SHORTHANDED LYNX RUN DOWN BY FLYERS
Emily Potter and Miela Goodchild delivered their best performances for the Perth Lynx and despite being shorthanded, it was a strong effort before the Southside Flyers ran them down for the 94-92 WNBL victory.
The Lynx hit the road for the first time in the 2023/24 WNBL season on the back of winning the first three matches at Bendat Basketball Centre against the Sydney Flames, Adelaide Lightning and Bendigo Spirit.
Perth’s cause wasn’t helped with Steph Gorman, Alex Ciabattoni and Ash Hannan all unavailable for the clash with the Flyers at the State Basketball Centre, but it would prove quite the dramatic evening.
How the game was won
The Lynx were up against it just through the fact of being without three key players for their first road game of the season, but they put that aside for a blistering first half performance to lead by as much as 21 points.
Perth were still leading by 20 points at the half-time break but couldn’t quite maintain the rage with all five starters playing at least 30 minutes for the night, and then with just two players off the bench playing two minutes or more.
In the end, it was the experience and quality from the Flyers that mowed the Lynx down and it was a second three-pointer of the season from the legend herself Lauren Jackson that was the start of Southside’s 10-3 run to close the game.
Jackson had made just 1/16 threes so far this season up to that point but then Bec Cole hit the go-ahead three before the Lynx had one last chance.
Aari McDonald was trusted to make either the game tying or winning play for Perth, but her shot at the basket was ultimately blocked by Mercedes Russell. The Lynx had a couple of extra opportunities, but the rushed putbacks wouldn’t fall and the Flyers held on to win by two.
Who the standout performers were
It was a Lynx team without Steph Gorman, Ash Hannan and Alex Ciabattoni for the contest, but there were no shortage of players stepping up beginning with Miela Goodchild.
She grabbed her extra backcourt responsibilities for her best performance with the Lynx for 21 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals on 9/14 shooting.
Another season best performance came from Canadian centre Emily Potter who ended up with 22 points and 13 rebounds on 9/15 shooting from the field.
Point guard Aari McDonald continued her strong form to start her first WNBL season with another 15 points, eight assists, two rebounds and two steals while captain Anneli Maley had 14 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.
Vice-captain Amy Atwell added 12 points, four rebounds and two assists while Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard contributed eight points, two assists and two steals.
Mercedes Russell top-scored for the Flyers with 19 points and nine rebounds with Lauren Jackson adding 15 points and nine boards, Bec Cole 14 points and three assists, and Carly Ernst 14 points.
How the game panned out
While Southside opened the game with the first five points, the Lynx soon took charge with the next 10 beginning with buckets to Emily Potter and Amy Atwell before Aari McDonald completed the 10-0 run.
McDonald then completed a three-point play and Miela Goodchild knocked down a three-pointer to give Perth the 16-7 advantage. Goodchild was feeling good and knocked down another couple of jumpers before Anneli Maley and McDonald completed the 6-0 run.
Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard landed another three ball heading towards quarter-time and by the first break it was the Lynx in control leading 32-17 on the back of shooting 54 per cent from the field and 13 rebounds to eight including seven second chance points.
There was another scoring streak of 12-3 in the second quarter that saw Perth’s lead grow to 21 points and even by half-time, the lead was still 54-34 thanks to scoring the last six points courtesy of Potter, McDonald and Goodchild.
By half-time, Potter already had 16 points and 10 rebounds with Goodchild adding the 13 points and Maley 12 rebounds in the 20-point lead after 28 rebounds to 17 and going 12/15 at the foul line as a team.
The Flyers did make a strong start to the second half scoring nine of the first 11 points, but the Lynx did well to maintain a lead even if they couldn’t quite maintain the pace of that 54-point opening half.
The first steadying blow was a three-pointer from Goodchild, Hoycard soon added another from downtown to keep the margin at 15, and it was still seven by three quarter-time when Goodchild knocked down another from behind the three-point line.
Southside’s momentum was building, though, and the home team scored the first six points of the fourth period, and then drew level when Bec Cole knocked down the three ball.
Perth answered once more starting with a bucket to McDonald and then a triple from Atwell. When Maley completed her own personal 5-0 run the Lynx were back in charge leading by nine with 5:30 on the clock.
The margin was still seven after two Maley free-throws with just over three minutes to play and was still five when Potter scored again with a bit more than two minutes to go, and then three once more with a three-point bomb to Maley with a minute to play.
However, it was the Flyers who had the last say and scored the final five points with a bucket to Jasmine Dickey and then a three to Cole to grab the two-point win that was sealed on a frantic last play where McDonald’s shot was blocked by Russell, and none of the putback attempts were able to fall.
What’s next for the Lynx
The Lynx will now be straight back home to prepare to host former captain Sami Whitcomb and the defending champion Townsville Fire on Saturday evening at Bendat Basketball Centre.
CYGNETT WNBL ROUND 4
PERTH LYNX 92 (Potter 22, Goodchild 21, McDonald 15)
SOUTHSIDE FLYERS 94 (Russell 19, Jackson 15, Ernst 14, Cole 14)