Written by Megan Hustwaite
HISTORY will be made on Saturday night when an epic WNBL Grand Final series reaches its crescendo at Parkville.
In an action-packed best-of-three series, Perth Lynx took game 1 in Melbourne last weekend then the Melbourne Boomers responded on Wednesday night in WA with a heart-stopping one-point victory to force a decider.
If Perth prevail, the Lynx will be the first team since the series format was introduced in 2015-16 to win both away fixtures but lose at home and win the title. Should the Boomers triumph, Melbourne will be the first team to lose the opening game then win the next two fixtures.
This is the third time the WNBL championship has been decided by three games following Townsville Fire (2017-18) and UC Capitals’ (2018-19) 2-1 victories.
After the Lynx dominated at both ends of the court in the series opener, Melbourne hit the court at Bendat Basketball Centre with energy, a sharp defensive focus and the type of play that lifted them to the top of the ladder at the end of the home-and-away season.
Lindsay Allen (29 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) set the tone for Melbourne from the outset in a dominant MVP display and captain Cayla George (22 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists) came up big.
Despite missing the final of three free throws to tie the game, Marina Mabrey sunk five triples on the way to a game-high 30 points for Perth.
The see-sawing game, which had the home crowd and viewers a like on the edge of their seats, featured 13 lead changes.
The stars have come out to shine in the opening two games with all four imports (Boomers Lindsay Allen and Tiff Mitchell and Perth’s Mabrey and Jackie Young) staring and both skippers stepping up (George and Darcee Garbin).
A telling third game match-up looms inside between Boomer Ezi Magbegor (14 points, six rebounds and 10 points, 7 rebounds) and Lynx’s Lauren Scherf (14 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 7 rebounds, 6 points).
The Boomers can claim their second championship at the very venue they won their first in 2010-11 in front of a vocal home crowd but the Parkville court holds no fears for the Lynx who must replicate their form of a week ago to be crowned champions for the first time since 1992.
WNBL Grand Final Game 3
Melbourne Sports Centre, Parkville
Saturday 9 April, 5pm AEST
Broadcast: ABC, Fox Sports, Kayo
The series so far
Perth Lynx 98 (Garbin 25, Young 21, Mabrey 20) defeated Melbourne Boomers 71 (Mitchell 17, Magbegor 14, Allen 13)
Parkville, Saturday April 2
Melbourne Boomers 76 (Allen 29 points, George 22 points, 12 rebounds) defeated Perth Lynx 75 (Mabrey 30, Whitcomb 14, Young 12)
Bendat Basketball Centre, Wednesday April 6