It was tough going against some familiar faces on Friday night to open the West Coast Classic for the Perth Redbacks women, but they responded impressively less than 24 hours later in Mandurah.
The Redbacks had finalised preparations for the SBL season back in March having completed the action at the SBL Blitz before COVID-19 firmly took over and that competition was initially cancelled, and ultimately postponed.
That left things up in the air as to if there would be any sort of basketball this season at all, but the West Coast Classic has been created in its place and the action got underway with Round 1 on the weekend.
It started for the Perth Redbacks at HBF Arena on Friday night but it saw the Joondalup Wolves prevail 75-49.
There was little time to stew over that for the Redbacks and they responded strongly on Saturday night to beat the Mandurah Magic 79-46 at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
The Joondalup Wolves looked to be one of the teams to beat for the SBL season back in March and little has changed for the West Coast Classic.
They have plenty of familiar faces too with former Redbacks coach Charles Nix at the helm while Nes’eya Williams, Mikayla Pirini and Kayla Steindl are all former Perth players.
The Redbacks actually started strongly and did lead by six points early on in the contest, but the home team eventually worked their way on top by the end of the first quarter.
The Wolves pulled away further in the second quarter by holding the Redbacks to just six points to be up 38-18 at half-time.
The Lady Wolfpack would go on to lead by as much as 28 points throughout the night to end up winning by 26 points.
Despite the final result, there were encouraging signs from a Redbacks perspective despite the shooting from the field of 17/67 at 25 per cent, 4/21 from three at 19 per cent and the 26 turnovers.
The Redbacks did win the rebounding battle with 52 to 44 on the night with Maddie Allen collecting 12 of them despite only two points on 1/12 shooting.
Jess Jakens top-scored with 11 points to go with five rebounds and two assists with Brooke Malone impressive on debut with the 16-year-old scoring 10 points.
Shenae Hartree also scored seven points for the Redbacks, Briana Bailey five (five rebounds, three assists), Sarah Allen three, Denielle Lipscombe three (four assists), Chanah Crugnale three (four rebounds), Ella Thornton-Elliott three and Brooke Rebel two (three rebounds).
The Redbacks then had the quick turnaround to go from Joondalup on Friday night to Mandurah on Saturday, but they started the game on fire putting up 28 points in the opening period on the road.
The Redbacks then turned up the defensive heat in the second period to hold the Magic to just the four points to be well in control leading 42-17 by half-time.
The Redbacks were able to finish the job in the second half too outscoring the Magic a further 37 points to 29 to come away with the eventual 33-point victory to open their West Coast Classic account.
Again Perth dominated the glass with 51 rebounds to 41 while they did shoot better hitting 35 per cent from the field and 30 per cent from downtown.
Brooke Malone was outstanding for a 16-year-old top scoring for the Redbacks with 16 points and six rebounds while nailing three triples on the evening.
Jess Jakens added 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals while Ella Thornton-Elliott contributed 11 points, Maddie Allen 11 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three blocks, and Chanah Crugnale eight points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Briana Bailey also finished with eight points and five assists, Shenae Hartree four points and six rebounds, Denielle Lipscombe three points and five boards, and Sarah Allen three points and three steals.
The Redbacks now play their home opener of the West Coast Classic season this Friday night at Belmont Oasis against the Cockburn Cougars before backing up on Saturday night against the Perry Lakes Hawks at Bendat Basketball Centre.
WEST COAST CLASSIC ROUND 1 – WOMEN
Perth Redbacks 49 lost to Joondalup Wolves 75 – HBF Arena
Perth Redbacks 79 defeated Mandurah Magic 46 – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre