LYNX OVERPOWERED AT HOME BY FIRE
It was the third quarter when the defending champion Townsville Fire got rolling, and that was enough to turn the tide in their favour for the eventual 92-76 victory against the Perth Lynx on Saturday night.
The Lynx were back home at Bendat Basketball Centre fresh off a heartbreaking road loss in Melbourne to the Southside Flyers on Wednesday while Townsville had also already played this weekend with an emphatic win in Adelaide over the Lightning on Thursday.
The game was also the rematch of the semi finals from last season with Townsville going on to win the WNBL championships and also marked the first time for Sami Whitcomb to play for the Fire against her former Lynx team.
Where the game was won
The Lynx started strongly against the defending champions and did plenty right throughout the first half leading by as much as 11 just before half-time on the back 21 points from Amy Atwell and thanks to shooting 7/13 from downtown and 53 per cent overall.
However, the Fire turned the tide in the third quarter and scored 28 of the first 33 points while forcing the Lynx into seven turnovers.
That’s where the game was won with Townsville turning an 11-point deficit late in the second quarter to their own 19-point advantage by late in the third on the way to the eventual 16-point win away from home.
Who the standout performers were
Amy Atwell was on fire in the first half for Lynx and finished the night with 25 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals while knocking down 4/7 from behind the three-point line and 7/7 at the charity stripe.
Emily Potter battled hard inside for Perth to end up with 18 points and six rebounds on 7/10 shooting with Miela Goodchild continuing her good form with 14 points and three assists on 6/8 shooting including making both her three-point attempts.
Captain Anneli Maley finished with six points, 10 rebounds and three assists with Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard contributing six points and six boards, Aari McDonald four points and seven assists, and Ash Hannan two points and two rebounds.
Zitina Aokuso top-scored for Townsville with 18 points to go with eight rebounds and three assists with Cassandra Brown adding 16 points, Alice Kunek 13 points and Mikaela Ruef 12 while former Lynx captain Sami Whitcomb had 11 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals.
How the game panned out
Amy Atwell opened the scoring for the Lynx and managed her team’s first five points, but it was Alice Kunek feeling good for the Fire and she hit two early three-pointers.
Miela Goodchild helped the Lynx respond with five points of her own as part of a 7-0 run before a pair of three-pointers from Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard kept the home team narrowly in front.
Kunek hit a couple more long jumpers for Townsville with a foot on the line, but by quarter-time it was the Lynx leading 23-22 on the back of going 4/6 from deep despite both teams combining for 13 turnovers.
It was a hot start to the second quarter from the Lynx beginning with two more three-point bombs from Atwell before an offensive rebounded ended up with Anneli Maley making a tough bucket for an eight-point lead with Shannon Seebohm calling for time.
The Fire did come out and score the next five points immediately but the Lynx responded and five more points to Atwell including another three ball saw the lead back out to eight.
It grew to 11 with three free-throws to Atwell to give her 21 points to half-time but Townsville ended the half well including three-pointers to Cassandra Brown, Jess McDowell-White and Courtney Woods.
The Lynx were still leading 49-45 at the break with some hot shooting with Perth going 53 per cent overall with 7/13 from behind the three-point line. Townsville also shot 52 per cent and made 6/11 from three.
The momentum Townsville finished the first half with continued to start the second with the opening eight points in two minutes with Ryan Petrik going for the quick timeout with the Lynx falling four points down.
While Perth responded immediately with a three-point play from Potter, it didn’t turn the tide and Townsville scored another nine straight points to be leading by 10 and Petrik had to call a second timeout in less than five minutes of the half.
That didn’t slow up the Fire either and they added three more triples as part of an 11-0 run to open up a 19-point lead. Perth did at least finish the third quarter with the last five points to stay within 14 but the seven turnovers for the frame were costly.
The Lynx weren’t really able to make any inroads throughout the fourth quarter although late in the piece newly signed development player Sarah Allen did make her WNBL debut, but Townsville went on to win by 16 having won the second half 47 points to 27.
What’s next for the Lynx
The next two games for the Lynx are against the undefeated Melbourne Boomers starting next Sunday on the road before the return encounter at the Bendat Basketball Centre four days later on Thursday December 7.
CYGNETT WNBL ROUND 4
PERTH LYNX 76 (Atwell 25, Potter 18, Goodchild 14)
TOWNSVILLE FIRE 92 (Aokuso 18, Brown 16, Kunek 13)