Tigers Claim Fifth Championship
The Southlands Boulevarde Willetton Tigers became the last WSBL team to win a State Basketball League Championships at the home of basketball, Perry Lakes Stadium, over the weekend.
On Friday night the largest ever crowd for a Women's final was on hand to witness the Tigers claim their fifth SBL Championship. The Tigers defeated the Mandurah Magic 73-63 making amends for their 18 point loss in the 2008 Championship.
It was Mandurah who got off to the better start, claiming a 17-13 lead after a first quarter that saw the lead never get higher than four points.
The Tigers set up their victory in the second period when Lynx stars Ashley Gilmore & Kate Malpass combined for 14 points, the Tigers taking a 35-27 lead into the main break.
The Tigers got the lead out to as much as 13 points in the third period, however the Magic pegged away at the lead and when Tracey Richter hit a shot on the buzzer it was a six point ball game, leaving the 950 strong crowd in a frenzy.
The Magic got as close as four points in the last period however the Tigers proved too strong and ran out ten point winners.
Ashley Gilmore was named MVP for the match after her 21 points (47% shooting), 10 rebounds and 4 steals formed the platform for her teams win. Lynx team mate and Tigers Captain Kate Malpass was equally impressive with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Mandurah were led by Shelley Boston with 15 points and 10 rebounds, equally strong was Gemma Thomas with 14 points and eight rebounds. However their efforts were not enough to overcome the Magic's poor shooting, the team hitting just 3/17 (18%) from the three point arc and 16/28 (57%) from the free throw line.
The Magic have now appeared in four out of the last seven Grand Finals with their strong core of players; however they are yet to get over the line.
Willetton Tigers 73 (A Gilmore 21; K Malpass 17; C Hargreaves 14) def.
Mandurah Magic 63 (S Boston 15; G Thomas 14; K Hayward 12).
@ Perry Lakes Stadium. Crowd approx 950.
Photos by Marg Prior