ATWELL WANTS LYNX TO LEARN FROM SECOND HALF LESSONS
Perth Lynx have done plenty right especially in first halves against quality opposition the last two games but the second half lessons are something vice-captain Amy Atwell wants them to learn from moving forward.
The Lynx opened the season with three consecutive home victories against the Sydney Flames, Adelaide Lightning and Bendigo Spirit before being in a strong position thanks to a terrific first half on the road to the Southside Flyers.
However, the Flyers hunted them down in that game in a thrilling finish before the Lynx did well to hit back with another supremely impressive first half back at Bendat Basketball Centre against the Townsville Fire on Saturday night.
Perth led by 11 points shortly before half-time but Townsville was able to grab some momentum going into the break, and then dominated the third quarter on the way to the eventual 92-76 victory.
The Lynx now have the next two games against the undefeated Melbourne Boomers starting this Sunday on the road before back home to host that same opponent next Thursday night.
Atwell is looking forward to the challenge of the two games against a Boomers outfit that has been tremendous in their opening five matches, but she also hopes the Lynx learn the lessons from the second halves against both the Flyers and Fire.
“It’s a good challenge for us right now. Obviously we won our first three games and now we’ve stumbled a little bit, but there’s always the next game and always room for improvement so that’s what we’ll be looking for,” Atwell said.
“It’s only Round 4 and we’re five games in with a long season left so we definitely still take some positives, but also we’ve got to learn from these last two games because it’s kind of been similar themes in both of them.
“We’ve come out in the third quarter and just given up a lead and played two completely different types of basketball from the first half. We’ll definitely take some positives but we’ve got to learn from it too.”
Looking back on Saturday night at home to Townsville and Perth had the game on its terms for most of the first half opening up that 11-point lead on the back of a strong defensive performance, and an offensive explosion from Atwell who had 21 points up to half-time.
However, scoring dried up as the turnovers mounted for the Lynx in the third quarter as Townsville outscored them 28 points to 10 with Atwell hoping her team can learn a lot from it.
“They’re the defending champs for a reason and they’ve gone and recruited some big names in the off-season too. So we knew they were going to come out and throw a punch in the third quarter, we just couldn’t sustain what we were doing in response,” Atwell said.
“We obviously want to run in transition and it’s hard to do that when they are scoring every possession, and we have to take the ball out of the net.
“It naturally slows down our game so I think our offence definitely needs to start with our defence. When we can’t get stops and they’re shooting like that, it makes it tough.”
Atwell was on fire in the first half against the Fire already with 21 points to her name going into half-time on the back of going 4/6 from behind the three-point line.
While things dried up in the second half and she was only able to add another four points, she also was only able to get up five more shots and Townsville deserve a lot of credit for focusing their defence on shutting her down.
“Teams are going to make adjustments and they definitely played tighter on me in the second half, and made sure they kinda knew where I was at all times,” Atwell said.
“We still have to find a way to get through our offence even when the other team turns up the pressure and find a way to get other people shots, and to get flowing still.”
What Saturday night’s game provided was also the first chance for Sami Whitcomb to come back to Perth to play against the Lynx in a Fire uniform, which Atwell did have to look twice to see her in opposition colours.
“Last year obviously a lot of us guarded her every day at training so it wasn’t totally strange playing against her,” Atwell said.
“But it was definitely weird seeing her in different colours so that was a different experience.”