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Round 13 Women’s Recap – Cougars’ perfect response to first loss

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The unbeaten run of the Cockburn Cougars might have ended on Friday night against the Mandurah Magic, but they responded in the best possible way with a thumping win over the Perry Lakes Hawks on Saturday.

If the truest measure of any team is how they respond to a loss or adversity, then the Cougars answered in the best possible way on Saturday night after Friday night’s 82-50 defeat at the hands of the Magic in Mandurah.

Cockburn didn’t have much time to reflect on receiving a first loss of the season having won the opening 13 matches before then remaining on the road to take on the Hawks at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday.

It was an emphatic response from the Cougars to race to a 6-2 lead forcing the Hawks into a timeout. Cockburn kept going to end up leading 13-4 and that set the tone for the eventual 83-44 victory.

The result keeps Cockburn on top of the NBL1 West table at the end of Round 13 with a 14-1 record and coach Tyrone Thwaites couldn’t have been happier with the response to what happened on Friday night.

“It certainly makes you nervous because if you get that one wrong too you’re in a bit of trouble,” Thwaites said.

“But the chance to respond within 24 hours takes away the whole week where you’re dwelling on what happened, and whether or not you can amend it. To be able to respond as quickly as we did against Perry Lakes was nice.”

Danish import Sarah Mortensen was once again outstanding in the win for Cockburn with 29 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks on 12/22 shooting from the field and 4/10 from beyond the arc.

Steph Gorman put up 14 points, seven steals, three rebounds and two assists on the court she’ll call home with the Perth Lynx this upcoming WNBL season while Jewel Williams added 13 points and four assists, and Jessie Edwards 10 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists.

While the Hawks were missing key duo Emma Clarke and Nici Gilday, Thwaites was delighted with how his team played and how they responded.

“We’ve said all year we want to be winning because we’re great and not whether or not the opposition was good or bad,” he said.

“We take nothing away from the fact Perry Lakes were missing their two best players, but irrespective to do it the way we did it was very impressive. We asked the girls to set the tone early because Mandurah did that on us the night before.

“To go out to a 6-2 lead and force Craig (Mansfield) into an early timeout was probably the perfect response and we built from there. It was a nice night and response to what happened on Friday.”

Looking back on Friday night and it just turned out to be an off night for the Cougars where a whole host of factors came together to go wrong on the same evening.

Mandurah deserves enormous credit for forcing a lot of that to happen too to fully deserve the eventual 32-point win, but the fact the Cougars had a game less than 24 hours later to prepare for, Thwaites was hoping it would prove to be just one of those off nights.

“I haven’t actually watched the game back and that’s partly because it was one of those nights where there were probably six or seven things that Mandurah would have hoped went wrong for us, went wrong,” Thwaites said.

“That takes nothing away from them because they came out with the intent of being incredibly physical with us and that was one of those six or seven things that worked to their advantage.

“Following that, Sarah Mortensen was in foul trouble, Jessie couldn’t stay on top of Hannah Hank, Jewel was having an off night and all of the above we are fully accountable for. It was probably time for an off night and we took plenty of learnings away from it.”

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