Perth Lynx have complained to the WNBL about the treatment their WNBA stars are getting on the court as frustration builds within the team.
Marina Mabrey, Jackie Young and Sami Whitcomb have been fouled a combined 47 times across five games and the trio believe several other key calls have been missed.
Adding to the frustration, Mabrey fouled out of Monday night’s loss to Melbourne and she received a technical foul after lashing out at referees during Wednesday night’s huge win over Canberra.
Coach Ryan Petrik is worried other clubs are trying to drag his big names down with added physicality.
“It’s something we are concerned about. We’ve cut up clips to send to the league,” Petrik said.
“We feel those three stars are getting targeted physically and at some point we have to look after them off the ball.
“We really want to play straight up. We don’t want to flop and flail because that’s not going to win you a play-off game.
“That’s been part of the players’ frustration. We have been told we are doing the right thing and they will clean it up.”
Mabrey started the season in extraordinary form, scoring 80 points from her first three games to become a major talking point throughout the league. But with a target on her back, Mabrey only managed a combined 19 points across the two games against Melbourne and Canberra.
The American is known for being an emotional player in the WNBA and Petrik said it was clear teams would attempt to get under her skin.
But he said it would be wrong to attempt to change the way Mabrey plays.
“Part of what makes her so special is that chip on her shoulder. She’s got to where she’s got to with it. I don’t know I want her to turn it off,” Petrik said.
“She’s got all the fundamentals to be a WNBA All-Star. I think she’s going to take the WNBA by storm really shortly. She’s going to win us three or four games this season by herself and we’ve already seen that in games.
“But she wants to play a blinder every night, and that’s not possible. She’s going to have nights where she’s off. That’s just part of her growth and it’s something we’re working through.”
The Lynx utilised some extended time before Sunday’s game against Sydney Uni Flames by touring Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill as part of the partnership between Visit Victoria and Basketball Australia.