Second-half blitz sees Lynx down Flames
A second-half blitz by the Perth Lynx has secured them an 87-68 victory over the Sydney Flames at Quaycentre on Saturday, January 21.
The round 11 loss, in which the Flames were outscored 41-24 in the second half, hurts Sydney’s chances on playing finals in WNBL23.
Strong play from Flames bigs Keely Froling and Hannah Sjerven helped their side lead Perth 10-9 midway through the opening term. Despite Lauren Scherf once again playing well for the Lynx against Sydney, the hosts kept it close thanks to guard Vanessa Panousis – with the visitors lead 20-18 after one.
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Jocelyn Willoughby scored five straight to open the quarter for the Hoops Capital side before skipper Froling rattled off four of her own to bring the Flames to within two (29-27). A triple by the latter gave the hosts the first lead the first period for 4.07 to play in the half. Lynx’s Sami Whitcomb then scored 10 in quick success which allowed the visitors to regain the lead but quick ball movement and handy finishers by her New York Liberty teammate Willoughby combatted those scores. A late bucket by Alex Sharp made it 46-44 to Perth at the main break. The standout for the Flames after the first 20 minutes was Froling, who had an amazing double-double (20 points and 10 rebounds) at half-time.
Perth’s lead grew to nine points after opening the quarter on a 9-2 run, forcing coach Shelley Gorman into a time-out. That worked wonders, with Tiana Mangakahia helping the harbour city side reduce it to a two-possession game. Unfortunately for the Flames, that was short-lived, as Perth rattled off a 14-0 run to end the term, to carry a 19-point lead (69-50) into the fourth.
As hard as Mangakahia and Willoughby tried to claw their Flames back with impressive scores, the Lynx’s lead grew to as many at 20 midway through the fourth. Despite late scores by Kiera Rowe and Emma Clarke, the Lynx ran out winners by 19 points.
HIGHLIGHTS | Flames v Lynx
A few moments from our clash against Perth Lynx. #FlameOn pic.twitter.com/lODdOmrtce
— Sydney Flames (@TheSydneyFlames) January 21, 2023
Where the match was decided
Perth’s fifth straight win was set-up by statistical wins in field goal percentage (47-30), rebounds (51-46), points in the paint (46-32) and bench points (18-13).
A 23-6 third quarter, sparked by Australian Opal Whitcomb, proved the difference between the two WNBL sides on Saturday.
Player of the game
The standout in the defeat for Sydney was skipper Keely Froling, who totally 22 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
The only other Flame to score in double figures was University of Virginia alum Willoughby, who added 18 points, four boards, two dimes and three steals.
The Hoops Capital side, who are now 4-11 in WNBL23, now have eight days until their next game, which will be another home contest – this time at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday, January 29.
The final of four Hoops Capital double-headers at Qudos Bank Arena will see the Flames take on Townsville from 1.30pm AEDT, before the Kings take on the Phoenix.
Tickets for the hoops extravaganza are still available here.