February 22, 2024 | Perth Lynx news

Aari McDonald wasted no time picking back up where she left off for Perth Lynx on Sunday with the superstar point guard delivering a match-winning performance in her WNBL return.

McDonald had missed the previous eight games for the Lynx after hurting her knee early in the December 27 home clash with the University of Canberra Capitals.

She made her return this past Sunday against the same opponent also at Bendat Basketball Centre and was instrumental in the eventual 94-79 victory that maintained the finals hopes in the WNBL for the Lynx.

McDonald showed her class when it mattered most for the Lynx as well. It was just a three-point ball game at three quarter-time, but McDonald put the game on ice with what she did in the early stages of the fourth period.

She started things off with a pair of three-point bombs, then converted a three-point play shortly after and then hit another from behind the three-point arc to help the Lynx to a double-digit lead, and eventually the 15-point victory.

McDonald ended the game with 24 points, three rebounds and three assists while playing 21 and-a-half minutes in her first game in almost two months.

It was a performance that sent a reminder why she could very well have been leading the WNBL MVP voting before she injured her knee, and just how important she is to the Lynx team.

More than anything, though, McDonald was just happy to be back out there with their teammates and to contribute to the win that keeps their season prospects alive heading into Saturday night’s road clash to end the regular season against the Bendigo Spirit.

“We were thinking about me playing around 20 or 25 minutes so I’m happy with that,” McDonald said.

“It was fun. I had the butterflies like I hadn’t played in a while so it felt good to be back. It just felt good to get a win finally too more than anything.

“Surprisingly I did feel good with the knee out there. I was a bit nervous before the game I’m not going to lie, but I just had to trust the process, trust the rehab I did and trust what the medical staff had gave me. So when I got out there I just didn’t think about it at all.”

Coming into Sunday’s game the Lynx were fully aware that they had to beat the Capitals to keep their WNBL finals hopes alive, but the focus was also to reward the home fans in the last game at Bendat Basketball Centre for the season.

The Lynx knew what was at stake, but stayed calm and that’s why McDonald was still confident what they could do even when the game was up for grabs by three quarter-time still.

“We knew we just had to worry about us. We’re not worried about other people or teams and their games, we just have to focus on what we have to do and keep on getting better. It’s win or go home now, it’s for all the marbles, and we realise that,” McDonald said.

“When Canberra went on their run, we didn’t get worried at all. We know that basketball is a game of runs and we know they will have their runs, but to start that fourth quarter I just sensed it was time to go to work.”

It’s another a do-or-die game once more for the Lynx this Saturday night on the road to a Bendigo Spirit team in their own patch of hot form.

Bendigo enters the final round in fourth position on a five-game winning streak and need to win themselves to lock away a finals position.

However, the Lynx are just worried about themselves and need to win that game and then hope that the Townsville Fire beat the Sydney Flames on Sunday.

McDonald is just remaining on the task at hand though.

“Firstly we have to work on our rehab and recovery, and all that, and then we’ll focus on this last game,” she said.

“When it gets to game time we’ll be ready to go and ready to fight.”