NPWBA best-of-three playoffs to begin this weekend

By BRENT STUBBS Senior Sports Reporter bstubbs@tribunemedia.net WITH the regular season completed, the New Providence Women's Basketball Association is all set to begin its best-of-three playoffs, featuring the three previous championship teams, on Saturday night. The Bommer Gee Lady Angels, winners of the league's initial two seasons in 1994 and 1995 and again in 2010, will be matched against the Super Value Cybots Queens, the only team in the postseason without a title. The Lady Angels were awarded the pennant with an impressive 15-1 win-loss record. The Cybots Queens finished fourth at 9-9. They are slated to play in the 7:30pm Saturday opener at DW Davis gym. In the feature contest, the defending champions Four J's Lady Cheetahs will take on the Johnson Lady Truckers who captured four consecutive titles from 2006-2009. The Lady Truckers, who handed the Lady Angels their only loss this season, ended up in second place at 14-3 while the Lady Cheetahs were third at 10-5. League president Simone Beneby said because there were only a few games left that didn't have any bearing in the final standings, the coaches decided to go right to the playoffs. As a result of that decision, the College of the Bahamas Lady Caribs (4-12), the Saints (2-14) and the Junior All-Stars (1-13) were all eliminated from further play. "I anticipate the games to be fairly competitive, particularly the two and three seeds. That should be very competitive," Beneby said. "They have been going right down to the wire. "The one and four series should also be interesting. I believe the Queens could pull off a surprise but the Angels are a veteran team and they have been dominating all season. That still needs to be seen in the playoffs." Beneby said because the league has had a few disruptions in the regular season, they have seen a decline in their fan participation. But, now that the playoffs are here, she anticipates that the numbers will increase again. "I'm trying to get the word out as best as possible that this is it," she said. "I anticipate that our fans will be back in the gym supporting us as they normally do." Here's a look at the pair of match-ups that the fans can look forward to: Lady Angels vs Cybots Queens Although they have won the pennant, Bommer Gee's coach Anthony Swaby said it doesn't matter. "It's like starting all over again because no one remembers who wins the pennant and they don't give championship rings out for the pennant," he said. "We are now focusing and practicing on getting through our first round against the Cybots and then take it from there." The Lady Angels, according to Swaby, have had some of their best practices in preparing for the postseason and they are loose and confident. "The Cybots are a well-coached team and they have some strengths so, if we look past them, we could be in the stands watching the championships," he said. But with a solid bench to compliment their starting line-up, Swaby said his Lady Angels will be tough to beat. Their backcourt comprises of Suzette McKenzie, Sharelle Cash and Diasti Delancy. Ashley Moss and Keisha Cartwright have been stable in the frontcourt. Felicia Cartwright has provided the leadership and Melisha Peterson and Kaylisha Laing bring a lot of energy off the bench. Super Value's coach Wayde Watson said it won't be an easy series against Bommer Gee. "They are really clicking on all cylinders. They have some very good veterans and some young players who are playing extremely well," he said. "We haven't been able to beat them all year. They are well-coached. They have a good system but I expect that we will go to practice and prepare for them." Watson said he had to administer some disciplinary action for some of his players but as long as they play defense and contain Delancy, they should have a chance to win. "My girls are young. They are hungry," he said. "They don't want to end the season right now so I'm looking for them to step up to the plate and do what they have to do to win." Watson is counting on a combination from Tracy Lewis, Taneil Poitier, Tiffany Wildgoose, Marvia Dean, Chiquita Ferguson, Tinnica Joseph, Ijanna Rolle, Latondra Brown and Ominica Lowe to pull the Cybots Queens through. Lady Truckers vs Lady Cheetahs As the defending champions, coach Mario Bowleg is looking forward to his Four J's team putting it all together in the playoffs and eventually returning to the final. "This is a match-up that could go down to the wire in the three games but I believe that we have an edge on," Bowleg said. "We're a little focused and if we can take the first one on Saturday, I believe we will take the series." Bowleg said the two teams are guard oriented, but he feels his 1-2 punch of Glenda Gilcud and Shantelle Rolle can take the Lady Truckers out of their element. With players like Christine Sinclair, Latoya Thompson, Alyse Dean and Tyranna Pyfrom, who have been their spark all season long, Bowleg said they will definitely be ready for the challenge. "The advantage that we have is Linda Pierre and Anastacia Moultrie. If they come to play, I don't see why we should not win this series," he said. "It's not going to be easy but I believe we have the depth to take us over the hump to get us back to the final to defend our title." James Price, coach of the Lady Truckers, was unavailable for comments.


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