MCDONALD INSPIRES LYNX TO COMEBACK VICTORY
A game breaking 15-0 fourth quarter run inspired by WNBA point guard Aari McDonald has kept the Perth Lynx undefeated to start the WNBL season with the 92-85 Saturday night victory against the Adelaide Lightning.
The Lynx opened the WNBL season beating the Sydney Flames 85-71 last Friday night and were back at Bendat Basketball Centre to host the Lightning on Saturday.
Where the game was won
After a seesawing affair including both teams having the turn with the lead and momentum in the third quarter, the Lynx were staring down the barrel of a first loss of the season early in the fourth period with the Lightning leading 79-72.
That’s when the Lynx made their move and it was dynamic point guard Aari McDonald the inspiration behind it. Perth would score the game’s next 15 points to go from trailing by seven to leading by eight, and going on to win by seven.
It was McDonald at the centre of it all scoring seven of those points in the 15-0 run before adding another dagger three-pointer and on the back of that the Lynx overcame the Lightning to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Who the standout performers were
It was a brilliant performance by the No. 3 WNBA Draft pick from 2021 with Aari McDonald inspiring the Lynx to the come from behind victory and finishing with 29 points, 11 assists and five steals on the back of shooting 12/22 from the field and 3/8 from three-point territory.
She had plenty of help too with captain Anneli Maley putting together another 17 points, 13 rebounds and four steals with vice-captain Amy Atwell delivering 17 points, four boards and two steals.
Canadian centre Emily Potter also had 13 points, 10 rebounds and two assists and reigning NBL1 West Best Defensive Player Steph Gorman stepped up to hit some huge shots in her eight points, two rebounds and two steals.
Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard added six points and Miela Goodchild two points.
There were some strong performances from Lightning players too with Izzy Borlase finishing with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Issie Bourne also had 14 points, Brianna Turner 14 points and 23 rebounds, and former Lynx guard Lauren Mansfield 11 points and five assists.
How the game panned out
Adelaide came out scoring the first four points of the game but Perth responded thanks to Anneli Maley with the next four points, and then took the lead through Emily Potter.
Vice-captain Amy Atwell then helped the Lynx to a 10-6 advantage but the Lightning had come to play and scored the next eight points to regain the lead, and then turn that into a 27-17 edge by quarter-time on the back of shooting 64 per cent from the floor opposed to 30 from the home team.
The Adelaide lead got out to as much as 12 points in the second quarter before the Lynx responded with three-pointers to Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard and Amy Atwell. Clinch Hoycard also completed a three-point play to make it a three-point game, and the margin was just two by half-time.
The Lynx were right back in the game despite the Lightning shooting 50 per cent from the floor to their 39, with both teams only combining to go 7/29 from behind the three-point line.
Perth regained the lead in a hot start to the second half including three-point bombs to Atwell and Maley with the 12-6 start turning that two-point deficit into a four-point lead.
But Adelaide weren’t about to go away and soon went on a 15-3 run of their own to regain an eight-point lead and to put the onus back on Perth to respond in front of their home fans.
It was still a six-point Lightning lead by three quarter-time and still a seven-point game early in the fourth quarter before the Lynx were able to turn the game on its head.
It started with a bucket to Atwell and then a triple from Maley before Aari McDonald took over the contest in remarkable fashion.
It started with a three ball before Steph Gorman stepped up to hit her third long jumper for the evening too. McDonald scored the next four points to complete the 15-0 run for the Lynx that saw them go from seven down to eight up.
McDonald drained another three ball to end up securing the hard earned seven-point win for the Lynx.
What’s next for the Lynx
The Lynx remain at home to host the Bendigo Spirit next Friday night also at Bendat Basketball Centre to wrap up the three-game home stand to open the WNBL season.
Following that it’s the first road game of the campaign away to Lauren Jackson and the Southside Flyers before coming back to host the reigning champion Townsville Fire and former captain Sami Whitcomb on Saturday November 25.
CYGNETT WNBL ROUND 2
PERTH LYNX 92 (McDonald 29, Maley 17, Atwell 17)
ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 85 (Borlase 20, Bourne 14, Turner 14)