WE are two weeks down in the West Coast Classic and things are beginning to take shape already with the Lakeside Lightning continuing their winning ways as did the Warwick Senators and Joondalup Wolves to be the three early standouts.
While it was a mixed weekend for the Perry Lakes Hawks, Perth Redbacks and Mandurah Magic who all lost and won a game across the Friday and Saturday night action, it’s the Lightning, Senators and Wolves setting the early pace.
That doesn’t mean they are the only teams impressing, though even if they are perhaps the three clubs with the most experienced stars in their line-ups including the likes of Courtney Mansfield, Ash Isenbarger, Ellyce Ironmonger, Stacey Barr, Tayla Hepburn, Kayla Steindl, Amber Land, Mikayla Pirini and Nes’eya Williams.
Leaders at their clubs like Jess Jakens, Sarah Donovan and Kelly Bailey all had particularly strong weekends in Round 2 as well with each of them playing on both nights.
We are seeing exciting performances from young players just as much, though, including Imogen Ayliffe from the Willetton Tigers, Jayda Clark from the Warwick Senators and even Tayah Burrows from the Rockingham Flames who has just re-signed in the WNBL with the Perth Lynx.
Round 2 in the West Coast Classic began on Friday night with the Lakeside Lightning beating the Perry Lakes Hawks 79-52 at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
The Perth Redbacks also defeated the Cockburn Cougars at Belmont Oasis, the Willetton Tigers downed the Mandurah Magic 75-50 at Willetton Basketball Stadium and the Rockingham Flames were too good for the South West Slammers 88-43 at Eaton Recreation Centre.
Then on Saturday, the Mandurah Magic beat the East Perth Eagles 83-31 at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre, the Warwick Senators defeated the South West Slammers 112-44 at Warwick Stadium, the Joondalup Wolves beat the Cockburn Cougars 86-48 at Wally Hagan Stadium.
The round concluded with the Perry Lakes Hawks and Perth Redbacks turning around their Friday night results as the Lady Hawks won 71-51 at Bendat Basketball Centre.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – WOMEN’S ROUND 2
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 79 defeated PERRY LAKES HAWKS 52
They might have a new coach, but it’s the same old Lakeside Lightning to start the West Coast Classic after they held Perry Lakes to 30 points after quarter-time on Friday night to end up winning by 27.
Steve Bezant had big shoes to fill taking over at the Lightning from championship winning coach Craig Mansfield with the team having won a championship, two regular season crowns and played in a Grand Final, and two semi finals the past three years.
But he remains undefeated after Friday night’s impressive 79-52 win against the Hawks at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
There was nothing wrong with the start from the Lady Hawks and they were up two at the end of the opening period, but it was all the Lightning from there.
Lakeside restricted Perry Lakes to just six points in the second quarter and nine in the third as they outscored the Hawks 42 to 15 over those two quarters.
That set up the eventual 27-point win for the Lightning with Courtney Mansfield finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists despite not having the best shooting night. She was aggressive, though, getting to the foul line 14 times and hitting nine.
Ash Isenbarger continued her strong start to the West Coast Classic with 16 points, 14 rebounds and three assists for Lakeside with Mia Jacobs contributing 14 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. She also made 4/8 from three-point land.
Kyrah Daniels also finished with 12 points and six rebounds for the Lightning, Abbie Ironmonger nine points, four steals, three rebounds and three assists, and Ellyce Ironmonger six points and six boards.
It wasn’t the performance that Perry Lakes was after to start the weekend with no player scoring in double-figures.
Nat Burton had eight points and eight rebounds, Kate Williams eight points and three boards, Sarah Donovan seven points and five rebounds, and Annika Renkema seven points and four assists.
PERTH REDBACKS 87 defeated COCKBURN COUGARS 71
It was a game full of momentum swings as the Perth Redbacks and Cockburn Cougars try to find their feet early in the West Coast Classic, but it was the home side that made the last big run to win at Belmont Oasis on Friday night.
The Redbacks women came into the game after massively contrasting results in the opening round of the West Coast Classic with a 36-point loss to the Joondalup Wolves backed up by a 33-point win against the Mandurah Magic.
The Cougars, meanwhile, lost on Saturday night to the Rockingham Flames setting up what shaped as a tantalising contest at Belmont Oasis with the Redbacks playing at home for the first time in 2020.
It proved to be the ultimate seesaw contest throughout the evening with the Redbacks grabbing the first piece of momentum with Maddie Allen scoring to give them a 20-12 lead just before quarter-time.
Jess Jakens ensured the home team still led 22-15 by quarter-time and then Sarah Allen hit a three to make it a 10-point margin, which remained at nine midway through the second period with a triple from Shenae Hartree.
Cockburn was working back into the contest, though, and by the time Tahlia Fejo banked in a three on the half-time buzzer the Redbacks were only up two.
Tia Morgan hit from deep to open the second half to give Cockburn the lead to start the second half and then Jodee Sontay extended that advantage to four.
Morgan again connected from beyond the arc and suddenly the Cougars led by seven before another Redbacks turnover and a Kirsty Pitcher layup.
This time it was the Redbacks’ turn to comeback from being eight down and when 16-year-old Brooke Malone nailed a floater, it was again just a two-point game late in the third period.
Briana Bailey made a three to close the quarter to bring Perth back within a point and then the Redbacks turned on the afterburners in the fourth period. They piled on 30 points to 13 to end up with the 87-71 win over the Cougars.
Jess Jakens was the star on the night and received the Len Vlahov Memorial Trophy afterwards for putting up 24 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two steals on shooting 10/15 from the field.
Shenae Hartree showed what an exciting future she has with 22 points and seven rebounds with Maddie Allen contributing 18 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots.
Denielle Lipscombe added 11 points and four assists too for the Redbacks.
Jodee Sontay continues to be the hardest worker on any basketball court she steps out on and finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two steals for the Cougars.
Tahlia Fejo also had 13 points and three rebounds with Tia Morgan contributing 11 points and five assists, Haylee De Sousa 11 points and two rebounds, and Kirsty Pitcher six points, three assists and three steals.
WILLETTON TIGERS 75 defeated MANDURAH MAGIC 50
Just seven days after losing their first official game on their new Showcourt, the Willetton Tigers put on an impressive showing to beat the Mandurah Magic 75-50 on Friday night.
The Tigers would have been disappointed in their showing the week before on the opening night of the redeveloped Willetton Basketball Stadium, but they responded the next night to beat Kalamunda and continued that momentum this Friday night.
It had been a mixed opening weekend for the Magic too losing to the Redbacks but beating the Slammers so both teams came into Friday’s game looking to get some momentum.
It was an arm-wrestle early too and Mandurah went into quarter-time with a narrow one-point lead, but from there it was all Willetton as they enjoyed themselves on their impressive new home court.
Willetton got rolling in the second quarter and put up 20 points to 10 to go into half-time leading 36-27.
The Tigers went on with it from there too in the second half outscoring the Magic 39 points to 23 to come away with the 75-50 win and improve to 2-1 on the season with Mandurah slipping to 1-2.
Fresh back from college and with decisions to make on her future, rising star Imogen Ayliffe showed why her future is so bright putting up 20 points and seven rebounds for Willetton on 7/10 shooting from the floor.
Captain Desiree Kelley produced 15 points, five rebounds and three steals as well for the Tigers while Emily Counsel again stepped up for 12 points and three boards.
Emma Gandini finished with nine points, six rebounds, five steals and two assists with Hayley Winter adding seven points. Sophie Maines might not have scored but she had eight rebounds and three steals.
Rachel Halleen played her first game of the West Coast Classic and the Magic captain played well in 18 minutes for 14 points, two rebounds and two steals on 5/7 shooting.
Rachel Pettit added eight points and eight rebounds too for the Magic while Kelly Bailey finished with seven points and five boards, Olivia Bassett-Scarfe seven points and seven rebounds, and Kasey Miegel six points and three boards.
SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 43 lost to ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 88
The defending SBL champion Rockingham Flames continued their strong start to the West Coast Classic with a 45-point win over the South West Slammers on Friday night.
The Slammers were always going to find it difficult having lost so many quality and experienced players for the West Coast Classic than what they would have had for the SBL season, but going down to Eaton Recreation Centre especially on a Friday is never easy.
But the Flames had started the season well and continued that momentum on Friday night by putting up 23 points in the first quarter even though the Slammers did their best to stick with them and only trail by seven.
Rockingham then pulled right away in the second period with their depth, quality and experience too much for the young Slammers. The Flames put up 27 points to 10 in the second quarter and led 50-26 by half-time.
The Slammers then really struggled for just four points in the third quarter and the Flames ran away with it to end up winning 88-43 and continue their unbeaten opening to the West Coast Classic.
There were some ugly numbers for the Slammers who went 17/58 from the floor, 2/14 from deep and 7/20 from the foul line while having 29 turnovers.
Championship winning guard Tayah Burrows fresh off re-signing in the WNBL for the Perth Lynx delivered 24 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists for the Flames on 8/11 shooting.
Paris Duffield put up 15 points too for Rockingham while Dena English marked her return to state league level basketball with 13 points and four rebounds.
Christina Boag also had 10 points, three rebounds and two steals, Lily Fitzgerald 10 points, three boards and three assists, and Chloe Napolitano seven points, four steals and three rebounds.
Kate Fielding top-scored for the Slammers with 12 points to go with five rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Zaya Black also had eight points for South West, Catherine Waycott eight points and seven rebounds, and Bianca Donovan five points.
MANDURAH MAGIC 83 defeated EAST PERTH EAGLES 31
It was the type of scoreline that wouldn’t have surprised us in the SBL in recent years and once again on Saturday night the Mandurah Magic flexed their muscles against the East Perth Eagles for a 52-point victory.
With Mandurah genuine championship contenders in recent years and East Perth deep in a development stage, this is the type of scoreline we had seen creep in from time to time, but it wasn’t so much expected in this West Coast Classic.
But down on some of their key players including Bree and Eryn Fisher, the Eagles couldn’t quite go with the Magic and it all started with Mandurah scoring the first 14 points of the game over the opening four and-a-half minutes.
East Perth eventually scored thanks to Shannon Street with just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter, but Mandurah still hit the next five points to lead 19-2, and then 19-6 at quarter-time.
The Magic offence then really got rolling in the second period as they went on another run of 15 straight points including triples to Rachel Pettit and Olivia Bassett-Scarfe to lead 36-10.
Mandurah went on to score 30 points in the quarter to be up 49-14 at the half-time break.
They stretched their advantage further in the third period too with another 20 points to six, and their lead ballooned to as much as 53 points before they won 83-31.
Mandurah finished with 24 assists on their 28 made field goals on top of getting to the foul line 32 times while also pulling in 54 rebounds to 49 and 18 steals on the back of 36 turnovers from East Perth.
The Eagles shot just 13/58 from the floor at 22 per cent, missed all 22 three-point attempts and made only 5/14 of their free-throws.
Kelly Bailey top-scored for Mandurah with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals with Rachel Pettit also producing 13 points, eight boards and four assists.
Olivia Bassett-Scarfe continued her emergence with 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists with Sierraleone Simpson contributing nine points, three boards and three assists, and Rachel Halleen nine points and two steals.
Rose Aryang showed she still has a tough decision to make to focus on netball or basketball by playing well for East Perth with eight points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.
Emerson Taylor also scored eight points for the Eagles and Fiona Madden five to go with seven rebounds.
WARWICK SENATORS 112 defeated SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 44
The Warwick Senators continued their impressive start to the West Coast Classic with a 68-point win against the South West Slammers at Warwick Stadium on Saturday night.
The Senators had beaten Perry Lakes last Friday night on the back of 38 points from Stacey Barr and then backed it up this Saturday night taking full toll on the young and inexperienced Slammers.
The Slammers actually scored the game’s first points thanks to Shannon Verhagen but it was rising star Jayda Clark that got things rolling for the Senators with a triple to put them up 11-6.
From there, Warwick took control to go on and lead 23-11 by quarter-time and they then really put their foot down in the second period piling on 35 points and holding the Slammers to seven to be up 58-18 at the half-time interval.
The Senators closed the opening half with a run of 20 straight points and they didn’t let up in the second half with the opening 18 points starting with consecutive three-pointers from Chloe Forster.
Warwick went on a 38-0 run either side of half-time and from there cruised to the eventual 112-44 victory.
Jayda Clark grabbed her chances impressively for the Senators to end the night with 24 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Reigning SBL MVP Stacey Barr also had 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals while Tayla Hepburn contributed 17 points, 13 boards, four blocked shots and two assists.
Susan Fahnbulleh also had 11 points for Warwick and Chloe Forster 10 to go with six steals, three rebounds and three assists.
Zaya Black top-scored for the Slammers with 10 points while Bianca Donovan added eight and Anita Reca seven.
COCKBURN COUGARS 48 lost to JOONDALUP WOLVES 86
The Joondalup Wolves maintained their imposing start to the West Coast Classic handing the Cockburn Cougars a 38-point defeat at Wally Hagan Stadium on Saturday night.
The Cougars were still on the hunt for their first win of the West Coast Classic after going down to the Perth Redbacks at Belmont Oasis on Friday, but the Wolfpack proved too strong as they continue to emerge as one of the teams to beat.
With a team that certainly would have been capable of doing well in a usual SBL season featuring current or former WNBL players Nes’eya Williams, Mikayla Pirini, Isabelle Miotti, Georgia Denehey, Kayla Steindl and Shani Caldwell on top of veterans Amber Land and Alex Hayward and exciting talent led by Chelsea Belcher.
That’s a group that should be able to deliver a strong showing in the West Coast Classic and they are clicking nicely already for coach Charles Nix.
Cockburn started well to lead 6-3 early but once Joondalup assumed the 13-12 lead midway through the opening term they would never again surrender the advantage.
The Lady Wolfpack went on to lead 22-15 by quarter-time and then added another 21 points to 13 in the second quarter to head into the rooms at half-time leading 43-28.
Any chance of a Cougars comeback in the second half was wiped away when the Wolves opened the third quarter by scoring the opening 19 points on the way to putting together a 21-0 run either side of half-time.
A pair of free-throws for Sally Graham broke the scoring drought for Cockburn and they were their only two points of the third quarter with the Wolves going into three quarter-time leading by 35 points, and then going on to record the 86-48 victory.
Kayla Steindl had a big outing for the Wolves with 24 points, eight rebounds and three steals with Mikayla Pirini adding 18 points and three assists while nailing 4/7 from deep.
Chelsea Belcher also had 11 points, Nes’eya Williams 10 points and 13 rebounds, Georgia Denehey eight points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds, and Amber Land six points and nine boards.
Emma Burke top-scored with 12 points and five rebounds for Cockburn with Sally Graham adding seven points and three boards, Kirsty Pitcher six points and two assists, and Haylee De Sousa six points and three rebounds.
PERRY LAKES HAWKS 71 defeated PERTH REDBACKS 51
Perry Lakes suffered a big loss on Friday night, Perth had a big win but it was the opposite on Saturday at Bendat Basketball Centre with the Lady Hawks beating the Redbacks by 20 points.
The Hawks lost to Lakeside on the road by 27 points on Friday night to open the round while the Redbacks beat the Cockburn Cougars by 16 points at Belmont Oasis, but the turnaround was stark for both just under 24 hours later.
The Redbacks actually started well with the opening four points of the game thanks to Briana Bailey and Denielle Lipscombe.
Shenae Hartree even ensured that Perth still led 8-6 halfway through the quarter and they were still only down four by quarter-time.
But the gap was starting to open up and it had grown to 13 points in favour of Perry Lakes by half-time, 22 by three quarter-time and then the Redbacks stemmed the tide to leave the final margin at 20.
There was a lot to like from a Perry Lakes perspective as Sarah Donovan came up huge with 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots on 9/10 shooting.
No other Hawks player scored in double-figures but Kate Williams had nine points and three steals, Bella Green eight points and five rebounds, Nat Burton seven points, five boards and four assists, Morgan Ballantyne six points and three assists, and Milli McCarthy six points and four assists.
The 28 turnovers combined with shooting 33 per cent from the field and 15 per cent from three was far from what Redbacks coach Craig Allen would have wanted to see.
Jess Jakens still had a strong and efficient game with 16 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals on shooting 7/9 from the field.
Denielle Lipscombe added eight points, five rebounds and four assists too for the Redbacks while Briana Bailey finished with eight points, Maddie Allen eight points, nine rebounds and four blocks, Brooke Malone six points and four boards, and Shenae Hartree four points, three rebounds and three steals.