Slammers downed despite US import’s big debut

Mitchell WoodcockBunbury Herald

Printsync South West Slammers women’s import Brittany Hodges had a debut to remember in Saturday night’s 11-point loss to Lakeside Lightning at the Eaton Recreation Centre.

Hodges produced a massive double-double in her first outing for the Slammers, scoring a game-high 32 points, while also grabbing 13 rebounds in the 79-68 defeat.

The American played a lone hand at times on offence for the Slammers, who failed to hit a three-pointer until late in the third term.

At the other end of the court, the Lightning were happy to release from beyond the arc, hitting 12 from 40, as Sydnee Fipps (24 points, 10 rebounds) led the way with six from 14.

The Lightning jumped out of the blocks to race to a nine-point quarter time lead, as the Slammers struggled with composure as they played high-tempo basketball.

Reigning State Basketball League Most Valuable Player Ali Schwagmeyer (21 points, eight rebounds) was locked in an enthralling battle with the returning Kate Fielding (six points, eight rebounds) who held her own in defence.

The Lightning though found too many scorers, as the Slammers seemingly had just the one option in Hodges.

The home side cut the margin back to just four points at the main break, but a 25-18 third term hurt the Slammers.

The margin could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for captain Courtney Bayliss (12 points, 13 rebounds) who hit the Slammers only three-pointers of the night late in the term, including a buzzer beater from just short of half way.

Tori Dugan impressed on debut for the Slammers, running the ball up the court well and chipped in with nine points and 11 assists, but too many times the Slammers rushed their plays and were caught taking shots from bad positions or with a player defending.

Coach Peter Harper said the side was beaten in transition in the first quarter and outplayed in the third quarter.

“That is probably where we lost it,” he said.

“They transition the ball really well.”

Harper said the side had to work on their three-point shooting, after hitting only two from 14 attempts.

Harper praised the role of Dugan, who he believed worked well taking the ball up the court.

He said guard Georgia Denehey could miss four to five weeks with a broken thumb she suffered earlier this month.

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