Women’s basketball is in full playoff mode tonight.
The Cayman Islands Basketball Association Court off Eastern Avenue will host a pair of playoff games tonight.
At 6:15pm frontrunners Storm Quick Cash take on underdogs Welly’s Cool Spot before Dominos Lady Heels and Esso Blazettes go at it at 7:45pm.
The clubs play in the CIBA women’s league. All made it into the playoffs in different ways.
Storm come in as the undefeated powerhouses. The squad went 8-0 during the regular season, scoring the most points (444) while allowing the fewest (334).
Steadying the squad has been the likes of netball stars Sophia Foster, Lavern Ebanks and Lashawn Davis.
Meanwhile their opponent Welly’s snuck in as the fourth and final seed. Their record was abysmal at 2-6 mainly due to a lack of scoring: they netted the second fewest amount of points with 341.
Youth has served the side with youngsters Christsania and Christina McLean along with Felecia Connor leading the way.
Defending champions Dominoes clawed their way to the second seed at 5-3. The side had a slow start but turned it around in short order to finish second in scoring (netting 428 points) and defense (allowing only 358 points).
Assistant Coach Dionne Anglin, Sarah Kidd and Mesha Gordon have played starring roles in their rapid turnaround.
On the other side Esso has had an up and down season. After their fast start they seemed like favourites but key losses down the stretch knocked them down to third with a meagre 4-4 record.
The scoring was mediocre (with 368 points) and the defense certainly left much to be desired giving up the second-most points in the league with 411.
Through it all Theresa Hamil and Lauri Webster have been solid.
Silver Bullets missed out on this year’s playoffs. In spite of lights-out play from Scimone Campbell, the side went just 1-7 and were last in the league in scoring (netting 337 points) and defense (giving up 437 points).
All four of tonight’s teams are familiar with each other having faced off earlier in the season. Look for the squads to build off those earlier encounters to establish a game-plan.
Storm played Welly’s twice, beating them 51-36 on 1 February before escaping with a 51-48 win last Tuesday 17 February.
In both games Bobeth O’Garro and Lavern Ebanks of Storm had double-digit scoring performances and three players were in double figures.
For success tonight that trend will need to continue. In addition the side will need to maintain better control and its edge in assists and steals.
Welly’s however have a chance, especially if someone steps up. In their first game Felecia Connor had 13 points including three long-range bombs. In the second game Letanya Thompson had the shooting touch netting 20 points and four threes.
Someone will need to have their shooting on point tonight and be able to stretch the defense with shots from distance for Welly’s to pose a threat.
Ultimately how close the game is will boil down to rebounding and turnovers. If Storm do not wipe the glass soundly or watch their turnovers Welly’s could make a second-half rally to steal the win.
Meanwhile Dominos and Esso split their encounters. Esso won the first match 50-49 on 20 January before Dominos notched a win 57-37 on 8 February.
Dominos has seen 20 plus points performances from Sarah Kidd both times. Her ability to score and contribute on the glass and on defense will be a big key for success.
Meanwhile Esso have relied on Theresa Hamil to wreak havoc inside. She’s averaged a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds in both games. She’ll need to grab the defense’s attention again tonight for the other players to get room to score.
The key to the ‘rubber’ match of this series will be who nabs the most rebounds while making the fewest turnovers.
The last games for the regular season came last Tuesday. Storm beat Welly’s while Dominos took down Silver Bullets 67-44.