THE Perth Redbacks women will need to win their remaining three matches in the West Coast Classic to take part in the finals, but while that is a chance it’s worth shooting for according to coach Craig Allen provided they are doing it the right way.
The Redbacks produced almost the perfect weekend in Round 5 playing 75 minutes of outstanding basketball starting with a 111-34 victory against the South West Slammers at Belmont Oasis on Saturday night.
They then backed up at Warwick Stadium on Sunday to lead the Warwick Senators 73-61 with three minutes remaining before conceding 20 of the game’s last 24 points to lose and leave them with a 5-3 record with three games in the West Coast Classic remaining.
That means that to break into the top four the Redbacks will need to beat the teams above them to try and leapfrog them into a top four position over the final rounds of the competition.
That challenge begins this Friday night in the final home game of the West Coast Classic at Belmont Oasis against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns who have so far won four of their five games.
Then next up is a road trip to Rockingham to take on reigning SBL champions the Flames who have only lost once so far since July 5 next year. The Redbacks then have the bye before finishing up against the Lightning at Lakeside Lightning in the final round.
Winning those three games provides a good challenge for the Redbacks, but while there is still hope of playing finals then it’s something that coach Craig Allen wants to strive for provided the team continues to execute and develop the way he’s hoping.
“We have a tight run home now with only three games to go over the last four rounds, and all three of those opponents are in finals contention. Any time you go into a game you are competitive and as soon as you step over that line everything is competitive,” Allen said.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re playing marbles, that competitive instinct kicks in and to be honest that’s part of the learning curve as well and of player development.
“We have a lot of young girls coming through and having them involved in an environment where they are playing against the better teams in this league, and pushing and challenging them, is part of their development.
“We will be pushing to try and make the finals and that’s a goal of ours, and every single game we go into we go into trying to win while executing the way we want and developing players along the way.”
Looking back to last weekend for the games against the Slammers and Senators, Allen couldn’t help but like what he saw for the most part with the 77-point win at home on Saturday and then to be leading a finals bound team by 12 late in the game on Sunday.
But he also couldn’t help but come away disappointed they didn’t go 2-0 for the weekend especially given what it would have meant in terms of the race for a top four position.
“We come away from this weekend frustrated we didn’t go 2-0. We had the capability of winning that game and we let ourselves down at the end of the day really,” he said.
“That doesn’t take away from the real positives that we had and there is a lot of positive, 90 per cent of that weekend was really good. We have to celebrate that and enjoy that, and realise that is how good we can be.
“But we let ourselves down with a few minutes at the end of that second game and as a result we split the weekend rather than go 2-0.”
As for Saturday night against the Slammers, Allen liked the fact that the Redbacks didn’t ease up at any point in the game even as the margin ballooned to 77 points in the finish against an under strength opposition.
Showing that killer instinct and an ability to not take the foot off the gas for 40 minutes is certainly something he wants to become a trait of this Redbacks team.
“The best part about Saturday night’s game was that we actually played our game, and every rotation that came onto the floor or every player that came on played our way,” Allen said.
“It wasn’t so much about dominating the game although we ended up doing that, I was more happy with the fact that we made the right pass options to create the next pass and best shot philosophy of game play. That was clearly evident and that’s what I liked about it.”