ALL eyes were on seeing if the Cockburn Cougars could upset the Perry Lakes Hawks on Saturday night to keep several teams alive in the West Coast Classic finals race, but they couldn’t quite pull it off and that saw the top four remain the same after the regular season came to a close.
Coming into the final round of the Women’s West Coast Classic, there were seven teams all with genuine chances of still reaching the top four and taking part in the finals action.
However, the teams outside the top four in Lakeside, Perth and Kalamunda all would only be a chance of earning a finals position should the Cougars beat the Hawks at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night.
They sure gave it a good shake too but Perry Lakes ended up winning 70-65 to secure their own finals position and end the hopes of the Lightning, Redbacks and Eastern Suns in the process.
As it turned out, the Hawks did need to win. Had they lost, the Lightning had beaten the Redbacks by enough themselves to have a greater percentage than Perry Lakes so it would have been Lakeside qualifying ahead of the Lady Hawks if the Cougars prevailed.
But as it turns out, it’s the Joondalup Wolves, Warwick Senators, Perry Lakes Hawks and Rockingham Flames making up to the top four of the West Coast Classic.
That sets up two tantalising semi-final match ups this Friday night with the Wolves against the Flames at HBF Arena, and the Senators hosting the Hawks at Warwick Senators.
The winners will advance to Saturday night’s Grand Final at Bendat Basketball Centre.
ROUND 9 SPOTLIGHT | HOT LIGHTNING NOT QUITE ENOUGH FOR FINALS
ROUND 9 SPOTLIGHT | GANDINI LEADS TIGERS TO WIN OVER COUGARS
ROUND 9 WOMEN’S WEST COAST CLASSIC PREVIEW
Round 9 in the West Coast Classic got underway on Friday night with a standalone fixture between out of contention teams with the Willetton Tigers defeating the Cockburn Cougars 75-68.
The rest of the round took place on Saturday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Cockburn Cougars 70-65, the Lakeside Lightning thrashing the Perth Redbacks 74-40 and the Warwick Senators hammering the Rockingham Flames 88-49.
The Joondalup Wolves also won big 89-60 against the Willetton Tigers and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns defeated the Mandurah Magic 66-42.
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Following nine rounds of the West Coast Classic, the season finished with the top four confirmed to consist of the Joondalup Wolves (10-1), Warwick Senators (10-1), Perry Lakes Hawks (8-3) and Rockingham Flames (8-3).
Then the teams out of finals contention were the Lakeside Lightning (7-4), Kalamunda Eastern Suns (7-4), Perth Redbacks (6-5), Willetton Tigers (4-7), Cockburn Cougars (3-8), Mandurah Magic (2-9), East Perth Eagles (1-10) and South West Slammers (0-11).
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – WOMEN’S ROUND 9
WILLETTON TIGERS 75 defeated COCKBURN COUGARS 68
Both teams might have been out of the West Coast Classic finals hunt with a healthy local rivalry between them they were never going to do anything but give their all and it was the Willetton Tigers who beat the Cockburn Cougars to open Round 9 on Friday night.
Haylee De Sousa and Tia Morgan combined to help the Cougars to a 5-2 start at Willetton Basketball Stadium on Friday night as the teams began their double-header weekends to close the West Coast Classic.
Emma Gandini then began to warm up for the Tigers and put her team in front and then out to an 11-7 advantage after she scored seven individual points in-a-row for the home team.
Sophie Doran then hit one from deep to stretch Willetton’s advantage to six and they still led 20-15 after one.
De Sousa and Nicole Roberts both knocked down triples to open the second period to see the Cougars regain the lead but the seesawing then continued and by the time Hayley Winter converted a three-point play, the Tigers were in control leading by eight.
The Cougars found something leading into half-time, though, highlighted by back-to-back triples from Tahlia Fejo and that cut Willetton’s lead to three at the main break.
It took less than two minutes for the Tigers to get their lead out to a game-high 10 points to start the second half including five quick points to Emma Gandini. But Jodee Sontay steadied the Cougars with consecutive baskets although Willetton retained control to still be up 58-49 by three quarter-time.
The Cougars didn’t ever give up the ghost, though, and when Tia Morgan drained a long bomb, it was a four-point ball game with six minutes left.
It was then down to three points thanks to a Nicole Roberts three-point ball and then just one-point with Kahlia Morgan drew the foul and nailed both her free-throws with under three minutes on the clock.
The Cougars were still close enough down just five with 30 seconds left as they came out of a timeout. But on two successive possessions they turned it over at halfcourt, the Tigers went in for open layups to Winter and Kelley, and the game was done.
There wasn’t too much between the Tigers and Cougars the entire game and no side had a bigger lead than the Tigers’ 10-point advantage at one stage.
Cockburn actually won the rebound battle by five but they did cough up 26 turnovers from which the Tigers were able to score 22 points from. In contrast, Cockburn scored just two points from turnovers and only 24 points in the paint to 42 from the Tigers.
The Tigers did a better job of controlling the ball when getting out to run too and had 15 fast break points to two.
Emma Gandini had a tremendous game for the Tigers and she did it in just under 24 minutes of court time to finish with 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
Captain Desiree Kelley also had 13 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists for Willetton with Hayley Winter continuing her tremendous West Coast Classic with 13 points and five assists.
Taryn Priestly did well against her former team with eight points, four assists and three steals as well.
Haylee De Sousa top-scored for the Cougars on the night with 12 points to go with four rebounds and three assists while Tahlia Fejo finished with 11 points and three boards, and Tia Morgan 10 points and two rebounds.
Emma Burke battled hard for five points, 12 rebounds and three assists as did Jodee Sontay with four points and seven rebounds.
COCKBURN COUGARS 65 lost to PERRY LAKES HAWKS 70
The Cockburn Cougars might not have been playing for their own finals spot, but they sure had the support of three other teams as they tried to upset the Perry Lakes Hawks at Wally Hagan Stadium on Saturday.
All Perry Lakes had to do was win the game and they were guaranteed of taking part in the finals in the West Coast Classic.
However, with a Cockburn win all of a sudden the finals prospects of the Perth Redbacks, Lakeside Lightning and Kalamunda Eastern Suns would be alive, and the team between that trio and the Lady Hawks with the best percentage would be the ones to take part in the semi-final action.
Perry Lakes did make a good start going up 7-3 on a bucket to Sarah Donovan before then leading 12-5 when Millie McCarthy knocked down a three-pointer. But Cockburn worked into the contest including with a triple from Matilda Muir and then another from deep to Tahlia Fejo.
Tia Morgan hit another from three-point land on quarter-time for Cockburn and that cut Perry Lakes’ lead to one after the first period.
Both teams then closed up in the second period only combining for 23 points with Perry Lakes holding a narrow 37-31 lead by half-time.
Cockburn then started the second half on fire with the opening six points to tie scores up before Perry Lakes responded with the next four of their own.
But a Tia Morgan three again tied scores up halfway through the third quarter before buckets to Fejo and Emma Burke helped them to a three-point lead closing in on three quarter-time.
However, a pair of free-throws from Sarah Donovan saw Perry Lakes lead 50-49 heading into the fourth quarter before back-to-back three-point bombs early in the last term from McCarthy and Kate Williams put the Hawks up six.
Try as they might the Cougars couldn’t quite get closer than five points down the stretch with Perry Lakes holding on for a 70-65 win to secure their finals spot and end any hopes the Lightning, Redbacks and Eastern Suns were clinging to.
As they have most of the West Coast Classic, the Hawks dominated the glass pulling in 51 rebounds to 37 and again Nat Burton was a big part in that finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Sarah Donovan also had seven points and 11 boards.
Kate Williams added 12 points and two steals for Perry Lakes, Annika Renkema 10 points, five rebounds and three assists, and Nikita Martin six points, five boards, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Tia Morgan capped off her brilliant West Coast Classic for the Cougars with another 18 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists including hitting 3/6 from three-point territory.
Tahlia Fejo also had 16 points, four assists and four steals for Cockburn, Emma Burke 11 points and seven rebounds, and Matilda Muir eight points and five boards.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 74 defeated PERTH REDBACKS 40
The Lakeside Lightning and Perth Redbacks knew going into Saturday night they just had to win and then hope the Cockburn Cougars upset the Perry Lakes Hawks at the same time, but a dominant Lightning win wasn’t enough to book a West Coast Classic finals spot.
The game promised to be a cracker coming into it with the potential of a finals spot on the line and with both teams having strong line-up with a couple of veterans with WNBL experience, and then a good band of youngsters gaining in experience.
The Redbacks should have been fresh off the bye as well and ready to fire while the Lightning had to bounce back from losses last weekend to the Wolves and Senators, but it was Lakeside who were unstoppable from the outset at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
Courtney Mansfield got things flowing for the Lightning with the game’s first five points before Ash Isenbarger got in on the act with the next five in between one free-throw for the Redbacks from Maddie Allen.
Allen also hit Perth’s first field goal shortly after but there was no let up from the Lightning and Kyrah Daniels hit a jumper for the 12-3 start which was 16-3 when Isenbarger also nailed a pull-up jumper.
Mia Jacobs made it 18-3 with a pair of free-throws, Courtney Beavis did the same to make it 20-3 and then Daniels scored again for 22-3 just before quarter-time.
The game was effectively over already but this was a frustrated Redbacks outfit where nothing would go right. They might have been justified in feeling on the wrong end of some of the calls throughout the night too, but that didn’t account for the scoreline ultimately.
After Daniels nailed a triple and Ellyce Ironmonger scored inside, Lakeside led 29-9 which Courtney Green soon made 31-9.
Lakeside would go into the half-time break leading 45-15 and desperately hoping Cockburn could find a way to beat Perry Lakes.
Daniels then opened the second half converting a three-point play for the Lightning and the lead ballooned to 51-17 when Ironmonger hit from downtown.
Mansfield hit another and-one to make the lead 37 and Mia Jacobs nailed another triple to make it 40.
The Lightning’s lead was still 39 by three quarter-tim and did get to 41 early in the fourth when Isenbarger scored all too easily inside.
From there Lakeside cruised to the 74-40 victory to farewell their home fans in 2020.
Lakeside didn’t quite set it alight shooting going at 25/60 at 41 per cent from the floor and 7/28 at 25 per cent from three-point land.
But the Redbacks saved their worst shooting for last going at 14/73 at 19 per cent, 5/28 at 17 per cent from beyond the arc and 7/18 at 38 per cent from the free-throw line.
Courtney Mansfield delivered 18 points, five assists and three rebounds for the Lightning while Ash Isenbarger had another good night with 15 points, eight boards, three blocked shots and two assists.
Teenager Kyrah Daniels continued to impress with 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists too with Ellyce Ironmonger contributing eight points and 11 rebounds, and Mia Jacobs eight points and seven boards.
There wasn’t much to write home about from a Redbacks perspective with Maddie Allen growing frustrated but still finishing with four points, 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
Bri Bailey scored eight points for the Redbacks, Sarah Allen seven (three rebounds, two assists), Ella Thornton-Elliott seven (two steals), Jess Jakens six (three assists), Chanah Crugnale four (six rebounds) and Shenae Hartree three (six rebounds).
WARWICK SENATORS 88 defeated ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 49
The Rockingham Flames went to Warwick Stadium on Saturday night still an outside chance of a top two position, but the Warwick Senators would have none of it romping to a 39-point victory.
Coming into the final round of the West Coast Classic, the Senators were in second position at 9-1 and the Flames at 8-2 so Rockingham not only had to win on Saturday to claim second spot but to do so by a big enough margin for their percentage to go ahead of that of Warwick.
The knowledge of Christina Boag leaving ahead of the game ending her West Coast Classic campaign in the process certainly wasn’t the news the Flames needed knowing what they were required to do, and the Senators took full advantage of the weakened Rockingham line-up.
The Senators put the result beyond doubt fairly quickly and by quarter-time already led 28-11. Warwick added another 23 points to eight in the second quarter and went into the half-time break leading the Flames 51-19.
The Senators would end up scoring 13 unanswered points at one stage and would lead by as much as 42 points before settling on the 88-49 victory to secure second spot and a home semi-final while the percentage loss knocked the Flames down to fourth place.
The Senators pulled in 64 rebounds to just 43 from the Flames to go with scoring 58 points in the paint to 22. But Warwick would have been far from happy with their 31 turnovers for the game while Rockingham also had 26 of them.
The Flames actually got up a massive 87 shots for the game but only hit 18 of them at 20 per cent along with 4/32 from three-point land at 12 per cent. The Senators shot it 36/71 from the floor but only 2/16 at 12 per cent from beyond the arc.
Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard continued her standout form for the Senators with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots with Tayla Hepburn contributing 18 points, seven boards, five assists, four blocks and two steals.
Stacey Barr put up another 13 points, 11 rebounds and three assists for Warwick while Chloe Forster had 12 points and five boards, and Jayda Clark nine points, four rebounds and three steals.
Tayah Burrows finished with 16 points and three assists for the Flames but it was tough going without the support of Christina Boag.
Ashlyn Lee finished with 10 points and nine rebounds as well for Rockingham, and Paris Duffield nine points and three assists.
JOONDALUP WOLVES 89 defeated WILLETTON TIGERS 60
The Joondalup Wolves just had to win to guarantee top position in the West Coast Classic and they got the job done to the tune of 29 points against the Willetton Tigers.
The Lady Wolfpack entered the West Coast Classic viewed as one of the favourites given they had managed to keep their squad together from what they would have had for the SBL season in 2020, only really losing import big Brittany Hodges.
And the Wolves have backed up those expectations but they still needed a win to secure top spot on Saturday night, and they arrived at HBF Arena ready to take care of business against a dangerous Tigers team.
Willetton had come off a solid win against Cockburn at home on Friday night to open Round 9 as well so the Tigers wouldn’t be handing anything to the Wolfpack, but the home team was again just too deep and too powerful as the night rolled on.
By quarter-time, Joondalup had opened up a 23-9 advantage but to Willetton’s credit they fought back in the second period to be just eight points down at the major break.
The Lady Wolfpack were able to pull away through the second half, through, starting with 31 points to 18 in the third period and then 23 to 15 in the fourth to win 89-60 and guarantee the regular season championship with a 10-1 record and massive percentage.
Kayla Steindl was once again a standout for the Wolves with 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists in just 25 minutes and shooting 7/12 from the floor and 8/9 from the foul line.
Georgia Denehey also had 15 points and two rebounds for Joondalup, Chelsea Belcher 11 points, Amber Land 11 points and nine boards, and Mikayla Pirini eight points and 10 assists.
Tigers captain Desiree Kelley finished the night with 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals while Emma Gandini produced another seven points and 10 rebounds.
Emily Counsel also scored nine points for Willetton, Abbey Martin nine and Hayley Winter eight to go with five points and five assists.
MANDURAH MAGIC 42 lost to KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 66
Kalamunda Eastern Suns knew to potentially still be a chance at the West Coast Classic finals they needed a monster win against the Mandurah Magic on Saturday night, and they came away with the 24-point triumph.
The Suns just had to win by as much as much as possible at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre against the Magic to give themselves any chance of having a better percentage than Perry Lakes, Perth and Lakeside in the race for fourth spot.
But that would also only be a factor should the Hawks lose to the Cougars as well, and when that didn’t happen the finals hopes of the Suns disappeared in the process.
They still had their game to play, and win though, and put up 21 points in the first quarter to lead by nine at quarter-time before The Magic did stem the tide in the second period and by half-time the Eastern Suns were only leading by four points.
Mandurah stuck with Kalamunda during the third quarter as well before the Suns eventually pulled away in the fourth period with 26 points to seven to claim the 66-42 victory to finish with a 7-4 record while the Magic end up on 2-9.
With Jewel Williams unavailable for the Suns, Jewel Williams came up huge as she gears up for the WNBL season with the Perth Lynx. She was dominant with 23 points, 20 rebounds and two blocked shots on shooting 8/15 from the floor and 7/8 from the foul line.
Beige Harris was terrific too with 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists with Hannah Swarbrick contributing 10 points and five boards, and Rebecca Motroni nine points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Rachel Halleen battled valiantly for the Magic as always and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds with Kelly Bailey contributing eight points, 17 rebounds and five steals, and Kasey Miegel seven points and four boards.