Lynx hold off Smith, Lightning with second quarter blitz

NOT even a whopping 24 points and 17 rebounds from Opals star Alanna Smith could stop Perth Lynx from winning their second consecutive match against Adelaide Lightning in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) last night. After dominating the Lightning in a thumping win just two days prior, the sides met for a second time at Bendat Basketball Centre, as they both played catchup to the rest of the league due to COVID-19 cancellations and border closures throughout the season. Despite Adelaide, and particularly Smith doing all they could to win, it was a second quarter blitz that was the difference and helped the Lynx get up by 11 points.

  • Team
  • Perth Lynx
  • Adelaide Lightning

Adelaide had a strong start to the match in a bid to try and silence the passionate home crowd. The Lightning was able to do it early, holding momentum and leading for the quarter in its entirety after it took a little while for the sides to score. The visitors got out to as much as an eight-point lead at one stage, but the Lightning cut that back to two by the final break, with Adelaide 24-22 in front.

The Lynx came out all guns blazing in the second term, piling on 21 points to 11 as the Lightning could not find a trick, shooting just three of 10 from inside the arc, and one of seven from outside it. By comparison, the Lynx’s long-range game started to cook. In a shot chart resembling the schoolyard game of Around the World, the Lynx were shooting from all across the arc, and though they only nailed the three of 11, also hit up four right at the post for easy layups and one jumper from just inside the arc.

Funnily enough outside the second term, the Lighting were pretty much on even terms with the home side, as despite the Lynx extending the eight-point half-time lead out to as much as 16 points midway through the third, the Lightning were determined to keep in tough. The deficit remained at eight by the final break, and then the visitors kept charging until last in the game, where with 2:32 left on the clock, drew within a point off a Kylee Shook layup.

After a huge game two days ago, Jackie Young only played the eight minutes for the Lynx, with backcourt partner Sami Whitcomb stepping up in the match and fired off a three in response to the Shook basket. Back-to-back turnovers from the Lightning proved costly as Marina Mabrey and Lauren Scherf both added baskets to blow the lead out by nine points before being subbed off for the long-range shooters.

Whitcomb missed a three point chance up one end, but with the last roll of the dice, Kiana Williams missed her two-point jumper at the other with 38 seconds on the clock. It was the last roll of the dice, and the Lynx held onto the ball, before Tayah Burrows put the icing on the cake in the final 12 seconds of the match, with the home side scoring the last 10 points.

Though the Lynx won, Smith was the individual star, amassing the 24 points – at 50 per cent from the field – and 17 rebounds – 11 defensive – to be a real thorn in the Lynx’s side. The Lynx had a shared load, with Whitcomb (18 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals) the most balanced across the board, also hitting four of 11 from long range. Mabrey (17 points, three rebounds and two assists) an Scherf (16 points, nine rebounds) also stepped up. Alongside Smith, Stephanie Talbot (15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks), Abigail Wehrung (13 points, five rebounds and two assists) and Shook (10 points, five rebounds and two assists) all tried hard.

Adelaide Lightning next play on Sunday with a home game against the Melbourne Boomers, before finishing up the regular season with another couple of games at The Lights in Round 15 against UC Capitals and Southside Flyers. Perth Lynx travel to Sydney next Wednesday night to take on the Sydney Uni Flames, before heading further north to Townsville on Friday, where they will close out their season with back-to-back matches over the weekend there against the Fire.

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