The Perth Wildcats recorded their sixth loss for the season against the New Zealand Breakers this evening at RAC Arena.
Before the Breakers entered the court, coach Dan Shamir highlighted the main strength of the Wildcats, which he successfully neutralised.
“The main thing that jumps off the stat sheet is that Perth is a phenomenal offensive rebounding team,” Shamir said post game.
Through strategic planning, the Wildcat’s phenomenal rebounding was squashed by Shamir’s men, dominating that statistic 26-41.
New Zealand’s plan included mitigating the impact of John Mooney, who has led the Wildcats in rebounds in all 22 games this season. The international recruit also has sixteen double-doubles this season.
Coming into the game, Mooney recorded seven in his last eight games, missing out on their last match up against the Breakers.
The Breakers’ Colton Iverson had the task on the Mooney, limiting him to 8 rebounds and 22 points, Iverson himself dominating with 17 rebounds.
Mooney leads the league for rebounds, averaging 12 per game, while Iverson is third with nine.
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Although Mooney was the best performer for the Wildcats, it was evident that losing this crucial part of his game played a part in their five-point loss.
In his 250th match as the Wildcats coach, Trevor Gleeson was making no excuses for the loss.
“New Zealand executed really well,” he said
“We struggled to contain them in that period of time [after a 13 point lead in the third quarter] and then down the stretch. It was our execution on both ends that was disappointing, but we take the hit and keep going.”
Mooney admitted that their 15 rebound deficit was a major part of their loss.
“It was the difference in the game, you can’t get beaten on the glass 41 to 26 and expect to win a lot of games,” he said.
“That starts with me. Big fella Iverson, he’s a great player, but he had 17 boards tonight and he battled harder than I did.
“He [Iverson] does a good job of using his body well to go and get the ball.
“We all have to be better on the glass. Just got to move forward.”
Iverson acknowledges matching up on Mooney was no easy task, despite coming out on top in the battle of the rebounders.
“He’s a great player, really just having an outstanding year,” Iverson said.
“He’s a great shooter, all-around player. For me, it’s just not to lose contact with him. He’s very active, he’s got quick feet.
“I let him get a couple open threes in the first half and I tried not to let that happen again.
“He’s a great player – him and Bryce [Cotton] play amazing together, so to come out here with the win is pretty good.”
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