Homestead Cougars, led by a brilliant all-round performance from national representative Sasha Dixon, recorded a narrow 45-43 victory over Braves Smilers on Sunday night at the National Stadium Court, to move to the top of the standings in the Jamaica Basketball Association National Women Super League.
Dixon, who is one of top shooting guards in this year's competition, scored 31 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and made nine steals to lead the Cougars to their sixth win in the competition. Tahirah Williams with 16 points and Simone Jackson, 12, were the main scorers for the Smilers.
In the day's other game, Unique Ballers thrashed Waulgrovians Clippets 72-17. The Ballers were led by top scorer Loretta Gordon (22 points), while Zandria Dell, 17 points and Felisa Council 10, also made useful contributions.
The Cougars lead the standings with 13 points ahead of defending champions Waulgrovians Bullets 12. They are followed by the Ballers (11), Smilers (eight), Lady Panthers and the Clippets with seven each.
The Cougars, one of the favourites to win this year crown, had to overcome a 12 points deficit at half-time. The Richard Polack-coached team started the game very slowly, which saw them trailing the Smilers 24-12 at half-time.
However, the free-scoring Dixon mesmerised her opponents in the third quarter with her swift dribbling skills and clever off-the-ball movements, while scoring 14 points in the period, as the Cougars outscored their opponents 22-6 to at 34-30 lead at the end of the period.
The Cougars, who are aiming for their first title, maintained their dominance over their opponents in the final period to complete the victory.
Former national representative and captain of the Cougars, Melissa Farquharson, is encouraged by the character shown by her team.
"It was a good victory for us," said Farquharson. "I am happy with the performance of my team because we had to come from behind and it was also a collective effort from all the players on my team."
Farquharson added: "It's a good feeling going into the new year as the leaders in the competition. However, we are not going to get complacent because the tables can turn at any time when the league resumes in the new year."
- Robert Bailey