THE Joondalup Wolves lost for the first time as they are now locked in the race for a top two West Coast Classic finish with the Rockingham Flames and Warwick Senators while the Perth Redbacks kept themselves alive with a win at the buzzer over the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
It was an enthralling Round 6 in the Women’s West Coast Classic as the Joondalup Wolves split their games as did the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Perry Lakes Hawks while the Warwick Senators kept winning to stay in the top two race and the Perth Redbacks remained in top four contention.
All of a sudden after six rounds and with three weeks of the West Coast Classic remaining before the top four teams do battle in the finals weekend, it appears the Wolfpack, Flames and Senators are locked in a battle over a top two finish to earn home court advantage in the semi finals.
The Eastern Suns are then clinging to fourth position but the Redbacks, Lakeside Lightning and Lady Hawks are still right in the finals hunt meaning we are set up wonderfully for a fascinating finish to the West Coast Classic to determine who does and doesn’t reach the finals weekend.
ROUND 6 SPOTLIGHT | FLAMES HAND LADY WOLFPACK FIRST LOSS
ROUND 6 SPOTLIGHT | REDBACKS HOLD OFF SUNS IN THRILLER TO STAY ALIVE
ROUND 6 WOMEN’S WEST COAST CLASSIC PREVIEW
ROUND 5 WEST COAST CLASSIC WOMEN’S WRAP
Round 6 got underway on Friday night with the Joondalup Wolves beating the Perry Lakes Hawks 67-55 at HBF Arena while the Willetton Tigers defeated the South West Slammers 81-28 at Eaton Recreation Centre.
Then there was a thriller at Belmont Oasis with the Perth Redbacks staying alive with a 74-72 win against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
And then the action on Saturday evening got underway with the Warwick Senators beating the Mandurah Magic 86-54 at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
The Perry Lakes Hawks also defeated the East Perth Eagles 79-60 at Bendat Basketball Centre, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns downed the South West Slammers 109-40 at Ray Owen Sports Centre, and the Rockingham Flames handed the Joondalup Wolves their first defeat, winning 83-75 at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
That means that after Round 6, the Joondalup Wolves (6-1) remain in top spot just ahead of the Rockingham Flames (6-1) and Warwick Senators (5-1) with the Kalamunda Eastern Suns (5-2) rounding out the top four.
The Perth Redbacks (6-3) are fifth ahead of the Lakeside Lightning (4-2), Perry Lakes Hawks (6-3), Willetton Tigers (3-5), Mandurah Magic (2-5), Cockburn Cougars (1-6), East Perth Eagles (1-7) and South West Slammers (0-9).
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WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – WOMEN’S ROUND 6
JOONDALUP WOLVES 67 defeated PERRY LAKES HAWKS 55
The Joondalup Wolves and Perry Lakes Hawks brought impressive winning streaks into their clash on Friday night at HBF Arena, but it was the Lady Wolfpack who proved too strong to stay undefeated heading into their Saturday clash with Rockingham.
The Wolves had won their opening five matches of the West Coast Classic while the Hawks had won five in-a-row as well coming into a monster Friday night contest highlighted by the battle of bigs.
Any time you put Wolfpack pair Kayla Steindl and Amber Land up against Nat Burton, Madeleine Dennis and Sarah Donovan, and it’s going to be worth the price of admission and that’s not to say the guards and wings aren’t more than handy for both teams either.
This was also the first time the teams had met since a dominant quarter-final win for the Hawks over the Wolves in last year’s SBL so there was plenty to look forward coming into this battle at HBF Arena.
The Lady Wolfpack started strongly and led by seven points at quarter-time but the Hawks worked their way back into the contest to close the deficit to four points at half-time and then went into the fourth quarter up one.
However, Joondalup then dominated that fourth period with 21 points to eight to take out the 67-55 victory to improve to 6-0 on the season while Perry Lakes slipped to 5-3 as their winning run came to an end.
Amber Land had a tremendous game for the Lady Wolfpack with 16 points and eight rebounds with her front court partner Kayla Steindl also delivering 15 points, eight boards and three steals.
Chelsea Belcher also had nine points for the Wolves, Mikayla Pirini eight points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals, and Nes’eya Williams seven points, eight boards, two steals and two blocked shots.
Sarah Donovan was still able to put up 16 points, four rebounds and three steals for Perry Lakes with Madeleine Dennis contributing 11 points, 10 boards and four assists, Millie McCarthy 10 points and four rebounds, Nat Burton eight points and seven boards, and Nikita Martin seven points and eight rebounds.
SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 28 lost to WILLETTON TIGERS 81
The South West Slammers have been able to be more competitive on their home floor so far in the West Coast Classic but that wasn’t the case against the Willetton Tigers on Friday night.
The Slammers had done well so far at Eaton Recreation Centre for the most part during the West Coast Classic only losing to Mandurah by eight points and Lakeside by 19 in the best showings, but it was a tough night on Friday.
Ebony Bilcich, Catherine Waycott, Courtney Bayliss, Kate Fielding, Bree Chalk and Amy Chinnery were among the players on Friday unavailable who have fought hard so far this competition and the Tigers made the trip south on Friday ready to fire.
Willetton had lost three of its last four games coming into the contest, but started strongly and never let up starting with 17 points to nine in the first quarter.
The Tigers added another 13 points to nine in the second period to lead 30-18 by half-time.
It was an even more emphatic second half showing from Willetton with 21 points to five in the third quarter and 30 to five in the fourth. That meant the Tigers outscored the Slammers 51 points to 10 in the second half to end up winning 81-28.
Willetton finished the night with 62 rebounds to 31 from South West while also forcing the Slammers into 33 turnovers and remarkably they took 42 more shots.
So not only did the Slammers struggle shooting just 23 per cent, they just didn’t get enough shots up and any time you attempt 42 fewer shots and 12 less foul shots than your opponent you’ll struggle to compete no matter what percentage you go at.
Emma Gandini led the way as point guard for the Tigers with 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals while Hayley Winter added 10 points, four boards, three steals and two assists.
Kaya Wardle contributed eight points and seven rebounds, Lauren Gandini eight points, five boards, four assists and four steals, Taryn Priestly eight points and five assists, and Tessa Miotti seven points and four boards.
Imogen Van Laere put up six points for the Slammers, Zaya Black five and Shannon Verhagen five to go with five rebounds.
PERTH REDBACKS 74 defeated KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 72
With one team trying to cling to their top four spot and the other desperate to try and break in, the stage was set for a cracking contest and that’s what eventuated with the Perth Redbacks holding off the Kalamunda Eastern Suns at the buzzer.
Coming into the game the Redbacks and Eastern Suns appeared like they would be tough to separate and that’s exactly how the game panned out at Belmont Oasis.
It was a remarkably close affair the whole way with nothing more than five points separating the two teams the entire contest. Both teams made a run of scoring eight straight points at different times, but never did more than five points separate them.
It was always destined to go down to the wire as a result especially with both teams knowing what was at stake with it marking the beginning of the last month in the West Coast Classic.
Kalamunda started the fourth quarter up three but Shenae Hartree soon changed that and gave Perth the one-point lead with a triple to start the fourth quarter. Jess Jakens then hit a jumper two to make it a three-point lead before the Eastern Suns responded with an and-one from Jessie Edwards.
Jewel Williams then connected from deep and Beige Harris scored inside and suddenly the Suns were up by a game-high five with seven minutes to go.
Sarah Allen kept the Redbacks close when she hit from downtown but Rebecca Motroni soon responded for the Eastern Suns to keep them up three, now with five minutes remaining.
A lane opened up for Jakens to lay it up soon after for the Redbacks and they were back up one and then former Sun Chanah Crugnale regained the lead for the home team connecting from deep with three minutes remaining.
Edwards tied things up a minute later but then it was time for the game-winning offensive rebound and put back basket from Jakens.
That gave the Redbacks the 74-72 which is where the game finished despite Denielle Lipscombe having two free-throw attempts for the Redbacks and Williams ultimately missing the two deep threes just before the buzzer for the Eastern Suns.
Jess Jakens delivered 21 points, 12 rebounds and three steals for the Redbacks on hot shooting of 9/11 from the field to continue her brilliant West Coast Classic.
Denielle Lipscombe added 10 points, six rebounds and five assists while reigning SBL Shootaround Player of the Week Maddie Allen had another eight points, eight rebounds and 11 assists.
Chanah Crugnale also had nine points for the Redbacks, Shenae Hartree eight points and two rebounds, Sarah Allen seven points and two boards, Brooke Malone six points and two rebounds, Bri Bailey three points, two boards and two assists, and Ella Thornton-Elliott two points.
The Eastern Suns had two standout players with Jessie Edwards finishing with 29 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a block while going 8/16 from the floor and 13/13 from the foul line.
Jewel Williams also had 28 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals on 10/20 shooting from the field and 4/8 from three-point range.
Rebecca Motroni added nine points, six rebounds and five assists for Kalamunda, and Denae Civich four points and three steals.
MANDURAH MAGIC 54 lost to WARWICK SENATORS 86
Mandurah and Warwick were making their only appearance of the weekend on Saturday night at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre, and it was the Senators who proved too strong winning by 32 points.
The Magic and Senators have combined to play in the last SBL Grand Finals, but Warwick has been able to put together a title-contending squad again for the West Coast Classic and that was on display in Mandurah on Saturday night.
It was a tight opening with the Senators only leading by two points at quarter-time, but they blew the game open in the second period with 26 points to 13 to head into half-time leading 43-28.
Warwick extended its lead to 17 by three quarter-time and trying to get back into the game, the Magic changed up the defence and Stacey Barr took full advantage for the Senators.
She knocked down a three to start the fourth quarter to make it a 23-point game and she soon knocked down another to extend the lead to 27 and then it was 32 when she hit a third triple of the fourth period.
That was enough for the Senators to beat the Magic 86-54 and improve to a 5-1 record in the West Coast Classic while Mandurah is now 2-5 but this was always going to be tough minus Kelly Bailey, Tarsha Fletcher and Kasey Miegel.
Reigning SBL MVP Stacey Barr delivered 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Senators including going 5/10 from three-point territory.
Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard also delivered 17 points and eight rebounds for Warwick, Jayda Clark 14 points and three boards, Tayla Hepburn nine points, six rebounds and four assists, Nicole Jorre De St Jorre six points and four assists, and Chloe Forster six points and four assists.
Rachel Halleen had a massive game against the tide for the Magic with 18 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists with Rachel Pettit adding 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, Olivia Bassett-Scarfe seven points and seven boards, and Sydney Meares seven points and four rebounds.
PERRY LAKES HAWKS 79 defeated EAST PERTH EAGLES 60
The Perry Lakes Hawks had to bounce back from a loss on Friday night but it was never going to be easy against the East Perth Eagles and it wasn’t.
Perry Lakes saw its five-game winning streak come to an end on Friday night against Joondalup and with the Hawks already having lost their first two games of the West Coast Classic, to play finals they probably can’t afford to drop another game.
So that put the pressure on them back at Bendat Basketball Centre up against an Eagles team that has been vastly more competitive in 2020 than their one-win record suggests including solid recent efforts against the Rockingham Flames and Willetton Tigers.
Neither team would have liked the way the first quarter panned out as they combined for 19 points with East Perth leading 10-9 by the end of one.
Things opened up a bit more in the second quarter but it remained close and by half-time it was Perry Lakes with the narrowest of leads, 30-29.
The Lady Hawks fired up in the second half through. They put up 22 points to 11 in the third quarter and another 27 to 20 in the fourth to end up leading by as much as 21 points before settling on the 79-60 win to keep their finals hopes alive at 6-3.
It was the combination of Nat Burton and Sarah Donovan that proved to the difference between the two teams on the night.
Burton finished with 20 points and seven rebounds for Perry Lakes, and Donovan 19 points, eight rebounds and eight steals.
Madeleine Dennis added nine points and three rebounds, Morgan Ballantyne nine points and six assists, Ellie Newman six points and Nikita Martin six points and five assists.
Eryn Fisher continued her outstanding form for East Perth with another 12 points and 14 rebounds with Bree Fisher adding 12 points and four boards, Hannah Gillis 10 points and Jade Gowland nine points and six rebounds.
ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 83 defeated JOONDALUP WOLVES 75
The Rockingham Flames handed the Joondalup Wolves their first defeat of the West Coast Classic on Saturday night at Mike Barnett Sports Complex to suddenly mean the race for a top two finish and a home semi-final is on in earnest.
Rockingham came into the game playing its only game of the weekend while Joondalup delivered an impressive performance the night before at HBF Arena to beat the Perry Lakes Hawks and to remain undefeated.
With only one loss between them coming into the game, it always shaped as being a tremendous contest and little separated the Flames and Wolves through the first half.
The Flames did make the first break going up 20-12 shortly before quarter-time after a triple from Ashlyn Lee, but the Wolfpack hit back with a triple from Chelsea Belcher, free-throws from Shani Caldwell and then another three from Belcher to tie scores up after one.
Belcher then continued her hot shooting knocking down another to start the second quarter but the Flames remained close and then took a narrow 36-35 lead into half-time when Zahli Jolly hit from downtown on the buzzer.
While the game was right on the line at the half, the Flames soon took over starting with a three-pointer from Tayah Burrows to open the third period.
Burrows then caught fire putting up seven points in under a minute before Christina Boag converted a four-point play. Rockingham kept the momentum going too with Burrows hitting another three and then a Paris Duffield jumper made it a stunning 19-0 run to blow the game wide open.
The Flames went from being up two to leading by 21 in the matter of minutes, but the tide did begin to turn when Burrows went down with a heavy hit under the basket with seven minutes remaining.
The margin was still 14 in favour of Rockingham at that stage but suddenly when Kayla Steindl drained a three it was back to nine with five minutes remaining.
A Boag three did briefly steady the Flames at a 10-point lead, but they were struggling to take care of the ball and get the looks they were getting with Burrows on the floor.
Joondalup kept coming and were within five when Georgia Denehey hit from three-point land. But Boag responded with two big plays up the other end creating three-point opportunities for the Flames and that was enough for them to hold on to the 83-75 win.
Before going off hurt and then returning to the bench looking sick and sorry, Tayah Burrows was outstanding again for the Flames.
The 18-year-old Perth Lynx WNBL guard finished with 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals on 6/10 shooting from the field, 3/4 from deep and 6/8 from the foul line.
Paris Duffield had another big night too for Rockingham with 18 points, four steals, two rebounds and two assists while attempting another 12 three-pointers and making four.
Christina Boag also had 16 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots for the Flames while Ashlyn Lee finished with nine points, Tiana Wilson-Palmer seven points, Ariana Hetherington six points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Zahli Jolly four points and six boards.
There was still plenty to like for the Wolves despite it being their first loss of the season and giving up those 19 straight points in the third quarter.
Chelsea Belcher ended the night with 20 points, four rebounds and two steals while knocking down 4/7 from three-point territory.
Kayla Steindl also had 16 points and nine rebounds for Joondalup while Alix Hayward contributed nine points, seven rebounds and three steals, Nes’eya Williams seven points, seven boards and four assists, and Isabelle Miotti seven points, six rebounds and four assists.
KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 109 defeated SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 40
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns suffered just their second loss on Friday night but bounced back well on Saturday to beat the South West Slammers and stay in fourth position.
The Eastern Suns have been somewhat of a surprise packet during the West Coast Classic with coach Tom Knowles doing a tremendous job getting the team led by Jewel Williams and Jessie Edwards up and firing.
There’s still experience in the form of Rebecca Motroni, but really it’s a largely youthful and exciting group that Knowles is working with and now after Saturday’s win against the Slammers they remain on track to reach the finals in the West Coast Classic with three weeks, and four games, remaining.
Kalamunda did lose to the Perth Redbacks on Friday, but even in defeat they were impressive and had a chance to win the game on the buzzer. But to remain a finals threat, they couldn’t afford a slip up against the visiting Slammers at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
The Slammers themselves had played on Friday night as well and scored only 28 points in a 53-point home loss to the Willetton Tigers, and the Eastern Suns started well and never let up on the way to a big win.
The Suns put up 31 points in the first quarter and then continued on in the second with another 27 points to 10 to lead 58-25 after a dominant opening half.
There was no let up in the second half either with Kalamunda putting up another 51 points and holding South West to just 15 to end up winning 109-40 in emphatic fashion.
Again it was the possession game that hurt the Slammers more than anything with the Eastern Suns putting up 98 shots to 58 while shooting at 39 per cent compared to 24 from the Slammers. Kalamunda also went 16/48 at 33 per cent from three-point land while the Slammers went 0/13.
The Suns pulled in 73 rebounds to 37 as well while scoring 44 points in the paint and 28 points off the 27 turnovers from Slammers. Kalamunda also scored 26 points on the 33 offensive rebounds.
There was some monster individual performances from the Eastern Suns too with Jewel Williams delivering 27 points, nine steals, eight assists and five rebounds.
Alecia Knowles had a career shooting night going 8/14 from three-point land on the way to 26 points, five rebounds and three steals with Beige Harris also having a career-best night with 20 points and 15 boards.
Jessie Edwards delivered another 18 points, 12 rebounds and five assists while Lizel Buckley contributed five points and seven boards, and Rebecca Motroni three points, seven assists, four steals and two rebounds.
Shannon Verhagen finished with 11 points and two steals for the Slammers with Ebony Bilcich contributing 10 points and five rebounds.