SBL: Mandurah Magic women one win from grand final

Rachel Halleen in action. Picture: Sports Imagery Australia
Rachel Halleen in action. Picture: Sports Imagery Australia

THE Mandurah Magic women’s team is one win away from the State Basketball League grand final for 2017 after winning the opening game of its semi-final series with the Lakeside Lightning on Saturday night.

Mandurah had advanced to the semi finals after beating the Perth Redbacks in the quarter finals on the back of finishing the regular season in second position.

But Lakeside was always set to be a significant test, having won its past eight matches coming into Saturday night’s clash at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.

It was the opening contest in the best of three-game series and even though the Magic started brightly to lead by as much 13 points during the first quarter after scoring 17 straight points, the Lightning trailed by just a point at half-time.

The Magic, though, did well to pull away through the second half, outscoring the Lightning 44 points to 35 to claim the 86-76 victory.

Mandurah guard Nici Gilday was outstanding, finishing with 32 points and five rebounds, with Casey Mihovilovich providing great support in the back court with 17 points.

Carly Boag was a strong presence inside for the Magic with 14 points, 18 rebounds and four steals while Bree Klasztorny racked up 12 points, seven boards and three assists. Rachel Halleen also did a good job defensively, limiting the impact of Lakeside superstar Ali Schwagmeyer.

Magic coach Randy Miegel enjoyed the chance to play some exciting and winning basketball at the redeveloped new stadium in Mandurah.

“One thing I spoke about earlier in the year was that I wanted to make sure we were successful in our new stadium to get basketball in the news down in Mandurah,” Miegel said.

“It’s worked out well so I have been pretty happy with the response from the Mandurah public.”

Game 2 will be held on Friday night at Lakeside Recreation Centre. If Mandurah wins it’s straight through to the grand final, but if Lakeside wins it’s back home for the Magic for the decider Saturday night.

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