24/04/2024

Perth Lynx line up. (Image: Perth Lynx Media; Design: Will Cuckson)

The Perth Lynx battled through COVID distractions during their regular season to make the WNBL Grand Final in the WNBL season.

The Perth Lynx had the toughest fixture across the WNBL this season, spending most of the season away from home. They showed resilience across the season to be the in-form team for the most of season earning a top-four finish and making it to the championship series.

Snapshot

Final ladder position: Second (11 wins, five losses)

The Lynx always had high expectations coming into the season and the aim for them was a championship. They had a very focused recruitment drive with the aim of putting a team on the court that would be able to push for a championship.

Recruiting Sami Whitcomb and Darcee Garbin to once again play underย head coach Ryan Petrik was a strong statement to the rest of the competition that the Lynx were aiming for nothing but success with the trio previously winning a title in Rockingham.

Perth had a delayed start to the season, starting four weeks after the rest of the competition due to border restrictions in Western Australia. They opened their campaign in Adelaide against a Lightning team that was hot at the time, it was a strong start for the Lynx who were led by star import Marina Mabrey.

Mabrey put on a shooting clinic scoring 30 points in her Lynx debut showing she was one of the players that would help the Lynx go all the way.

Showing their resilience as a group, the Lynx spent five weeks away from home in a hub in Ballarat. They were then hit with a further delay to return home due to changes to the border reopening in Western Australia.

Despite all this, Perth was the team to chase sitting top of the ladder at various points throughout the season.

Although the Lynx did not win the championship they did make it to the Final series, to challenge for their first championship since 1992. It was a dominant display in game one where the Lynx won 98-71 over the Boomers on the Boomers’ home court.

After the game, many thought the Lynx had the championship sealed with game two being on their home court back in Perth. Game two went down to the wire with the Boomers taking it out 76-75 and forcing a game three back in Melbourne which saw the Boomers take out the Championship.

More WNBL Season Reviews:

WNBL 2021/22 Season Review: UC Capitals

WNBL 2021/22 Season Review: Bendigo Spirit

WNBL 2021/22 Season Review: Townsville Fire

What Worked

With Basketball Western Australia taking over the license of the Lynx in 2020, they have had a strong focus on recruiting players on local talent who have previously played in Western Australia or played at the junior level in the state competition.

This strategy has seen a strong team culture build which has translated to the winning culture seen on the court. This then allowed them to spend time sourcing the best imports to fill the gaps they needed. Perth managed to add two of the best offensive players in the competition with this plan which saw them consistently in the top four across the season.

The Lynx were the best offensive team in the competition and that drove their success. Perth’s imports Marina Mabrey and Jackie Young were the second and third best scorers of the competition averaging 19.1 and 17.8 points respectively per game.

As a team, the Lynx led the competition, averaging 83.1 points per game and were third in the competition for rebounds with 41.4 per game. These areas were the strongest contributors to their impressive run of wins despite being away from home.ย 

What Didnโ€™t

There weren’t many areas where the Lynx struggled throughout the season, as most of their losses were close ones.

One area that stood out as something they need to improve on is handling defensive pressure from their opponents. This was highlighted in game two of the championship series where the Boomers put lots of ball pressure on and forced errors and turnovers, especially on shooters.

When this pressure was applied, Perth was unable to dominate with its shooting which had seen it sit as one of the strongest teams in the competition.

Clubโ€™s MVP

Jackie Young was named the side’s MVP for the season, she had a strong season averaging 17.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Young was a fantastic piece of recruiting for the Lynx, who was strong offensively and was able to take the reins and be the main ball carrier when Mabrey was out injured.

Look ahead

It would look likely that the main roster spots of the locals will stay the same as they did this year, which will set them up to be in a good position next season.

The biggest question mark will be around Perth’s imports, there has been no confirmation but it looks unlikely it will retain Mabrey and Young to take a tilt at the title again.

The Lynx are also on the hunt for a new general manager with the pending departure of Brent Dawkins who helped mastermind the strategy for the current development of the list and the WA focused culture. The change in management could see a new direction for how they build going forward.

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