LYNX BEAT FLYERS TO SIT SECOND FOR CHRISTMAS
Perth Lynx head into Christmas in second position in the WNBL and on a three-game winning streak on the back of a terrific second half performance to beat the Southside Flyers 95-85 at Bendat Basketball Centre.
It was a battle for second position between the two teams two days before Christmas and it was a festive atmosphere at Bendat Basketball Centre, and they were treated to a tremendous contest.
And in the end, it was the Lynx who blew the game open in the third quarter on the way to the eventual 10-point win to make it three successive victories and improve to a 7-3 record in second position in the WNBL standings.
Where the game was won
It was blow for blow throughout the first half from the two teams who were fighting for second position in the WNBL leading into Christmas, and at half-time the Lynx led by two points but everything was just about dead even.
It was in the third quarter where the Lynx blew the game wide open and it was Amy Atwell leading the charge. Perth outscored Southside 29 points to 23 for the quarter but that included a 16-2 run from the home team.
Atwell scored 12 of her 27 points alone in the third frame and the Lynx turned that third quarter into the 10-point win on the back of shooting 51 per cent from the field while the defence held firm too.
The Lynx forced the Flyers into 20 turnovers for the game and were able to score 30 points from those while Southside kept themselves in the contest with 15 offensive rebounds for 24 second chance points.
Who the standout performers were
There were plenty of tremendous performers in the win for the Lynx but none better than vice-captain Amy Atwell who finished with 27 points, four steals and two rebounds while knocking down 5/9 from three-point territory.
Aari McDonald continued to strengthen her MVP case with another standout outing too with 25 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals while shooting 11/20 from the field.
Captain Anneli Maley also contributed 15 points and nine rebounds with Emily Potter producing 13 points and 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the WNBL season.
Steph Gorman played a crucial 23 minutes defensively and also had a purple patch offensively in the second quarter with nine points and two rebounds for the game.
Amy Jacobs, Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard, Alex Ciabattoni all scored two points apiece while Miela Goodchild dished out three assists.
Mercedes Russell top-scored for Southside with 20 points and 12 rebounds with Bec Cole adding 19 points and six assists.
How the game played out
It was bucket for bucket early in the game including Amy Atwell hitting her first of five three-pointers for the game for the Lynx, but when the home team put together a 7-0 run they were leading the Flyers 23-16.
Southside responded in kind to score the next nine points, but Perth again hit back with the last four points of the opening period to go into quarter-time narrowly on top 27-25.
The momentum swings continued right up to half-time between two teams battling over second position in the WNBL. The Flyers managed to go up three early in the second frame but the Lynx fired back with the next eight points.
That included five quick ones from defensive dynamo Steph Gorman. She added a second three soon after and that helped Perth lead 48-46 at the main break.
Precious little separated the two teams at the half highlighted by Perth shooting 18/36 from the field and Southside 17/36 while the Lynx went 4/15 from deep and the Flyers 4/11 with both going 8/9 at the charity stripe.
Even the rebounding count was close with the Flyers collecting 20 boards to 18 from the Lynx, but Perth did force Southside into nine turnovers and scored 12 points from those.
The Flyers did get the better of the start to the second half to open up a three-point lead again, but the Lynx answered and it was vice-captain Atwell who was the spark.
Perth would score 16 of 18 points midway through the third period to go from two points behind to leading by 12 and it was Atwell scoring 12 of those points including three triples and one that she turned into a four-point play.
From there, the home team was up 77-69 by three quarter-time and went on with the job in the final stanza to send the home fans happy leading into Christmas.
The Lynx went on a 9-2 run early in the final period to turn a five-point lead into a 12-point advantage and from there would win by 10 including Amy Jacobs scoring late in the contest for her first points in the WNBL.
What’s next for the Lynx
The Lynx will be now sitting in second position on the WNBL table heading into Christmas with the 7-3 record before hosting the bottom placed UC Capitals on Wednesday night back at Bendat Basketball Centre.
That leads into a mouth-watering two-game stand in Townsville against the league-leading defending champion Fire with the first match up on New Year’s Eve and then the next on January 3.
CYGNETT WNBL ROUND 8
PERTH LYNX 95 (Atwell 27, McDonald 25, Maley 15)
SOUTHSIDE FLYERS 85 (Russell 20, Cole 19, Puoch 11)