WNBL 2021/22 Perth Lynx Preview

WNBL 2021/22 Perth Lynx Preview. Photo: @PerthLynx Twitter

The Perth Lynx will be out to compete for their second-ever championship in WNBL 2021/22, and they have the team to go all the way.

After a 4-9 season, the Perth Lynx now come into WNBL 2021/22 facing long stints on the road due to the WA border arrangements. It was a disappointing season after finishing fifth in the league in 2019/20, which was the club’s first losing season in years.  

With seven home games and 14 away games currently scheduled due to border arrangements, it would be an almighty performance for the Lynx to win their first championship since 1992, but they have the roster to challenge the best teams in the league.

The Lynx will be out to compete for their second championship in WNBL 2021/22 and they have the team to win it all.

Last season

With the shortened fixture for the season, the Perth Lynx finished 4-9 on the year. The hub life in North Queensland didn’t mix well with the Lynx, who struggled to get off the mark.

They lost their first game by 25 points, and their first three games before finally getting into the win column against Bendigo when Katie Ebzery put up 25 points.

Darcee Garbin enjoyed some monster games towards the back-end of the season which coincided with a three-game win streak, but that was surrounded by more losses for the Lynx who struggled mightily in North Queensland.

Biggest in

The Perth Lynx secured the signature of 2019 #1 WNBA Draft Pick, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold Medalist and Las Vegas Aces star Jackie Young in a huge coup for the club. Young won gold in the inaugural 3×3 tournament in Tokyo, and has averaged 13 points for the Aces this season to put herself in the Most Improved Player conversation.

At six-foot, her rebounding and switchability on defence will be an asset for the Lynx from the guard position. Add to that her improved scoring ability, ball-handling and vision, and she projects to become a multi-dimensional player on both ends of the court for the Lynx that could play from point guard through to small forward on any given night.

Young is a Notre Dame alum, and won a Division 1 championship with Marina Mabrey. It gives the Lynx confidence that she can walk into the organisation with chemistry already formed.

Mabrey herself is a huge signing for the club, with the American plying her trade for the Dallas Wings and adding shooting from long range.

Adding to the ins is Sydney-sider Lauren Scherf who adds more much-needed height to the Perth front court. She will be tasked with the job of guarding some of the best bigs in the world, including Ezi Magbegor at the Melbourne Boomers.

Biggest out

Lynx captain Katie Ebzery has retired after 15 seasons in the WNBL. She is a three-time all-WNBL first-teamer, dominating the competition as a shooting guard and small forward. She played 56 games for the Lynx and was a leader on and off the court, representing the basketball community in WA brilliantly.

Ebzery has 300 WNBL games to her name, to go with two Olympic appearances with the Australian Opals. She finished on top of her game with an all-WNBL first-team appearance in her final season for the Lynx.

She goes down as one of the greatest to ever play in the WNBL and will be a huge void to fill in the WNBL 2021/22 season.

Player to watch

Eyes will be drawn to Young with her accolades and hype, but Australian young gun Alex Sharp showed flashes of brilliance last year and could be set to build on that in WNBL 2021/22.

The pressure will be off Sharp to score with Young and Mabrey joining the squad, but her facilitating ability and defensive instincts make her the perfect role player for this squad, and she should begin the season as a starting guard for the Lynx.

Darcee Garbin was the Lynx’s most consistent player last season in the bubble, and is able to switch onto a multitude of players on defence while contributing scores and offensive rebounds on offence. She will be a player to keep an eye on, because she has the capabilities of playing at an all-WNBL level.

17-year-old Mia Jacobs has signed on as a development player and will be one to watch for the future, while Tayah Burrows took out last season’s Young Player of the Year and will be entrenched in the rotation.

Starting five

PG: Jackie Young

SG: Alex Sharp

SF: Marina Mabrey

PF: Darcee Garbin

C: Lauren Scherf

Full squad

Alex Sharp, Alexandra Ciabattoni, Ashleigh Isenbarger, Darcee Garbin, Emma Clarke, Emma Gandini, Jackie Young, Lauren Scherf, Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard, Marina Mabrey, Mia Jacobs, Mia Satie, Tayah Burrows

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Fixture highlights

The Lynx are set to open the WNBL season up at Bendat Basketball Centre, which will be the first of a two-game home stand. These home games are vital for the Lynx to get a result out of, and it gives the club a great opportunity to start the season on the right foot.

Stopping reigning MVP Steph Talbot and the Adelaide Lightning isn’t an easy task, but the Lynx have bought in a squad that will be expected to win the majority of their games.

With one of the best home court advantages in the WNBL, the Lynx will be circling matchups against the Lightning on December 2nd and 4th as games they need to win before hitting the road.

What to expect

Expect this team to finish with a winning record at the minimum. The amount of road games that are scheduled is a concern, with time spent on the road making wins harder to come by. 

However, this is a group of players that are as talented as any in the league, and a coaching staff that includes Olympian and former Lynx star Nat Burton.

Expect Young and Mabrey to excite the home crowd in their debuts, and the high-scoring outfit to score 100 points at some point. Scherf will be a fantastic anchor for this defence, and the switchability of the other four starters will be a joy to watch on court.

Final word

The Perth Lynx are well and truly in the WNBL championship mix, and will like their chances of lifting their first trophy since 1992.

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