Bendigo seeks opening win against unbeaten Lynx

ROUND 3 of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) resumes tonight, with the Perth Lynx looking to maintain their unbeaten record when they take on the Bendigo Spirit.

The round commenced on Wednesday night, when the Sydney Flames handed the UC Capitals a five-point loss to jump back into contention. The match carried a fair level of importance for each side, as does tonight’s clash at Bendat Basketball Centre.

The Lynx have started the season in excellent form, not dropping a game and storming into contention for the 2023/24 season. Using the seven seconds basketball system (in which a team looks to get off a shot in the first seven seconds of their possession), Perth has been able to consistently get to a winning score and get it done across all four quarters.

Opposition teams have struggled to keep up with the fast-paced play of the Lynx, and it has resulted in two wins from two games. They lead the league in points per game and are top three in rebounds, assists and field goal percentage, showcasing their excellence in some of the most important areas of the game.

Head coach Ryan Petrik has his side firing on both ends of the floor, and the team chemistry is extremely evident whenever Perth plays. The Lynx are one of two undefeated teams alongside the Melbourne Boomers, who have also been in dominant form, so Perth will be eager to keep up with the ladder-leaders and get the win tonight.

One player to watch will be the irrepressible Aari McDonald, whose excellent scoring and passing ability resulted in a match-winning performance in Round 2. If she can continue that momentum, it makes the Lynx hard to stop.

On the other hand, the Spirit are yet to claim a win this season, having fallen to the Townsville Fire and the Flames to start the fixture. However, they have had patches of excellence in both of those games, with both performances considered competitive to say the least.

Bendigo relies on team balance rather than any one player, opting to share the ball and create scores from a number of avenues. The team often prioritises ball movement over isolation plays, and it creates some good looks in turn. However, there will need to be a number of players that step up tonight if they are to match the scoring punch of the Lynx.

The Spirit will be looking to take care of the basketball more after conceding 21 turnovers in the opening round. They addressed the issue against the Flames the following week, but the shots simply would not fall in that clash. If they can put it together on both fronts, it makes them a much more dangerous side.

Expect Ruth Davis to spend some time matching up on Anneli Maley in the paint, with the latter suiting up for her first game against her former side. Davis will have her hands full, but if she can protect the paint as she has done in the opening couple of rounds, it will go a long way in quelling the influence of Maley.

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