January 20, 2024 | Perth Lynx news

Perth Lynx have gone down to the Bendigo Spirit 95-74 on Saturday night at Bendat Basketball Centre in the second last home game of the season with just four matches left to secure a WNBL finals spot.

Going back three weeks and the Lynx were more in the battle for a top two spot than just a finals position, but things have taken a turn since the knee injury suffered by MVP fancy Aari McDonald back in the December 27 win against the UC Capitals.

With Saturday night’s loss at home to the Spirit, the Lynx have now lost five of the past six matches since that win against the Caps and now there is plenty of work to be done just to make the top four.

The Lynx have slipped to a 9-8 record on the season to have fallen outside the top four for the first time of the campaign to be behind the Sydney Flames (10-8), Southside Flyers (9-6), Melbourne Boomers (10-6) and Townsville Fire (12-5).

Where the game was won

The Lynx had plenty of work to do at half-time but had done well to limit the Spirit lead to eight points at the break despite shooting just 34 per cent from the field and going 2/16 at the three-point line.

In contrast, the Spirit were on fire shooting at 61 per cent from the floor but the Lynx did well getting to the line going 12/13 to Bendigo’s 6/8.

After falling down double-figures again early in the third quarter, the Lynx built real momentum for the first time in the game going into three quarter-time on the back of three consecutive triples to cut the deficit to three.

However, they couldn’t go on with it and the Spirit continued to have all the answers led by Mehryn Kraker who enjoyed her return to Perth as Bendigo claimed the 21-point win.

The Spirit finished up shooting 54 per cent from the field to 37 from the Lynx while making 12/27 from downtown opposed to 8/26.

On top of that, Bendigo scored 42 points in the paint to 24 from Perth but the Lynx did score 15 second chance points on 11 offensive rebounds.

Who the standout performers were

Canadian centre Emily Potter once again top-scored for the Lynx with 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Miela Goodchild had an impressive shooting night going 4/7 from behind the three-point arc on her way to 19 points along with six rebounds and six assists.

Captain Anneli Maley added 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, Amy Atwell 12 points and five boards, Teige Morrell three points and a steal, Steph Gorman three points and two rebounds, and Alex Ciabattoni two points, four boards, three assists and a steal.

Mehryn Kraker is no stranger to Perth having played the past two seasons in the NBL1 West at the Rockingham Flames. She enjoyed her return with 27 points on 8/10 three-point shooting.

Ally Wilson also had 15 points and 13 assists, Ruth Davis 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Alicia Froling 12 points and five boards.

How the game panned out

Alex Ciabattoni opened the game’s scoring for the Lynx as she continues to start as point guard in the absence of Aari McDonald, but the Spirit scored nine of the next 11 points to open up a 9-4 lead.

Anneli Maley settled Perth with a three-point play and Emily Potter made a couple of strong buckets inside, and Miela Goodchild knocked down a three-pointer to make it a one-point game late in the first term.

But then the Spirit finished the better with the last six points including a triple from Mehryn Kraker as the visitors took the 28-21 lead by quarter-time.

Bendigo’s lead grew to double-figures early in the second frame as well but it was Potter doing her best to keep the Lynx in the contest. She scored her team’s first eight points of the quarter but the margin still got out to 16 points.

However, Perth did finish the half scoring 10 of the last 12 points with Maley hitting the first five and Goodchild the next five to cut the Bendigo lead to 48-40 by the main break.

The Spirit were able to extend their lead back out to 14 points early in the second half, but the Lynx built some momentum going into three quarter-time just as the game was slipping from their grasp.

Amy Atwell and Goodchild got things rolling with three balls before Perth hit the last 10 points of the period on the back of three-point bombs from Atwell (two) and Steph Gorman.

That cut the Spirit lead to just 65-62 by three quarter-time but Bendigo turned the tide once more to start the final quarter with the first 10 points.

That included back-to-back three-pointers from Kraker and this time there would be no comeback from the Lynx with the Spirit winning in Perth for the first time in seven years to the tune of 21 points.

What’s next for the Lynx

The Lynx now have just four games of the regular season remaining and only one of those is home at Bendat Basketball Centre, which is on February 18 against the University of Canberra Capitals.

Next up is an away clash with the Melbourne Boomers on Wednesday night before playing the Southside Flyers a week later also in Melbourne.


PERTH LYNX 74 (Potter 20, Goodchild 19, Maley 15)

BENDIGO SPIRIT 95 (Kraker 27, A Wilson 15, Davis 15)