STACEY Barr put up 28 points and added eight rebounds, and the Willetton Tigers pushed away in the fourth quarter to defeat a scrappy East Perth Eagles side 77-62 at Morley Sports and Recreation Centre last night.
Playing their first game without Des Kelley who is overseas, and with Kate Malpass still recovering from a calf strain and playing restricted minutes, the Tigers had to find a way to fill the void and Barr put her hand up for the job, knocking down three triples in the first quarter to spark the Tigers to a 26-19 quarter-time lead.
From that point on, Willetton did not trail for the rest of the night, but each time it looked like pulling away, East Perth found a way to fight back and keep the margin within reaching distance.
However, a 26-14 final quarter saw the Tigers push away and finally put the game to bed, securing their eighth win of the season.
“It was a good win,” Barr said after the game.
“East Perth are always up and in your face, high pressure and a little bit scrappy, and I think just to come away with a win, we’re all pretty happy about that.
“We struggled boxing out in the first half, and we came out and did that a little bit better (in the second half) and I think that helped us minimize their second-chance points.”
German import Jessica Hootmann had another good game for the Tigers and came close to a triple-double with 13 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, while Emma Gandini added 11 points, and was huge at the defensive end, picking up eight steals.
Zoe Harper provided a strong inside presence for the Tigers once again, chipping in with nine points and seven rebounds, with four of those boards coming on the offensive end, while youngsters Rebecca Thomson and Carla Drennan combined for 10 points, with both girls showing glimpses of their potential with the increased minutes they have been getting.
For East Perth, import Abbey Duinker top scored with 14 points, while Brianna Fisher and Elainah Coffin each had 10 points, but the Eagles will rue coughing up a ghastly 28 turnovers throughout the game as a key reason for the loss.
The win keeps the Tigers (8-6) in fifth place on the ladder, and they will have a great chance to test where they are at next weekend when they travel to Mandurah to face the second-place Magic who currently holds a 14-1 record.