Before the start of the 2015/16 Wattle Valley WNBL season, take a look at how the re-named Perth Lynx are shaping up.
Last Year: 4-18 (as West Coast Waves)
Departed: Shani Amos, Ebony Antonio, Isabella Brancatisano, Jessie Edwards, Emily Fielding, Kate Fielding, Darcee Garbin, Sarah Graham, Cassie Harberts, Zoe Harper, Jessica Jakens, Mikayla Pirini, Lindsey Moore, Deanna Smith.
Returning: Toni Edmondson, Emma Klasztorny, Louella Tomlinson.
Newcomers: Stacey Barr, Jacinta Bourne, Natalie Burton, Eliza Chilcott, Ashleigh Grant, Bethnijah Laney, Tessa Lavey, Carley Mijovic, Brianna Moyes, Melissa Moyle, Samantha Whitcomb, Klara Wischer.
Perth will be tested early when they play a Victorian road-double in Round 2 while they also face last year’s Runners-Up in Bendigo three times by Round 6. Across the New Year, they will play four consecutive road games in the space of a week but their schedule gets easier in 2016, with six home games from their next eight after that stretch.
Despite a large number of departures from last season, the Lynx have done well to secure the return of Louella Tomlinson and Toni Edmondson whose defence will anchor the side both in the paint and on the perimeter. Tessa Lavey and Natalie Burton are fresh off a successful Oceania Championship series.
In two words: team chemistry. Perth can be afforded a couple of games to find their feet but falling too far behind the pack early will make it difficult to catch what should be an evenly spread competition. Traveling is always a difficult task for Western Australian teams and they may be relying too heavily on Tomlinson’s ability to protect the rim by herself.
Watch out for…
After not receiving a heap of minutes in her extensive WNBL career so far, Tessa Lavey has been handed the captaincy for the Lynx in a show of faith for the point guard. She starred in the Oceania Championships, controlling the tempo against New Zealand in both games against the likes of Micaela Cocks while her three-point shot was deadly through those matches as well as the recent SEABL season.
Perth’s first obstacle will be to find team unity. Their back court looks capable to take on any team in the league and if they can find enough points from their forwards, a playoff spot beckons but they must not get off to a slow start. Perth crowds love their basketball, as witnessed with the NBL Wildcats’ home games and if the Lynx can garner a similar following, Bendat Basketball Centre could be turned into a fortress.