While many people tuned into the tennis this week, Round 12 of the WNBL had many fans with their eyes glued to the screen, afraid to miss any of the action.
Every game went down to the wire and had us on the edge of our seats. Teams from the bottom of the ladder to the top of their ladder left it all out on court, some caused upsets and others fell just short, but either way it was a round of tight contests that ending up being very entertaining!
LYNX CAN'T BE STOPPED
The Perth Lynx are on a seven-game winning streak, keeping their hopes of making the top four alive with two huge wins this round. Both games are considered upsets seeing as the Bendigo Spirit and the Melbourne Boomers are above the Lynx on the ladder. Not that you could tell when watching the Lynx play, brimming with confidence, and showing zero fear no matter which team they face.
In their first game against the Spirit, it was captain Sami Whitcomb who stood up and hit some incredible shots and was well supported by her team. They had a convincing lead for the first three quarters, before the Spirit made a comeback in the fourth, similarly to what they did to the Boomers the week before. This time, however, the Lynx were able to hold them off and win what was an important game.
In their second game, the Lynx were tasked with another big challenge, facing off against the Boomers at the Boom box. They had to do this without Sami Whitcomb, it was a big ask and one that most didn't believe they could pull off. The Lynx didn't share this mindset and with an incredible team performance, fuelled by grit, energy, and something to prove, they seized the win!
There was a relatively even spread of minutes, with many players getting more court time than usual. A player that deserves a shout out is Tayah Burrows, who happily took on the role of being a scoring threat and an aggressive point guard in place of Whitcomb -- putting up a WNBL career high 15 points. She was an X factor amongst the usual culprits in Amy Atwell and Robbi Ryan.
TOWNSVILLE DIG DEEP
With the Perth Lynx hot on their heels, the Townsville Fire were feeling the heat this weekend as there wasn't much room for error. It didn't help that they had a depleted roster, Steph Reid sitting out the first game and Lauren Nicholson missing the second game -- the Fire were put in a tough spot without their two stars.
Up first they had the UC Capitals, who despite being on the bottom of the ladder, absolutely took it to the Fire and gave them nothing easy. They were led by no other than Jade Melbourne as she continued to be so enjoyable to watch. The Fire were in peril before Karlie Samuelson stood up and hit two big threes that got them over the line. The Fire's next challenge was the Sydney Flames, a team that has been inconsistent throughout the season, but that carries a never give up attitude.
This was a relatively even game, with both teams going on their own runs, however, it was the Fire's performance in the championship quarter (3rd) that helped them secure the win. Zitina Aokuso stepped up and showed us what we've been missing while she's been out injured. But it was back-up point guard Krystal Leger-Walker, who has barely played this season, that was thrown in the deep end and really stepped when Reid sitting out most of this game.
The Adelaide Lightning showed glimpses of brilliance in their match up against the Southside Flyers on Saturday night. The Lightning have struggled to be consistent this year and with a bit of adversity thrown their way, it is understandable. The Flyers were unlikely to fear a loss in this game, but they were quickly on the back foot as the Lightning stormed ahead with their fast-paced offence.
Izzy Borlase again showed her star potential, combining with Steph Talbot and Marena Whittle was just magic to watch. It's been disappointing to see the Lightning lose as they play such an exciting game style, but unfortunately, they continue to fall just short.