MCDONALD SPARKS LYNX TO COMEBACK OT WIN
Aari McDonald was brilliant, Anneli Maley inspirational and Amy Atwell hit huge shots as Perth Lynx pulled off a stunning come from behind 98-95 overtime victory against the Adelaide Lightning on Sunday.
The Lynx arrived at the Adelaide 36ers Arena for the Sunday WNBL match up looking to hit back from a tough 31-point home loss at the hands of the league-leading Melbourne Boomers on Thursday night.
Perth might have found themselves 20 points down to the Lightning in the first half, but fought back valiantly in the second half to force the game to overtime, and then score six of the game’s last seven points for the three-point victory to improve to 5-3 on the season.
Where the game was won
The Lynx have made it a trend in recent weeks of being a fast starting team and building big leads in the first half. That saw them having those leads run down against the Southside Flyers and Townsville Fire, but then responding in Melbourne last Sunday to hand the Boomers their first defeat.
It was the opposite story against Adelaide on Sunday with the Lightning building a 20-point lead in the first half and going into the half-time break leading 49-36.
This time it was the Lynx’s turn to fire back and they cut the lead to seven by three quarter-time, and then it was Aari McDonald who put the team on her back. She scored nine straight points midway through the fourth quarter to cut the margin to two.
It was massive three-point shots late from Anneli Maley and Amy Atwell that helped force the game to overtime, and then in the extra period, the Lynx finished the better at both ends of the floor to end on a 6-1 run to claim the win.
The Lynx ended up going 28/37 at the foul line opposed to 10/12 for Adelaide while they also did better taking care of the ball with just 12 turnovers and also had 18 offensive rebounds which they converted to 16 second chance points.
Who the standout performers were
It was a stunning all-round performance from Lynx import point guard Aari McDonald. She again showed why she’s in the MVP discussion this WNBL season on the back of 35 points and three assists on the back of shooting 12/24 from the floor, 4/12 from downtown and 7/9 at the free-throw line.
Captain Anneli Maley again came up huge again for Perth too finishing with 22 points, 15 rebounds and three assists while vice-captain Amy Atwell delivered 17 points, five assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
There were plenty more contributors as well with Emily Potter producing seven points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists while Alex Ciabattoni ended up with six points, two boards and two assists, Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard six points and eight rebounds, Miela Goodchild three points and two boards, and Steph Gorman two points, three rebounds and two steals.
Jocelyn Willoughby and Lauren Mansfield both scored 23 points for Adelaide with Issie Bourne adding 22, Izzy Borlase 13 and Tayla Brazel 10.
How the game panned out
Izzy Borlase opened the game’s scoring for Adelaide beginning a 7-0 run for the home team before Perth scored the next six points starting with three from Emily Potter, and then a three-point make from Aari McDonald.
It was the Lightning’s turn again to score eight consecutive points before the Lynx had the next five with a bucket to Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard and then triple from Amy Atwell but Adelaide responded again to go into quarter-time leading 26-13.
By early in the second quarter Perth found themselves down by 19 points as well and it was a long road back, but the Lynx did begin to make some inroads before half-time finishing the second quarter with a 16-9 run to cut Adelaide’s lead to 49-36.
McDonald and Atwell had combined for 21 points for the Lynx but shooting 32 per cent from the field and going 3/19 from three-point range made life difficult for the Lynx as did the 57 per cent shooting for Adelaide and Jocelyn Willoughby and Issie Bourne combining for 30 points.
Perth needed a good start to the second half and got that with five quick points made up from Miela Goodchild and Potter. Maley and Atwell then combined for four points as part of a 9-2 start to the half, and by three quarter-time the Lynx had cut the Lightning lead to 68-61.
While the Lynx still had work to do, the stage was set for a big final stanza and after Lauren Mansfield pushed Adelaide’s lead back out to 11, McDonald took control for the Lynx scoring the next nine points that included an and-one play and a three-point basket.
That had Perth back within two points with five minutes to play and suddenly when Maley hit from downtown with 2:30 on the clock scores were all tied at 82-apiece.
Maley scored again with a minute to play to bring the Lynx back within a point before Mansfield scored for Adelaide to give the home team the 88-85 edge with 37.5 seconds to go.
A brilliant drive and dish out pass from McDonald found Atwell at the three-point line, she knocked it down to tie scores up and that’s where things stayed as regulation expired.
Manfield landed a three to give Adelaide the perfect start to the overtime period but then Maley and Steph Gorman responded with baskets for Perth.
The Lightning were soon back up by two when Borlase landed from downtown, but it was all the Lynx from there in the last two minutes starting with a pair of free-throws to Atwell.
McDonald then hit a massive triple with 27 seconds to go before Maley iced the game at the foul line for the memorable come from behind overtime victory.
What’s next for the Lynx
The Lynx now return home to Bendat Basketball Centre for a three-game stand either side of Christmas starting this Wednesday night against the Sydney Flames.
That’s followed by the Southside Flyers on Saturday December 23 before taking on the UC Capitals four days later.
CYGNETT WNBL ROUND 6
PERTH LYNX 98 (McDonald 35, Maley 22, Atwell 17)
ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 95 (Willoughby 23, Mansfield 23, Bourne 22)