Southside storms to title with big game three win

THE Southside Flyers are the 2023/24 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) champions, defeating the Perth Lynx 2-1 in the Grand Final Series over the past week.

The series went to game three after both teams picked up a win in the first two outings, setting up a tantalising clash at Melbourne Sports Centre in Parkville on Sunday afternoon.

Although the second clash was extremely exciting, game three was a blowout 34-point win for the Flyers, with Southside dominating across all four quarters to clinch the championship in deserving fashion in front of their home fans.

Southside Flyers (115) def. Perth Lynx (81)

It was another high-scoring affair, but this time, it was Southside that fired offensively, while the Lynx could not reach the lofty heights of their previous performances in the postseason, where they reached 100 points on several occasions.

The result was driven by an excellent level of efficiency from the field by the Flyers. This facet of their game had been a strength for the entirety of the season, especially given the strong paint scorers on the roster, and it was a match-winning weapon in the big dance.

Southside shot an impressive 53.8 per cent from the field and an even better 55.6 per cent from behind the arc. As much as the Lynx tried to force bad shots defensively, it was to no avail as the Flyers looked unstoppable offensively at times.

Southside’s ability to keep the ball moving and find the open player was proving too much for Perth’s defence to handle, posting 26 assists, which was 14 more than the opposition. The Flyers also excelled on the glass (51-34) and recorded 44 bench points to Perth’s 10 in an exceptional display of depth.

On the scoring front, Jasmine Dickey led from the front with 19 points on 6/7 shooting from the field with five rebounds as well, while Rebecca Cole was not far behind with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Star center Mercedes Russell was named Grand Final MVP for her efforts in the deciding series. After single-handedly forcing game three with a buzzer-beating jumpshot to win the second match of the series, Russell delivered in the final game as well, posting a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds to prove an excellent contributor in a dominant team performance.

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