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Round 6 Cougars Wrap – Women

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It was a mixed weekend for the defending champion Cockburn Cougars women starting with an 85-point hammering of the South West Slammers but then suffering what coach Tyrone Thwaites hopes will be a line in the sand moment against the Willetton Tigers.

It was the start of a run of double-header weekends for the Cougars and they got off to the best possible start on Friday night with the 132-47 victory against the Slammers at Wally Hagan Stadium.

The Cougars went on a 19-0 scoring run in the first quarter to be leading 36-6 by quarter-time and then another 43 points to 21 in the second frame saw the lead out to 80-27 at the main break.

Cockburn added another 53 points to 20 in the second half to score the eventual 85-point win on the back of shooting 58 per cent from the floor and putting up the 132 points.

Seven Cougars players scored in double-figures and 11 hit the scoreboard overall with Jewel Williams leading the way with 21 points and three assists while going 5/5 from downtown.

Jessie Edwards added 20 points, six rebounds, three assists and three blocks, Steph Gorman 18 points, six steals, five boards and three rebounds, and Regan Turnour-McCarty 16 points, two boards and two steals.

Daniel Raber also had 15 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals, Harriet Ford 13 points and seven boards, Kinley Paterson 13 points, five rebounds and four steals, Amelia Corasaniti six points and four steals, Jaya Scafidi five points and six assists, Lily Gammidge three points and two rebounds, Taryn Priestly two points.

That led into Saturday evening’s Grand Final rematch against Willetton at Willetton Basketball Stadium, and despite Cockburn not making a three-point shot in the first half, the Cougars still led by two at quarter-time, and one at the half.

Cockburn would end up missing the first 28 three-pointers before Turnour-McCarty broke the drought, but Willetton put up 28 points to six in the third quarter on the way to their eventual 86-63 victory.

The Cougars ended up being outrebounded by 24 along with going 3/34 from downtown at the end of the evening to slip to a 5-2 record in their championship defence.

Gorman finished with 15 points and six rebounds for the Cougars with Williams contributing 11 points and nine assists, Edwards 10 points, five rebounds and three blocks, and Alex Ciabattoni eight points, five boards and two assists.

Raber also had seven points and seven rebounds, Turnour-McCarty five points, seven boards and two assists, Ford three points, Corasaniti two points, and Scafidi two points.

While Thwaites was happy enough with everything the Cougars were able to get out of Friday night’s 85-point win, it’s hard to look back too positively with how Saturday panned out.

“We did get everything we wanted out of that game against South West and got some rest into bodies, and got the right line-ups on the floor to compete together and build some synergy,” Thwaites said.

“But that all went out the window on Saturday night.”

While missing the first 28 three-point shots certainly didn’t help the cause of the Cougars against the Tigers, Cockburn was still leading at half-time albeit narrowly and that’s not what was concerning for Thwaites by the finish.

Every team can have an off shooting night, but what he can’t accept is the way they were dominated on the glass in the second half and how their defence slipped, and he hopes it’s a moment where the Cougars can take stock of what went wrong.

“I’ve never seen a team shoot that badly but I think we would be doing ourselves a disservice, if we looked at it as superficially as we just shot the ball poorly,” Thwaites said.

“We’ve had a mindset, and we have to get back to it, of even when we play our worst basketball, we can still find a way to win. We were not playing great basketball in the first half offensively, and our defence was OK.

“We were leading the rebound count even though we missed that many shots, so that was holding us in check, but in the third quarter we decided to stop rebounding.

“I think we got outrebounded by 25 in the second half which even when you’re missing that many shots, shouldn’t be that significant. And our defence was nowhere near where it needs to be, and as a group we acknowledge that.”

Dealing with a poor performance is something the Cougars haven’t had to worry about for a long time and figuring out how to best handle every opponent giving them their best shot as defending champions is something Thwaites feels they are still figuring out.

“Hopefully it’s a sliding doors moment we can look back on in six weeks and say we’re glad that happened,” Thwaites said.

“I don’t think there’s any level of complacency with us, it’s just unchartered territory. Coming off a championship, we’re the hunted every week now.

“We have to understand that if we’re not on our A-game it’s a free hit to the other team and the league is getting better. Teams will beat us if we’re not at our best.”

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