STILL having the presence of Darcee Garbin alongside Maddie Allen and Christina Boag, and with Alex Ciabattoni knocking on the door of a triple-double saw the Rockingham Flames show what they are capable of against the Warwick Senators at Warwick Stadium on Friday night.
If the players started at the end of Round 18, these two teams would have met in the quarter finals with the Senators sitting second at 14-6 and the Flames seventh at 11-9 so there was always going to be plenty on the line in the second last game of the regular season for both sides.
But the Flames were boosted with Darcee Garbin fitting in one more game before heading to Phoenix for the Australian Opals training and selection camp, and combined with Bianca Villegas and Tayla Hepburn missing for the Senators, Rockingham produced quite the emphatic performance.
On the back of 57 rebounds to 38, 25 second chance points to 17, and 56 points in the paint to 30, the Flames were tremendously impressively on their way to the 101-77 victory.
ROUND 19 WOMEN’S SBL PREVIEW
MAGIC CLICKING AS THEY CHASE THIRD STRAIGHT GRAND FINAL
ROUND 18 WOMEN’S SBL RECAP
REDBACKS TO EMBRACE MANSFIELD’S OPALS CHANCE
NO TIGERS EXCUSES DESPITE BETTER THAN EXPECTED POSITION
YOUNG CRAWFORD PROVIDING COOL HEAD FOR FLAMES
The Flames needed to win the game to officially lock in their playoff place while the Senators also needed to keep winning to stay second so there was plenty on the line for both sides coming into the contest at Warwick Stadium on Friday night.
After Warwick started brightly scoring the opening seven points, the Flames worked their way on top and they went on to score 28 of the last 40 points of the first quarter.
Rockingham then dominated the second period with 27 points to 12 to head into half-time leading 55-31.
It wasn’t just that the Flames’ defence was shutting down the Senators, it was forcing their shots to not only miss but their usually efficient shooters were missing by a long way and time after time not even getting close to hitting the rim.
It was quite the intimidating first half from the Flames and while the Senators did threaten a brief comeback in the third quarter, Rockingham pulled away further in the fourth term to end up winning by 24 points.
On top of pulling in the 57 rebounds, it was the inside game that was key for Rockingham as they shot 42/79 at 53 per cent from the field with 56 points in the paint. Their defence also saw the Senators go at 33 per cent from the floor on their 83 shot attempts.
The win improves Rockingham to a 12-9 record on the season having now won three straight ahead of playing Lakeside at home next Friday. Warwick is now 14-7 and finish their season away to Mandurah.
Rockingham coach Keegan Crawford was delighted with the approach of his team from the outset and feels they were ready to make a statement no matter who was out there from the opposition.
“The girls were fantastic. We are really starting to play the type of basketball that we want to play, and we are more or less just focusing on our strengths. We obviously scout and want to take stuff away from the opponent but we are doing a really good job of utilising our strengths throughout 40 minutes of the game,” Crawford said.
“Obviously missing Hepburn and Villegas are two huge losses for them because they are fantastic players, but no matter which line-up we face we feel like if we stick to what we need to do it’s perfect. We have some of the best defenders in the league Maddie Allen and Chelsea Petrik, and some fantastic girls who are really buying into what we try to do defensively.”
Maddie Allen was superb again for Rockingham producing another 24 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots on the back of shooting 12/16 from the floor.
Darcee Garbin also had 18 points and five rebounds, and Christina Boag 13 points and 14 boards.
Alex Ciabattoni then ran things well in the back court and only not playing an extra possession or two cost her a triple-double as she produced 21 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
It was tough going for the Senators in the absence of the unavailable Tayla Hepburn and injured Bianca Villegas who was hobbling in a moon boot, but Samaria Howard battled hard with 22 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Stacey Barr finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Nicole Jorre De St Jorre contributed nine points and three boards, and Sam Roscoe six points, four steals, three rebounds and two assists.
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 19
Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves 76 defeated Round 1 Fitness Cockburn Cougars 53
Willetton Tigers 92 defeated Print Sync South West Slammers 68
Bethanie Warwick Senators 77 lost to Class 1 Orthodontics Rockingham Flames 101
Lakeside Lightning 88 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 75
Texture WA Perth Redbacks v Cachet Homes Mandurah Magic – Belmont Oasis 4.00pm
Scarboro Toyota Perry Lakes Hawks v Lakeside Lightning – Bendat Basketball Centre 5.00pm