Parker said.
“It just looked horrible and even our transition defence was just way off the mark. It was a frustrating night but at least this is our only game of the weekend and now we have our first bye next weekend.
“It probably comes at a good time and the hardest part lately has been not been able to work on things when we’ve had so many double-headers.
“A couple of the senior girls will enjoy the weekend off to get a bit of a reset now and then over the next six games we do need to win at least two or three of them to make sure we even stay in the top eight. It’s all doable and we made a good start, now we just have to protect it a bit.”
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 14
Lakeside Lightning 80 defeated Round 1 Fitness Cockburn Cougars 58
Print Sync South West Slammers 74 lost to Cachet Homes Mandurah Magic 82
Texture WA Perth Redbacks 94 defeated Willetton Tigers 63
Cachet Homes Mandurah Magic v Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 5.00pm
Round 1 Fitness Cockburn Cougars v Texture WA Perth Redbacks – Wally Hagan Stadium 5.00pm
Class 1 Orthodontics Rockingham Flames v Print Sync South West Slammers – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 6.00pm
Bethanie Warwick Senators v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Warwick Stadium 6.00pm