Chloe Bibby produced a glimpse as to just how good she can be on her return to the WNBL this season but it wasn’t quite enough for the Perth Lynx to overcome a deep and experienced Bendigo Spirit who prevailed 85-66.
The Lynx had already played in the season-opener on Wednesday night at Bendat Basketball Centre for a 16-point loss to the Melbourne Boomers ahead of making the trip to take on the Spirit on Sunday at Red Energy Arena.
The Spirit were fresh off beating the UC Capitals by 20 points on Friday and with a star-studded and experienced line-up raced out to a 10-2 lead. Despite the Lynx making a couple of runs throughout the afternoon inspired by Bibby, it wasn’t to be.
Bendigo went on to win by 19 points on their home floor even though the Lynx did win the rebounding count 48 to 39 including pulling down 11 offensive rebounds to five for 10 second chance points to five.
Bibby was the star of the afternoon for the Lynx putting up 28 points in her 33 minutes of court time on the back of shooting 12/19 from the floor and 3/6 from three-point territory.
While Bibby delivered a standout performance, unfortunately captain Sami Whitcomb couldn’t quite back up her 30-point performance from Wednesday night with just the four points on 2/13 shooting.
However, Alex Sharp stepped up for 11 points and 12 rebounds with Robbi Ryan contributing eight points, four rebounds and four assists, Amy Atwell five points and three boards, and Tayah Burrows five points and three assists.
Lauren Scherf finished with three points, 11 rebounds and four assists with Jessie Edwards contributing two points, two boards and a block.
Megan McKay delivered 20 points for Bendigo while Anneli Maley contributed 19 points and 12 rebounds, Abbey Wehrung 13 points, four boards and three assists, Ally Wilson 13 points and two assists, and Kelsey Griffin 11 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds.
How the game panned out
Playing their first game of the WNBL season, the Spirit came out inspired with the first three points to Megan McKay and then a triple from Kelsey Griffin for the 6-0 start.
Robbi Ryan put the Lynx on the board but then five quick points to Anneli Maley saw Bendigo lead 8-2 in the opening stages.
Triples then from Ally Wilson and Griffin pushed the Spirit lead out to 17-7 but Perth was able to finish the quarter strongly with an 8-0 run with Chloe Bibby scoring four of those points.
Bibby opened up the second quarter with a three-pointer to give the Lynx a lead for the first time in the game, but it didn’t last long with the Spirit responding with their own three balls from Griffin and Abbey Wehrung.
Perth hit back, though, and scored the next seven points with field goals to Ryan, Alex Sharp and Amy Atwell to see the visitors open up a 25-23 lead.
However, the swings continued with Bendigo taking charge to score the next 16 points to end up taking a 17-point advantage into the half-time break on their home floor.
The Lynx opened up the second half with five straight points from Bibby, and soon after she sparked another 6-0 run with the first four points to keep the deficit at 10 points.
Triples late in the third quarter from Lauren Scherf and Sharp meant the Lynx were still in touch too trailing the Spirit by just 11 going into the fourth.
The Spirit hit the first five points of the fourth quarter to push that lead back out to 16, though. Despite the best efforts of Bibby who added another seven points in quick time for the Lynx, Bendigo continued to push the lead out.
It got to as much as 22 points late in the piece before the Spirit went on to secure the 19-point victory.
The Lynx are now back home at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night to play host to the UC Capitals from 6.30pm hunting their first win of the WNBL season.
CYGNETT WNBL ROUND 1
PERTH LYNX 66 (Bibby 28, Sharp 11, Ryan 8)
BENDIGO SPIRIT 85 (McKay 20, Maley 19, Wilson 13, Wehrung 13)