PETRIK WANTS LYNX TO IMPLEMENT TOUGH LEARNINGS
Perth Lynx coach Ryan Petrik hopes his team learned some tough lessons in two games away to WNBL leaders Townsville Fire that they can now bring back into a crucial stretch starting Sunday at home to Adelaide Lightning.
The Lynx remain right in the fight for a top two position in the WNBL currently on an 8-5 record alongside the Melbourne Boomers while being just ahead of the Southside Flyers and Sydney Flames who are both 7-6.
So not only is the race for a top two position a tight and fascinating one, so is having four teams all within one game of each other battling over the last three finals positions behind the league-leading Townsville who are out on top at 10-3.
After finishing 2023 in Townsville and then starting 2024 also in the Tropical North against the Fire, the Lynx now return home to Bendat Basketball Centre to host Adelaide Lightning on Sunday afternoon.
The Lightning might be only just struggling to stay in any contention for the playoffs at 4-10, but they are coming off a win against the Flames back on Friday night so will be looking to keep winning to keep their season alive on Sunday afternoon.
Petrik was glad to see signs of improvement from New Year’s Eve to Wednesday night’s game in Townsville and hopes the Lynx can now continue to build on that to attempt to maintain their hold on a top two WNBL position.
“Obviously we wanted to win the game, but Townsville in Townsville is tough so we wanted to at least get some learnings done for the Adelaide and Canberra games,” Petrik said.
“Our next three games are huge and we’d loved to pinch one up here, but the reality is it’s a tough place to play so we wanted to get some stuff in from the games at least.
“It was really clunky at times and really good at other times, and now we’ve got video to look at before we play Adelaide and we’ll hope some of those teachings make us 10 per cent better for Sunday.”
It was a tough pair of games for Perth in Townsville against the league-leading Fire firstly on New Year’s Eve and then in the first game of 2024 on Wednesday.
Petrik always knew the challenge that was ahead of his team and was disappointed in the way things blew out on Sunday for the eventual 23-point loss, but liked more of what he saw in the way his team fought on Wednesday.
While never happy to lose, he hopes the Lynx can now take something from that and bring it back home on Sunday against the Capitals.
“We didn’t get bullied anywhere near as bad as the first game. It felt like the first time around it was a wrestling match where we just backed off and got intimidated, but this time we wanted to take the fight back to them at least,” Petrik said.
“They’re the defending champs for a reason, they’ve got Opals everywhere, they’ve got two imports coming off the bench and they’ve got the future Opals coach so they’re loaded. I hate losing but I at least liked the way we went at it a bit better.”
Miela Goodchild might have had a tough first game in Townsville back on New Year’s Eve, but Petrik never doubted the way she could bounce back and even with coming off the bench, she was tremendous on Wednesday night against the Fire.
Goodchild had her best scoring night in Lynx colours with 22 points on the back of knocking down 5/6 from the three-point line in just 20 minutes of court time, but Petrik was anything but surprised.
“Miela was outstanding and she wasn’t timid or shy. We don’t want her thinking about the shot, she’s an elite shooter who had a couple of bad games,” Petrik said.
“Whatever, just keep rolling. Atwell was similar early and suddenly has four or five blinders in-a-row, good shooters are going to come good.
“Miela Goodchild’s a really good players in this league and will continue to be for years to come. She’s going to have the odd bad game along the way and we don’t want her to drop her head.”
Everyone has had to try to step up to fill the void left with the injury to McDonald, and Amy Atwell produced another strong performance on Wednesday night to once again top score with 25 points.
It was the fourth time in the past five matches that Atwell has led the scoring for the Lynx, but she was pleased to see teammates step up including Teige Morrell.
She has been with the Lynx as a development player all season, but has come into the line-up with the injury to McDonald on the back of outstanding NBL1 form firstly in South Australia and then the last two years in the West at the Joondalup Wolves.
Morrell had seven points and four rebounds in over 12 minutes in her first appearance for the Lynx, and Atwell is looking forward to her continue to grab her opportunities.
“Obviously with Aari missing the next couple of games, there’s that opportunity for girls to step up and we’re not going to back down,” Atwell said.
“It’s going to be a by committee kind of thing and we’re going to need everyone to step up. Teige got her opportunity here and I’m super proud of her. She was playing her first game in however long and it was good to see her step up and come in for some solid minutes.”