SBL: Joondalup Wolves’ grand final the last step in dominant women’s season

Joondalup coach Craig Friday. Picture: Serene Maisey
Joondalup coach Craig Friday. Picture: Serene Maisey

ONE hurdle remains to complete the Joondalup Wolves’ resurgence in the women’s State Basketball League.

Since its championship in 2013, the Lady Wolfpack has been competitive, but not strong enough to reach another decider despite semi-final appearances in the past two seasons.

This year has had them emerge as the clear title favourites on the way to the grand final this Friday.

But they’ll have to get past their old foe and the historically strong Willetton Tigers – a side they had not beaten in two years before this season.

Wolves coach Craig Friday said there was excitement around the group, but “controlled excitement”.

“There’s a good blend for us because we’ve had a few girls who have been there before,” he said. “So there’s experience but there’s also young kids giving energy and enthusiasm.”

Friday asserted the team would not be looking to produce any surprises, but stick to the process that had them finish the season on top of the ladder, losing just three games.

“We want to control the tempo through our ‘D’… and then take advantage on our ability to run the floor and get some good looks.”

The side lost to Willetton in round 14, but defeated it in round 17 to level the ledger at 1-1 heading into the championship game.

Friday, who took over from Vlad Alava this season, attributed the Wolves’ improvement to strong team balance.

Joondalup recruited Perth Lynx player Klara Wischer, who added scoring ability and size to the line-up. Friday described her as the missing piece to the puzzle.

The emergence of 22-year-old Amy Kidner in career best form had also been a factor.

Kidner has proved herself a scoring threat alongside Wischer and 2013 grand final MVP Nikita Martin.

“Fantastic year for Amy,” Friday said.

“Her numbers are up on previous years and I think there’s a lot of improvement still to come.”

Tip-off is at 7.30pm at the Bendat Basketball Centre.