March 20, 2022 | Perth Lynx news

The Perth Lynx couldn’t quite close out the Townsville Fire to claim top spot in the WNBL to end the regular season but they now turn their attention to the semi-final series starting this week.

The Lynx had the chance to secure the regular season championship with a win at Townsville Entertainment Centre on Sunday in the final game of the WNBL season, but it was never going to be an easy task.

The Fire were strongly motivated to rewarded their fans with a win to close what has been a tough season for them. They also knew the pressure the Lynx would be feeling knowing they needed to win to retain that top spot.

It was a tight contest most of the way but the Lynx never quite got going at any stage how they would have hoped. In the end, the game was sealed with three successive driving layups from Steph Reid in the final three minutes.

That was enough for Townsville to secure the 76-69 victory but the Lynx will now turn their attention to the playoffs. They will enter from second position having finished the regular season with an 11-5 record with Game 1 against the UC Capitals at home on Thursday night.

Jackie Young closed out the regular season with another tremendous performance for the Lynx finishing with 26 points, five rebounds, two assist and two blocked shots.

Sami Whitcomb added 16 points and five rebounds for Perth, captain Darcee Garbin 10 points and eight boards, and Marina Mabrey nine points, two rebounds and two assists.

Alex Sharp contributed five points and four rebounds, Emma Gandini three points and four boards, and Lauren Scherf nine rebounds and two blocks despite failing to score on just two shot attempts.

Despite only running a six-person rotation for the game, the Fire finished their season with the impressive win with Steph Reid top-scoring with 23 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. Zitina Aokuso also had 13 points and 15 boards.

It was a pretty good start from the Lynx with five quick points to Jackie Young and then a Marina Mabrey bucket for the 7-4 lead, but the Fire responded well and by quarter-time led 18-13 having finished the period scoring nine of the last 11 points.

Perth got back into the contest early in the second term with a couple of buckets from Young before three free-throws from Mabrey. By the time Sami Whitcomb broke the Lynx’s run of nine three-point misses by connecting from downtown, the visitors were up 30-27.

Mabrey then also nailed a three and by half-time the Lynx were clinging to a 38-37 advantage.

Perth opened up the second half on fire beginning with Whitcomb hitting again from the land of plenty. Young then added five quick points and suddenly the Lynx were in control leading by a game-high nine points.

It wouldn’t last, though, and the Fire worked back into including hitting the next eight points. However, by three quarter-time, Perth still led 53-52 thanks to late triples by Darcee Garbin and Alex Sharp.

It was all on the line in the fourth quarter but signs were good for the Lynx after a three-point play from Whitcomb and basket to Young for the 62-59 lead.

However, Townsville took the game over from there and scored 17 of the next 21 points in the game to turn a three-point deficit into a match-winning 10-point lead with under a minute to go.

The Lynx will now take on the University of Canberra Capitals in the semi finals with Game 1 at Bendat Basketball Centre on Thursday night. Game 2 will be Sunday in Canberra and then if required, Game 3 back in Perth the following Thursday.


PERTH LYNX 69 (Young 26, Whitcomb 16, Garbin 10)

TOWNSVILLE FIRE 76 (Reid 23, Aokuso 13, Woods 11)