- Game Night
Perth Breakers: 1988 – 2001
Originally formed as the Perth Breakers in 1988, the team was headed by super coach Tom Maher and were successful for many years under that moniker.
The Breakers appeared in the WNBL finals from 1991–1996, winning a championship in 1992. Australian basketball legends such as Robyn Maher, Tully Bevilaqua and Michele Timms played for the Breakers during this period.
After missing the finals in 1997, the Breakers appeared in three more finals campaigns over the next three years. However, after a period of sustained success, Perth began a disappointing 15 year finals drought in 2000.
Perth Lynx: 2002 – 2009
After a change of ownership following the 2000/01 WNBL season, the Breakers were re-branded as the Perth Lynx. In the years up until 2010, the team did not see much success.
Many years of mediocre performances towards the bottom of the ladder, which included setting a WNBL record for the longest ever losing streak, led the team to re-evaluate its operations. Regardless of the team’s lack of on-court success, the Lynx were able to lure some star players to the program including Carly Wilson, Shelley Hammonds, Samantha Richards, Rohanee Cox and Deanna Smith.
At the end of the 2008/2009 season, owners of the team, Basketball WA, decided the program needed a complete overhaul and reinvigoration.
West Coast Waves: 2010 – 2015
In 2010, David Herbert was appointed as head coach. The administration of the program was largely focused on rebranding and developing the program in the off-season and the result was a new team name, uniforms and team colours in time for the 2010–2011 WNBL season.
Following the appointment of Herbert, home-grown player Tully Bevilaqua was signed for the 2010–2011 WNBL season.
In August 2010, the team was renamed the West Coast Waves. The 2010–11 season saw the team finish with a record of 8 wins and 14 losses, its most successful season in over a decade.
In February 2012, it was announced that Kennedy Kereama had been appointed the coach of the West Coast Waves for a period of two years. Kereama assembled a new look Waves line-up, bringing in interstate recruits Deanna Smith, Amelia Todhunter and Hayley Moffat as well as New Zealand representatives Lisa Wallbutton and Antonia Edmondson. Locals Natalie Burton and Darcee Garbin were also recruited to the team, joining returning players Melissa Marsh, Shani Amos, Kaye Tucker and Zoe Harper in the West Coast line-up.
Despite its strongest recruiting effort in more than a decade, it went from bad to worse for the West Coast Waves as they finshed bottom of the ladder for three consecutive seasons.
Perth Lynx: 2015 – Present
On April 16, 2015 Perth Wildcats chairman and owner Dr Jack Bendat and his family purchased the license of Western Australia’s Women’s National Basketball League franchise.
The team was renamed back to Perth Lynx in order to create a link to their male “big cat” counterparts, the Perth Wildcats. On top of this, the team moved to share the Perth Wildcats colour scheme – wearing primarily red.
Australian Opals guard Tessa Lavey was named the inaugural captain of the new-look franchise, while the signings of Natalie Burton, Louella Tomlinson and Sami Whitcomb helped new head coach Andy Stewart’s team take shape.
The Lynx made an immediate impact in the league, compiling the best home record in the WNBL in the 2015/16 season, before advancing to the team’s first finals series since 1999/2000.
On the strength of their trademark speed and defence, the Perth Lynx defeated the Townsville Fire in the semi-finals, advancing to the Grand Final series. Though, the Lynx would ultimately fall to Townsville 2-0, the inaugural season as a new look outfit laid a foundation from which the new Lynx program could build.
Andy Stewart was named WNBL Coach of the Year in 2015/16, while Sami Whitcomb was named to the league’s All-Star Five.
Australian Opals Natalie Burton and Tessa Lavey represented their country at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, while the Lynx retooled for another run at the title.
The 2016/17 season saw the team continue to deliver on-court, again compiling a terrific home record. In December 2016, the Lynx became the first team in WNBL history to broadcast games live on commercial television, as they hosted the Dandenong Rangers and Adelaide Lightning in front of a packed Bendat Basketball Centre.
Finishing third on the ladder, the Lynx came up just shy of a return trip to the WNBL Grand Final, falling to the Dandenong Rangers 2-1 in their semi-final series.
Sami Whitcomb was again named to the WNBL All-Star Five, after shattering the league’s scoring record after tallying the most points (652) and three-pointers (105) in WNBL history.
Since 2007, the Perth Wildcats have been owned by local philanthropist Dr Jack Bendat. Under his leadership, the Wildcats have gone from strength to strength, winning championships, moving to a 13,500+ seat stadium and increasing its impact in the community of Western Australia. The Perth Lynx are striving to emulate the Wildcats success.
Under its new management, the Perth Lynx expect to see enormous growth in membership, corporate support and crowds at Perth Lynx home games. Lynx players will serve as role models for West Australians – particularly young girls.
Fans can expect a reinvigorated game experience, run by the staff behind the electric atmosphere Perth Wildcats home games have become famous for.
The Perth Lynx have a strong focus on player development, and have seen several players achieve major milestones during their time with the club. Sami Whitcomb’s outstanding performances with the Lynx have helped the elite scorer earn a contract with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, while Tessa Lavey and Natalie Burton were key pieces in the Australian Opals campaign at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The Lynx will continue to search for the finest talent in Australia and overseas as the club pursues an unrivalled on-court product, while continuing to offer a strong community presence.