January 14, 2024 | Perth Lynx news

The Sydney Flames and Perth Lynx put on a terrific spectacle for the Pink Game for the McGrath Foundation at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday with the home team claiming a thrilling 87-84 victory.

With the Flames needing a win to stay in touch of the WNBL top four and the Lynx trying to not only consolidate their position, but stay in the mix of the top two, and it was always going to be a fascinating contest.

The Lynx are still trying to find a way without MVP fancy Aari McDonald with the star point guard sidelined with a knee injury. Despite another strong showing, it was the Flames who managed to win the thriller by three points on Sunday.

The loss leaves the Lynx in fourth position on the WNBL table with a 9-7 record having now lost four of the past five matches.

Where the game was won

It did feel as though the Lynx were playing catch up for a lot of the afternoon at Qudos Bank Arena with Sydney opening up a six-point lead by the end of one.

The Flames were still up by four at half-time, by six at three quarter-time and despite that, the Lynx never gave up the fight and gave themselves a real chance down the stretch.

Perth grabbed the lead on the back of a Miela Goodchild-Amy Atwell 8-0 run with just over three minutes to play, but the Flames scored 10 points to six from there to claim the important three-point victory.

The Flames ended up shooting 50 per cent from the floor to 45 from the Lynx as well as going 10/27 from downtown to 9/30.

The Lynx did well on the glass with 44 rebounds to 32 including 19 offensive boards to 11 for 17 second chance points, but 15 turnovers for Perth were costly and led to 18 Flames points off those.

Who the standout performers were

Amy Atwell continued her outstanding form for the Lynx with another top-scoring performance with 22 points along with four rebounds and three assists on 6/11 shooting from the field, 3/6 from three-point range and 7/9 at the free-throw line.

Emily Potter played just 19 minutes but had 16 points, two rebounds and two steals while Miela Goodchild delivered 14 points and four rebounds, and Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard 13 points and eight boards.

Alex Ciabattoni finished with 11 points and four assists in her on-going starting point guard role with Anneli Maley contributing six points, 13 rebounds and five assists, Teige Morrell two points, and Steph Gorman collecting four rebounds to go with an assist and a steal.

All-time great Cayla George showed how much she still has to give for the Flames with 28 points and 10 rebounds while Paige Bradley added 18 points, Didi Richards 17 and Lauren Nicholson 12.

How the game panned out

The Lynx made an encouraging start on the road with Amy Atwell and Emily Potter combining for the opening eight points and for the 8-5 advantage.

Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard and Anneli Maley also hit threes late in the opening period, but Sydney was warming to the task and by quarter-time managed to lead 24-18 having scored the last eight points.

Perth responded with the opening four points of the second quarter thanks to Maley and Atwell, but Sydney was feeling good and were able to open up a double-figure lead midway through the second stanza.

The Lynx needed to respond heading into the half-time break and they did exactly that starting with three-pointers from Clinch-Hoycard and Miela Goodchild, and by the long break the Sydney lead was back to 45-41.

Sydney did again manage to open a double-digit lead during the third period once more, but again it was Clinch-Hoycard turning the tide with a three-pointer. Atwell was then not only able to hit from beyond the arc, but to convert that into a four-point play.

The Lynx were still in touch with the Flames’ lead back to 67-61 at three quarter-time and they were then able to turn that into a strong that to the final frame.

When Goodchild landed a three-pointer the Sydney lead was back to two points, Atwell then knocked down another to make it a one-point game and then Goodchild scored again to put the Lynx on top with 3:23 to play.

After both teams traded buckets on the back of massive offensive rebounds which kept scores level, Paige Bradley hit a go-ahead three for Sydney with 28 seconds to play.

Perth responded with a couple of strong inside makes from Potter to keep it a one-point game with under 10 seconds to play.

Lauren Nicholson, though, made two free-throws when the Lynx eventually got them to the line when they had to rack up the fouls to get into the bonus.

That left only half a second on the clock and Perth didn’t have a genuine chance at a look and the Flames held on to win 87-84.

What’s next for the Lynx

The Lynx have now lost four of the past five games as they continue to try to make the adjustments in the absence of Aari McDonald.

Next up is a return home to Bendat Basketball Centre for the Lynx to take on the Bendigo Spirit this coming Saturday night before two potentially season-defining road games against the Melbourne Boomers and Southside Flyers.


PERTH LYNX 84 (Atwell 22, Potter 16, Goodchild 14)

SYDNEY FLAMES 87 (George 28, Bradley 18, Richards 17)