Women's SBL movements for 2014
THE 2014 State Basketball League season commences this Friday night and here is a look at some of the changes that each club has made heading into the new campaign.
The Wolfpack women in 2014 have stayed true to last years winning formula by retaining the team that won them the 2013 Championship, including the resigning of Shani Amos and Nikita-Lee Martin of the West Coast Waves.
The Wolves finished the 2013 season in third position heading into the playoffs but they then went on to win the championship, and now are hunting for back-to-back titles.
Amanda Frontino has signed with the lady Wolfpack for 2014 having spent time playing college basketball in the United States while Ellyce Ironmonger is on board from the Sydney Uni Flames.
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns finished the 2013 regular season in fifth position before making a stunning run into the grand final, and they will be confident of now backing up that emergence throughout 2014.
The Suns have made some impressive signings with Megan Darcy from the Wolves and Maddy Dennis from the Senators both coming on board, and Jennie Rintala is among the key players to have signed on to return and try to win a championship as well.
The Rockingham Flames had a strong 2013 season coming off making the grand final in 2012.
The Flames finished the regular season in second position with a 16-6 record before losing an enthralling semi-final series to the eventual champion Wolves.
Rockingham is shaping up to be a contender once again in 2014 as well with Samantha Whitcomb and Darcee Garbin both re-signing, and former Redback Tarsha Fletcher coming on board as well.
The Collie Crane Hire South West Slammers sneaked into the women's SBL playoffs last season with an 11-11 record and in eighth position, and the 2012 champions then upset Willetton to make the quarter finals before falling short against the Suns.
The Slammers will be out to be a title contender again in 2014 and have signed new import Amy Patton to try and fill the void left by the departed Kim Sitzmann.
Sitzmann was the 2012 Grand Final MVP when the Slammers beat the Flames to win the title, and was a 2013 All-Star.
The Willetton Tigers finished up on top of the standings at the end of 2013 regular season with a 17-5 record, but then were stunned in the quarter finals by the defending champion South West Slammers.
The Tigers will be sure to have that disappointing exit in the back of their minds throughout 2014 with their squad set to once again have them as one of the top teams in the competition.
West Coast Waves pair Lisa Wallbutton and Antonia Edmondson are both back on board for Willetton this season with Ebony Antonio returning to Perth, and to the Tigers after spending last year with Bendigo in the WNBL.
Brooke Hiddlestone formerly of the Perth Redbacks is also board with Willetton this season while recently-retired WNBL star Melissa Marsh will be up and going towards the mid-point of the season after she returns from a trip overseas, and after letting her body rest after her final WNBL campaign.
The Lakeside Lightning had a solid 2013 women's SBL season finishing fourth with a 13-9 record before losing the quarter-final series to eventual grand finalists Kalamunda.
Now the Lightning will be looking to improve on that further in 2014 and will be looking to new import Kari Pickens to team up with the returning Krystal Stoneking to help achieve that.
The Stirling Senators made the playoffs last season with an 11-11 record in sixth position before losing in the quarter finals to the eventual champion Wolves.
Taylor Wild and Amber Land are back again for another season with the Senators with Emma Berryman also signing up from Kalamunda.
The Cockburn Cougars have made their intentions clear over the off-season about wanting to be a genuine championship threat this season.
The Cougars finished seventh in 2013 with an 11-11 record before losing the quarter-final series to grand finalists Rockingham, but they have significantly strengthened their roster coming into 2014.
Firstly Cockburn has a new coach in the form of former Australian Opal and current West Coast Waves WNBL squad member Deanna 'Doccy' Smith.
She has plenty of talent at her disposal as well headlined by the signing of Marita Payne away from the Perth Redbacks and of former Opals representative Sam Richards.
The Perth Redbacks missed out on the playoffs narrowly in 2013 ending up with a 10-12 record, and now have a new coach Stuart Budd for the 2014 campaign.
The Redbacks also have two new imports in the form of Holly Switzer and Ariel Marusak for Budd to work with.
The Perry Lakes Hawks finished the 2013 women's SBL season with a 9-13 record to end up in 10th position to miss the playoffs.
The Hawks will want to get back into the playoff mix in 2014 and will be looking to new import Anna Kovats to help them do just that.
New Mandurah Magic coach Randy Miegel will be hoping to lead his new club up the ladder in 2014 as well with them coming off a disappointing 2013 where they won just five matches to finish only ahead of East Perth.
The Schweigen East Perth Eagles had a 2013 women's SBL season to forget winning just one game and taking out the wooden spoon, but the Eagles will be hoping to be much more competitive in 2014 led by new import Stephanie Jones who arrives after most recently playing with Cockburn.
Article by Chris Pike