Awesome Atwell steps up in star’s absence
THE ODDS were stacked against the Perth Lynx when they headed to Victoria to take on the ladder-leading Melbourne Boomers without one of their big guns, but Amy Atwell put the team on her shoulders to lead the team out West to a nine-point win.
The Lynx knew someone would need to shoulder some of the offensive load when Sami Whitcomb was ruled out, and without some of the big names that carried them last year, it was going to come from someone who may not be used to operating as the number-one option.
However, Atwell did not shy away from the opportunity, delivering her season-high points total and helping the Lynx to a vital win. Currently sitting two games behind fourth with two less matches played, Sunday’s win over the Boomers has given Perth a massive boost in its finals campaign.
Melbourne Boomers (82) def. Perth Lynx (91)
Amy Atwell – 27 points, four rebounds
Atwell was the star of the show for the Lynx in a memorable road win, being the focal point on the offensive end and showing no fear in putting up a shot.
Of her 20 attempts from the field, 10 found the bottom of the net, always looking to move and create space without the ball and then punishing the opposition when she was given a good look by her teammates.
Atwell produced a classic perimeter-centric performance, playing to her strengths of shooting behind the arc. The 24-year-old made half of her attempts from downtown, nailing seven triples on 14 attempts.
Her ability to hit jump shots with a hand in the face makes her a perfect recipient of dribble hand-offs, with bigs such as Lauren Scherf dishing the ball to Atwell then giving her separation with a big screen.
Once her first couple of catch and shoot attempts found the bottom of the net, Atwell grew in confidence and soon began pulling up in transition and creating her own shots. The Boomers defence did a reasonable job of marking her, but despite some strong contests, the sharpshooter was unfazed by the defence around her, and seemingly could not be stopped.
Although she cooled off as the game progressed, her work in the first half was what gave the Lynx the opportunity to be in a winning position. When Whitcomb returns, Atwell’s presence around the perimeter will be another valuable weapon. With the likes of Whitcomb and Scherf attracting a lot of defensive attention, Atwell may be the thorn in the opposition’s side in a number of important clashes to come as Perth continue to hunt a finals spot.