Last year’s Champions, the Be Active Western Stars, have staked their claim on the 2017 title after Round 1 while the Sydney Uni Flames also proved they will be a handful this season.

Both clubs went 3-1 through the opening weekend to own the top two spots on the ladder.

The Stars welcomed the Red Dust Lady Heelers to the competition on Friday night with a 70-17 thrashing, holding them to just 14% field goal shooting. Amber Merritt top-scored with 30 points while import Chihiro Kitada had her hand in everything, finishing with 16 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists.

The following day they again won every quarter to take care of the Kilsyth Cobras, 66-38, as Merritt also out-scored the opposition by herself with 39 points.

Leanne Del Toso held her own in the contest though, recording 24 points, 15 boards and six assists while playing every minute.

The Stars faced a 2016 Grand Final re-match on Saturday afternoon but they could not replicate last year’s success, going down to the Sydney Metro Blues by 11 points.

Sydney Metro trailed 0-6 early but responded with a 15-2 run and from there, they never surrendered the lead.

Kitada collected a triple-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists but the Stars could not contain the combined efforts of Georgia Munro-Cook and Bridie Kean (25 points, 22 boards, 16 assists).

The Stars bounced back on Sunday against the Flames, using a 23-12 second term to win by three points as Kitada recorded a second straight triple-double (18 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists).

That loss for the Flames was their only blemish for Round 1 as they won their other three contests by an average margin of 29.3 points.

Sarah Stewart matched Kitada with two triple-doubles for the weekend and fell just short of another one in their clash with the Stars, to average 14.3 points, 11 rebounds, 10.3 assists and 1.3 steals.

Rising star Annabelle Lindsay was also outstanding, owning the glass to finish with 17.5 points and 17 rebounds per game.

Following their win over the Stars, Sydney Metro beat the Lady Heelers with four of their starters recording double-figures in scoring led by Courtney Ann Ryan’s 18 while Jess Cronje poured in 12.6 points per game for the weekend.

Averaging just 18 points per contest through their first two games, Red Dust came alive in their clash with Kilsyth.

They led by as much as 26 points early in the final term before recording their maiden victory, 54-37.

Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy (ten points, 11 rebounds, seven assists) was inspirational and Deanne Smith (ten points, nine rebounds per game) proved she will provide great support throughout this season.

The Cobras finished as the only side without a victory in Round 1 (aside from the Minecraft Qld Spinning Bullets who did not play) but they will be buoyed the performances of Del Toso as well as Teisha Shadwell (ten points, six boards per game).

After a break this weekend, the teams (except for the Stars who have the bye) will hit the court at Auburn Basketball Centre in NSW for Round 2 starting Friday, May 5.

Find all the stats for the season on the WNWBL website here.


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