The new-look Lynx went into Sunday’s game unbeaten in two games and on top of the WNBL ladder. The Spirit handed the Lynx a basketball lesson, winning 81-65 to move into the top four with a 2-1 record. In the end the 16-point margin flattered the Lynx.
After Bendigo led by as many as 14 in the first half, Perth mounted a mini recovery midway the second term but five-straight points from Kelly Wilson took the wind out of the Lynx’s sails. The Spirit didn’t let-up after the break. Two straight three-pointers from Belinda Snell to open the third quarter all but sealed the win.The home team led by as many as 24 points in the final quarter before taking the foot off the gas down the stretch.
The Spirit’s hard-nosed defence and multiple scoring options were too much for the Lynx to handle. Kelsey Griffin and Gabe Richards did all the damage on the interior. Griffin scored 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while Richards had 13 points and 11 boards as the Spirit outscored the visitors 42-16 inside the paint.
The Lynx tried to close down the space inside for Griffin and Richards, but that only led to good looks on the perimeter for Belinda Snell, Kelly Wilson and Kerryn Harrington. The trio combined for 10-16 three-point baskets. Snell drained six threes in her 20 point haul, while Harrington was 3-3 from behind the arc. Point guard Wilson led the team well, scoring nine points to go with seven assists, five rebounds and two steals. Heather Oliver continues to relish her extra responsibility. The guard scored seven points and was a menace on the defensive end.
The Spirit’s team defence has been their trademark for years and the Lynx struggled to get any flow. In her first game against her old club, Tessa Lavey scored a team-high 15 points for Perth. The Spirit’s ability to contain Perth star Louella Tomlinson was one the of the key facets of the game. The Lynx centre scored 12 points on 4-16 shooting, her worst performance of the season.