WNBL Round 16 review: Lynx round out top four, Fire hot streak continues

Somehow the last round of the regular WNBL season is over, 16 rounds played across Australia featuring some of the best homegrown talent and some incredible talent from overseas. Although the season ran smoothly without any Covid interruptions like the previous two years, many teams were still forced to adapt after their rosters were tainted with injury. In saying that, the 2022/23 WNBL season has arguably been one of the most competitive seasons to date and one of the most entertaining to watch! The Finals are sure to continue in the same fashion.


Well, it only took one game for the top four to be finalised. It meant that the pressure the Perth Lynx faced was relieved without having to wait agonizingly through the weekend to know if they would progress to the finals. The Bendigo Spirit went down to the Townsville Fire in the first game of the round, meaning fourth spot on the ladder was the Lynx's to keep. Despite this result, the Lynx didn't take their foot off the gas completely, with two winnable games still to come, more wins would help ensure their strong momentum continued. They were pushed both times, Adelaide Lightning's team was riddled with injury, but they refused to back down, still ultimately fell short by four points. In their second game of the weekend, coach Ryan Petrik chose to rest a couple of his stars, meaning his bench played predominantly - they still got the win over the UC Capitals and the bench got a confidence boost ahead of finals.


There was no pressure this week for the Townsville Fire, but that didn't stop them from playing like their season was on the line. Two dominant wins in the final round of regular season has meant they have now won 13 games in a row - and they don't look like stopping. The show was run by no other than Steph Reid, who just effortlessly finds ways to score and keep her teammates involved. The way she calmly brings the ball up, directing play, it's like she has eyes everywhere when she finds the open teammate or finds space to score. She was a big part of their win over second on the ladder the Southside Flyers, she started the scoring off for her team, ending with 12 points and seven assists as they got a solid 22-point win. They are heading into the finals full of confidence.


Usually when we refer to young gun in the UC Capitals side, it's Jade Melbourne, and although she still put up a double-double in round 16, that wasn't the standout performance. With only seven players suited up to play, someone was always going to have to stand up, and in this game that person was Shanice Swain. She led all scorers with 33 points and had eight threes to her name, proving why she was nominated for the 'break out player of the year' award. Rising in confidence as the season has progressed, playing a lot more minutes than initially anticipated, she has made full use of the opportunity. Her fast pace, athletic build and length makes her tough to guard as she can find her way to the rack, create space off the dribble and can obviously knock down the triple. One of her triples should make the highlight reel, where she shot faked, spun and stepped back before nailing it from deep - even the Perth Lynx bench were left in awe.