ROUND 18 was always going to be a crucial one in the context of the Women’s SBL season and the Mandurah Magic kept winning to go a long to securing a top four berth while the Rockingham Flames and Perry Lakes Hawks all but locked in their spots leaving the fight on for eighth.
The third last round of the 2019 regular season in the Women’s SBL saw some match ups that would prove season-defining and that’s exactly how it panned out.
Wins for the Lakeside Lightning and Warwick Senators kept winning to remain in the top two spots while the Mandurah Magic won a seventh straight game to move clear in fourth position.
Then in the bottom half of the eight, the Hawks and Flames just about locked in their playoff position with the Kalamunda Eastern Suns splitting their double-header but till remaining ahead of the Perth Redbacks with the race down to nine teams for the playoffs in 2019.
ROUND 18 SPOTLIGHT | LIGHTNING TOO STRONG FOR SLAMMERS
ROUND 18 WOMEN’S SBL PREVIEW
REDBACKS TO EMBRACE MANSFIELD’S OPALS CHANCE
NO TIGERS EXCUSES DESPITE BETTER THAN EXPECTED POSITION
YOUNG CRAWFORD PROVIDING COOL HEAD FOR FLAMES
ROUND 17 WOMEN’S SBL RECAP
Round 18 in the Women’s SBL began on Friday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Perth Redbacks 94-85, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns defeating the Cockburn Cougars 90-54 and the Lakeside Lightning overcoming a slow start to beat the South West Slammers 86-55.
The Rockingham Flames also got back to winning with an 82-37 win over the East Perth Eagles while the Mandurah Magic made it seven straight with an 87-66 victory against the Willetton Tigers.
There were three more Women’s SBL matches on Saturday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks thrashing the South West Slammers 97-49, the Warwick Senators pumped the East Perth Eagles 118-43 and the Rockingham Flames crucially won 72-52 against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
With two rounds of the season remaining, the Lakeside Lightning (15-4) remain on top of the Women’s SBL ahead of the Warwick Senators (14-6), Joondalup Wolves (13-7) and Mandurah Magic (13-7).
The Willetton Tigers are fifth at 12-8 ahead of the Perry Lakes Hawks (11-9) and Rockingham Flames (11-9).
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns (10-10) cling to eighth position in front of the Perth Redbacks (9-11).
The South West Slammers (8-13), Cockburn Cougars (3-16) and East Perth Eagles (1-20) are out of the finals hunt.
ROUND 18 WOMEN’S SBL
SCARBORO TOYOTA PERRY LAKES HAWKS 94 defeated TEXTURE WA PERTH REDBACKS 85
Considering they are locked in a battle over a playoff spot, plenty was at stake when Perry Lakes hosted the Perth Redbacks at Bendat Basketball Centre on Friday night.
Coming into the game to open Round 18, Perry Lakes had won its last couple to improve to 9-9 while the Redbacks five-game winning run ended last week as they slipped to 9-10 highlighting just how big Friday night’s game was.
It took on greater significance for the Redbacks knowing WNBL and Australian Opals star Lauren Mansfield would be making her last appearance of the regular season, but the Lady Hawks still proved too strong.
Perry Lakes led by five points at quarter-time but then opened up a match-winning advantage to lead 53-35 by half-time on the back of 34 points to 21 in the second term.
The Redbacks did fight hard through the second half but the Hawks did enough to remain on top and score the crucial 94-85 victory.
The Redbacks were up against it trying to compete with the size of the Hawks and that ended up seeing Rosie Deegan, Mansfield, Morgan Pullins, Alix Hayward and Denielle Lipscombe all foul out of the game and for the last 30 seconds they played it out with only four players on the court.
Perry Lakes’ size advantage was further emphasised by them finishing with 43 rebounds to 32.
On top of the work of the Hawks’ bigs, Jamie Cherry was brilliant with 36 points, eight assists, four steals and two rebounds.
Megan McKay delivered another 16 points and 16 rebounds with Nikita Martin contributing 14 points, four boards and three assists, Nat Burton 12 points and eight rebounds, Morgan Ballantyne six points and Sarah Donovan six points and 10 boards.
Rosie Deegan top-scored for the Redbacks with 20 points, three rebounds and three assists with Lauren Mansfield delivering 17 points, seven assists, four steals and four rebounds, and Morgan Pullins 17 points and nine boards.
Alix Hayward added nine points for Perth and Nes’eya Williams eight points, four rebounds and three assists.
KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 90 defeated ROUND 1 FITNESS COCKBURN COUGARS 54
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns needed to keep winning at home to the Cockburn Cougars on Friday night and they did well to come away with the 36-point victory.
It was the last home game at Ray Owen Sports Centre of the regular season for the Eastern Suns and they needed to win to remain in the top eight, and they did so against a competitive yet shorthanded Cougars outfit.
Kalamunda came out strongly in the opening quarter and ended up leading 26-16 by quarter-time and then added another 20 points to 16 in the second term to head into the half-time break leading 46-32.
The Eastern Suns pulled further away in the third quarter with another 26 points to 10 and then 18 more points to 10 in the fourth term to end up winning 90-54 to improve to a 10-9 record on the season on the back of four successive wins.
While the Cougars remain competitive the best they can given how shorthanded they are, they have now lost six straight to hold a 3-16 record.
Suns import Katie Yohn was again tremendous with 21 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals while Georgia Adams produced her career-best performance made up of 18 points, four boards and two assists on 6/9 shooting from the field and 3/4 from three-point range.
Jennie Rintala delivered 11 points and 10 rebounds for Kalamunda, Chanah Crugnale 10 points and seven boards, Lauren Jeffers nine points and six assists, Jewel Williams nine points and Hannah King nine points six rebounds.
Alina Hartmann top-scored for the Cougars with 17 points and 14 rebounds with Matilda Muir adding 12 points and four boards, Kahlia Morgan eight points and Jodee Sontay seven points and seven rebounds.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 86 defeated PRINT SYNC SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 55
The South West Slammers sent an early scare into the Lakeside Lightning on Friday night but the defending champions responded emphatically to maintain top spot with an 86-55 victory at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
Looking to respond to losses to the Warwick Senators and Joondalup Wolves, the Slammers were up for the challenge early against the Lightning on Friday night even without 209-game star Courtney Bayliss.
The Slammers scored the first basket of the game thanks to Brittni Montgomery and Bianca Donovan hit from downtown to put them up 5-2.
Kate Fielding then scored a layup to put the visitors up 7-2 and then Makailah Dyer continued her confidence from her 42 points last week and stepped back for a three as the Slammers went up 10-4.
When Dyer hit another triple South West led 15-8 before baskets to Montgomery and Dyer made it 19-8. Jae Flynn did respond with a three for Lakeside but Dyer hit her third triple and Ebony Bilcich chipped in with a layup too.
The Slammers went into quarter-time with spirits high leading 27-12 but it wouldn’t last against the defending champions.
Lakeside hit the first five points of the second period in the space of 45 seconds and that turned into 13-0 run before Dyer stopped the rot with her fourth three of the night for the Slammers.
It wasn’t until GeAnna Lualu-Summers hit from downtown with three minutes left in the half that the Lightning took the front and then by half-time, they led 47-37 finishing the half with a 14-3 run.
Both teams struggled to score in the third quarter with Lakeside only extending its lead to 11 by three quarter-time. But the Slammers didn’t have the depth to run with the Lightning for 40 minutes and Lakeside dominated the fourth quarter.
The Lightning put up 26 points to six in the last term to end up winning 86-55 to improve to 15-4 on the season with games to finish against Kalamunda, Perry Lakes and Rockingham.
The Slammers are now in trouble in terms of playoff hopes at 8-12 with only two games remaining against the Lady Hawks and Tigers.
The Lightning ended up with 52 rebounds to just 31 from the Slammers and 34 assists for the game while shooting 33/66 at 50 per cent from the field and 14/32 at 43 per cent from three.
After starting so well, the Slammers couldn’t maintain their efforts ending up shooting 33 per cent from the field and 35 per cent from beyond the arc along with getting to the foul line just seven times.
Ash Grant stepped up in the absence of Hannah Stewart for Lakeside with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals with captain Courtney Mansfield delivering 16 points, seven boards and six assists while hitting 3/6 from deep.
Ellyce ironmonger also showed her range going 3/5 from downtown for 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists with GeAnna Lualu-Summers adding nine points and five assists, Jae Flynn seven points and Jess Van Schie seven points, six rebounds and five assists.
Abbie Ironmonger also produced six points, seven assists and four rebounds in just 12 minutes.
Makailah Dyer top-scored again for the Slammers with 19 points and six assists on 4/7 shooting deep.
Brittni Montgomery added 14 points and seven rebounds, Ebony Bilcich six points, Kate Fielding five points and eight rebounds, and Bianca Donovan five points.
SCHWEIGEN EAST PERTH EAGLES 37 lost to CLASS 1 ORTHODONTICS ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 82
The Rockingham Flames needed to start building some momentum heading towards the playoffs and they made a good start to that with a 45-point road win over East Perth on Friday night.
Rockingham came into the game having lost its past two matches so they weren’t even quite guaranteed of a playoff position just yet while East Perth was trying to put in a decent showing their final home appearance at Herb Graham Recreation Centre for the season.
The Flames came out firing putting up 23 points to eight in the opening quarter to set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Rockingham held East Perth to just four points in the second term while scoring another 24 points to head into half-time with a remarkably dominant 47-12 advantage.
The Eagles were able to put in a more competitive showing in the second half but the Flames did continue to extend their lead with 20 points to 13 in the third quarter, and 15 to 12 in the fourth to come away with the 82-37 victory.
Rockingham finished the night with 59 rebounds to 48 while also forcing the Eagles into 29 turnovers from which they scored 22 points.
The Flames didn’t shoot as well as they would have liked or else the margin could have blown out further as they finished up going 32/82 at 39 per cent from the field and 3/30 at 10 per cent from three.
The Eagles struggled shooting going 14/67 at 20 per cent from the floor and 3/23 at 13 per cent from three-point range.
Christina Boag top-scored for Rockingham with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three steals with Maddie Allen contributing 16 points, 11 boards and seven blocked shots, and Darcee Garbin 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Tayah Burrows contributed 11 points and three rebounds for the Flames, and Alex Ciabattoni seven points, four boards and four assists.
Bree Fisher finished with 10 points and three rebounds with East Perth while Shannon Street added seven points and three boards, and Sarah Lakay seven points, nine boards and three blocked shots.
CACHET HOMES MANDURAH MAGIC 87 defeated WILLETTON TIGERS 66
The fortunes of the Mandurah Magic and Willetton Tigers have changed significantly since their last meeting and that continued on Friday night with the Magic going a long way to locking away a top four position.
The Tigers and Magic last met at Willetton Basketball Stadium back April 28 but right Mandurah is the hottest team in the Women’s SBL while Willetton is desperately searching for some consistency.
The Magic came into Friday night’s clash at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on a six-game winning streak while the Tigers were coming off another bye and prior to that had won just two of their previous six matches.
On the back of their recent momentum, the Magic started on fire on Friday night with 30 points in the first quarter to already lead by 20 at quarter-time.
That effectively ended the game as a contest with Mandurah going on to lead by as much as 34 points throughout the contest before the Tigers did go on a 13-0 run to at least bring some respectability back to the scoreboard.
The win is a seventh in-a-row for Mandurah as they improve to a 13-7 record on the season and having gone 9-1 on their home floor to sit in fourth position on the table with games to finish against Perth and Warwick.
Willetton has now lost five of its past seven matches to slip to a 12-8 record in fifth position with games to finish against the Slammers and Hawks.
The pressure applied by the Magic was a big factor in the final results with the Tigers racking up 31 turnovers from which Mandurah scored 30 points.
Carly Boag is picking up steam on return from her knee reconstruction putting up 23 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three assists for Mandurah on shooting 11/16.
Taylor Brown added 17 points and six assists for the Magic while Emma Klasztorny contributed 14 points, seven rebounds, six steals and four assists, Casey Mihovilovich 13 points and 11 assists, and Delany Junkermeir 10 points.
Laina Snyder finished with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals for Willetton with Wendi Bibbins delivering 12 points and three boards, Emma Gandini nine points and four rebounds, Abbie Martin nine points and three boards, and Zoe Harper eight points.
PRINT SYNC SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 49 lost to SCARBORO TOYOTA PERRY LAKES HAWKS 97
The Perry Lakes Hawks made the trip south and continued their hot form on Saturday night beating the South West Slammers by 48 points to lock away their playoff spot.
The Slammers might have regained Courtney Bayliss from Friday night’s loss at Lakeside but lost import centre Brittni Montgomery for the clash with Perry Lakes on Saturday at Eaton Recreation Centre.
The timing couldn’t have been worse up against the Lady Hawks front court including Megan McKay, Nat Burton, Sarah Donovan and Kristan Teasdale, and the longer the game went the more the Slammers lack of size was the major difference between the two teams.
Already on a three-game winning run coming into the contest, Perry Lakes started strongly with 22 points to 11 in the first quarter. The Hawks then really turned it on with 32 points in the second term while conceding only 13 and going into half-time leading 54-24.
To the Slammers’ credit, they stuck with the Hawks in the third quarter but then Perry Lakes turned it on again in the fourth term with 26 points to eight to run out 97-49 winners.
It was a remarkable dominance on the boards from Perry Lakes but that was hardly unexpected given the size difference in the two line-ups. They racked up 69 rebounds to just 26 from the Slammers while having 29 offensive boards for 28 second chance points.
Perry Lakes also scored 66 points in the paint to 22 while also shooting 48 per cent from the field compared to 26 per cent from the Slammers.
Megan McKay continued to be a difference-maker for the Lady Hawks on return from college with another 21 points and 11 rebounds while Nat Burton contributed 18 points, seven boards, three steals and two blocked shots.
Jamie Cherry produced another 15 points and five rebounds with Sarah Donovan producing 11 points and nine boards, Bella Green eight points and six rebounds, and Rebecca Benson seven points, four assists and three boards.
It was a tough night for the Slammers who have now lost four straight to fall from playoff contention with the lack of depth the only thing hurting them in the finish despite taking some impressive strides forward in 2019 under rookie coach Nathan Grover.
MVP candidate Makailah Dyer produced another 19 points and two steals with Beige Harris contributing 10 points and five rebounds, Adele East seven points and three boards, and Kate Fielding six points and five rebounds.
BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 118 defeated SCHWEIGEN EAST PERTH EAGLES 43
In order to hold onto their top wo position the Warwick Senators had to get back to winning on Saturday night and they had little trouble doing that at home to the East Perth Eagles.
The Senators had suffered a loss the previous Saturday night at the expense of the Kalamunda Eastern Suns so they returned to Warwick Stadium this week needing to win to hold their edge over the chasing Wolves, Magic and Tigers in second position.
It was a big task for the Eagles to be competitive 24 hours a heavy home loss to Rockingham and the Senators flexed their muscles early even in the absence of coach Dion Dagostino.
The Senators raced to a 21-6 lead by quarter-time and then then added a further 25 points to 12 in the second period to head into half-time on their home floor leading 46-18.
It was then a stunning offensive onslaught in the third period from Warwick as they piled on 38 points. East Perth had their best offensive quarter of the night too with 17 points but the Senators had extended their lead to 84-35 by three quarter-time.
The Senators added another 34 points to eight in the fourth term and that was enough to take out the 118-43 win as they put up the biggest score of the Women’s SBL season. The Senators have been rolling offensively of late averaging 108 points over their last three games.
East Perth again was dominated on the boards with Warwick collecting 66 rebounds to 33 while scoring 50 points in the paint to just eight.
The Senators took the chance to play all 12 of their players who suited up for at least 10 minutes each with Maddison Hooper ending up with the top-score of 22 points on the back of nailing 6/12 from three-point territory.
Stacey Barr put up 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists in just 18 minutes while Caitlyn Jones contributed 12 points, Samaria Howard 11 points and five rebounds, Emma Berryman 10 points and four assists, and Bianca Villegas 10 points, four boards and three assists.
Chloe Forster also had nine points and four rebounds, Emma Burke eight points and 13 boards, and Sam Roscoe eight points and three rebounds.
Rose Aryang battled bravely inside for East Perth in 35 minutes of court time for 12 points and seven rebounds. Kalypso McCallum-Smith also had 11 points and three boards, Bree Fisher seven points, three rebounds and three assists, and Georgia Lowe five points, three assists and three steals.
CLASS 1 ORTHODONTICS ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 72 defeated KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 52
The winner of the Rockingham and Kalamunda battle at Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Saturday night would lock away a playoff position for 2019 with the Flames taking out the 20-point win on their home floor.
Rockingham were coming off a big win against East Perth the previous night but they still hadn’t been able to string some good form together which is they were only just above a .500 record while the Suns were in hot form having won four straight heading into the contest.
Neither team really ever got going on the night with the game played at playoff intensity as the finals began early for both sides.
Rockingham did lead narrowly by three points at the end of one and extended that advantage to six by half-time. The Flames then saw their lead grow to 11 points by three quarter-time but the Suns were still close enough to strike.
But it wasn’t to be with Rockingham delivering 21 points to 12 in the final period to claim the 72-52 win to lock away their playoff berth.
The win improves the Flames to an 11-9 record with games to finish against the top two teams the Lightning and Senators. The Eastern Suns are clinging to eighth spot at 10-10 with games to finish against Lakeside and Joondalup.
Darcee Garbin was playing her last game of the regular season for the Flames as she heads to Phoenix for the Opals training and selection camp ahead of September’s Asia Cup. She finished the night with 18 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Maddie Allen also contributed 18 points, 15 rebounds and four assists while Alex Ciabattoni delivered 18 points, nine boards, three assists and three steals. Christina Boag also had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Lauren Jeffers top-scored for the Eastern Suns with 14 points while Jewel Williams contributed 10 points and three assists, and Katie Yohn seven points, nine rebounds and four steals.