Suns, Wolves gear up for women's SBL Grand Final
THE Kalamunda Eastern Suns are in the women's SBL grand final for the first time club in history but their hunt for a first championship is going to receive strong opposition in the decider by the Wanneroo Wolves.
Neither the Suns nor the Wolves finished the regular season in top-two positions, but no one can argue they aren’t deserving of their spots in a grand final this Friday night at the WA Basketball Centre.
The Wolves advanced to the grand final by beating the second-seeded Rockingham Flames and the Stirling Senators while the Suns are also into the championship decider having knocked off the Lakeside Lightning and defending champion South West Slammers in the finals.
The two teams played each other twice during the regular season with the Wolves winning on both occasions.
The first was a 71-54 victory for Wanneroo at Joondalup Basketball Stadium in April, and then in June the Wolves also prevailed this time in a 71-69 thriller at Ray Owen Sports Complex.
Kalamunda finished the regular season in fifth position with a 12-10 record, but the Suns went through their quarter and semi-final series' winning both without dropping a game.
The Suns beat the Lakeside Lightning in two quarter-final games and then downed the defending champion Slammers also in just two matches to see them advance into the club's first ever SBL grand final.
Wanneroo might have finished the regular season in third position with a 16-6 record, but the Wolves had been leading the league for a lot of the campaign and showed their quality through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Wolves began with two convincing wins over the Stirling Senators in the quarter finals and then prevailed in three games over the second-placed Rockingham Flames in the semi finals.
Wanneroo won Game 1 over Rockingham at Joondalup Basketball Stadium but last year's grand finalists the Flames levelled the series up with an 82-72 Game 2 win at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
However, it was the Wolves who won Game 3 60-52 also in Rockingham to advance to the grand final.
By playing in the grand final, Sue Williams will take part in her 512th SBL match that sees her equal the league record held in the men's competition by Troy Clarke.
By getting to 512 games on Friday night, Williams becomes just one of two women in any state league in Australia to get to that mark while there is only man to have participated in more matches than 512.
Along with the experience of Williams, it is a star-studded Wanneroo team with Shani Amos, Nikita-Lee Martin, Casey Lockwood and Chelsea Burns all in tremendous form entering the grand final while Ainsleigh Sanders continues to be a workhorse down low and on the glass.
However, Kalamunda is far from lacking in talent and star players either with the Suns led by Adrienne Jones, Jennie Rintala, Melissa Moyle and Sarah-Jane Knox in particular.
Not that it will come into their thinking on the night, but the Wolves will also be looking to give their club the best possible start to the weekend with the Wanneroo men's team also taking part in Saturday night's grand final against the Lakeside Lightning.
Article by Chris Pike