THE Kalamunda Eastern Suns have surged into eighth position with two big Round 17 wins in the Women’s SBL while the Mandurah Magic remain the hottest team in the competition to go fourth and the Joondalup Wolves scored two crucial victories.
With it being the fourth last round of the 2019 regular season and with five teams fighting over those top four positions and then another five teams battling over the rest of the spots in the top eight, every game is taking on extra significance.
And the weekend saw the Lady Wolfpack snap their losing run with two strong wins while the Magic won a sixth straight match to go into the top four and the Eastern Suns won impressively over top eight teams to also end the round inside the top eight.
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Round 17 in the Women’s SBL got underway with three matches on Friday night that saw the Joondalup Wolves beat the Lakeside Lightning 92-83 at HBF Arena, the Mandurah Magic defeat the Rockingham Flames 81-65 at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre, and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns take out a thriller 75-72 against the Perth Redbacks at Belmont Oasis.
There were then four more matches on Saturday starting with the Lakeside Lightning beating the East Perth Eagles 90-35 at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
The Perry Lakes then beat the Cockburn Cougars 76-60 at Wally Hagan Stadium while the Joondalup Wolves defeated the South West Slammers 91-90 at Eaton Recreation Centre, and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns nailed another nail-biter 103-101 against the Warwick Senators at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
What those results mean is that the Lakeside Lightning (14-4) remain on top of the standings ahead of the Warwick Senators (13-6), Joondalup Wolves (13-7) and Mandurah Magic (12-7).
The Willetton Tigers (12-7) are fifth and the only team outside the top four who realistically can still get in there.
The Perry Lakes Hawks (9-9) are sixth with the Rockingham Flames (9-9) and Kalamunda Eastern Suns (9-9) rounding out the top eight ahead of Perth Redbacks (9-10), South West Slammers (8-11), Cockburn Cougars (3-15) and East Perth Eagles (1-18).
WOMEN’S SBL ROUND 17
CHAMBERS FRANKLYN JOONDALUP CITY WOLVES 92 defeated LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 83
Joondalup and Lakeside have looked two of the teams to beat for much of 2019, but it was the Lady Wolfpack needing a big performance at HBF Arena on Saturday night and that’s exactly what they produced.
While the Wolves and Lightning have found themselves jostling over spots in the top two for most of the season, the Wolfpack found themselves on the rough end of some losing form coming into Friday’s clash.
Joondalup had lost five straight having lost captain Amy Kidner and WNBL star Kayla Steindl so they needed to find something against the defending champions.
And the Lady Wolfpack came out on fire putting up 31 points in the first quarter and conceding just 19 which would end up setting up the victory.
The Wolves remained on top the rest of the way and at one stage even went on a 16-0 scoring run and led by as much as 25 points before going on to win 92-83.
It was an impressive shooting night from Joondalup especially from downtown where they went 15/34 at 44 per cent with Chelsea Belcher going 5/6 from three-point range, Georgia Denehey 3/3, Jasmine Martin 2/5, Andee Ritter 2/7, Tayla Pipes 1/1, Isabelle Miotti 1/3 and Mikayla Pirini 1/5.
Having nine players who all made a strong contribution was key to the Wolves ending their losing run at five with Martin delivering her best performance since joining the club mid-season. She finished with 18 points and two steals.
Belcher also struck some impressive scoring and shooting form with 15 points, four rebounds and two assists with Denehey contributing 13 points, two boards, two assists and two steals.
Pirini added nine points and six assists, Amber Land eight points and seven rebounds, Andee Ritter eight points and six assists, Pipes eight points and five rebounds, Miotti seven points and five boards, and Eleanor Hartill six points and three rebounds.
New Lightning import Hannah Stewart produced a big night despite the loss with 30 points and six rebounds on shooting 10/18 from the field and 9/9 from the foul line.
GeAnna Lualu-Summers also had 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals for Lakeside with Courtney Mansfield producing 17 points, seven boards and six assists, and Ash Grant nine points and 13 rebounds.
CACHET HOMES MANDURAH MAGIC 81 defeated CLASS 1 ORTHODONTICS ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 65
The Mandurah Magic continue to be the hottest team in the Women’s SBL as they impressively won by 16 points over the Rockingham Flames at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on Friday night.
What Friday night provided the Magic was the chance to show just how far they have come over the past five weeks given how rocked they were with that disappointing performance in Rockingham.
The result was that Mandurah showed that after playing in the past two Women’s Grand Finals, they can’t be discounted in the championship race again in now in 2019 with their dominant display virtually all night against the Flames on Friday night.
The fact that it means the Magic have now won six straight matches has them the form team in the competition as well.
Mandurah never trailed the entire night and that was in direct contrast to that clash in Rockingham where they made a horrible start and could never recover.
The Magic got on top early on Friday night in front of a good crowd in Mandurah and never looked back.
By quarter-time, the Magic led 22-15 and they maintained the edge to head into the half-time break with a 45-36 advantage.
Despite the size disadvantage they had inside to Darcee Garbin and Maddie Allen, and then losing captain Rachel Halleen to a knee injury before half-time, with Emma and Bree Klasztorny at their tenacious best inside, the Magic just weren’t going to be denied.
They remained on top throughout the second half responding to each run by the Flames impressively to end up winning by 16 points.
The Magic backcourt of Casey Mihovilovich and Taylor Brown showed just how much potential they have alongside each other.
In her 485th SBL game, Mihovilovich had 20 points, six assists and five rebounds while in her fifth match in the league, Brown had 16 points, seven assists, four boards and three steals.
Then down low, Emma Klasztorny had nine points and seven rebounds with Bree Klasztorny finishing with 12 points, six boards, five steals and two assists.
Rachel Pettit also finished with eight points and four assists for Mandurah, Delany Junkermeir six points and three rebounds, and Carly Boag six points, seven rebound and two steals.
The only downside for the Flames was 304-game captain Rachel Halleen going down with a knee injury in the second quarter.
While it was a tough loss to take for the Flames who will now lose Darcee Garbin for the rest of the regular season due to the Opals camp in Phoenix ahead of September’s Asia Cup, there’s no doubt Rockingham’s best is still as good as any team in the competition.
Friday night might have been one of those games where nothing clicked but Garbin did still score 18 points to go with 14 rebounds.
Alex Ciabattoni did what she could too with 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals while Janelle Adams contributed nine points, Christina Boag eight points, three boards and two blocked shots, and Maddie Allen five points and 11 rebounds.
TEXTURE WA PERTH REDBACKS 72 lost to KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 75
Given what was at stake for both clubs, Friday’s clash at Belmont Oasis between the Perth Redbacks and Kalamunda Eastern Suns promised plenty and didn’t fail to deliver
With both teams locked in the battle over a playoff position, the game was always going to be a potentially season-defining one heightening the stakes for both clubs.
It was always destined to go down to the wire as well with scores tied at 19-19 at quarter-time before the Redbacks narrowly led 39-38 at half-time and scores were again all square at 53-apiece at three quarter-time.
A four-point play early in the fourth quarter to Katie Yohn put the Eastern Suns up two and then eventually they were able to pull away slightly further to be up five when Alecia Knowles knocked down a triple with 4:30 remaining.
But a Redbacks three from Denielle Lipscombe and layup from Rosie Deegan had scores level again over the next minute.
But it was Perry Lakes 2017 championship-winning point guard Lauren Jeffers who managed the next four points to put Kalamunda up four with a minute left before Lauren Mansfield answered with a layup for the Redbacks.
Jennie Rintala hit a free-throw for Kalamunda but Perth had chance with the last possession coming out of a timeout to win the game. Nes’eya Williams missed a three and Hannah King grabbed the rebound for the Suns.
But the Redbacks forced a turnover and had one last chance at the buzzer, but Lipscombe’s prayer didn’t fall and the Eastern Suns prevailed 75-72 to take another step towards the playoffs in 2019.
Katie Yohn produced her best game since joining Kalamunda finishing with 27 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocked shots including hitting 6/10 from downtown.
Jewel Williams added 15 points and five assists with Lauren Jeffers contributing 12 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists, Jennie Rintala 11 points, five boards and three assists, Alecia Knowles five points and two rebounds, and Georgia Adams five points and two boards.
Rosie Deegan top-scored for the Redbacks with 18 points and five rebounds with Jess Jakens delivering 14 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, Lauren Mansfield 13 points, eight assists and six boards, Denielle Lipscombe 12 points, and Morgan Pullins nine points, seven rebounds and three assists.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 90 defeated SCHWEIGEN EAST PERTH EAGLES 35
Coming off Friday’s loss to the Joondalup Wolves, the Lakeside Lightning emphatically bounced back on their home floor on Saturday afternoon beating the East Perth Eagles by 55 points.
It always loomed as a significant task for the Eagles to be competitive against the league-leading Lightning considering they have won one game in the past two years while Lakeside’s rare loss on Friday night was just their fifth defeat in the past two seasons.
Then without Ashley Munrowd-Harris, Janee Johnson, Stacia Muparutsa, Eryn Fisher and Fiona Heart, who have been among East Perth’s strongest competitors this season, it proved a bridge too far against the Lightning on Saturday at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
Lakeside blew the game open early with 33 points to eight in the first quarter and never looked back. They added 24 points to nine in the second quarter and 20 to five in the third to go into the three quarter-time break leading 77-22.
It was then 13 points apiece in the fourth quarter with Lakeside winning 90-35 having led by as much as 64 points during the game and going on a 19-0 scoring run.
The Lightning didn’t even shoot the ball too great going 34/96 at 35 per cent, 9/37 from three at 24 per cent and 13/21 at 61 per cent from the foul line while the Eagles went at 22 per cent from the field, 10 per cent from three-point range and 46 per cent at the charity stripe.
The Lightning also forced the Eagles into 33 turnovers for 23 points.
Ash Grant top-scored for Lakeside with 23 points and 13 rebounds with Courtney Green delivering 15 points, 14 rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals.
Courtney Mansfield added 12 points and six assists with Tiahrn Flynn contributing 11 points, two rebounds and two assists, Jess Van Schie eight points, five steals, four assists and four boards, Courtney Beavis eight points and two rebounds, and GeAnna Lualu-Summers seven points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Shannon Street finished with eight points and five rebounds for East Perth, Rose Aryang eight points, 11 boards, three steals and two assists, Mya Dimanlig six points and four rebounds, and Kalypso McCallum-Smith five points and five boards.
ROUND 1 FITNESS COCKBURN COUGARS 60 lost to SCARBORO TOYOTA PERRY LAKES HAWKS 76
In the end the size and quality inside from the Perry Lakes Hawks led by Nat Burton and Megan McKay saw them record a crucial win on Saturday night but not without a strong fighting effort against them by the Cockburn Cougars.
Perry Lakes started solidly enough to lead 21-15 by quarter-time before adding another 19 points to 18 in the second period to head into the half-time interval leading 40-33.
The Lady Hawks pulled away a little more in the third quarter to lead 59-45 heading into the fourth period, and then going on to win by that 14-point margin.
It was an important win for the Lady Hawks who now improve to a 9-9 record as a result to retain their position inside the top eight for the end of Round 17.
With three rounds of the regular season remaining, the Hawks now finish with home games against the Perth Redbacks and Lakeside Lightning, and on the road to the South West Slammers and Willetton Tigers.
The Redbacks and Slammers are two teams they are locked in a fight for a playoff position against while the Tigers and Lightning currently occupy top four position so it’s a massive final three weeks for Deanna Black and her Lady Hawks team.
Despite the fact that it was a fifth consecutive loss for Cockburn that sees them slip to a 3-15 record on the season, it was yet another competitive showing from the Cougars who made themselves tough to beat and never threw in the towel.
With Alina Hartmann battling hard inside for the Cougars on Saturday night against Perry Lakes with help from veterans Vanessa Michael and Jodee Sontay, they put in a strong showing on their home floor.
Megan McKay had another imposing performance for Perry Lakes with 20 points, 21 rebounds and two assists on the back of shooting 8/11 from the field and 4/5 from the free-throw line.
Nat Burton added 13 points and 10 rebounds with Jamie Cherry contributing 13 points, seven boards and five assists, Nikita Martin eight points, three rebounds and three assists, and Rebecca Benson seven points and six assists.
Alina Hartmann battled hard for the Cougars with 15 points, 10 rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists while Haylee De Sousa delivered 14 points, Matilda Muir 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and Jodee Sontay nine points, six boards and two steals.
PRINT SYNC SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 90 lost to CHAMBERS FRANKLYN JOONDALUP CITY WOLVES 91
The Joondalup Wolves headed to Eaton Recreation Centre on Saturday night on the back of ending their losing run the previous night and ended up breaking the hearts of the South West Slammers.
The Lady Wolfpack came into Round 17 on the back of five straight losses, but they impressively beat the Lakeside Lightning at HBF Arena on Friday night ahead of coming up against the Slammers in Bunbury.
It was a game the Slammers needed to win as they try to break back into the top eight but they were without Kate Fielding and had lost three of their past four matches coming into the contest on their home floor.
But the Slammers deserved to go in confident having beaten the Wolves impressively 80-69 back on June 1 at HBF Arena so they knew they could play well against them.
But the Lady Wolfpack led by two points at quarter-time and then scored 25 points to 16 in the second quarter to head into the half-time break leading 51-40.
The Wolves still led by 11 at three quarter-time but the Slammers weren’t done with yet. Quick threes to Courtney Bayliss and Bianca Donovan quickly had them back within six, and that became two when Makailah Dyer also hit from long-range.
Isabelle Miotti responded for Joondalup to stretch the lead back out to five but when Donovan again hit from downtown with six minutes left, the scores were all tied together.
Scores were still level with just over a minute left after two Brittni Montgomery free-throws for the Slammers before Dyer also hit two at the stripe to put the home team up two.
But Wolves coach Charles Nix called the timeout and drew up a play that ended up in Andee Ritter hitting from beyond the arc to put his team up one. The Slammers had one last chance but Dyer’s desperate layup attempt wouldn’t fall and the Wolfpack won 91-90.
It’s a big result for both teams with the Wolves steadying at a 13-7 record this season with the two wins in third position while the Slammers are 8-11 in 10th with three games remaining against the Lightning, Hawks and Tigers.
Amber Land had a huge night for the Slammers with 22 points and 15 rebounds with Isabelle Miotti impressive with 14 points.
Chelsea Belcher scored another 13 points while Mikayla Pirini contributed 12 points and three rebounds, Andee Ritter 10 points, five boards, four assists and three steals, and Jasmine Martin eight points and five rebounds.
Makailah Dyer strengthened her MVP credentials for this season with the Slammers finishing the evening with 42 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals on shooting 10/19 from the floor, 5/6 from three-point territory and 17/18 from the foul line.
Brittni Montgomery had a monster game inside too with 20 points and 22 rebounds while Courtney Bayliss contributed 13 points and 10 boards, and Bianca Donovan six points and five assists.
KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 103 defeated BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 101
Coming off a significant result over the Perth Redbacks 24 hours earlier, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns kept their impressive momentum going with a heart-stopping two-point win over the Warwick Senators.
The Eastern Suns entered Round 17 with the job ahead of them to qualify for playoffs again in 2019 but following the win over the Redbacks, they had plenty of belief coming into Saturday night’s clash with the Senators at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
The Senators needed to win to try to further consolidate a top two spot as well so the game was always going to be a fascinating one to see unfold.
It was a tight affair all evening too with the Eastern Suns leading by four points at quarter-time and then stretching that advantage slightly to 62-56 at half-time.
But the Senators pulled it back in the third quarter to be only down two heading into the fourth with it all on the line.
The Eastern Suns did get back out to a five-point lead on a couple of occasions including after a triple from Rebecca Motroni with six minutes remaining. Lauren Jeffers stretched their advantage to six two minutes later and then it became eight thanks to Jennie Rintala.
Warwick wouldn’t go away, though, and were back within two after a Samaria Howard jumper with a minute left. Howard made another driving layup in response to Lauren Jeffers free-throws and the Suns’ lead was just two with 21 seconds left.
Jeffers stretched the lead to three with a free-throw but immediately Caitlyn Jones nailed a triple for the Senators and it was a tied ball game with the Eastern Suns calling timeout ahead of the last possession.
And from that, Jeffers hit what could have been the biggest shot of her 169-game SBL career to give the Eastern Suns the win to move into the top eight at 9-9.
Coming off the best game of her short SBL career on Friday night, Katie Yohn backed it up for the Eastern Suns on Saturday with 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals on shooting 9/14 from the field and 5/8 from three-point range.
Lauren Jeffers also delivered 23 points, five assists and three rebounds with Jennie Rintala producing 19 points and seven boards, Jewel Williams 12 points and three rebounds, Rebecca Motroni nine points and five assists, Georgia Adams seven points, four rebounds and three assists, and Hannah King seven points, seven boards and three assists.
Stacey Barr did all she could to lead the Senators to the win with 33 points and eight rebounds before fouling out, which proved massive down the stretch. She shot 10/16 from the field, 5/8 from deep and 8/13 from the foul line.
Samaria Howard delivered 27 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals while Bianca Villegas contributed 16 points, six boards and four assists, Caitlyn Jones 12 points and three rebounds, and Emma Burke eight points and seven boards.