STACEY Barr and Desiree Kelley put on quite the show combining for 38 first half points at Willetton Basketball Stadium on Friday night, but it was the depth of the Warwick Senators that then came through in an 87-76 win over the Willetton Tigers.
Reigning SBL MVP Barr was on fire for the Senators to start the game with 14 points in the opening seven minutes against her former team.
She went on to have 18 points at half-time but Tigers captain Kelley caught fire too and had 20 points at the break for the home team as they held sway narrowly by four points heading into the change rooms.
But Barr then got a lot more help in the second half from her Senators teammates as they went on to outscore the Tigers 39 points to 26 in the second half to come away with the 11-point win and take another step towards the finals in the West Coast Classic.
Warwick improved to a 6-1 record as a result of the win ahead of a home game against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns on Saturday while the Tigers are now 3-6 with just two games remaining over the final two rounds in the West Coast Classic.
Willetton started strongly on its home floor with Desiree Kelley opened up proceedings knocking down a three-pointer before Emma Gandini made it the first points, and when Kelley hit from downtown again, it was an 8-3 start.
Kelley knocked down another soon after to make it 11-5 for the Tigers but the Senators stuck with them and when Stacey Barr nailed her second three of the first quarter.
She then scored another five quick points in the next minute for the Senators and when she hit yet another three-point bomb, her team led 22-18 and she had 14 of those points with four minutes still left in the first period.
Willetton did well to hit back and were down just two by quarter-time thanks to a late Hayley Winter three and then things remained close right throughout the second period with Willetton going into half-time leading 50-49 after a pair of free-throws from Kelley.
Tayla Hepburn then got on a roll to start the second half for the Senators and they led by six but the Tigers soon steadied and while they never regained the lead, they got within a point on several occasions and trailed by just two at three quarter-time.
It was then all the Senators in the fourth quarter as they took another step towards a final appearance in the West Coast Classic. They outscored the Tigers 23 points to 14 to win the game 87-76 and improve to a 6-1 record.
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Stacey Barr finished up top-scoring for the Senators with another 26 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals including knocking down 4/10 from three-point land.
Tayla Hepburn also proved tough to stop for the Tigers delivering 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists while Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard continued her emergence for the Senators with another 14 points, seven boards, three assists and two steals.
Jayda Clark is another exciting young talent for Warwick and she had another 17 points and six rebounds with Nicole Jorre De St Jorre contributing seven points and seven assists, and Chloe Forster six points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals.
The Senators now back up on Saturday night at Warwick Stadium hosting the fourth placed Kalamunda Eastern Suns in what should be a fascinating match up.
The Tigers were coached by Peter Cook on the night in the absence of championship winner Simon Parker, and they certainly pushed the league leading Senators all the way.
Desiree Kelley finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists while shooting 4/8 from three-point territory on the night.
Hayley Winter continued her impressive form for Willetton with another 13 points and seven assists with Sophie Doran contributing seven points and two steals, Sophie Maines seven points, five rebounds and four assists, and Emma Gandini seven points and 10 rebounds.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – WOMEN
East Perth Eagles 48 lost to Lakeside Lightning 75
Cockburn Cougars 76 defeated South West Slammers 38
Willetton Tigers 76 lost to Warwick Senators 87
Joondalup Wolves v East Perth Eagles – HBF Arena 5.00pm
Lakeside Lightning v Mandurah Magic – Lakeside Recreation Centre 5.00pm
Warwick Senators v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Warwick Stadium 5.00pm
Rockingham Flames v Perth Redbacks – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 6.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Rockingham Flames – Ray Owen Sports Centre 12.00pm