So far 2011 has looked far from a year for a title defence for the Dominos Lady Heels. With so many changes on and off the court, one could argue its a transition period for the club.
Dominos are the reigning champions in the Cayman Islands Basketball Association national women’s league. To this point the Lady Heels have struggled to be the side that won the last five women’s championships in Cayman.
The squad’s latest slip-up came on Sunday in a 50-40 loss to the Lady Wolves. That defeat gives the Wolves the season series victory over Dominos and guarantees a playoff spot (while providing an inside track to the top seed) for the green warriors. For the Lady Heels the defeat has them in fourth place and fighting for the third seed.
Nevertheless the attitude around the side is positive. Star player Courtisha Ebanks states her team’s performance is simply proof that a lot has to be fixed in the coming weeks.
“We have played really well but turnovers have messed our team up,” Ebanks said. “We’ve kind of given up in the last quarter (of games) but it just means there is room for improvement. We have to put in more individual work and then as a team. We have to be ready physically and mentally.
“It’s a one unit thing. We got to learn not to put our heads down. Once we work as a team we can be a solid group the rest of the season.”
The numbers for Ebanks have been encouraging as she is third in scoring averaging 19 points a game. On paper Ebanks is one of a few bright spots on the club. New recruits Hanna Parchment (who is an Under-19 talent) and Maggie Ebanks (who plays flag football and softball) have stepped up and ranked in the top 10 in scoring (netting 11.5 and 11 points a game respectively).
However Dominos’ struggles stem from severe changes in personnel. Gone are star players Benecia Thompson (who plays for the Lady Wolves) and Sarah Kidd. In addition Collin Anglin has stepped down as head coach, leaving Filipino basketball mind Bong Blancaflor in his place. Reigning Most Valuable Player Dionne Anglin is still not 100 percent after having her first child Noah. Anglin stated in passing that her recovery process has been slow and she hopes to be at around 80 percent for the playoffs.
With Dominos current form, it will be an achievement to make the postseason. The Women of Valour All Stars have improved in recent weeks and with players like Chloe Powery and Abigail Stoddard in the mix they could muster a winning streak. With Silver Bullets and the Home Gas Flames being solid, a fourth place finish and a first round encounter with the Lady Wolves looms for Dominos.
Yet players like Ebanks state that is not so bad as she feels the Lady Wolves are a decent side.
“The Wolves are great but the whole league is good. I don’t think they are unbeatable. You have to up your defence and fight as one against them. Also you have to be physically and mentally prepared. In fact I’d say the mental side is where the Wolves excel because they love to get in people’s heads.”