Post-game thoughts: Lynx/Boomers series

“The most significant event in the Perth/Melbourne series might have happened the week before.”

Melbourne won the first game 92-76 in front of over 2200 fans at Knox, and then followed that up on Friday night with a 78-69 win in Perth. That’s only the second time anyone has won at the Bendat Basketball Centre all season, and a big win for Melbourne, who were not a fantastic road team, going just 4-6 during the regular season.

The most significant event in the Perth/Melbourne series might have happened the week before- Sami Whitcomb injuring her wrist in the regular-season finale in Townsville. Whitcomb is one of the three leading scorers in the competition but shot 11/34 for the series, so you wonder how much the wrist sprain affected her.

Then again, perhaps that isn’t giving Melbourne enough credit. The Boomers stepped up their defence in this series, holding Perth 10 points under their season average over the two games, and added 10 points per game to their own scoring to take the series in 2 games.

Whitcomb might not have shot well, but the Boomers also restricted backcourt teammate Courtney Williams, who was 17 for 60 for the series, including an astounding 10 for 32 in the second game in Perth. She still led the Lynx in scoring in game 2 with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but not only did the Boomers restrict Williams’ scoring, but if she’s taking 30 shots a game, it also took other players out of the scoring equation.



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At the other end Melbourne were extremely efficient on offence- they had 27 assists on 33 field goals in the first game, and 23 on 30 makes in the second. With Elizabeth Cambage in foul trouble in the first game they were still able to get production from their other players- Rebecca Cole had 21 off the bench in game 1, Maddie Garrick 14 with 4 threes, Brittany Smart 15 with three threes, and Jenna O’Hea posted 11 assists.

In game two Melbourne dominated the paint, with Cambage posting 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Kalani Purcell stepping up with 8 rebounds and 8 assists. The Boomers outscored Perth 30-16 in the final term to come from behind and take the series.

Ultimately the injuries to Whitcomb and centre Amanda Dowe in the final week of the season might have cruelled their chances. With the compressed schedule the top four teams this year have all been teams that have remained relatively injury-free, and Perth ran out of luck just at the wrong time.

Melbourne Boomers 92 (Cole 21 Cambage 16 Smart 15) defeat Perth Lynx 76 (Kunek 22 Whitcomb 19 Williams 14) at State Basketball Centre, Knox.

Melbourne Boomers 78 (Cambage 25 Garrick 18 O’Hea 12) defeat Perth Lynx 69 (Williams 20 Standish 17 Whitcomb 15) at Bendat Basketball Centre, Perth.

Melbourne wins series 2-0.