Tigers & Magic set for battle
The 2009 Women's State Basketball League Grand Final promises to be a nail biting affair between the Willetton Tigers & Mandurah Magic this Friday night at Perry Lakes Basketball Stadium.
The Tigers finished the season in second place with a 15-7 record and knocked out the 12-10 Kalamunda Eastern Suns to book their place in the final.
The Magic have hit form at the right end of the season, finishing in fifth place with a 13-9 record. They knocked out the top placed Perry Lakes Hawks in the Semi-Finals series 2-0.
The Magic have found form when it counts at the end of the season. "We had a number of players in and out of our team at the beginning of the year with other commitments & it just made it hard to get any continuity" said Magic Head Coach Brooke Ryan.
The young Tigers side features two of the stars of the Perth Lynx in WNBL players Kate Malpass & Ashley Gilmore and they have defeated the Magic twice earlier in the 2009 Season. However Head Coach Glenn Clarke was under no illusion as to the task at hand.
"They can be twenty down at three quarter time and they are still going to come out like it is a one point game heading into overtime" said Clarke.
While the Tigers impressive record over the Magic in 2009 (13 points in Round 7 and 17 points in Round 10) the experienced Magic will still be confident.
"Experience doesn't mean anything if you don't use it and we need to make sure we do the one percenters as well" said Magic captain & former Perth Lynx player Casey Mihovilovich.
The Tigers on the other hand will be looking to make amends for their 18 point loss to the Hawks in last year's Grand Final.
Tigers Captain & Lynx pocket rocket Kate Malpass said many players still had memories of that loss.
"A lot of us actually played in that Final, so we all have the experience of a Grand Final and a Grand Final loss. Hopefully that is giving the girls a bit more motivation to come out this final and play our own game and get the win."
Either way the 21st season of the SBL promises to end with a bang come Friday night.
Tickets for the last ever Grand Final to be held at the iconic home of WA Basketball (Perry Lakes) are almost sold out, with less than 100 available. Clearly the move to the new 2,000 seat State Basketball Centre could not come soon enough with the Men's game selling out in just eight minutes and the Women's game nearing a sell out for the first time in league history.
To purchase your tickets ($10 - $25) contact Basketball WA on 9284 0555. Tickets will also be available at the door depending on availability.
You can tune in from 7:15pm for a live broadcast of the game on 91.3 SportFM either via radio or through their online streaming partner Perth Now. Alternatively you can watch a full statistical webcast live at SBL.asn.au.
Don't forget to check out full video highlights including commentary after the game at LMSC.com.au.
Photo by Marg Prior