The Mandurah Magic women moved into top spot of the Women’s State Basketball League ladder on the back of a pair of stellar wins over the weekend.
Taking on the third-placed Lakeside and fifth-placed Willetton in the space of just 16 hours posed a threat to the Magic’s win streak, but Mandurah made it look easy as they treated home fans to a double dose of victories.
“It was a pretty important weekend for us. We were up against solid opposition so to come away with two wins is really pleasing,” Magic head coach Randy Miegel said.
“It was an opportunity to put a gap on third that turned into an opportunity to take top spot, so to get the results puts us in a good space moving forward.”
First place was previously held by the unbeaten Perry Lakes Hawks, who handed the Magic their only loss back in round nine.
But the Hawks fell to the Joondalup Wolves on Friday night, handing the Magic an opportunity to move into first.
Mandurah responded to the challenge, winning a hard-fought battle over Lakeside 94-83 on Saturday night before walloping the Tigers 98-54 on Sunday.
The Magic now sit atop the table with a 16-1 record, while the Hawks have played two less games and boast a 14-1 record.
The high-scoring point totals would allude to strong offence, but the Magic’s stout defence was a highlight over the weekend.
Not for the first time, Rachel Halleen did an exemplary job on Lakeside’s league MVP Ali Schwagmeyer.
A walk-up all-star with elite credentials, Schwagmeyer was kept to just 15 points by Halleen, well below her average of 22.5 per game.
The feat is made more impressive considering Halleen rolled her ankle during the match.
Earlier this season, Halleen kept Schwagmeyer to 11 points in a win for the Magic.
“Rachel is a bit of a nightmare match-up for a lot of players in the league,” Miegel said.
“She’s someone we know can do the job defensively night in, night out.”
Offensively, it was Carly Boag, Casey Mihovilovich and Nici Gilday leading the way once again.
Boag amassed 25 points and 16 rebounds against Lakeside, but it was Gilday’s turn to shine against the Tigers as she recorded 33 points to go with seven assists.
Taking first place hasn’t come without its challenges for Mandurah, who are currently battling injury woes.
Co-captain Emma Klasztorny is expected to return in the coming weeks, along with promising youngster Kasey Miegel.
The Magic will take on the Perth Redbacks at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre this coming Saturday night.