An inspirational performance from Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger wasn’t enough to lift the Perth Lynx to an overtime win over the Southside Flyers in Victoria tonight.
Fresh from 21 points and 10 rebounds on Sunday, Schwagmeyer-Belger was outstanding with 34 points and 12 rebounds but the Lynx lost 97-93.
Co-captain Katie Ebzery said Schwagmeyer-Belger’s intensity and tenacity summed up her entire team.
The Lynx repeatedly fought back from significant deficits during the first three quarters and had opportunities to win the game but Southside converted their chances late.
Ebzery said Schwagmeyer-Belger was an example of what the team prided itself on.
“When you think of Swags, you think of tenacity and she really leads from the front,” Ebzery said.
“But if everyone else wasn’t doing what they were doing, she couldn’t do her stuff. I think our game showed that we have enormous heart. It never mattered what the scoreboard said, we just kept playing our game.”
Perth’s effort against a star studded Flyers came despite star import Ariel Atkins remaining in America after the WNBA championship. She won’t join the team until next week.
Nadeen Payne scored 14 points including four three-pointers, Ebzery was prominent with 12 points, Imani McGee-Stafford finished with 17 points and nine rebounds while Lauren Mansfield had eight points and nine assists.
But Southside had six players scoring in double figures. Captain Jenna O’Hea had 19 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and six steals.
Mercedes Russell was a towering figure with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Leilani Mitchell had 11 points and 10 assists.
Sara Blicavs had 11 points and nine rebounds, Bec Cole scored 16 points while Aimie Clydesdale contributed 13 points including a miracle three-pointer that changed the game in the fourth quarter.
“We fought really hard all night but a couple of things just didn’t go our way in overtime,” Ebzery said.
“I am really proud of the team. There is so much we can take out of this game.
“Obviously we have some work to do defensively and offensively we can get better. But when you think that we still have a quality player to come into this team, there’s a lot to like.”
Perth have little time to rest before facing Bendigo Spirit in Victoria on Sunday. Ebzery said McGee-Stafford appeared to have escaped injury despite landing awkwardly after contesting a rebound on the buzzer at the end of full-time.
She started the extra-time period on the bench having her left ankle re-strapped but quickly returned to the court.