Written by Megan Hustwaite
PERTH will take a 1-0 lead to the nation’s capital after defeating the UC Capitals in the opening game of its WNBL semi-final series.
The Lynx emerged from an early arm-wrestle to prevail 91-77 at Bendat Basketball Centre on Thursday night.
After scores were tied on 23 at the first break, a 10-point stanza from gun import Marina Mabrey handed the Lynx a lead they’d grow to double digits at half time, 52-41.
Perth enjoyed a 70-57 advantage at the final break before repelling a late push by the Caps.
Sami Whitcomb, who topped the stat sheet with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double, said the Lynx, with a win under their belt, are determined to now sweep the series.
“We have to come out with the same mindset on Sunday. We want to put it away there (in Canberra), we can’t be thinking we’re a game up,” she told the broadcast post-game.
“It’s going to be a massive battle but for us, we really, really want that game two.”
Each Lynx starter scored in double figures.
Mabrey (19 points) shone in big moments and impressed on defence, captain Darcee Garbin (16 points, 9 rebounds) knocked down some big shots, import Jackie Young (16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) continued her top form and Lauren Scherf (15 points, 8 rebounds) came up big.
Guard Britt Smart led the way for the Caps with 18 points with skipper Kelsey Griffin (15 points, 11 boards) and Tahlia Tupea (15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) key contributors.
Smart believes the Canberra can level the series on its home floor and force a deciding game three.
“It’s all going to be about recovery and who recovers well and we’ll take our home-crowd energy for sure,” she said.
“I do think Perth had a great game but I think some of it was things we can do on our end.
“A few tweaks and adjustments and I think we can really bounce back.”
Game 2 tips off at 5pm this Sunday at Tuggeranong Stadium.
Perth Lynx 91 (Whitcomb 20 points, Mabrey 19, Young, Garbin 16, Scherf 15) defeated UC Capitals 77 (Smart 18, Griffin, Tupea 15)