THE depth and power of the Joondalup Wolves proved too much for the Lakeside Lightning on Friday night as they just about secured a top two spot and home final at HBF Arena with the 75-48 victory.
The Wolves and Lightning have been two of the more impressive performers so far in the Women’s West Coast Classic, but it was the home team that proved far too strong on Friday night at HBF Arena.
Joondalup raced out to a 10-0 and 20-4 opening to the game and while Lakeside did steady led by Ash Isenbarger and were only nine points down by half-time, the Wolves were again too strong from there and went on to score the 27-point victory.
It’s a significant result for both teams with just one round remaining before the finals weekend in the West Coast Classic.
The win improves the Lady Wolfpack to an 8-1 record to remain in first place with two games remaining while the Lightning are up against it to reach the top four now sitting on a 6-3 record also with two matches remaining.
This loomed as a pivotal game for both teams with the Wolves to go closer to secure a top two finish while the Lightning just had to win to stay in the top four, but it was the Wolfpack who was on fire early.
And that was at both ends of the floor. The Wolves employed a full court press on defence that the young Lightning guards struggled to cope with and as the turnovers mounted up, the points racked up at the other end for the Wolves.
Nes’eya Williams was on fire early hitting the game’s first four points and then getting the offensive rebound and setting up Georgia Denehey for a triple to give the Wolves the 7-0 start.
That became 10-0 when Amber Land scored inside and then 10-0 when Williams knocked down a free-throw.
Lakeside eventually scored courtesy of Ellyce Ironmonger on a good pass from Courtney Mansfield, but the Wolves weren’t letting up and answered with a triple from Mikayla Pirini before Williams scored again to make it 15-2.
Land hit again to make it 17-2 and then it was a Kayla Steindl three-point play which made it 20-4 with the Lightning not knowing what hit them.
To Lakeside’s credit they did begin to work back into the contest and by quarter-time the Wolves were leading 28-11.
Lakeside then played some vastly improved basketball in the second quarter turning up the heat better on the Wolves and doing better offensively to go into half-time having given themselves a chance with Joondalup only leading 39-30.
The game might have still been up for grabs at half-time, but that didn’t last long into the second half.
Steindl opened proceedings in the third quarter knocking down her first three of the night and when Pirini did the same soon after the lead was out to 13 again.
Chelsea Belcher came on and hit another three for the Wolfpack too to see the lead balloon to 19 points, and the home side was up 58-37 by three quarter-time.
It was just going through the motions in the fourth quarter with both teams having Saturday night games to prepare for and the Wolfpack cruised to the 27-point win.
The Lightning have been a club known for their hot shooting but it didn’t work for them up at Joondalup on Friday night. Lakeside ended up going 19/59 at 32 per cent from the field and 4/29 at 13 per cent from downtown.
Add that in to 22 turnovers and the Wolves going at 44 per cent from the floor and 33 per cent from downtown, and it all added up to the big win for the home team to all but lock up a top two finish and the home final.
Kayla Steindl came back into the team for the Lady Wolfpack and led the way with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocked shots on efficient shooting of 5/8 from the floor and 2/2 from three-point land.
Amber Land ensured Joondalup’s bigs dominated the game putting up 13 points, five rebounds and four steals as well while Nes’eya Williams had a hot start and finished with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.
Mikayla Pirini added nine points and four rebounds for the Wolves, Chelsea Belcher seven points and two boards, Georgia Denehey six points and four assists, and Isabelle Miotti six points and two rebounds.
Ash Isenbarger battled valiantly once again for the Lightning to deliver 17 points and 12 rebounds with Courtney Mansfield contributing 11 points and three assists, Ellyce Ironmonger nine points and six rebounds, and Mia Jacobs seven points, three steals, three boards and two assists.
Both teams now back up on Saturday night with the Wolves making the trip to Eaton Recreation Centre to take on the South West Slammers while the Lightning host the Warwick Senators at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – WOMEN
Perry Lakes Hawks 92 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 65
East Perth Eagles 79 lost to Warwick Senators 99
Joondalup Wolves 75 defeated Lakeside Lightning 48
Mandurah Magic 39 lost to Rockingham Flames 77
South West Slammers v Joondalup Wolves – Eaton Recreation Centre 5.00pm
Lakeside Lightning v Warwick Senators – Lakeside Recreation Centre 5.00pm
Cockburn Cougars v Mandurah Magic – Wally Hagan Stadium 5.00pm