January 11, 2024 | Perth Lynx news

Winning minus Aari McDonald was always going to be a challenge for Perth Lynx with a hectic WNBL schedule thrown in on top and they couldn’t quite complete the job in the nation’s capital with the UC Capitals winning 81-75.

The Lynx were back on the road just four days after a strong home win against the Adelaide Lightning but still without superstar point guard McDonald who is out with a knee injury, even against the bottom placed team it was going to be a challenge.

Canberra was also boosted by a last up win against the Southside Flyers so they rose to the challenge to beat another top four team on Thursday night. The Caps finished the better to claim the six-point victory to get off the bottom of the WNBL table while the Lynx are now 9-6 with the defeat.

Where the game was won

It was a game of runs in the first half with the Capitals racing out to an 11-2 opening but the Lynx finished the first quarter on their own 15-6 run, and then scoring another 11 consecutive points in the second period.

However, by half-time Canberra were leading 37-36 before the Lynx opened up another eight-point advantage in the third quarter. It was the Caps who had more gas in the tank, though, as they outscored the Lynx 25 points to 16 in the fourth quarter to claim the win.

Understandably there were signs of fatigue from the Lynx with the Capitals outrebounding them 52 to 40 including 15 offensive boards for 12 second chance points.

Canberra also made 11/28 from three-point territory while the Lynx went just 6/19 but they did get to the foul line double the times and went 15/18 from those attempts.

Who the standout performers were

Amy Atwell continued her tremendous form this season for the Lynx as she continued to be fearless in her shot attempts and the way she attacks on the offensive end.

She finished the night with another 29 points on the back of shooting 8/18 from the floor, 4/12 from deep and 9/11 at the free-throw line.

Perth captain Anneli Maley fought valiantly for 12 points, 12 rebounds and three assists while Canadian centre Emily Potter contributed 10 points, 12 boards and two assists.

Alex Ciabattoni continues to do well with her increased role in the absence of Aari McDonald. She had another nine points, four assists and two rebounds in almost 28 minutes of court time.

Teige Morrell also scored six points for Perth while Meila Goodchild had four points and three rebounds, Steph Gorman three points and a rebound, and Chloe Forster two points.

Former Lynx forward Alex Sharp put up 25 points and 19 rebounds for the Capitals with Jade Melbourne adding 24 points, eight boards and eight assists.

How the game played out

It was the Capitals who made the strong start on their home floor racing to an 11-2 beginning with the last four of those points courtesy of former Lynx forward Alex Sharp.

The Lynx had to dig deep and did that for the rest of the opening stanza starting with a bucket to Emily Potter. Amy Atwell then knocked down consecutive three-pointers before Atwell added five more points as part of a 7-0 run to close out the period to see Perth lead 19-17.

Sharp pushed Canberra back into the lead to start the second quarter with five quick points and it was a second term full of runs for either side.

The Lynx hit back with 11 straight points of their own started by captain Anneli Maley before another triple from Atwell before Teige Morrell completed the 11-0 run to see Perth turn a three-point deficit into an eight-point led.

However, Canberra responded and the home team went on their own 14-2 run from there and that saw the Caps go from eight points down to four points up, and still leading 37-36 by the half-time break.

At the interval, Sharp had 14 points and 13 rebounds against her old team for the Capitals while they pulled down 29 rebounds to 20 from the Lynx, and 10 to one at the offensive boards.

Atwell was doing all she could to keep the Lynx in the contest with 18 points on 3/6 three-point shooting.

The Lynx came out to start the second half in fine fashion with the first seven points with four of those from Maley and the other three coming from downtown for Alex Ciabattoni.

Steph Gorman was able to stretch that Perth lead to seven shortly after and Chloe Forster made it eight, but the Caps weren’t going away and by three quarter-time the lead for the Lynx was cut back to 59-56.

Perth was still holding on to a four-point lead with 4:30 to play when Atwell scored again but Canberra were a team on a mission. A pair of three-pointers from Gemma Potter and another from Monica Okoye saw the Caps grab the lead with just over two minutes to play.

While Atwell hit a pair of free-throws and Ciabattoni scored on a strong play inside in the last couple of minutes to bring it back to a one-point game on both occasions, Canberra kept having the answers and a huge three from Jade Melbourne was the one that iced the win for the home team.

What’s next for the Lynx

The Lynx remain on the road to take on the Sydney Flames on Sunday afternoon at Qudos Bank Arena before returning home to host the Bendigo Spirit for the second last game at Bendat Basketball Centre of the season next Saturday night.


PERTH LYNX 81 (Atwell 29, Maley 12, Potter 10)

UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA CAPITALS 75 (Sharp 25, Melbourne 24, Potter 11)