The Perth Redbacks women secured their finals double chance and a top-four finish with a strong showing to beat the also playoff-bound Cockburn Cougars at Belmont Oasis on Friday night.
The Redbacks needed a win on Friday night in the last game of the regular season to secure themselves a top four finish in the inaugural NBL1 West season.
Cockburn was never going to be an easy opponent and in fact the Cougars were playing to cement their own playoff appearance at the same time. But the Redbacks proved too strong and delivered the 77-65 victory.
That result means that the Redbacks finished the NBL1 West Women’s Division season with an 11-7 record to be in third position and to earn a double chance in the finals as a result.
First up for the Redbacks will be a qualifying final contest with the Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena Joondalup this Friday night.
A win there and they are straight through to the preliminary final in two weeks’ time, but even with a loss they stay alive and will host either the Rockingham Flames or Cockburn Cougars next weekend in a cut-throat semi-final.
The Redbacks women suffered a disappointing loss last week also at Belmont Oasis against the Mandurah Magic to put their top four position in jeopardy, but they soon fixed that on Friday night in their final game of the regular season.
With the Redbacks needing to win for that top-four spot and the Cougars having to guarantee their own position in the top eight there was plenty on the line going into the Friday night Round 18 contest at Belmont Oasis.
After a slow start on the way to a disappointing loss last Friday to Mandurah, Cockburn again turned the heat back on Perth early this Friday with the Cougars scoring the game’s first six points on the back of a triple to Molly Matthews and three-point play from Jessie Edwards. Edwards was a monster on the offensive boards early and soon helped the Cougars to a 9-2 advantage, but the Redbacks did steady from there to work their way back into the contest and then end up in control most of the rest of the way.
The Redbacks led 17-15 by quarter-time after scoring 15 of the last 21 points of the opening term.
The home team continued to work their way further on top in the second quarter with 23 points to 14 to go into half-time leading 40-29.
The Redbacks maintained their control of the contest throughout the second half to come away with the 77-65 to lock away their top four finish, and likely third spot while the Cougars missed a chance to 100 per cent lock away a playoff berth.
After Jessie Edwards dominated the offensive boards to start the game, it was a good effort from the Redbacks to end up on top in the rebound count 58 to 45 for the game.
That helped them win the game despite only hitting 3/16 from downtown. They did shoot 42 per cent from the floor opposed to just 28 from the Cougars though.
Captain Jess Jakens put up 19 points and seven rebounds for the Redbacks while Maddie Allen delivered 17 points, 11 boards, six assists and three blocked shots, and Makailah Dyer 17 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Bri Bailey also finished with 10 points, two rebounds and two assists for the Redbacks, and Shenae Hartree six points to go with 17 rebounds.