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Opinion

WNBL season preview: Perth Lynx

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Roar Rookie
11th November, 2020
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How will the Perth Lynx perform this WNBL season?

The Perth Lynx have lost a number of players from last season, including Lauren Mansfield and Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger, who won the WNBL sixth woman of the year last season, to Sydney Uni Flames, Nadeen Payne to Townsville Fire and Marena Whittle to Adelaide Lightning.

Last season: fifth.

You can read the rest of Scott’s WNBL preview series here.

2020 roster
Prodigal daughter and star recruit Sami Whitcomb has opted out of joining the Queensland hub to stay with her pregnant wife Kate for the birth of the couple’s child.

Unfortunately, Maddie Allen has also pulled out of the hub amid serious concerns for her mental health. All WNBL fans send their best wishes to Allen and hope to see her back with the Lynx for season 2021/2022.

Opals guard Katie Ebzery returns to the Lynx for a third season. Ebzery won last season’s Perth Lynx MVP award averaging a team-high 16.3 points, plus 4.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. Ebzery was named in the WNBL team of the week on five occasions and was named in the All-WNBL first team.

Ebzery has spent time with the AIS, Dandenong Rangers and the Sydney Uni Flames in the WNBL as well as playing with Dynamo Moscow. Ebzery is a mainstay of the Opals playing in the World Cup, Asia Cup, Oceania Championships and Commonwealth Games.

Katie Ebzery of the Lynx.

Katie Ebzery of the Lynx. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

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Darcee Garbin has returned home to WA. Garbin has previously played for Rockingham Flames in the Western Australia SBL. Garbin has played WNBL for the AIS, West Coast Waves and Townsville Fire. Garbin won two WNBL championships with the Fire. Garbin has also played for the Opals, winning a bronze medal at the FIBA Asia Cup.

Last season, playing for the Fire, Garbin averaged 14.4 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game. Garbin is an awesome recruit for the Lynx. Garbin’s sister Sophie plays Super Netball for the NSW Swifts.

The experienced Kayla Steindl returns to the Perth Lynx. Steindl was the grand final MVP for the Joondalup Wolves team that won the 2020 West Coast Classic. Steindl will add a presence outside the arc, having shot the three at 34 per cent in her most recent WNBL season.

Steindl, who attended College at Gonzaga, has played a number of seasons with the Lynx and also previously played with the Townsville Fire and Adelaide Lightning. Steindl signing on is important to replace some of the experienced heads who have left the team in the of-season.

Alex Ciabattoni won the WNBL 2015/2016 rookie of the year when playing with the Adelaide Lightning. Ciabattoni played with the Lynx in 2017/2018 before plying her trade in Italy, so Lynx fans will be happy that she is returning. Ciabattoni played in the Western Australia State Basketball League with Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Rockingham Flames and played in the then SEABL competition with Albury Wodonga Bandits and Hobart Chargers.

Alex Sharp starts her WNBL career after a college career at Wake Forest University. Sharp scored over 1000 points and 900 rebounds for Wake Forest. Sharp is also a two-time World University Games gold medallist and will be an exciting addition to the Lynx roster.

Young guard Taylah Burrows has re-signed with the Lynx. Burrows has played for Southwest Slammers and Rockingham Flames. Burrows attracted a lot of interest from Division 1 Colleges in America. As a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19, Burrows elected to stay in Perth. With some of the changes to the squad and the condensed season expect Burrows to see more court time this season.

Jessie Edwards returns to Perth where she was named the West Coast Waves rookie of the year in 2013/2014. Edwards played for the University of Minnesota Gophers, where she led the Gophers in blocks in each of her three seasons and was ranked sixth all-time at Minnesota for blocks and ninth for offensive rebounds. Expect Edwards to be hitting the boards and impacting the shots of opposition players.

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Basketball going through the net

Ashleigh Isenbarger (nee Grant) has previously spent four years in the WNBL at both the Lynx and the Melbourne Boomers. Isenbarger was a standout player for Western Australia at the junior level. Isenbarger won the Boomers’ most improved player award in 2017-2018. Isenbarger has played with the Lakeside Lightning for a number of years.

Nes’eya Parker-Williams made her WNBL debut for the Lynx at the age of 17. Parker-Williams has previously played for the Perth Redbacks. For the 2020 West Coast Classic, Parker-Williams joined the Joondalup Wolves.

Jewel Williams plays for the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and was named a State Basketball League All-Star in 2019, averaging 14.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Williams has been a Lynx Development and Academy player.

Forward Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard is a Kalgoorlie native who has come through the Western Australia State Pathway Program. Clinch Hoycard has also played at the University of Hawai’i.

Guard Emma Clarke is looking for her WNBL debut. Clarke graduated from Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence in 2017 before joining the University of Colorado. Clarke averaged nearly ten points and five rebounds per game as a sophomore at Colorado Buffaloes during 2019-2020.

Prediction
The Lynx have lost a number of quality and experienced players this season. This has only been worsened by the fact that Whitcomb and Allen are not in the hub. On the recruiting front, the addition of Garbin and the return Steindl and Ciabattoni is a plus.

However, the squad is relatively young and although their youthful exuberance may be a positive in a condensed season, I would expect the Lynx to benefit the most from this season in the next season or two.

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Predicted finish: seventh.