WNBL Team Watch: Perth Lynx
THE 2020-21 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season delivered some highlights for the Perth Lynx, but they ultimately fell short of their goal of making the finals at the end of the season. It was a season with a clear top four come season’s end, with the Lynx finishing with four wins and nine losses and in order to make the finals, they would have needed to switch those two results. There was always doubt surrounding this side heading into the season, given the last minute withdrawals of Sami Whitcomb and Maddie Allen, but heading into the WNBL21 season, the Lynx can have some promise given the positives that emerged throughout the season.
The Lynx started the season in poor form with just one win from their first eight games, and things looked less than ideal, as they could not muster any inspiring wins that would carry them forward in future games without Whitcomb and Allen, but this all changed in the next three games. The Lynx took down the Bendigo Spirit, the Townsville Fire and the Adelaide Lightning. With a full roster next year, it will be these victories that the squad can draw on to demonstrate their ability to win big games despite not having all the key personnel.
The Lynx have re-signed a few key players, including Alexandra Ciabattoni, Mackenzie Clinch and Emma Clarke, but they have also been outstanding in adding both domestic and international talent. Among their signings, Lauren Scherf should add some height to the team, and brings Olympic credentials to the side, having been named in the extended seven-woman squad for the Australian 3×3 basketball team. Scherf had an outstanding NBL19 season, averaging 21 points, 12.9 rebounds, one steal and 1.5 blocks per game and will be hoping to reach those heights again after a shortened NBL20 campaign.
Adding to this strong signing, the Lynx also added WNBA pair Marina Mabrey and Jackie Young. Mabrey is a known sharpshooter, averaging 15 points per game, five rebounds while shooting over 48 per cent from behind the three-point line for the Dallas Wings. She should prove a handy recruit as the Lynx look to stretch the floor with skilled long-range shooters in the upcoming season.
Young will likely prove to be a high-profile recruit, given her status as 2019 WNBA #1 overall draft pick, and is currently in contention for the 2021 WNBA most improved award. At the time of her signing, Young was averaging 13 points, three rebounds and three assists per game for Las Vegas, and will be looking to bring her talents to Australia and perhaps add another string to her bow.
With crucial signings in the offseason, expect the Perth Lynx to put themselves right in the hunt for a finals spot in the upcoming WNBL21 season.