Cougars women lock away fifth position

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The Cockburn Cougars women split their weekend in Round 16 of the NBL1 West but what the win against the South West Slammers at home on Saturday did was all but guarantee a fifth place finish with two games remaining.

The Cougars faced a challenging double-header in Round 16 of the 2022 season and it got off to a tough start on Friday against the competition’s hottest team.

The Warwick Senators won their 13th consecutive match with the 99-63 win against the Cougars at Warwick Stadium, but Cockburn responded strongly at Wally Hagan Stadium on Saturday.

The Cougars went on to beat the South West Slammers 93-60 which improved Cockburn to an 11-7 record on the season to further consolidate fifth position in the standings.

That has Cockburn three games out of fourth place with two to play but importantly two games ahead of the sixth placed Lakeside Lightning before finishing the regular season on the road to the Goldfields Giants and at home to the Willetton Tigers.

Starting on Friday night, the Cougars arrived at Warwick Stadium with ambitions still of a top four finish and with enough talent and firepower to take it right up to the Senators, but that’s not how it would pan out.

Warwick put together seven straight points late in the first quarter to go into quarter-time leading 22-16 but Cockburn was able to stick with them during the second period.

The Cougars went on their own run of seven straight points to lead by as much as five points at one stage of the second quarter, but the Senators responded going into half-time to still be on top 40-36.

The game was right up for grabs at the break but that didn’t stay the case for long with Warwick asserting their dominance in the third quarter.

The Senators outscored the Cougars 31 points to 19 and lead by as much as 16 points at one stage, and were leading 71-55 by three quarter-time.

It was even more dominance from Warwick in the fourth quarter as they piled on 28 points to eight to end up winning 99-63 to continue their remarkable run of form.

Jessie Edwards ended up leading the charge for Cockburn with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots on 8/12 shooting from the floor and 4/5 from the foul line.

Alina Hartmann added 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals, Haylee De Sousa nine points and three boards, Kat Tudor nine points and two assists, and Jewel Williams eight points and nine assists.

Then on Saturday night, Cockburn then returned to Wally Hagan Stadium on Saturday evening to play host to the bottom placed Slammers and the Cougars regained some confidence.

The home team shot out of the blocks and finished the first quarter already leading the Slammers 24-11.

It was more of the same in the second term from the home side with the Cougars eventually putting together a run of 14 straight points to see that lead grow to 25 points, and by half-time they were leading 51-27.

South West did well to stick with Cockburn to limit the damage in the third period, but then in the fourth the Cougars pulled away again with another 23 points to 14 to end up winning 93-60.

The Cougars want to be the highest volume three-point shooting team in the competition and that was on show on Saturday night as they went 18/51 from long-range. The Slammers, in contrast, went 1/7.

Six Cougars players ended up scoring in double-figures led by 15 points from Haylee De Sousa on 5/13 shooting from beyond the arc.

Kat Tudor added 13 points, four assists and three steals with 4/9 shooting from deep with Jewel Williams also hitting 3/6 for 13 points and two steals.

Kinley Patterson added 12 points and eight assists, Ella Summers 10 points and three rebounds, and Jessie Edwards 10 points, three boards and two assists.