The Perth Redbacks women strengthened their push for a top-four finish this NBL1 West season on the back of two strong wins inside 24 hours in Round 16 against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
The Redbacks and Eastern Suns locked horns twice in Round 16 of the NBL1 West Women’s Division season and it was two impressive performances from Perth even if captain Jess Jakens was unavailable on Saturday night.
The Redbacks women won the first match up 81-62 on Friday night at Belmont Oasis and then backed up on Saturday at Ray Owen Sports Centre with a 69-63 victory.
Those two wins improve the Redbacks to a 10-6 record on the season having now won six of the last seven matches with two home games to go the next two Friday nights against the Mandurah Magic and Cockburn Cougars.
Starting on Friday night, the Redbacks made a flying start on their home floor with an early triple to Makailah Dyer and then three balls from Denielle Ashworth for the 9-2 opening.
Jess Jakens and Dyer would soon put the Redbacks up 13-5, and it became a double-digit lead heading towards quarter-time when the Redbacks forced a turnover and Sarah Allen finished on the fast break.
Perth went on to lead 23-16 by quarter-time and maintained a handy edge most of the rest of the way. The Redbacks ended up scoring another 21 points to 18 in the second quarter to go into half-time leading 44-34.
It was more of the same in the second half with the Suns struggling with just eight points in the third quarter and in the end while Kalamunda never stopped trying to mount a fightback, the Redbacks cruised to the important 81-62 victory.
Despite the presence of Sam Roscoe and Ellyce Ironmonger for Kalamunda, Perth actually dominated on the glass with 52 rebounds to 38 including 16 to nine on the offensive end.
The Redbacks also shot the ball at 41.8 per cent to 33.8 from the Suns while getting to the foul line 22 times to just 12.
Makailah Dyer top-scored once again for the Redbacks with 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Bri Bailey came up huge knocking down 4/8 from three-point land for 17 points.
Jess Jakens put in a power of work inside as well for the Redbacks with 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals on 8/12 shooting while Maddie Allen delivered three points, 14 rebounds, two steals and two blocks on top of brilliant defence on Ironmonger and Roscoe.
Denielle Ashworth added eight points, five rebounds and four assists for the Redbacks, Sarah Allen seven points and Shenae Hartree five points and five boards.
Then on Saturday, the Redbacks women took care of business for the second time inside 24 hours against the Eastern Suns, but they didn’t have it all their own way at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
The Eastern Suns got off to a good start and took a 20-19 lead into quarter-time over the Redbacks.
The Redbacks were able to work their way on top throughout the second quarter, though, with 21 points to 14 to head into the half-time interval leading 39-34.
Kalamunda wasn’t in the mood to lie down, though, even if they had fallen out of the playoff race on the back of having lost their previous four straight matches.
On their home floor, the Eastern Suns delivered an impressive third quarter to make a real game of it with scores all tied by three-quarter-time.
A three-point play from Makailah Dyer to start the fourth quarter had the Redbacks back on top by three and the visitors began to pull away again on the back of four successive Maddie Allen points shortly after.
When Raya Thompson knocked down a three-ball with just under three minutes to go, it proved the final dagger with the Redbacks up 11 and then going on to win 69-63 after a hard-fought battle.
The win is a third straight for the Redbacks as they attempt to finish as high up in the top eight as possible with two games to go in their regular season.
Without captain Jess Jakens and forward Denielle Ashworth on Saturday night, Makailah Dyer produced a standout performance once more made up of 26 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Maddie Allen did well for Perth too with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots while Raya Thompson delivered 10 points and four rebounds, and Shenae Hartree eight points and nine boards.