LYNX BACK SECOND AS POTTER FIRES AGAINST LIGHTNING
The Perth Lynx returned home on Sunday afternoon and are back in a top two WNBL position with Emily Potter a dominant presence in the emphatic 84-68 victory against the Adelaide Lightning.
The Lynx closed 2023 and opened 2024 with games in Townsville against the league-leading defending champion Fire losing both by a combined 36 points ahead of hosting the Lightning at Bendat Basketball Centre on Sunday.
Still without MVP fancy and dynamic point guard Aari McDonald, the Lynx put in place some of the things worked on in Townsville and produced a strong all-round performance for the 16-point win to improve to a 9-5 record and back in second position on the WNBL table.
Where the game was won
While the Lynx do want to be a three-point shooting team and still got up 29 shots on Sunday, it was more of an inside focus with their size advantage against the Lightning which worked a treat.
With Emily Potter leading the charge, Perth ended up making 20/26 free-throws to 7/10 from Adelaide while outrebounding the Lightning 48 to 42 including 12 at the offensive end for 16 second chance points.
The Lynx also managed 21 points from the 18 Adelaide turnovers for the game while holding the Lightning to shooting 5/32 from three-point territory and going 8/29 themselves.
Who the standout performers were
Whether it was just the match up she liked against Adelaide or spurred on by the frustration of foul trouble limiting her court time on Wednesday night in Townsville, Emily Potter came out on Sunday a woman on a mission.
She dominated the game from the outset and finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and two assists on shooting 9/14 from the floor and 7/8 at the foul line. To top it off, the Lynx were plus-17 in her 22 minutes of court time.
Amy Atwell scored another 14 points to go with four assists for the Lynx along with three steals with captain Anneli Maley producing another 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists.
Miela Goodchild scored another 10 points to go with eight rebounds while Steph Gorman contributed eight points, three assists and three steals, and Alex Ciabattoni four points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds.
Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard also finished with four points, four rebounds and three assists, Ash Hannan three points and six boards, and Chloe Forster two points.
Izzy Borlase produced a career-high 31 points for the Lightning with Issie Bourne contributing 14 points while Brianna Turner collected 17 rebounds.
How the game panned out
Perth made the perfect start and it was Alex Ciabattoni starting her second game as point guard in the absence of Aari McDonald setting the tone with the first four points.
Emily Potter then made it a 6-0 start for the Lynx and the lead was soon 9-2, and then 14-4 after another and-one play from Potter and another bucket from her as she endeavoured to make up for a frustrating game in Townsville on Wednesday with the foul trouble.
When Ash Hannan hit the floor and knocked down a three-pointer, the Lynx were leading 20-7 but to the Lightning’s credit they finished the opening period well to score the last seven points and cut the home team’s lead to 20-14.
Steph Gorman drained another three early in the second term to push the Perth lead back out to nine points but the Lightning were staying in touch to make a game of it in a low-scoring grind.
The Lynx did manage the last six points of the half all coming at the foul line to go into the break leading 37-28 on the back of going 10/14 from the charity stripe to just 2/4 from the Lightning.
Potter enforced herself on the contest again to start the second half with Perth’s opening six points with the lead out to double-figures before Amy Atwell, Anneli Maley and Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard combined for a 6-0 run to strength the lead to 17.
The Lynx were just warming up and closed the third frame with a 13-2 run including three balls from Miela Goodchild and Atwell (four-point play) to be leading 68-49 after three.
From there Adelaide were never able to get closer than 14 points in the final period with the Lynx ending up winning by 16 with Chloe Forster closing out with a couple of free-throws.
What’s next for the Lynx
The Lynx now return to the road to take on the UC Capitals in Canberra on Thursday night before heading straight to Sydney to play the Flames next Sunday before the second last home game of the season against the Bendigo Braves on Saturday January 20.
CYGNETT WNBL ROUND 10
PERTH LYNX 84 (Potter 26, Atwell 14, Maley 13)
ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 68 (Borlase 31, Bourne 14, Willoughby 8)