Game report: Lynx overcome Flames defence
The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames put up a great fight against the Perth Lynx, who won 86-81 in a nail-biting fourth-quarter effort at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.
The Flames got to a quick start, scoring 11 points before halfway through the first quarter. But the Lynx responded quickly, Marina Mabrey and Sami Whitcomb made tough shots, keeping Perth within reach.
With a minute left in the first, the Lynx tied the Flames at 22 apiece. The Flames’ efforts were off the back of co-captain Lauren Mansfield. She scored 11 points and set the tone for the Flames with hard-nosed pressure, reinforced by Kalani Purcell’s rebounding.
In the second quarter, star import Rennia Davis was taking hard to the rack. But led by Mabrey, the Lynx continued their potent offence, with the import guard scoring 13 points in the first half.
But the half’s leading scorer was Mansfield. She caught fire in the quarter, leading both teams at the half with 18 points. The Flames’ defence was stellar, Perth leads the league in points per game at 87.2 (eight points ahead of the second-placed Southside Flyers). The Flames held them to 36 points and dished out 43 against the title-contenders.
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Mansfield started where she left off, getting a steal and a bucket within the first minute of the third quarter. The Lynx clawed back, with multiple and-ones and ball movement. Mabrey led the charge with 15 points in the quarter, but the Flames responded with a three from Kiera Rowe and more hard baskets from Davis.
The momentum stopped for the Flames late in the third, Perth trapped ball-handlers and forced tough shots late in the shot clock. Allowing them to push the fast break and get easy scores.
But with a glimmer of hope, Shyla Heal finished an and-one and got to the line two more times to keep the game just out of reach, a nine-point difference for the Flames going into the final quarter.
Rennia Davis came out of the huddle with purpose, her athleticism and soft touch around the ring caused Perth a world of hurt. She finished the game with 21 points and 13 rebounds, in only her second game as a Flame.
With three minutes left the game there was a point the difference, Jackie Young hit a mid-range jumper to take the lead. And Alex Sharp’s solid rim protection created a fast break for Young to make it a three-point game with two minutes left.
Shyla Heal tried to keep it within grasp. With free throws, a block and an offensive rebound she laid it all on the floor. But Perth’s ball movement ended the game, with a mismatch down low the Flames collapsed the paint leaving Mabrey open to sink a three. The Lynx scored 25 in the quarter while the Flames score 11 points.
Post-game co-captain Keely Froling spoke to Flames media about what went wrong.
“We haven’t put four quarters together,” Froling said.
“We know their bigs are good shooters, we wanted to take that away and I think we did that for three quarters and let it slip at the end there.”
Coach Heal also spoke post-game about what he saw against the Lynx.
“We’ve taken pride in our defence all year.” Heal said.
“We feel like we can compete with anybody. And for three quarters we really showed that. I think that last quarter we let ourselves down a bit.
“Perth has some great players, Opals and WNBA players. It was a really good challenge for us and a step in the right direction.”
The Flames play three games this week, with the first game being against the Bendigo Spirit on Tuesday, at 7pm in Bendigo Stadium. Then the Flames will take on the UC Capitals in Canberra at 6pm on Friday. With our last game in round nine at Qudos Bank Arena against the Southside Flyers on Sunday at 12.30pm. Get your tickets here.