The playoffs for local women’s basketball are set to begin.
The opening round of the 2012 national women’s league postseason is slated to start on Thursday, 5 April. The Cayman Islands Basketball Association competition sees matches at 6.15pm and 7.45pm at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre.
Most eyes will be on the Dominos Lady Heels, the regular season champions and top seed at 7-1. Assistant coach Bong Blancaflor, who mans the sidelines along with head coach Collin Anglin, states the team will have some wrinkles in their game plan.
“Everyone has their own strategy planned and they will change a lot of things,” Blancaflor said. “We need to do some changes as the teams have had time to study us over the course of the season.
“They are preparing something for us and we are preparing for them. They are not surprised at our form and we will not be surprised.”
Dominos are expected to battle the fourth seed Lady Wolves, who ended up with a 3-5 record. The contest figures to be a defensive struggle as the Wolves were second in team defence, allowing 339 points. Only the Lady Heels were better, allowing 318 points.
Both teams have offensive threats as Courtisha Ebanks is Dominos’ leading scorer averaging 14.9 points per game (good enough for fourth in the league) and the competition’s top free-throw shooter at 60.7 per cent. Team-mate Dionne Anglin is the league’s leading rebounder at 12.3 rebounds per game (she averages 8.2 points as well).
The Lady Wolves can counter with Cassianne Lawrence, who is third in scoring with 16.3ppg and Benieca Thompson who is fifth in rebounding (9.4rpg) and averages 9.8 points.
Blancaflor states Ebanks and Anglin are just two of the stars on the team.
“Dionne and Courtisha are the keys, not only for their skills but their leadership. We’re doing practices and we saved Dionne for the playoffs (she had complained about her ankle and shoulder). Joanne Remillard, Kamilla Nagy and Maggie Ebanks are also key and we’re trying to rotate players as there are a lot of other skilled players like Stacy-Ann Kelly and Hannah Parchment.”
Dominos had a bye last week for the regular season finale at Camana Bay. They would see the Home Gas Flames burn the Wolves 62-47 to capture the second seed with a 5-3 record. La-Torae Nixon guided the defending champions with 32 points (including two three-pointers), 15 rebounds, six steals and four blocks. Sade Wood added 18 points (with two treys), seven rebounds and six assists. Meredith Whitney and Ashleigh Reid combined for eight points, 10 rebounds and six steals.
The Wolves featured Cassianne Lawrence (20 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks), Benieca Thompson (14 points, 15 rebounds, two steals) and Alexandra Boyle (seven points, eight rebounds, two steals).
Aside from the Dominos-Wolves series, the playoffs also pit the Flames against the third-ranked Welly’s Cool Spot. Welly’s, 4-4, have won their last two games behind talents like Chloe Powery.
The opening round is slated to use a best-of-three format. Game two of the opening round is next Thursday, 12 April with game three, if necessary, on 16 April. The finals are also expected to be a best-of-three affair starting with game one on 19 April.