Top scorer: Alicia Poto was crucial to the Panthers success, scoring 22 points as they pulled away from Illawarra in the elimination final.The Panthers women’s basketball team created history for the local association, defeating the Illawarra Hawks 87-65 in an elimination quarter final of the 2014 Waratah Championship League (WCL) competition.
The outstanding victory catapulted the Panthers into their first-ever semi-final appearance, which will be at Maitland on the weekend of August 30-31.
Much of the Penrith team’s success can be laid at the feet of their powerful Women’s National Basketball Leaguetrio of imports, Alicia Poto, Rohanee Cox and Tahlia Tupaea.
That trio and diminutive guard Dominika Offner laid the groundwork for Penrith’s solid 24-15 first quarter lead.
The Panthers continued to shine at the start of the second quarter, staging an 11-0 run in the opening five minutes to take their lead out to a handy 18-point buffer.
Penrith led 49-25 at half time, with Cox (16) and Tupaea (15) both in double figures, followed closely by Poto and Offner — both on 9.
Cox quickly moved into double figures on the boards at the start of the third term as Penrith underlined their superiority, with the four leading scorers all on their team at that stage of the game.
Illawarra saved their best form for the final quarter, steadily chipping away at the Panthers lead through the opening minutes.
Penrith consolidated late in the game to record a significant 22-point win.
Poto was the game-high scorer with 22 points and 6 assists, ahead of Tupaea 21 points and Cox with 21 points, 13 boards and 7 assists.
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