The Cayman Islands Basketball Association’s National Women’s League had its season-opening games on Sunday at the CIBA Court off Eastern Avenue.
Five teams make up the league, and games are scheduled for Tuesdays at 6:15pm and Sundays at 5pm.
The teams are Dominos Lady Heels coached by Collin Anglin, Esso Blazettes coached by Shawn Pitterson, Quik Cash Storm coached by Errol Grey, Welly’s Cool Spot coached by Redver Ebanks and Silver Bullets.
In the opening game, last year’s champion, Dominos Lady Heels eked out a narrow victory over Welly’s Cool Spot 59-54.
Welly’s Cool Spot held the lead for three quarters and in fact led by 10 points for most of the night.
But then Sarrah Kidd stepped up for Dominos Lady Heels in the third quarter and forced more than a few turnovers, which she turned into two points.
In the end sloppy finishing by Welly’s cost them the game, as they failed to make use of the many opportunities they had in the first half to take the victory, when Lady Heels could not find their rhythm.
The game’s leading scorer was Kidd with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 6 steals. Benieca Thompson was second with 11 points and 16 rebounds. Cassianne Lawrence led with 18 points and 11 rebounds and 8 steals for Welly’s. Christina McLean added 11 points and 5 steals and 4 rebounds.
In the second game of the night, Quik Cash Storm blew away Esso Blazettes, with and impressive 22 points, 9 rebounds and 7 steals from top gun, Merta Day. Bobeth O’Garro assisted with 12 points, 9 steals and 6 assists. Lavern Ebanks added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Teresa Hamil led for Esso with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Catherine Ebanks had 11 points and 4 steals and Lauri Webster contributed 14 rebounds.
Last year’s champs, Lady Heels, will no doubt struggle this year without the help of their star player, Dionne Anglin, who will sit out most of the season due to a shoulder injury. Anglin was last season’s MVP with 31 assists, 157 points, 185 rebounds.
National women’s coach, Redver Ebanks who runs the women’s league, said he is looking forward to a better season this year than last year.
He said: ‘Each year since the league started in 1999, we have grown from strength to strength. But this year I have noticed teams actively recruiting to make their squads stronger, and the teams certainly looks better, at least on paper.’
He also noted that fans can expect to see a lot of action this year.
Coach Collin Anglin said that while he expects his team will defend their title, he admits it not going to be as easy as it was last season.
He said: ‘It is going to be tough going, especially with our top rebounder, scorer and shot blocker, Dionne Anglin, out for most of the season with a pre-season shoulder injury.
‘But this is a great opportunity for all of our other players to take their games to another level. From what I see so far, it looks like this might be the most competitively balanced women’s league we have had.’