IT’S semi-final time in the Women’s SBL beginning this weekend starting with the Perry Lakes Hawks hosting Game 1 against the Rockingham Flames while the Lakeside Lightning are also at home to the Warwick Senators.
All four of the Women’s quarter-final match ups were decided in two games with the Lakeside Lightning beating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns, the Rockingham Flames defeating the Mandurah Magic, the Warwick Senators defeated the Willetton Tigers, and the Perry Lakes eliminated the Joondalup Wolves.
That sets the stage for four teams being left in the semi finals and there’s every reason each of them should feel like they are capable advancing all the way to win the championship over the next three weeks.
The semi finals get underway on Friday night at Bendat Basketball Centre with the Perry Lakes Hawks playing the Rockingham Flames.
Then on Saturday night, the Lakeside Lightning take on the Warwick Senators at Lakeside Recreation Centre from 6pm.
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The semi-final match ups begin on Friday night at Bendat Basketball Centre with Game 1 between the Perry Lakes Hawks and Rockingham Flames.
It has all the hallmarks of being one hell of a series between two remarkably big, deep and talented teams who now come into the semi finals in brilliant form.
The Lady Hawks finished the regular season in sixth position but entered the playoffs on a six-game winning streak and then they proved unstoppable in the quarter finals against the Joondalup Wolves.
Perry Lakes won Game 1 at HBF Arena 102-66 and then backed it up last Friday night defeating the Wolfpack 103-59 at Bendat Basketball Centre to advance to the semi finals and to do so on an eight-game winning streak.
Rockingham had a much more challenging time of it in the quarter finals but also prevailed after two tough, tight affair with the Mandurah Magic.
The Flames had to tackle a Magic team on a nine-game winning streak to start the quarter finals but they won Game 1 in Mandurah 76-65. They were then able to close the deal in Rockingham last Saturday night coming from behind to win 65-64 and book in a semi-final berth.
With Perry Lakes now having won eight straight matches and Rockingham on a six-game winning streak, the form both are in is certainly impressive.
The match ups all over the floor will be fascinating too and it all starts with two outstanding front courts.
Perry Lakes is now tall, deep and long with Megan McKay, Sarah Donovan and Megan McKay their three key bigs and they come up against quite the wall from Rockingham in the form of Darcee Garbin, Maddie Allen and Christina Boag.
The point guard battle could also prove pivotal with the Hawks’ Jamie Cherry up against the Flames’ Alex Ciabattoni.
Both teams go deep too with the Hawks also possessing Nikita Martin, Rebecca Benson, Morgan Ballantyne, Gabby O’Sullivan, Bella Green, Kristan Teasdale and Annika Renkema.
The Flames aren’t short on depth either also featuring Ariana Hetherington, Janelle Adams, Ella Kennedy, Chelsea Petrik and Tayah Burrows.
With both teams in great form and both full of outstanding talent, it should be quite the series and it all gets underway on Friday night.
Then on Saturday night at Lakeside Recreation Centre, the defending champion Lakeside Lightning play host to the Warwick Senators in Game 1 of their semi-final match up.
Coming off winning last year’s championship, Lakeside once again finished on top of the table to close the 2019 regular season and then had to fight hard, but were able to prevail in two games of the quarter finals against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
That now has the Lightning through to a third successive semi-final appearance in the Women’s SBL and now looking to get back to a second straight Grand Final.
But standing in their way is a Senators team that has had a bit of a rollercoaster ride in 2019, but they have now come good again when it matters most.
The Senators, under new coach Dion Dagostino, opened the season on fire winning 11 of their first 14 games. But then they started to deal with some players coming in and out for a variety of reasons and they finished the season losing five of their eight matches.
But they then put together two dominant quarter-final performances against the Willetton Tigers to now book a spot in the semi finals, and it was no coincidence that was helped with the return to the line-up of both Tayla Hepburn and Bianca Villegas.
There are plenty of fascinating storylines to follow in this series now and that includes Sam Roscoe now playing with Warwick up against the Lakeside team she helped win the championship last season.
That will be part of the front court contest with Roscoe joined by Hepburn and Villegas for the Senators up against Lakeside’s Ellyce Ironmonger, Ash Grant and Hannah Stewart.
Lakeside’s ability to limit the scoring of Stacey Barr for the Senators could prove pivotal in the series too as will which point guard can get on top between the Lightning’s GeAnna Lualu-Summers and the Senators’ Samaria Howard.
Whatever way you look at it, it’s sure to be quite the series getting underway Saturday night at Lakeside.
WOMEN’S SBL FIXTURES – SEMI FINALS GAME 1
Scarboro Toyota Perry Lakes Hawks v Class 1 Orthodontics Rockingham Flames – Bendat Basketball Centre 7.00pm
Lakeside Lightning v Bethanie Warwick Senators – Lakeside Recreation Centre 6.00pm