Women’s basketball in Cayman is currently at its climax. A pair of clubs are vying for the 2011 national women’s league championship and both are brimming with confidence.
On one side of the match-up are the Dominos Lady Heels. The defending champions are the current dynasty of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association with four titles in the last six years.
Now they face a resurgent Home Gas Flames team who pulled off a major upset in taking down the previously unbeaten Lady Wolves in a post-season sweep.
Joanne Remillard is a point guard for the Lady Heels and was part of last year’s championship run. For the Montreal, Quebec native 2011 marks her second year in the national women’s league and her third year on-island.
The UBS accountant states the first round victory over the Bullets is fresh in the team’s mind.
“It was very nice and I was happy we won,” Remillard said. “In the regular season we lost twice to them. But we changed our D a little bit and we did pretty well. It was a hard series, we played well and we gave all we had.
“As for the finals I’ll be off-island as of Friday. Whether I’m there or not, it’s all about team effort for us. The girls have to play strong defence and show aggressiveness. When we have done that we’ve been pretty good in the past.”
It also does not hurt that Dominos is blessed with star young players like Courtisha Ebanks. The West Bay native was the third-leading scorer in the regular season averaging 17 points a game.
The 5’10 guard/forward went on to dominate the first round with 18 points and seven rebounds in game one along with 22 points and eight rebounds in game two.
Home Gas head coach Ovaine Monteith is well aware of the youngsters’ skill. He states though that his Flames can claim the series.
“A number of players for Dominos can hurt you,” Monteith said. “Obviously Dionne Anglin and Courtisha are the main ones. Dionne has the inside presence while Courtisha’s transition offence makes her the team’s leading scorer. If we do shut them down we should have a chance. It’s also worth noting that Maggie Ebanks and Hanna Parchment are other concerns for us. Hanna plays with great energy while Maggie is a presence on the boards.
“On the whole we have a chance of winning. We can’t go in thinking otherwise. The plan is we basically have to play good defence and control the boards. We got further incentive as they beat us twice this season. We want to pay them back. We’re hopeful we’ll have a good series and it works out good for us.”
Home Gas have a fighting chance with female prodigy La-Torae Nixon, 13. The second-leading scorer in the regular season with 22.1ppg has 47 points and 12 rebounds in the playoffs so far. Monteith states she is a big factor in Home Gas’ success.
“La-Torae needs to have good games for us to win. She has to also be patient and limit her turnovers. Then we have Wendy Manzanares, our team captain, who played well for us in game two especially (scoring the team’s last eight points). If she keeps her shooting going we’ll be OK. From there we have Lauren Keller who plays the point for us and she has to keep her passes up. I’d also mention Lauri Webster because things go well for us when she keeps her effort up and keeps shooting.
“The main thing is playing good defence. Defence is what I preach because everything starts there.”