Perth Lynx fortified their top 4 spot, holding off a gallant Sydney Uni Flames, 88-85, in a tense, boom or bust clash at Brydens Stadium.
Entering the Round 17 fixture with still a slim chance of making the finals, the Flames exploded out of the blocks, taking charge of the contest to lead 27-18 at quarter time. After the long break however the Lynx found their second wind as the Flames faltered and Perth finally edged in front with just one minute to play in the 3rd Quarter.
Just when it seemed the Lynx might run away with the game the Flames regrouped to reward the revved up, near capacity crowd down the home straight. The loss anchors the Flames in sixth place with next to no chance now of qualifying for the finals. The Flames run of outs coincides with the hand injury to import, Carolyn Swords, who offered a genuine X-Factor in attack and defence through her reading of the play and imposing on-court presence.
Brydens Stadium was awash with pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and basketball sporting prowess as all teams in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) helped celebrate Indigenous Round. The Flames hosted a free, pre-game clinic for Indigenous talent. The night was the perfect occasion to farewell proud Indigenous woman Rohanee (Roey) Cox who retires a 300 game WNBL legend.
Standouts for the victorious Lynx were #32 Sami Whitcomb with a superb, game- high 24 points, 7 rebounds. Hot on her heels were #11 Carly Mijovic and #44 Betnijah Laney snaring 20 and 18 points respectively. Perth took the rebounds honours with a combined 32 compared to Sydney’s 27 while fortunes were reversed with Assists going to the Flames, 20- 17. No one left their seat in the final quarter as the on-court action was mesmerising.
For the Flames, #10 Katie Ebzery, deftly sunk 23 points and #13 Casey Samuels played out of her skin, a figure of absolute determination, to notch- up 13 points. Full blast ‘super-sub’, #7 Alex Wilson, made her 23 minutes count with 12 valuable points.
While Perth march on finals- bound moving to second on the ladder, Brydens Flames have the opportunity to end their 2015/16 campaign on a winning note when they host finals aspirant Bendigo Bank Spirit next Friday night, February 19, 7.00 pm tip-off, Brydens Stadium.