LYNX HIT BACK TO HAND BOOMERS FIRST LOSS
The Perth Lynx were in familiar territory after a terrific first half and then Anneli Maley was enormous in the fourth quarter to see her team hand the Melbourne Boomers a first loss of the WNBL season, winning 80-63.
The Lynx opened the 2023/24 WNBL season winning the first three matches at home to the Sydney Flames, Adelaide Lightning and Bendigo Spirit before producing two terrific first half displays away to the Southside Flyers and home to the Townsville Fire.
However, on both occasions the Lynx were overrun by powerful opposition and Sunday’s game at Parkville’s Melbourne Sports Centre looked heading down a similar path when Perth’s 14-point half-time lead evaporated in the third quarter.
It wasn’t to be and the Lynx outscored the previously unbeaten Boomers 24 points to 10 in the final stanza for the 17-point win to improve to a 4-2 record.
Where the game was won
The Lynx produced a tremendous first half performance including starting the second quarter with scoring 18 of the first 22 points to lead 42-28 at half-time having held the Boomers to 23 per cent field goal shooting.
However, first halves against both Southside and Townsville in the last two games weren’t the concern. It was being overrun after half-time where the problems lied and the signs were worrying again in the third quarter when the Boomers drew level.
To the Lynx’s immense credit, this time they found a way to work back on top and it was the poise of Aari McDonald with ball in hands and then the irrepressible energy and offensive rebounding of Anneli Maley that was crucial.
Not only that, Maley hit three game defying three-point daggers in the fourth quarter to seal the eventual win that is a huge confidence boost for the Lynx against a team previously undefeated this WNBL season.
Who the standout performers were
The Lynx had plenty of standout performers throughout the afternoon and at different points in the game, which made them mighty hard to stop.
It was Miela Goodchild and Emily Potter combining for 24 points in the first half but then it was Aari McDonald and Anneli Maley who came up huge in the second half to secure the win.
In the end, McDonald top-scored for Perth with 21 points to go with nine assists and five rebounds with Maley contributing 17 points and 17 rebounds, including seven crucial ones at the offensive end.
Potter ended the game with 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocks as well while Goodchild had 15 points on 3/6 three-point shooting.
Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard chimed in with eight points, four rebounds and two assists and while Amy Atwell had just three points on 1/12 shooting, she contributed strongly with four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Jordin Canada top-scored for Melbourne with 21 points to go with five rebounds, five assists and five steals. Sara Blicavs added 12 points and eight rebounds, and Keely Froling 11 points and 13 boards.
How the game panned out
It was a tight start to the contest with the Lynx getting on the board first from Emily Potter and Miela Goodchild with the latter soon adding a three ball as well. Those two combined for Perth’s first 11 points of the game.
Anneli Maley added a three ball heading towards three quarter-time before Potter added three points more to give her seven in the quarter and scores were all square at 19-19 at the break.
The Lynx were able to make a stunning start to the second quarter beginning with two buckets to Potter before Goodchild continued to roll with another three-point bomb.
She knocked down another soon after to give Perth the 12-2 start to the quarter to lead by 10, and that advantage quickly grew to 14 thanks to consecutive three-point makes from Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard with just over three minutes to go in the half.
Aari McDonald added Perth’s seventh three of the half to see her team go into the break leading 42-28 on the back holding Melbourne to 23 per cent field goal shooting and just four second chance points despite their 16 offensive rebounds.
The Lynx lead got out to 15 early in the third quarter with a McDonald three ball, but with the memories of the last two games after having strong leads, Perth knew that the unbeaten Boomers were going to make a charge.
That’s what happened the rest of the third quarter and Melbourne was even able to draw level after going on a 7-0 run, but a late Amy Atwell triple saw the Lynx still leading 56-53 by three quarter-time.
A three-point play to McDonald was handy to start the fourth quarter before captain Anneli Maley hit the next five points to push the advantage back out to eight. She was feeling it and then knocked down two more from beyond the arc.
That suddenly had the margin out to 12 and from there the Lynx weren’t going to be denied again and went on to score the 17-point win to hand the Boomers their first defeat of the season.
What’s next for the Lynx
The two teams now do it all again on Thursday night back in Perth at Bendat Basketball Centre.
Following that for the Lynx, it’s a road game against the Adelaide Lightning next Sunday before three consecutive home matches to the Sydney Flames, Southside Flyers and UC Capitals either side of Christmas.
CYGNETT WNBL ROUND 5
PERTH LYNX 80 (McDonald 21, Maley 17, Potter 16)
MELBOURNE BOOMERS 63 (Canada 21, Blicavs 12, Froling 11)