Rockingham Flames women hope to seal series win in front of capacity home crowd

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Flames women's coach Keegan Crawford wants Rockingham fans to pack Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Saturday night.
Camera IconFlames women's coach Keegan Crawford wants Rockingham fans to pack Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Saturday night. Credit: Stuart Horton

The Rockingham Flames women’s team is relishing the chance to close out their quarterfinal series against Mandurah Magic at home in front of a vocal capacity crowd.

Coach Keegan Crawford said his team was “happy and positive” heading into game 2 of their series with the Magic at Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Saturday night, with a game 1 under their belt creating “a good energy” at training this week.

“Obviously when you’re on a winning streak you are happy and positive about it, but the better thing for us is how competitive we are,” he said.

“Every training drill the girls care about winning. We’ve made everything as competitive as possible; scoring every play, winning this close-out drill, winning this one-on-one, making every drill matter because Mandurah’s going to come out desperate.

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“But I really like the mood, we’re as happy as we can be.”

Crawford said the biggest challenge at training this week had been recreating the match intensity he expects from a wounded Mandurah side desperate to keep their 2019 campaign alive.

“It’s hard to simulate that fight or flight desperation they are going to have at practice,” he said.

“They’re one of the most experienced teams in the league; they’re a super scrappy, grit and grind team, and they’re going to come out and absolutely punch us in the face.”

The key to clinching the series will be tightening up on team defence and making life more difficult for the Magic’s best players, Taylor Brown and Casey Mihovilovich.

“They’re talented players but we need to force them to make uncomfortable shots and put them in positions they aren’t comfortable shooting,” Crawford said.

“Also (we have to improve) just little things like how we guard the ball as a team, making sure we’re all on the same page with how we rotate and taking care of key match ups.

“I think it’s going to be a ripper night of basketball....we’d love to close out the series in front of the best fans in the league, our home crowd. You don’t have many opportunities like this throughout the year to play in an atmosphere like this.

“We play to make it to the end of the season, and hopefully the men’s team gets a win so we can put on a double header.”

The Flames take on Mandurah Magic at 6pm Saturday at Mike Barnett Sports Complex. If the men’s team beat Perry Lakes on Friday game three of their quarterfinal series will follow at 8pm.

If the Flames lose to Mandurah, game three will be at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre at 2pm on Sunday.

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