January 23, 2024 | Perth Lynx news

Perth Lynx captain Anneli Maley has full faith in her team being able to regroup and make a run to the WNBL finals because of their connection and commitment with one another, with fixing up things defensively the focus.

The Lynx slipped outside of the WNBL top four with a 21-point home loss to the Bendigo Spirit on Saturday night which meant they have now lost five of the six matches since star point guard Aari McDonald suffered a knee injury.

While it’s been tough going on the win-loss front for the Lynx, Maley has never had any reason to question their commitment to each other and connection as a group. As a result she remains confident of breaking back into the WNBL top four in time for the finals.

When looking back on Saturday night’s loss to the Spirit and Maley credits Bendigo for playing better on the night, but the Lynx captain is confident of making the necessary mindset shift ahead of playing the Boomers in Melbourne on Wednesday.

“We weren’t good enough and we showed that we could do well at certain points in time, but they were better than us and played harder. We didn’t and it’s that simple,” Maley said.

“There are days where we aren’t as good as the other team and I don’t think we’re not capable of it, we’re capable of being amazing. But we didn’t string 40 minutes together and they have some really talented players, and they beat us.

“I guess it’s an easy fix for us and it’s just a mindset shift. We don’t need to train harder because we train really hard. We don’t need to spend more time together because our culture is really good, we have a brilliant culture and we all support each other.

“It’s more about a mindset shift and that’s something that is easily done and that’s for us to go away and change it, and make sure we change it in time to keep our finals hopes alive.”

The Lynx might have lost four of their past five matches and things aren’t quite going to plan after starting off the season winning eight of the first 11 games, but Maley is taking a view at the bigger picture.

As captain of the team and someone who shows maturity well beyond her years, Maley understands that things in everyone’s life away from the court can have an impact on their basketball, and that not everything is about making your shots or winning games.

In the big picture, Maley is proud of the way her Lynx teammates give their all for the Perth community and take seriously their commitment to who they represent.

Provided they are giving their all and can hold their heads high about the WA basketball community they represent, then Maley will rightfully always walk away standing tall no matter the result.

“There’s basketball and then there’s life, and people have things going on in their life but that’s no excuse for not showing up to do our job,” Maley said.

“Our job is to put the ball in the hoop and to win basketball games, and we didn’t do that and haven’t been doing that. As basketball players, we’re allowed to have down games and we’re just people so I’ve just gone through a slump myself.

“I’m not shooting the ball as well as I want to, but I’m just a human and that happens. I think we need to allow ourselves space to be human beings, but make sure that the slump doesn’t last for too long and pick ourselves up, keep going and support each other the way we have been.

“At the end of the day if we all stick together and support each other, and show the Perth basketball community that no matter we play as hard as we can and work our arse off, and have each other’s back, that’s what sport is about.

“These are 15 sisters out here working together to put a ball in the hoop, but it’s bigger than basketball and it’s about the Perth community. If we continue to show that then there’s no negative to come out of this season.”

When reflecting on what the Lynx need to do to get back to winning starting Wednesday night in Melbourne against the Boomers, it’s not so much about rising the level of their play, but making the right adjustments.

Maley would never question that the team is putting in the work and loves the connection they have with one another. At the end of the day, it’s all about putting in the required effort at the defensive end that is going to be key to breaking back into the top four.

“It’s not the level, we just have to adjust style. We have 12, when they are all suited up, brilliant athletes but they’re no Aari McDonald and they are different,” Maley said.

“Chibba brings a post up presence that Aari doesn’t, Miela brings a panache that Aari doesn’t so everyone has their strengths. We just need to adjust to a new style and we haven’t yet. That’s not on the coaching staff, that’s on us as players to make it work.

“They can only do so much and can only go through so much scout, but in this game it wasn’t our offence that hurt us. It was our defence. In most games, we are scoring enough points and our D is horrendous, it’s horrid.

“That’s not an Aari McDonald problem, that’s an us problem and a problem for all of us. We’re not putting our best foot forward defensively and that’s what is hurting us.

“Obviously not having Aari sucks, but are we just going to ride out a whole season and saying we didn’t do well because we didn’t have Aari? No, we need to adjust and we are capable of it, 100 per cent. I know that we are capable of it, we just need to make the change.”