Flyers crush Lynx in game three to win WNBL title

Chris Pike |

Lauren Jackson (r) helped the Southside Flyers clinch the WNBL grand final series against Perth.
Lauren Jackson (r) helped the Southside Flyers clinch the WNBL grand final series against Perth.

The Southside Flyers were too big, too experienced and too good, beating the Perth Lynx 115-81 in game three of the WNBL grand final series to clinch the championship.

The Flyers had to do it the hard way just to get to the grand final, beating crosstown rivals the Melbourne Boomers in three games in the semi-finals before the Lynx blew them away in game one of the title series.

Southside regrouped and their size and experience shone through as they got the series back on their terms with a thrilling game-two win in Perth on Thursday night.

That took the series back to Melbourne for the decider on Sunday and the Flyers were never going to be denied as they romped to the 34-point victory on Sunday for the franchise’s fifth championship, and second since being rebranded as the Southside Flyers.

The Flyers were able to get the game on their terms by keeping it at their pace to maximise their strengths, and they began to assert their control with the opening 10 points of the second quarter.

Southside went on to lead 52-39 by half-time and then it was Carley Ernst who blew the game open for good late in the third period. She hit three triples in the space of two minutes.

That saw the Flyers lead balloon to 24 points and the final quarter was party time with 42-year-old all-time great Lauren Jackson (12 points, six rebounds) winning a sixth WNBL championship and first since 2010.

Her frontcourt partner Mercedes Russell had 13 points and 13 rebounds with Ernst backing them up with 15 points with those three triples.

Jaz Dickey added 19 points, captain Bec Cole 17, Maddy Rocci 15 and Leilani Mitchell 14 (six assists).

It’s more heartbreak for the Lynx who for the second time in three years have now won the first game of a grand final series, lost a heartbreaker at home and then been blown away in the decider in Melbourne.

Their championship drought dating back to 1992 extends despite Amy Atwell finishing with 22 points and Aari McDonald 21. 

The defensive pressure they faced from the Flyers was highlighted with the pair combining for 12 turnovers.