The opening night of the 2022 NBL1 West season couldn’t have gone better for the Cockburn Cougars at home and now they look to back that up away to the Willetton Tigers on Easter Thursday.
Both the Cougars Women’s and Men’s teams had impressive first up victories back on Friday night at Wally Hagan Stadium against the East Perth Eagles before now getting the chance to back that up this Thursday.
Cockburn will be playing the Willetton Tigers on Easter Thursday at Willetton Basketball Stadium with the Women’s match up beginning at 6.30pm followed by the Men’s game tipping off at 8.30pm.
First up is a tantalising match up with the Cougars taking on the Tigers Women who will be playing their second straight home game to open the new season.
Cockburn is coming off the 91-84 victory against East Perth back on Friday night to open the new season at Wally Hagan Stadium while Willetton’s championship defence began with a 78-66 defeat in a Grand Final rematch at the hands of the Joondalup Wolves.
Willetton didn’t quite start their championship defence last week how they hoped on the same evening they unfurled their championship banner.
But they were also without last season’s league and Grand Final MVP Alex Sharp along with reigning Best Defensive Player Emma Gandini. Both were on Perth Lynx duties in the WNBL Grand Final in Melbourne on Saturday but could be back in Tigers colours to face the Cougars on Thursday night.
While Willetton is fresh off a first up defeat, Cockburn will be looking to back up their win against East Perth last Friday and a victory against the defending champions would make quite the early season statement.
Cockburn had to work hard to overcome East Perth in the season-opener but a 28-18 third quarter ended up being the difference in the eventual seven-point victory.
Jessie Edwards was simply dominant and imposing inside for the Cougars earning NBL1 West Player of the Week honours for a game made up of an almost impossible to comprehend 35 points, 22 rebounds, four assists and three blocks on 12/14 shooting from the floor and 11/12 from the free-throw line.
She wasn’t the only Cougars player to have a big start to the season, though, with new import guard Kat Tudor marking her NBL1 West debut with 27 points, six rebounds and two steals on the back of 5/14 shooting from three-point territory.
Jewel Williams has also joined Cockburn this season and she started the new season with 13 points, nine assists, five steals and two rebounds. She will look to tidy up her eight turnovers this Thursday against the Tigers though.
Haylee De Sousa also had nine points and four assists for the Cougars, Kinley Paterson four points and four assists, and Jesni Cooper three points and an assist.
The Cougars Women will look to build on that first performance up against the defending champion Tigers this Thursday night at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
Then second up on Thursday night will be the Men’s contest with the Cougars fresh off a thumping first up home win over the Eagles while the Tigers will still be hunting their first win of 2022.
Cockburn couldn’t have been more dominant or impressive last Friday night to open the new season beating East Perth 98-54 at Wally Hagan Stadium while Willetton played out a bit of a grind out affair before losing to the Joondalup Wolves 75-66 at home after being overrun in the fourth quarter.
That sets up what should be a fascinating contest this Thursday night between the two traditional rivals who are both looking to build on their playoff seasons from a year ago.
There was so much to like about what the Cougars delivered last Friday night in that 44-point win against the Eagles which they will now look to back up this Thursday on the road to the Tigers.
The two new Cockburn imports had terrific nights with big man Paschal Chukwu dominant inside with 21 points, 16 rebounds and two steals while shooting 9/13 from the floor.
Carter Skaggs showed that he has no fear in jacking up his shots and went 5/14 from beyond the arc on the night on his way to 17 points and seven rebounds in his Cougars debut.
The evergreen Gavin Field showed he’s in store for another strong season with the Cougars as well by delivering 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals with fellow veterans Jaarod Holmes (11 points, five points, five assists) and Seva Chan (four points, five assists) contributing well too.
Keegan Phillips also had 10 points and four rebounds in the big win, Josh Hunt 10 points, two rebounds and two steals, and Nathan Pond five points and two blocks.
While Willetton lost at home to the Wolfpack where they led at three quarter-time before being outscored 25 points to 12 in the fourth quarter to lose by nine.
While they were missing the likes of Michael Vigor and Damien Scott, captain Andrew Black had 21 points and seven rebounds for Willetton, Hunter Clarke 15 points and three boards, and Lachie Evans 11 points.
The scene is now set for a terrific battle between the traditional rivals on Thursday night at Willetton Basketball Stadium.