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Round 16 Women’s Recap – Cougars hand Slammers biggest loss to stay top

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The Cockburn Cougars moved closer to securing a piece of history by claiming a regular season women’s championship for the first time this NBL1 West season after handing the South West Slammers their biggest loss of 2023 on Friday.

The Cougars arrived at Eaton Recreation Centre for the top against bottom clash not taking anything for granted and wanting to use the match as a tune up for the playoffs, and they never took the foot off the gas on the winless Slammers.

Already by quarter-time and Cockburn had opened up a 16-point advantage which only kept growing the rest of the evening. The margin got as high as 44 points in the second quarter, 64 in the third and 80 in the fourth which was the final winning margin.

The victory means that the Cougars can’t drop out of the top two now with a 17-2 record and will claim the club’s first ever regular season women’s championship barring a loss at home Friday to the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.

Cockburn forced South West into a monstrous 42 turnovers for the night and combined with pulling down 58 rebounds to 42 including 29 to 12 at the offensive end meant the Cougars took an extra 51 field goals for the game.

The Cougars also shot at 45.0 per cent from the field while hitting 10/36 from downtown with the Slammers going at just 24.5 per cent and making 2/13 from beyond the arc.

Sarah Mortensen continued her spectacular form for Cockburn with another 35 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and two assists on 16/23 shooting from the floor.

Steph Gorman added 26 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals, Patty Brossmann 22 points, eight boards and seven steals, and Amelia Corasaniti nine points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.

Coach Tyrone Thwaites certainly didn’t want his Cougars team to take the trip south for Friday night’s game for granted and wanted to make sure they got a lot out of it, and he was happy with most of what took place.

“Our catch cry is desperation and detail. We wanted to make sure we went down to Bunbury on Friday night and got a whole lot out of it, and I think we did. Including an injury to Jessie Edwards,” Thwaites said.

“But we navigated it pretty well. Bunbury is quite chaotic with the way they play which was great for us to learn how to be better in our transition defence which is an area we need to focus on at the moment. There was plenty to be gained out of it heading into the last round.”

The worst case scenario from a game now late in the season is to pick up an injury that might impact the Cougars’ playoff run, and there were fears that might have happened when Edwards did go down hurt on Friday night just over a minute into the game.

However, she has pulled up better than expected and Thwaites is confident she will be right to go for the opening of the playoffs next weekend.

“It’s not as bad as it looked and we expect she’ll be right for the first week of finals,” Thwaites said.

“When something like that happens, you’re never pleased to see anybody go down, it’s an uncontrollable and you don’t know how to feel.

“You wait to see what the outcome is and first indications weren’t good but then when she sat down and spoke with the physio, she could bear weight on it and that was a good sign.

“Then seeing her over the weekend that concern subsides a little bit and she’ll be OK even though she won’t play this week. We expect she’ll be near 100 per cent the week after.”

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