LYNX’S WINNING RUN ENDS AT HANDS OF FIRE
The Perth Lynx shook off falling down 22 points in the second quarter to grab the lead on Wednesday night back at Bendat Basketball Centre early in the fourth, but the Townsville Fire responded again to win 91-81.
The Lynx returned home on a seven-game winning streak to have terrific momentum but a slow start and conceding a streak of the Fire scoring 23 of 25 points during the second quarter proved too much.
Even though Perth made their own 13-0 run to grab the lead early in the fourth term, the Fire continued to have the answers to win a game crucial to both teams’ finals chances.
How the game was won
It was a game of runs from both teams throughout the night but ultimately the Fire going on a 23-2 streak through the middle parts of the second quarter is where the game was blown open.
The Lynx did well going into half-time to bounce back with 12 of the last 18 points, and then 13 straight points either side of three quarter-time saw the home team grab the lead early in the fourth term.
However, Townsville soon scored 10 straight points to go back up double-figures and with Shyla Heal nailing a couple of big shots in her first appearance of the season with the Fire having crossed from the Sydney Flames, the Fire went on to win by 10.
The result improves the Fire to an 11-4 record on the season to consolidate their top four spot. The Lynx’s seven-game winning run ended with them now 9-6 with six games remaining and wins required in just about all of them to break into the top four.
Who the standout performers were
Robbi Ryan continued her season-best form for the Lynx backing up her Team of the Week performance with another 21 points, two rebounds and two steals on 9/15 shooting from the floor and 3/5 from three-point territory.
Lauren Scherf added 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals, Chloe Bibby 10 points and three rebounds, and returning captain Sami Whitcomb nine points, five assists and four rebounds.
Alex Sharp also finished with eight points and 10 rebounds, Emma Gandini six points, an assist and a steal, Tayah Burrows four points, and Amy Atwell four points four points and four rebounds.
Karlie Samuelson scored 21 of her 26 points for the game for the Fire with Courtney Woods adding 20 points and six rebounds, Tianna Hawkins 15 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, Mikaela Ruef 13 points and 12 boards, and Shyla Heal seven points, three rebounds and two assists.
What happened throughout the night
While Townsville scored the game’s first four points, Perth soon worked into thanks to a three-pointer from Robbi Ryan and then another basketball from fellow Round 12 Team of the Week member Amy Atwell.
Karlie Samuelson was on fire for the Fire and she raced to 12 points already with the Fire leading 14-9, but five quick points each firstly from Lauren Scherf and then Sami Whitcomb for the Lynx cut Townsville’s lead to 22-21 by quarter-time.
Alex Sharp opened up the second period with a three-pointer to put Perth in front but then the Fire turned the game on its head scoring the next 12 points.
By the time four minutes had expired in the second term, Townsville was leading 34-24 and then even though Scherf got a steadying bucket for Perth, there was no let up from the Fire.
They would go on to score the next 13 points as well including a pair of threes to Samuelson to take her to 21 first half points. Tianna Hawks scored the seven points in that run to also go to 13 by half-time.
However, the Lynx were able to wrest back some of the momentum before half-time and it was Emma Gandini who was the spark. Her full-court defence helped force some backcourt turnovers and she also hit a pair of three-pointers for the Lynx.
That helped Perth close the half on a 12-6 run but it was still the Fire leading 53-38 at the main break.
Even midway through the third quarter and the Fire were still in control leading by 16 but the Lynx kept on coming and closed the third quarter with a 14-2 run to set up a thrilling finish.
Chloe Bibby scored six of those points for the Lynx after a scoreless first half and the Lynx were looking to keep the momentum going into the fourth.
Ryan came out on fire to start that last quarter with the Lynx’s opening seven points to put the home team in front, but they couldn’t stay there.
With scores tied at 69-69, Townsville scored the next 10 points to break the game wide open including three-pointers to Samuelson and Courtney Woods, and then a mid-range jumper to Shyla Heal.
Not long after and Heal hit a dagger three to cap off her first appearance this season with the Fire just hours after her signing was confirmed. The Lynx couldn’t mount one last comeback to end up losing the match up by 10.
What’s next for the Lynx
Both teams do it all again at the same venue at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night with the fight continuing over a playoff position.
After Saturday night, the Lynx don’t play again until two road games to the Adelaide Lightning and Southside Flyers on Thursday February 16 and Sunday February 19.
The final home game of the regular season is then on Friday February 25 against the Bendigo Spirit before road clashes with the Adelaide Lightning and Canberra Capitals.
CYGNETT WNBL ROUND 13
PERTH LYNX 81 (Ryan 21, Scherf 13, Bibby 10)
TOWNSVILLE FIRE 91 (Samuelson 26, Woods 20, Hawkins 15)