THE final round of the 2021/22 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season wrapped up on Sunday, after what has been an entertaining campaign. The day saw another double-header, with the match count for the round down by one after the clash between the Perth Lynx and the Bendigo Spirit was cancelled due to COVID and injury issues. Despite this, there were still two ripping clashes that took place on the final day of action, headlined by an extremely entertaining battle between the Townsville Fire and the Perth Lynx at Townsville Stadium. On the eve of finals, the Fire came into this match looking to finish their campaign in style, but the visiting side were still favourites coming in due to their form throughout the season.
It was a tense match for all four quarters, with the Fire saving their best for last as they pushed one of the championship favourites to the limit. The home side got off to a reasonable start, grabbing an early five-point lead, before the Lynx were able to erase this as they were expected to do, taking a one-point advantage into the main break. After a tense third term, the margin remained the same heading into the last, as both sides looked to make one final push. There were some big plays in the final term, and the match was still tied up with just four minutes to play. Townsville’s Stephanie Reid ended up featuring heavily in the closing minutes, knocking down a few big buckets to stretch her side’s lead out to eight points. This deficit proved too much for the Lynx, who ended up falling to the tune of seven points as the Fire claimed quite an upset to wrap up their season.
For the Fire, Reid was clearly the star of the show, adding a number of clutch baskets to her showing of 23 points, five rebounds and five assists. She was the most important player on the court for her side, and closed out a strong campaign in style. There were a number of contributors for the victors, and making their win even more impressive was the fact that they only had seven players available to play, so their starters were forced to play a lot of extra minutes. In fact, Micaela Cocks played every minute of the game and contributed 10 points of her own. For the Lynx, it was the play of Jackie Young that kept her side in the game, as she poured in a game-high 26 points in a typically blistering performance from the guard.
Sydney Uni Flames
The second match in the day’s action saw the Bendigo Spirit also wrap up the 2021/22 regular season in style, taking down the Sydney Kings to the tune of 12 points at Brydens Stadium on Sunday afternoon. With both sides having missed out on a finals appearance, this match was all about bragging rights and building some momentum heading into next season, and thats exactly what the Spirit were able to do, thanks to a 32-point outing from Madeleine Garrick.