Perth Lynx player profiles and preview of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season

Six players from Perth’s 2021/22 roster will be suiting up for the club again in the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season headlined by starting guard Sami Whitcomb and starting centre Lauren Scherf who have each been medallists playing for Australia in 2022. Whitcomb was the starting point guard and leading scorer for the bronze medal winning Australian Opals at the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sydney. In July 2022 as a member of the Australian women’s 3×3 team Scherf won a silver medal at the 2022 FIBA Asia 3×3 Cup in Singapore and a bronze medal in the 3×3 tournament at the Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham.

Guard Emma Gandini and forward Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard have each been elevated to Perth’s 10 player main roster for the 2022/23 season after being development players in 2021/22. Also returning from Perth’s 2021/22 roster are guard Tayah Burrows and guard/forward Alex Sharp. Ryan Petrik is coaching Perth Lynx for the third consecutive season in 2022/23 and won the WNBL’s Coach of the Year award in his second season in the role in 2021/22.

Two players with previous WNBL experience have joined the Lynx for the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season, centre Jessie Edwards returns after playing two seasons for the club previously in 2013/14 and 2020 and guard/forward Chloe Bibby returns to the league after playing in five seasons of College basketball. As a teenager Bibby played in the WNBL for the Jayco Rangers from 2013/14 to 2016/17.

In the off-season Perth recruited two players who will be making their WNBL debut, Amy Atwell and import American point guard Robbi Ryan. West Australian Atwell played her junior basketball with Willetton Tigers in WA. In her senior year with University of Hawaii in 2021/22 Atwell was named the Big West Conference Player of the Year. American import point guard Ryan played for the Joondalup Wolves in the 2022 NBL1 West season and was selected in the conference’s All-Star Five.

Perth Lynx’s 2021/22 WNBL season

Wins         11

Losses        5

Finished regular season in second place

Lost the Grand Final series to Melbourne Boomers one game to two.

Perth experienced a very different 2021/22 WNBL season to other clubs due to Western Australia having tighter border restrictions than other Australian states to combat COVID-19. Perth Lynx had an extended pre-season and didn’t start their WNBL season until Round 5 with an extended time on the road, based in Victorian country town Ballarat.

Perth played their first nine games of the season outside Western Australia, including four games at Selkirk Stadium in Ballarat. After splitting their first four games with two wins and two losses the Lynx won five consecutive games to have a record of seven wins and two losses.

From March 5 to 12 Perth played four consecutive home games at Bendat Basketball Centre, their only home games during the regular season. Perth finished the season with three road games and despite being away from home for most of the season maintained a high standard during the 2021/22 regular season to have 11 wins, five losses and finished second on the ladder. During the regular season Perth had two overtime victories in regional Victoria. Their first win of the season was on 12 Jaunuary in overtime against Southside 83-79 at Selkirk Stadium in Ballarat. Less than a month later they trailed Melbourne Boomers by three points late in the fourth quarter on 6 February at the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium (GRISS) Alex Sharp made a corner three with under four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to tie the scores on 65. Perth outscored the Boomers 11-6 in overtime to win by five points.

Perth Lynx players after winning in overtime against the Melbourne Boomers at Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium (GRISS), Traralgon on 6 February 2022

In a home semi final Perth led by a double-double from Sami Whitcomb comprised of 20 points and 11 rebounds defeated University of Canberra Capitals 91-77 and advanced to the Grand Final. In game 1 of the Grand Final series against the Deakin Melbourne Boomers at Melbourne Sports Centres Parkville Perth played phenomenal basketball to defeat the Boomers 98-71 led by 25 points from Garbin. On an attempted three-pointer to tie the scores in Game 2 Marina Mabrey was fouled with 0.2 seconds left. Mabrey made the first two free-throws with swishes, however the third free-throw was short, hitting the front of the rim, and Perth were defeated 75-76 to send the series to a third game. The lead changed 13 times during a highly entertaining game two with Mabrey scoring a game-high 30 points. In the middle two quarters of game 3 of the Grand Final on the road Perth were outscored 26-48, the Lynx were defeated in the Grand Final 66-84.

During the 2021/22 WNBL season Perth had a potent starting line-up with all five starters averaging over 11.5 points per game – American import duo Marina Mabrey (19.1 points per game) and Jackie Young (17.8) along with Sami Whitcomb (14.0), Lauren Scherf (11.8) and Lynx captain Darcee Garbin (11.7). Excluding players that played less than five games for the season, no other club had five players that averaged over 11.5 points per game. Perth averaged a league-leading 83.1 points per game and were ranked equal first with a field goal accuracy of 42.9%. 

Jackie Young playing for the Perth Lynx against the Melbourne Boomers at Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium (GRISS), Traralgon on 6 February 2022

Including finals Perth Lynx import duo Mabrey and Young ranked second and third respectively in the 2021/22 WNBL season for points per game. Centre, Scherf ranked third in the league for rebounds per game. At the 2021/22 WNBL end of season awards Young was selected in the All-WNBL First Team and Petrik was named WNBL Coach of the Year.

Marina Mabrey taking a foul shot for Perth Lynx against Southside Flyers at Dandenong Stadium on 27 January 2022

During an Instagram interview with Megan Hustwaite earlier this month Perth Head Coach Petrik commented on the Lynx’s 2021/22 WNBL season “Our biggest reflection in all honestly was the fact that we were good enough to get that far (make the Grand Final). In every four meetings we had three of them would have been trying to keep the team alive and not forfeit the season, one in four meetings was actually basketball related. It was a crazy kind of season. Every third phone call, every three in four meetings was I think we are going to lose this player, this player is going to go home and I think this player is going to quit, I don’t think we are going to see this thing out. So the ultimate losing to Melbourne sucks, Melbourne were great but the fact we got there in the first place, we genuinely thought we were going to forfeit the season after our third or fourth round of actually playing games.”  

Perth Lynx 2022/23 main roster

Returning:           Tayah Burrows, Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard (elevated from being a development player), Emma Gandini (elevated from being a development player), Lauren Scherf, Alex Sharp and Sami Whitcomb

Arrivals:               Amy Atwell, Chloe Bibby, Jessie Edwards and Robbi Ryan

Departed:           Emma Clarke (Sydney Flames – WNBL), Alexandra Ciabattoni, Darcee Garbin (DVTK-Hun-Therm – Hungary), Ashleigh Isenbarger, Marina Mabrey (Famila Wuber Schio – Serie A1 in Italy) and Jackie Young (Hatay – KBSL in Turkey)

Three of Perth’s 2021/22 starters have left the club, 2021/22 captain Darcee Garbin and American import duo Jackie Young and Marina Mabrey. Garbin, Young and Mabrey are all playing for European clubs in 2022/23. Another two members of the 2021/22 core rotation that averaged more than 13.0 minutes per game in Alexandra Ciabattoni and Ashleigh Isenbarger wont be suiting up for the Lynx in 2022/23. Emma Clarke averaged 5.7 minutes per game for Perth in 2021/22 and has joined the Sydney Flames.

Darcee Garbin shooting a three-pointer for Perth Lynx against UC Capitals at Selkirk Stadium, Ballarat on 19 January 2022

Player                                                   Position                               Date of birth             Number

Predicted starters:    

Robbi Ryan*                                       Guard                                   13/08/1997                         21  

Sami Whitcomb                                Guard                                  20/07/1988                         32

Amy Atwell                                         Guard/Forward                30/06/1998                         25

Chloe Bibby                                        Guard/Forward                15/06/1998                         55

Lauren Scherf                                    Centre                                  7/03/1996                            11

Main roster members:  

Tayah Burrows                                  Guard                                   1/09/2001                            22

Emma Gandini                                  Guard                                   18/04/1994                         31

Alex Sharp                                        Guard/Forward                4/02/1997                            9

Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard            Forward                               29/10/1998                         12

Jessie Edwards                                  Centre                                  16/10/1995                         10

*= Import

Development Players:

Chloe Forster                                     Guard                                   7/05/2003                            6

Desiree Keeley                                  Guard/Forward                4/02/1995                            7

Ruby Vlahov                                     Forward                               5/03/2004                            15

Player profiles on all 10 members of Perth Lynx’s main roster and the three development players for the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season are included later in this article.

Coaches

Ryan Petrick                       Head Coach

Brad Robbins                     Assistant Coach

A detailed profile on Perth Lynx Head Coach Seebohm is included later in this article.

Preview of Perth Lynx’s 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season

After Perth Lynx finalised their 10 player main roster for the 2022/23 WNBL season in early August Perth Head Coach Ryan Petrik commented to The West Australian on the construction of their roster and the lack of WNBA imports, saying Europe has gone crazy with spending and the WNBA players are all heading over there. The money in Europe has been way too hard to turn down. So with WNBA imports much harder to get, we decided to go much more Australian. We wanted to get (WNBA draftee) Amy Atwell back home as a West Aussie and Chloe Bibby was someone we’d coveted for a while. So we were keen to get those two. Robbi has been sitting in our backyard. We brought Sami Whitcomb in from the State league, so we’re pretty confident that we know what a good import looks like if they’re going to transfer over to the WNBL.”1

Five of the 10 players on the Perth Lynx main roster for the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season grew up in Western Australia and played their junior basketball in WA – Amy Atwell, Tayah Burrows, Emma Gandini, Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard and Jessie Edwards. The latter four all commenced their WNBL careers as development players with Perth Lynx and are now on the club’s main roster.

During an interview on Instagram with Megan Hustwaite Perth Head Coach Petrik commented on this quartet “Those lower ranked players in our roster that go under the radar a bit because we have got those WNBA (players) and those Opals in the starting five. We are really happy with where they are at and they have been really good for us so far in pre-season.” On Jessie Edwards Petrik commented “She has been really good backing up Lauren Scherf, being able to sub last season and not having a genuine back-up centre kind of hurt us so we were really making sure we had a back-up to Scherfy for this season and Jessie Edwards has been really impressive.”

During the 2022 NBL1 West season Edwards averaged 18.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game for the Cockburn Cougars to earn selection in the All-NBL1 West First Team. During the 2022 NBL1 West season 28 year old Gandini played her 200th State League game for the Willetton Tigers  was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second season in a row and ranked second for steals per game.  Clinch Hoycard was a member of the Warwick Senators team that won the 2022 NBL1 West Championship and the NBL1 National Finals. In both 2020 and 2021/22 guard, Burrows won the club’s Youth Player of the Year award. During the 2020 hub season Burrows averaged 16.7 minutes per game.

At University of Hawaii Amy Atwell averaged 17.8 points per game in her senior year in 2021/22 and made 205 three-pointers during her career to set a new record for her college. Shooting guard/small forward Atwell will be making her WNBL debut in 2022/23.  

Two American born guards on Perth’s 2022/23 roster were given their opportunity at WNBL level with the Lynx after impressing at State League Level in Western Australia – Sami Whitcomb and Robbi Ryan. With current Perth Lynx Head Coach Pertrik as her Head coach with the Rockingham Flames Whitcomb won three consecutive Most Valuable Player Awards in Western Australia’s State Basketball League from 2013 to 2015. In her first three WNBL seasons from 2015/16 to 2017/18 Whitcomb was selected in the WNBL’s All Star Five. Ryan in her debut NBL1 West season playing as a point guard for Joondalup Wolves averaged 20.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game to earn selection in the NBL1 West All-Star Five and won the conference’s Golden Hands Award. 

In March 2020 Basketball WA took over the license of Perth Lynx from the Perth Wildcats. Earlier this month Lynx Head Coach Petrik told WNBL Media“Especially with this program now owned by Basketball WA, you are trying to achieve two goals at once and first and foremost, you are trying to win championships. When we were under the Wildcats banner, that really was the only goal with that motto of ‘Inspire and Entertain Through Excellence’. We had that drilled into us and win at all cost was pretty much the brief. But now being owned by Basketball WA, you still want to win but also develop and play as many West Aussie kids as we can. We’re trying to tick two boxes at once. If we went all development and lose, then I’m in trouble, and if we go all out win without developing, we lose in the long run too. We’re trying to tick two boxes and not every team might be worrying about that same thing, and might be more focused on win now. We clearly still want to win, but want to play as many West Aussies as we can. What we’ve been most proud of over the first two seasons is that we’ve got more DP’s turning into roster spot players than any other club. Whether it’s Gandini, Burrows, Hoycard or Edwards, they have been development program players for us and turned into roster spot players.”2

For the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season Perth Lynx have signed three West Australians as development players, guard Chloe Forster, guard/forward Desiree Keeley and forward Ruby Vlahov. 19 year old. 27 year old Keeley has played over 200 state league games for Willetton Tigers and was captain of the Tigers team that won the inaugural NBL1 West Championship in 2021, her teammates included Perth Lynx players Sharp and Gandini. Forster was a member of the Warwick Senators team that won the 2022 NBL1 West Championship and the NBL1 National Finals. During the 2022 NBL1 West season Keeley and Forster each averaged more than 14.5 points and 3.0 assists per game. Vlahov made her NBL1 West debut with Perry Lakes Hawks in 2022. In August this year Vlahov attended FIBA’s 12th Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia camp held in Canberra.

The Perth Lynx 10 player main roster for the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season includes a trio of Victorians – Lauren Scherf, Alexandra Sharp and Chloe Bibby. At under-age level Sharp and Bibby were teammates on Victorian state teams. After completing her college career Sharp made her WNBL debut with Perth Lynx in 2020 and ranked seventh in the league for rebounds per game. At just 26 years of age Scherf has already amassed 186 WNBL games. Scherf joined Perth Lynx in 2021/22 and had the best season of her career, ranking third in the WNBL for rebounds, fifth for blocked shots and finished runner-up in Perth’s MVP Award. Playing for University of Maryland Bibby was selected in the 2022 All-Big Ten Second team. Bibby was teammates in the WNBL with Scherf at the Dandenong Rangers from 2013/14 to 2016/17. After completing college Bibby again played alongside Scherf at the Kilsyth Cobras for the second half of the 2022 NBL1 season.

With the departure of three starters in Garbin, Young and Mabrey Perth Lynx will be structured very differently for the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season. Each of the four WNBL finalists from 2021/22 have between one and three starters returning in 2022/23 so will need to make significant adjustments with two to four new players in their starting line-up.

In an article Winning, providing pathway the double goal for Lynx published by WNBL Media on 19 October Perth Head Coach Petrik commented “Uncorking Lauren Scherf and getting the full experience out of her is a focus. She did some things last season that were crazy and we think we are only scratching the surface on what she can do. Then we’ve always built our teams around our two or three best players, and having everyone fit around that. We obviously speak with a bias, but we think we’ve got the best two in the league with Sam and the best five in the league with Loz. It’s then all about if we have enough around those two. We are pretty bullish on what we can do.”3

Later in the WNBL Media article Petrik commented on the recruitment of import Ryan “Everyone knew how good a player she was, the thing we loved about her was how often she could get her feet in the paint in the NBL1. I know what kind of player can work in this league and she fits that. Then moving Sam back to the two where she’s just a nuclear warhead even though clearly she can play the one. But at the two, she has so much gravity and that’s why we wanted to bring in Robbi to play that one and work alongside Sam.”4

Sami Whitcomb playing for Perth Lynx against UC Capitals at Selkirk Stadium, Ballarat on 19 January 2022

With the departure of fellow WNBA players Young and Mabrey Perth’s offense in the Cygnett WNBL 2022/23 season will be more focused around Whitcomb, much like it was from 2015/16 to 2017/18 when Whitcomb averaged more than 17.0 points per game and ranked in the league’s top five for scoring in all three seasons. In her 96 game WNBL career Whitcomb ranks fifth on the league’s all-time list with 19.2 points per game.

After playing shortened seasons in 2020 and 2021/22 due to COVID-19 the WNBL season returns to its usual length with each club playing 21 games during the 2022/23 regular season. All 84 games during the 16 round Cygnett WNBL regular season will be broadcast on television. A Wednesday game each round will be broadcast by ESPN and 68 games will be shown on Nine’s free streaming service 9 Now

After the entire 2020 season was played in hubs in Queensland Perth Lynx were impacted by harsher border restrictions in Western Australia than other states during the 2021/22 season and only played four home games at the Bendat Basketball Centre. Perth Lynx host the opening game of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season at the Bendat Basketball Centre on Wednesday 2 November against the Melbourne Boomers. Perth play 11 home games at the Bendat Basketball Centre in 2022/23 including five of their first six games of the season.

More detail on Perth’s 10 main roster players, three development players and Head Coach Ryan Petrick are provided in the profiles section below.

Player profiles for main roster players in alphabetical order of surname

Amy Atwell

#25                                             Position:  Guard/Forward              

Date of Birth                              30 June 1998                 Height 183cm                   

Junior Club                                Willetton Tigers (Western Australia)     

Will make WNBL debut in 2022/23    

Nationality                         Australian

On June 4 Perth Lynx announced that they had signed Amy Atwell for the 2022/23 WNBL season. Perth Head Coach Ryan Petrik told WNBL Media “We’ve been watching and waiting patiently for years now for Amy to turn Pro, and now that she has, we simply had to get her back home. Amy has terrific size for her position, and her prolific shooting suits perfectly with how we want to play. To be the first West Aussie to make it to the WNBA via the draft is a fantastic achievement, and we can’t wait to see her finally in a Perth Lynx jersey.”5

Amy Atwell grew up in South Perth and played junior basketball with Willetton Tigers. Atwell represented Western Australia at under-age national junior championships. At the 2015 Australian  Under 18 National Championships Atwell represented WA metro and averaged 15.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.  At the 2016 Under 20 Australian Junior Championships Atwell represented Western Australia alongside current Perth Lynx player Clinch Hoycard. 

At 18 years of age Atwell moved away from Perth and her family to attend the University of Hawaii and play college basketball. Before playing her first game Atwell injured her knee and required a knee reconstruction, Atwell missed the entire season due to injury which resulted in 2016/17 being classified as a redshirt season. Although Atwell was unable to play she still travelled for every road trip and did her rehabilitation with University of Hawaii athletic trainer Erin Tillman. During the rehabilitation process Atwell was unable to do most on-court work but continued to work on her shooting which paid dividends. 

In her freshman season for University of Hawaii Atwell played 23 games and had 1 start in 2017/18. During the 12 April 2022 episode of The Dribble podcast published by The West Australian Atwell commented “Even coming back from that ACL I was playing and felt physically good but I didn’t have all that trust back and I actually ended up tearing my meniscus that next off-season and had to have another two surgeries. So that next 18 months after my ACL I was still kind of battling knee injuries had a couple more surgeries in there and still trying to find that groove and get back into it. So it wasn’t really until the year before COVID, that season I really found my feet again and felt like the same basketball player I was before I tore my ACL.” Atwell’s ACL injury and COVID extended her time at University of Hawaii from four years to six years.

In 2017/18 and 2018/19 Atwell was a core rotation player, in 51 games over these two seasons she averaged 4.4 points and 12.7 minutes per game. During the 2017/18 season current Perth Lynx teammate Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard was a teammate of Atwell’s at Hawaii. After regaining confidence in her knee Atwell averaged 10.6 points and 22.0 minutes per game starting 13 of 27 games in 2019/20 and was named the Big West Conference Best Sixth Player.

During the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons Atwell started all 47 games and emerged as a star for University of Hawaii. After being selected in the Big West Conference Second-team in 2020/21 Atwell was named in the Big West Conference First-Team in 2021/22 and was named the Big West Conference Player of the Year. During her exceptional 2021/22 season Atwell averaged 17.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the University of Hawaii. In 2021/22 the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Basketball team won the Big West regular season championship and also won the Big West tournament, defeating UC Irvine 59-48 in the final. Atwell played 125 games for University of Hawaii and made 205 three-pointers to set a new career record for her college.

At pick 27 in the 2022 WNBA Draft Los Angeles Sparks selected Atwell, who made history by becoming the first West Australian to be selected in a WNBA draft. West Australians to play in the WNBA after being recruited as free agents include 2006 World Championships Gold medallist Tully Bevilaqua and two-time World Cup medallist and current Perth Lynx teammate Sami Whitcomb. In a WNBA pre-season game against Phoenix Mercury Atwell scored 19 points and made six of six three-pointers. Atwell started in LA Sparks season opener for the 2022 WNBA regular season. Atwell played four regular season games for the Sparks averaging 0.8 points and 8.0 minutes per game. Atwell was waived by the LA Sparks on 7 June.

Chloe Bibby

#55                                            Position:  Guard/Forward               

DOB  15 June 1998                  Height 185cm                   

Junior Club                               Dandenong Rangers (Victoria)     

WNBL debut: 2013/14             WNBL games played: 27

Nationality                         Australian

Perth Lynx announced on 2 August 2022 that they had signed guard/forward Chloe Bibby for the 2022/23 season. Perth Head Coach Petrik told WNBL MediaEveryone knows Chloe is an elite talent who can really shoot it, and that’s huge in our system. But what we really like is that she can also floor it, switch it on D, rebound it, come off screens or set them herself, or post it up. We want to keep doubling down on this pace and space styled system, and we know Chloe’s versatility can go a long way to helping us with that.”6

Chloe Bibby played her junior basketball with the Dandenong Rangers. In the 2016 Under 20 National Championships Bibby was a member of gold medal winning Victoria Navy team alongside current Perth Lynx teammate Alex Sharp. In Victoria Navy’s 22 point Grand Final victory against South Australia Bibby scored a team-high 19 points.  

Bibby played for Australia at the 2014 FIBA Under 17 World Championship for Women. As a member of Australia’s gold medal winning team at the 2016 FIBA Under 18 Oceania Championship held in Suva, Fiji Bibby played all five games and averaged 14.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 17.3 minutes per game. Bibby ranked third for Australia in scoring and had a field goal accuracy of 55.8%. At the 2017 Under 19 FIBA Women’s World Cup held in Italy Bibby was a starter for the Australian Gems team that finished sixth. Bibby played all seven games for the Gems and averaged 11.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 26.1 minutes per game. Throughout the tournament Bibby was consistent, scoring at least 10 points and taking at least six rebounds in five games. Bibby ranked second for the Gems in scoring behind Ezi Magbegor and third in rebounding behind Anneli Maley and Magbegor. 

At just 15 years of age Bibby made her WNBL debut with the Dandenong Rangers in 2013/14. In four WNBL seasons with the Jayco Rangers from 2013/14 to 2016/17 Bibby played a total of 27 games. The Rangers made the 2016/17 Grand Final and were defeated by the Sydney Uni Flames two games to nil.

Bibby also played for the Dandenong Rangers in the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) during WNBL off-seasons and was a member of the Rangers team that won back-to-back SEABL Championships in 2015 and 2016.

Chloe Bibby and Lauren Scherf celebrating after Dandenong Rangers defeated Kilsyth Cobras in the 2016 SEABL Grand Final at the State Basketball Centre on 10 September 2016

Playing for the Bendigo Lady Braves in the 2017 SEABL season Bibby averaged 17.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Bibby was rewarded for her brilliant 2017 SEABL season with two awards, winning the Women’s Australian Youth Player of the Year award and was named in the All-SEABL Women’s First team. 

Chloe Bibby playing for Bendigo Braves in a SEABL game against Dandenong Rangers at Dandenong Stadium on 12 August 2017

From 2017/18 to 2019/20 Bibby played three seasons of College basketball for Mississippi State. As a freshman Bibby played 37 games off the bench in 2017/18. Bibby was a starter in her 2018/19 sophomore season, however sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in her left knee in the opening minute of Mississippi’s game against South Carolina on 17 January which ended her season. After the knee injury Bibby made her return in Mississippi State’s opening game of the 2019/20 season and scored a team-high 16 points against Southern Mississippi. Bibby played 33 games including 31 as a starter in 2019/20. In three seasons at Mississippi State from 2017/18 to 2019/20 Bibby played 88 games including 49 as a starter and averaged 6.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 20.0 minutes per game. In 2019/20 Bibby led for Mississippi State with 38 three-pointers made and ranked second for rebounds.

After the 2019/20 season Bibby transferred to University of Maryland. Bibby played for Maryland in 2020/21 and 2021/22, starting all 61 games that she played during this period and averaged 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 31.4 minutes per game. Bibby was selected in the 2022 All-Big Ten Second team. Bibby led Maryland in total minutes played in 2021/22, ranked third in scoring and second in rebounding.

Although Bibby was projected to be selected in the third round of the 2022 WNBA Draft by some mock drafts including ESPN she went undrafted. Bibby attended a 2022 pre-season training camp with WNBA club Minnesota Lynx. In one pre-season game for Minnesota Bibby scored four points. On 2 May the Lynx waived Bibby.

Mid-way through the 2022 NBL1 South season Bibby joined Kilsyth Cobras and was teammates with Perth Lynx starting centre Lauren Scherf. In nine games for Kilsyth Bibby averaged 18.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 27 minutes and 57 seconds court-time per game. Bibby ranked second for Kilsyth in scoring per game behind Scherf and third for rebounds. Bibby has also previously been teammates with Scherf playing for the Dandenong Rangers in both the WNBL and SEABL.

Tayah Burrows

#22                                           Position: Guard                 

DOB  1 September 2001         Height 179cm                   

Junior Club                               Australind (Western Australia)     

WNBL debut: 2019/20             WNBL games played: 33 (All for Perth Lynx)    

Nationality                         Australian

As a junior Tayah Burrows played basketball for the Southwest Slammers, she progressed through the ranks to represent the Slammers at senior level in the WA State League. Burrows played 18 games for the Southwest Slammers in 2018 and averaged 12.9 points per game.

At 18 years of age, guard Burrows made her WNBL debut with Perth Lynx in 2019/20 as an amateur player. Burrows missed some games throughout the season due to injury and illness, playing five games for the Lynx in 2019/20. Burrows accepted an offer to play college basketball for Washington State in the NCAA but during a time with greater uncertainty due to COVID-19 she later opted to remain in Australia and continue playing for Perth Lynx.  

Burrows played all 13 games for Perth Lynx as a member of the core rotation in the 2020 hub season. On 26 November 2020 against the UC Capitals Burrows scored seven points and made three assists to set season-highs in both categories. In 2020 Burrows averaged 2.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 16.7 minutes per game for the Lynx. 

In the 2021 NBL1 West season Burrows played for the Rockingham Flames. Burrows scored at least 20 points in a game six times including a game-high and season-high 28 points shooting at 64.3% from the field against former team, the Southwest Slammers on 9 May, she also took eight rebounds, made six assists and had four steals. Burrows played 15 games for the Rockingham Flames in 2021 and averaged 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.

During the 2021/22 WNBL season Burrows played 15 of a possible 20 games in a back-up guard role for Grand Finalists Perth Lynx. Burows played more than 10 minutes in a game three times and in two of these games scored at least five points. Against the Sydney Flames on 16 March Burrows made three of four field goal attempts at an accuracy of 75%, scored eight points, took four rebounds, made two assists and one steal in 15 minutes and 21 seconds game time. In 2021/22 Burrows averaged 1.5 points, 1.0 assists and 5.7 minutes per game. Burrows won the Perth Lynx Youth Player of the Year for the second season in a row.

Tayah Burows shooting a foul shot for Perth Lynx against the Melbourne Boomers at Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium (GRISS), Traralgon on 6 February 2022

After signing with Perth Lynx for the 2022/23 WNBL season Burrows told WNBL Media “I’m super excited and privileged to be back with the Lynx again this season and coached by Ryan Petrik. As a WA junior, it was always a goal of mine to play for the Perth Lynx, so it means a lot to me, and I can’t wait to take it one step further this season and win a championship for this club.”7

Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard

#12                                           Position: Forward               

DOB  29 October 1998            Height 191cm                   

Junior Club                               CBC Basketball club (Western Australia)     

WNBL debut: 2020                  WNBL games played: 15 (All with Perth Lynx)    

Nationality                         Australian

After being a development player for Perth Lynx in 2020 and 2021/22 Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard was  elevated to the club’s main roster for the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season. Perth Head Coach Petrik told WNBL Media “Mackenzie has progressed through the BWA pathways to become a Lynx DP the last 2 seasons, and we’re excited to see what she can do as a contracted player. Mac is a modern-day 4. She’s an elite spot-up shooter, which will keep the floor spaced for us; and as importantly, is a high character/ high culture player. She’s someone the players love having here and playing with, and we’re excited to see her continue to develop in this league.”8

Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard played basketball for CBC Basketball Club in the Kalgoorlie Goldfields  throughout her junior career and progressed through the Basketball WA State Pathway Program to play representative basketball for West Australian teams. Up until the under 18’s Mackenzie played for Western Australia Country at Australian Junior Championships. At the 2016 Under 20 Australian Junior Championships Clinch Hoycard represented Western Australia alongside current Perth Lynx player Atwell. 

In 2017/18 Clinch Hoycard moved to America to attend the University of Hawaii and was again teammates on the College basketball team with Atwell. Due to injuries Clinch Hoycard didn’t debut in her freshman 2017/18 season for Hawaii until 30 December. In a road game against Long Beach on 24 February Clinch Hoycard scored nine points and took six rebounds, setting season-highs in both categories playing 15 minutes court-time. Clinch Hoycard played 13 games for the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Basketball team in 2017/18 and averaged 1.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 9 minutes per game. Clinch Hoycard missed home and before the start of the 2018/19 college season decided to return to Australia.

Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard made her WNBL debut as a development player with Perth Lynx in 2020. After playing five games in 2020 Clinch Hoycard played 10 games for the Lynx in 2021/22 and averaged 2.6 minutes and 1.2 points per game. Against the University of Canberra Capitals on 12 March 2022 Clinch Hoycard scored five points in two minutes and 19 seconds court-time, making a three-pointer and two free-throws.

Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard making a w symbol after Perth Lynx defeated Melbourne Boomers at Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium (GRISS), Traralgon on 6 February 2022

During the 2021 and 2022 NBL1 West seasons Clinch Hoycard played for the Warwick Senators and was teammates with current Lynx Development player Chloe Forster. On 17 April 2021 against the Southwest Slammers Clinch Hoycard scored a game-high 29 points, took a game-high 11 rebounds, had four assists and made a game-high three steals. Mackenzie had a field goal accuracy of 60% and made all four three-pointers. Clinch Hoycard had double-doubles in four games for the 2021 season, twice achieving this feat against the Slammers. Clinch Hoycard played 21 games for Warwick in 2021 and averaged 15.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

Against the Eastern Suns in Round 3 on 22 April 2022 Clinch Hoycard scored 29 points and took 14 rebounds to set game-highs in both categories and had a field goal accuracy of 61.1%. Warwick Senators finished on top of the NBL1 West ladder with 18 wins and two losses. In the Senators NBL1 West Grand Final the Senators defeated Willetton Tigers 87-61. In the Grand Final victory Clinch Hoycard registered a double-double comprised of 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Mackenzie played 21 games for the Senators in 2022 and averaged 13.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. A week after winning the NBL1 West Grand Final the Warwick Senators won all three games at the NBL1 National Finals to be crowned NBL1 National Champions.

Jessie Edwards

#10                                           Position: Centre                 

DOB  16 October 1995            Height 193cm                   

Junior Club                               Willetton Tigers (Western Australia)     

WNBL debut: 2013/14            

Nationality                                 Australian

After Perth Lynx announced on 8 June that centre Jessie Edwards had signed with the club for the 2022/23 season Lynx Head Coach Ryan Petrik told wnbl.basketball “Jessie brings a real presence inside, which was lacking for us last season any time Lauren wasn’t on the floor. Her form with Cockburn in the NBL1 West has been super impressive, and we’re really looking forward to seeing how that translates back into the WNBL.”9

Edwards played junior basketball for the Willetton Tigers. In 2013/14 Edwards made her WNBL debut with the West Coast Waves (later renamed the Perth Lynx) and was named the Waves Rookie of the Year for the 2013/14 season. Edwards played for Kalamunda Eastern Suns during the 2015 State Basketball League (SBL) season.

After attending Curtin University in Australia Edwards moved to the United States of America and played College basketball for the University of Minnesota from 2015/16 to 2017/18. The University of Minnesota Gophers had 24 wins and nine losses during the 2017/18 season to finish tied for third in the Big 10 Conference. The Gophers won their first round game in the 2017/18 NCAA Tournament against Green Bay 89-77. In the second round Minnesota were defeated by Oregon 101-73. 

In three seasons for University of Minnesota Edwards played 95 games including 38 starts. In 2015/16 Edwards ranked second for Minnesota for total rebounds and then led her team in that category in 2016/17. Edwards “Finished her career ranked sixth all-time at Minnesota in blocks (113) and ninth in offensive rebounds (227), led the Gophers in blocks during all three of her seasons.”10

In 2019/20 Edwards was a development player in the WNBL with Adelaide Lightning, playing five games for the season and played less than 20 minutes court-time in total for the season.

Edwards played nine games for Perth Lynx during the 2020 WNBL season and averaged 3.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 8.9 minutes per game and led Perth with a field goal accuracy of 50%. In 2022/23 Edwards will again be teammates at the Lynx with three members of Perth’s 2020 roster – Sharp, Burrows and Clinch Hoycard.

Edwards excelled playing for Cockburn Cougars during the 2022 NBL1 West season. In four games Edwards scored more than 31 points, including a 35 point, 22 rebound performance shooting at 85.7% from the field in the Cougars 91-84 victory against East Perth on 8 April. Edwards played 21 games for Cockburn in 2022 and averaged 18.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per game to lead the Cougars in all three categories. Jessie ranked third in the conference for rebounds and blocked shots per game. Edwards was recognised for her brilliant season with selection in the 2022 All-NBL1 West First Team. Edwards has signed with the Cockburn Cougars for the next two seasons until the end of the 2024 NBL1 North season.

Emma Gandini

#31                                            Position:  Guard                

DOB  18 April 1994                 Height 172cm                   

Junior Club                               Willetton Tigers (Western Australia)     

WNBL debut: 2021/22             WNBL games played: 14 (All with Perth Lynx)   

Nationality                                 Australian

Emma Gandini was born and raised in Perth and competed in several sports when she was growing up including gymnastics, netball and basketball. At around 10 years of age Gandini followed in the footsteps of her older sister and commenced playing basketball for the Willetton Tigers. After playing for Willetton Tigers Gandini played for a couple of years at the Perth Redbacks with some friends. In the under 16’s Gandini returned to the Willetton Tigers and has been there ever since, progressing to play in the seniors at state league level for the club.

At the beginning of Gandini’s state league career with Willetton Tigers she played a couple of seasons off the bench before becoming a starting guard. Gandini was named in the 2019 WA State League All-Defensive team and was joined in the team by Willetton Tigers teammate and current Perth Lynx Development Player Desiree Keeley. In 2021 playing alongside Perth Lynx teammate Sharp and Keeley, Gandini was a member of the Willetton Tigers team that won the 2021 NBL1 West Championship. At the end of season awards Gandini was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.

At 27 years of age Gandini made her WNBL debut as a development player for the Perth Lynx in 2021/22. Against Adelaide Lightning on 7 March Gandini scored six points, made two of three three-pointers and took four rebounds. During the 2021/22 WNBL season Gandini played 14 games for Perth and averaged 2.0 points, 1.6 rebounds and 6.8 minutes per game. 

Emma Gandini playing for Perth Lynx against UC Capitals at Selkirk Stadium, Ballarat on 19 January 2022

In Round 4 of the 2022 NBL1 West season Gandini playing for Willetton fell one rebound short of registering a rare type of triple-double in a victory against the Southwest Slammers, Gandini scored a game-high 18 points, made a phenomenal game-high 13 steals, took nine rebounds and made seven assists. It is extremely rare for a player to reach double figures in steals and Gandini’s 13 steals accounted for 38.2% of the 34 steals made by both teams combined for the game.

Gandini and Keeley shared the significant milestone of each reaching 200 state league games for the Willetton Tiger in a 2022 NBL1 West semi final victory against Cockburn Cougars on 25 August Keeley. Gandini celebrated the milestone in style, scored a team-high 31 points, made 11 of 17 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 64.7% and made six of ten three-pointers in Willetton’s 103-98 semi final win against the Cougars. Gandini also took six rebounds, made three assists and two steals. During the 2022 NBL1 season Gandini played 21 games for the Willetton Tigers and averaged 13.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 3.1 steals per game. Gandini ranked second in the conference for steals. Gandini was named the NBL1 West conference’s 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, winning this award for the second year in a row.

After Gandini was a development player for Perth Lynx in 2021/22 the club elevated her onto the main roster for the 2022/23 season. Perth Head Coach Petrik told wnbl.basketballEmma worked her way up from simply trying out for a DP spot in 2021, into making the squad, into fighting her way into the rotation by the end of the season. We clearly thought she could play, but we were ecstatic at just how quickly she adapted to the higher level. Ganners brings a defensive mindset and toughness to our squad, as well as an energy and spark we needed multiple times last season. She gets her hands on the ball way more than you’d ever imagine, and those extra possessions will be invaluable to us in season 22/23.”11

Emma Gandini in a huddle with Perth Lynx teammates at half-time of the game against Southside Flyers at Dandenong Stadium on 27 January 2022

Robbi Ryan

#21                                            Position:     Guard          

DOB  13 August 1997              Height 175cm                   

Will make WNBL debut in 2022/23           

Nationality                                 American

On 4 August 2022 Perth Lynx announced that the club had signed American import Robbi Ryan for the 2022/23 WNBL season. Ryan had been excelling playing for Joondalup Wolves during the 2022 NBL1 West season. Perth Head Coach Petrik told WNBL Media “Robbi is currently going at 55% from 2, 50% from 3, and 75% from the line; for a team that was undefeated up until a few weeks ago, that makes you sit up and take notice. Then when you watch her play both here and in college, she almost passes too much, and clearly makes everyone else around her better. Obviously, the jump from NBL1 to WNBL is a huge one, but we’ve got some experience with Sam making that same jump and that worked out alright for everyone. So, we’re really confident coach Wong and his crew at Joondalup have found a good one, and think her game will translate inside this system.”12

Robbi Ryan was born and raised in Sheridan, Wyoming, United States of America. Ryan had an exceptional sporting career at Sheridan High School and earnt All-State honours in three different sports, basketball (four times All-State), soccer (three times All-State) and volleyball (two times All-State). In 2015 Ryan became the second player from Sheridan High School to be named the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the state of Wyoming. In 2016 Ryan was named the Gatorade Girls player of the year in not one but two sports, receiving this honour for both basketball and soccer.

Ryan played four seasons of College basketball with the Arizona State Sun Devils from 2016/17 to 2019/20. After starting 12 of the 33 games she played in her freshman season Ryan started the majority of games in the backcourt for the remainder of her college career with Arizona State. During four seasons playing as a guard for the Sun Devils Ryan played 131 games including 103 as a starter and averaged 8.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Ryan was one of 15 players that received All-PAC 12 honours in 2019/20 and the only player from Arizona State.

In 2021/22 Ryan commenced her professional basketball career playing for Grindavik in the Icelandic Úrvalsdeild kvenna. Ryan scored at least 30 points in a game five times including a season-high 38 points in a victory against Breidablik. Ryan played 23 games for Grindavik in 2021/22 and averaged 23.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game shooting at 48.3% from the field. 

Playing for the Joondalup Wolves Ryan score more than 18 points in each of her first five games of the 2022 NBL1 West season. On June 25 against East Perth Ryan scored 39 points and took 14 rebounds to set game-highs in both categories. In a dominant performance Ryan shot the ball proficiently, having a field goal accuracy of 59.1% and was even more effective from long range, making five of eight three-pointers at an accuracy of 62.5%. Joondalup finished second on the ladder out of 13 teams with 18 wins and two losses.

Against Willetton Tigers on 27 August Ryan had nine assists and four steals to set game-highs in both categories, scored a team-high 23 points and took nine rebounds in an 81-92 preliminary final loss. Ryan played 17 games for Joondalup Wolves during the 2022 NBL1 West season and averaged 20.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game and shot the ball at 49.8% from the field.  Ryan ranked fifth in the conference for points per game, seventh for assists and eighth for steals. Ryan was selected in the 2022 NBL1 West Women’s All-Star Five and won the conference’s Golden Hands Award. 

Lauren Scherf

#11                                           Position: Centre       

DOB  7 March 1996                Height 196cm                         

WNBL debut: 2013/14           WNBL games played: 186       

Junior Club                              Melbourne Tigers (Victoria)                          

Nationality                               Australian

The feature image for this article is of Lauren Scherf shooting a jump-shot for Perth Lynx against Melbourne Boomers at the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium on 6 February 2022

At 17 years of age Lauren Scherf made her WNBL debut with the Jayco Dandenong Rangers in 2013/14 and played 86 games in four seasons with the club. In 2014/15 power forward/centre Scherf won the WNBL’s Betty Watson Rookie of the Year Award. In the Dandenong Rangers 2016 South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) Grand Final victory Scherf won the Most Valuable Player Award.

Lauren Scherf shooting a free-throw for Dandenong Rangers against Kilsyth Cobras at the State Basketball Centre in the 2016 SEABL Grand Final on 10 September

Scherf represented the Australian Gems at FIBA Women’s Under 19 World Championships twice. As a double bottom-age player in 2013 Scherf played four of the bronze medal winning Gems nine games. At the 2015 FIBA Women’s Under 19 World Championships Scherf played all seven games and averaged 8.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Gems who won the bronze medal.

During 2017/18 and 2018/19 Scherf played 46 WNBL games for the University of Canberra Capitals and was a member of the club’s championship winning team in the latter season. As the Sydney Uni Flames starting centre in 2019/20 and 2020 Scherf averaged more than 8.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in each season.

Lauren Scherf playing for Sydney Flames against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 30 November 2019

At the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup held in Jordan from 27 September to 3 October Scherf played all six games for Australia, averaging 9.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocked shots and 21.2 minutes per game. Scherf led the bronze medal winning Opals for rebounds and blocked shots and ranked fourth for scoring and minutes played. Scherf also represented the Opals in their three game friendly series against Japan in New South Wales in late May 2022 but played far less court-time than at the 2021 Asia Cup.

Scherf was the starting centre in the Perth Lynx team that made the 2021/22 Grand Final and averaged 11.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game to set career highs in both categories. Scherf ranked third in the WNBL for rebounds, fifth for blocked shots (1.0 per game) and finished runner-up in Perth’s MVP Award behind American import guard Jackie Young who was a member of the USA team that won a 3×3 gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Scherf registered seven double-doubles for the 2021/22 season including 19 points and 18 rebounds in Perth’s overtime victory against the Melbourne Boomers at the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium on 6 February 2022

Lauren Scherf taking one of her 18 rebounds for Perth Lynx against Melbourne Boomers at the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium on 6 February 2022

Scherf first competed at a 3×3 tournament in 2013, winning the gold medal with the aptly named Australia Gold team at the AYOF Basketball 3×3 tournament in January. Scherf represented Diamond Valley at the NBL ProHustle II in early May 2018. At the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle 7 held in Melbourne in March 2021, Scherf was a member of the Melbourne Towers team that won the tournament.

For the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Austria from 26 to 30 May 2021 Scherf was Australia’s travelling emergency. In July 2022 Scherf was a member of the Australian 3×3 team that won two medals, winning the silver medal at the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup held in Singapore and the bronze medal in the 3×3 tournament at the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham.

During the 2022 NBL1 South season with the Kilsyth Cobra Scherf registered seven double-doubles, including 29 points and 19 rebounds along with five assists in Round 16 against the Bendigo Braves. Midway through the 2022 nbl1 South season current Perth Lynx teammate Bibby joined Scherf at the Kilsyth Cobras. Scherf played 16 games for the Kilsyth Cobras and averaged 19.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots per game. Scherf ranked eighth in the NBL1 South Conference for rebounds per game and 12th for blocked shots.

Lauren Scherf playing for the Kilsyth Cobras against the Knox Raiders at the State Basketball Centre in an NBL1 South game on 21 May 2022

On 3 June Perth announced that Scherf had signed with the club for the 2022/23 WNBL season. Perth Head Coach Petrik told wnbl.basketball “Lauren had an outstanding season in the league last season, taking home our Runner Up MVP award on a pretty talented roster. She can really shoot it for a 5; she can anchor our defense; she can post up down low, and her passing big out of short roll situations is elite. The scary part is I think we’re only scratching the surface on how good Lauren is going to be.”13

WNBL Achievements:    Betty Watson Rookie of the Year 2014/15

WNBL Championship 2018/19 (with University of Canberra Capitals)

Alex Sharp

#9                                               Position: Guard/Forward    

DOB  4 February 1997             Height 182cm                   

Junior Club                                Diamond Valley (Victoria)     

WNBL debut: 2020                   WNBL games played: 33 (All for Perth Lynx)    

Nationality                                 Australian

Alex Sharp played junior basketball for Diamond Valley in Victoria, progressed through the junior pathway and later represented the club at senior level during the 2016 Big V season.

During 2014 and 2015 Sharp had a scholarship with the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence in Canberra and during this period played for BA CoE in the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) and represented Australia at under-age tournaments including the 2014 FIBA Under-17 World Championships held in the Czech Republic.

Sharp was a member of the Australian Gems team alongside current Perth teammate Scherf at the 2015 Under-19 FIBA World Championships held in Chekhov, Russia in July. In the Gems 69-62 victory against Spain in the bronze medal game Sharp registered a double-double comprised of 16 points shooting at 58.3% from the field and took 11 rebounds. At the tournament Sharp was a starter for the Gems and averaged 8.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 20.4 minutes per game. Sharp was the bronze medal winning Gems equal leader for rebounds along with Alanna Smith, ranked third in scoring and fifth for minutes played.

At the 2016 Under 20 National Championships Sharp played for Victoria Navy alongside current Perth Lynx teammate Chloe Bibby. In Victoria Navy’s 93-46 victory against New South Wales on day 4 Sharp scored 24 points and took 16 rebounds. Victoria Navy won the gold medal and Sharp was named the tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP).

From 2016/17 to 2019/20 Sharp played four seasons of College basketball for Wake Forest in the United States of America. Sharp played 32 games including 25 as a starter for Wake Forest in 2016/17, ranked second for the Demon Deacons in rebounds and was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) All-Freshman team. In her last three seasons for the Wake Forest Sharp started all 78 games that she played and led the team for rebounds per game. In four seasons for the Demon Deacons Sharp played 110 games including 103 as a starter and averaged 10.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. At the end of her college career Sharp ranked third on Wake Forest’s All-time list for most career rebounds.

During the 2020 hub season Sharp made her WNBL debut with Perth Lynx and thrived in a starting role. In Perth’s 95-79 victory against Bendigo Spirit at Townsville Stadium on 1 December Sharp scored 12 points, took a game-high 16 rebounds – seven more than the second ranked player and made a game-high eight assists. Sharp played all 13 regular season games for Perth Lynx and averaged 8.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 30.2 minutes per game. Sharp led Perth for rebounds per game and ranked seventh in the league in this category.

At the 2017 and 2019 World University Games Sharp was a member of the Emerging Opals team that won gold medals. Sharp made her Australian Opals debut at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup alongside Scherf and ranked fifth for the bronze medal winning Opals in scoring and sixth in rebounds.

Sharp played for the Willetton Tigers during the 2021 and 2022 NBL1 West seasons and played alongside Perth Lynx teammate Gandini and Tigers captain Desiree Keeley who the Lynx have signed as a development player for the 2022/23 season. Sharp excelled for the Willetton Tigers in 2021, averaging 19.0 points, 13.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game to win the NBL1 West Conference Most Valuable Player Award and be named in the All-NBL West First Team. Willetton Tigers defeated Joondalup Wolves 65-54 in the 2021 NBL1 West Grand Final and Sharp scored 13 points, took 15 rebounds and had four assists to be named Grand Final MVP.

For most of the 2021/22 WNBL season Sharp was played off the bench by Perth. With Whitcomb and Garbin on Opals duties for the FIBA Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in Serbia Sharp was called into Perth’s starting line-up for the game against Melbourne Boomers on 6 February at the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium (GRISS) in Traralgon and made a significant impact. Perth trailed Melbourne Boomers by three points late in the fourth quarter, with 3.7 seconds remaining Sharp made a corner three to tie the scores 65 apiece. Perth Lynx went on to win the game 76-71 in overtime. Sharp finished the game with seven points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one steal. During the 2021/22 WNBL season Sharp played all 20 games for Perth and averaged 4.1 points, 5.3 rebounds – ranked equal third for the Lynx and 19.8 minutes per game.

Alex Sharp making a three pointer to tie the scores with 3.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of Perth’s game against Melbourne Boomers at the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium on 6 February 2022

During the 2022 NBL1 season Sharp registered double-doubles in 16 of her 21 games. In Willetton Tigers’ 103-98 semi final victory against Coburn Cougars Sharp scored a season-high 30 points shooting at 64.7% from the field, took 10 rebounds and had six assists. The Tigers were defeated in the Grand Final by Warwick Senators 87-61. During the 2022 NBL1 season Sharp played 21 games for the Willetton Tigers and averaged 19.7 points, 11.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Sharp ranked fourth in the conference for rebounds per game and ninth in scoring.

On 10 June 2022 Perth Lynx announced that Sharp had signed with the club for the 2022/23 WNBL season. Perth Head Coach Petrik told WNBL Media “We love versatility, and Sharpy gives us tremendous flexibility with how we run our program. She can play as a 2 in our big line-ups but is big enough to guard smaller 4’s in our small ball line-ups. Her work ethic and desire to improve has always been elite, and we’re excited to see what she can do in year 3 with us.”14

Alex Sharp playing for Perth Lynx against Melbourne Boomers at the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium on 6 February 2022

Sami Whitcomb

#32                                           Position: Guard

DOB  20 July 1988                  Height 178cm      

WNBL debut: 2015/16            WNBL games played: 96       

Nationality                               Naturalised Australian, was born in America

Perth Lynx announced on 11 June that Sami Whitcomb had signed with the club for the 2022/23 season. Head coach Petrik told wnbl.basketball “The gravity Sam will provide our offense once again will help make life easier on everyone else. But it’s also her playmaking, leadership, and desire to win which will help drive our program in 22/23.”15

Sami Whitcomb was born and grew up in Ventura, California in the United States of America. At 12 years of age Whitcomb began playing basketball, having played soccer previously.

At the University of Washington Whitcomb played 113 games including 94 as a starter during four seasons of college basketball from 2006/07 to 2009/10, averaging 10.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game. In her senior season in 2010 Whitcomb was selected in the All-PAC-10 First Team. 

After being undrafted at the 2010 WNBA draft Whitcomb signed a training camp contract with Chicago Sky and played three pre-season WNBA games but was waived before the season started. From 2011/12 to 2012/13 Whitcomb played two seasons in the Damen-Basketball-Bundesliga (DBBL) in Germany, playing for ChemCats Chemnitz in 2011/12 and Wolfenbuttel Wildcats in 2012/13.

Whitcomb excelled for the Rockingham Flames in the State Basketball League in Western Australia from 2013 to 2015 with current Lynx coach Petrik as the Flames Head Coach. Whitcomb was named in the league’s All-Star five and won the Most Valuable Player Award in all three seasons from 2013 to 2015. The Flames won the state championship in 2014 and 2015 with Whitcomb winning the Grand Final MVP award in each season. In a dominant performance Whitcomb scored 41 points in Rockingham’s 68-63 victory against Willetton Tigers in the 2015 Grand Final.   

In May 2015 Whitcomb signed as an import to play with the Perth Lynx in the WNBL. In each of Whitcomb’s first three seasons from 2015/16 to 2017/18 she earnt selection in the All-WNBL First team and led the league for steals per game. Whitcomb finished third in the 2015/16 MVP Award and was runner-up in 2016/17, averaging more than 19.0 points per game in each season.

P1660767 - Copy.JPG

Sami Whitcomb shooting a free-throw for Perth Lynx against Townsville Fire at the State Basketball Centre on 26 November 2017

Seven years after going undrafted at the 2010 WNBA draft Whitcomb made her WNBA debut with the Seattle Storm in 2017. In six WNBA seasons from 2017 to 2022 Whitcomb has been durable, playing a total of 184 regular season games including 47 starts. Whitcomb played four seasons for Seattle from 2017 to 2020 and was a member of Storm WNBA Championship winning teams in 2018 and 2020.

Whitcomb was traded from Seattle Storm to New York Liberty on 10 February 2021 and had a career-best WNBA season with the Liberty in 2021 alongside fellow Opal Bec Allen, averaging 11.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 28.1 minutes per game to set career-highs in all four categories. During 2021 Whitcomb shot at 47.3% from the field, 42.5% from long-range and made 76 three-pointers for the season – ranked second in the WNBA.

Australian Opals head coach Sandy Brondello was appointed New York Liberty’s head coach for the 2022 WNBA season. Predominantly playing off the bench Whitcomb averaged 21.3 minutes per game during the 2022 regular season and made 59 three-pointers – ranked 14th in the league. 

Whitcomb played for Montpellier in France during 2018/19 and 2019/20 followed by a season with Galatasaray in Turkey during 2021. Montpellier were runners-up in the French League Championship in 2018/19 and qualified for EuroLeague in 2019/20.

In early 2018 Whitcomb became an Australian citizen. At the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain Whitcomb was a member of the Australian Opals team that won a silver medal. Whitcomb captained the bronze medal winning Opals at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup and had an exceptional tournament, averaging 17.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 28.3 minutes per game to earn selection in the tournament’s All-Star five. Whitcomb led the Opals in scoring, assists and minutes and ranked second for rebounds. At the 2022 World Cup Qualifying Tournament held in Belgrade Serbia in February Whitcomb averaged a team-high 13.7 points per game.

Whitcomb played her fourth season with Perth Lynx in 2021/22 and first WNBL season as an Australian player. Whitcomb played 19 games for Perth in 2021/22, averaging 14.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists (ranked 13th in the WNBL) and 2.2 steals (3rd) per game. The Perth Lynx made the 2021/22 WNBL Grand Final and Whitcomb will be playing her fifth season with the club in 2022/23.

Sami Whitcomb playing for the Perth Lynx against the University of Canberra Capitals in a WNBL game at Selkirk Stadium, Ballarat on 19 January 2022

At the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sydney Whitcomb was the starting point guard for the bronze medal winning Australian Opals. At the World Cup Whitcomb led Australia with 11.0 points per game, ranked equal first with 1.4 steals per game and ranked second with 3.6 assists and 27.6 minutes court-time per game.

Over a 96 game WNBL career with Perth Lynx Whitcomb has averaged 19.1 points per game, ranked fifth on the WNBL’s all-time list in this category behind Lauren Jackson (22.2), Julie Nykiel (20.3), Kia Nurse (19.7) and Liz Cambage (19.3). During 2016/17 Whitcomb led the WNBL in scoring with 24.2 points per game and broke the league record for most points in a season. Whitcomb also makes an impact with her passing ability, quick hands and reading of the play to generate steals.

Sami Whitcomb shooting a three-pointer for Perth Lynx against Townsville Fire at the State Basketball Centre on 26 November 2017

Earlier this month Whitcomb commented to WNBL Media on what her expectations are for Perth Lynx in the 2022/23 Cygnett season, saying “From what I’ve seen with this team I really like what we are going to be running and I think it will suit this group. There’ll be some continuity from last year, but also some different things more tailored for this group where we don’t have Marina and Jackie. It will be a little different but still with some similar things and hopefully it’s something that makes all of us feel good and comfortable out there.”16

WNBL Achievements:            All-WNBL First Team 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18

       WNBL Leading scorer 2016/17

Player Profiles for Development Players

Chloe Forster

#6                                  Position: Guard                  

DOB  7 May 2003        Height 176cm

During the first two NBL1 West seasons in 2021 and 2022 Chloe Forster played for the Warwick Senators alongside Perth Lynx teammate Clinch Hoycard. In the 2022 NBL1 West season Forster scored more than 20 points in a game six times including a Round 18 game against the Perth Redbacks where she scored a game-high 25 points shooting at 55.9% from the field, was even more damaging from long range to make five of seven three pointers at an accuracy of 71.4%, took eight rebounds, made a game-high seven assists and game-high three steals in the Senators 90-69 victory.

Forster was a member of the Warwick Senators team that won the 2022 NBL1 West Championship and 2022 NBL1 National Finals. In the Senators 83-75 victory against the Ringwood Hawks at the State Basketball Centre in the Championship game of the NBL1 Finals 19 year-old Forster scored a team-high 18 points and had five assists. During the 2022 NBL1 West season Forster played 20 games for the Warwick Senators and averaged 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. 

After Perth Lynx announced that they had signed Forster as a development player for the 2022/23 season Perth Head Coach Petrik told wnbl.basketball “Chloe was a training player for us last season and improved very quickly during pre-season before we had to relocate over East. Really looking forward to seeing what she can do with an entire season of WNBL practice.”17

Desiree Keeley

#7                                              Position: Guard/Forward                  

DOB  4 February 1995             Height 175cm

Guard/forward Desiree Keeley has played over 200 state league games for the Willetton Tigers and will join long-term Tigers teammate Emma Gandini at Perth Lynx for the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season. Keeley and Gandini were teammates on the Willetton Tigers team that won the 2016 WA State League Championship. In 2019 Keeley and Gandini were each selected in WA State League All-Defensive team.

During the first two NBL1 West seasons in 2021 and 2022 Keeley has been the Willetton Tigers captain and has been teammates with two players on Perth’s main roster for 2022/23 – Gandini and Alex Sharp. Willetton Tigers defeated Joondalup Wolves 65-54 in the 2021 NBL1 West Grand Final, Keeley scored a team-high 16 points, took seven rebounds and had a game-high three steals.

In a 2022 NBL1 West semi final victory against Cockburn Cougars on 25 August Keeley and Gandini shared the significant milestone of each reaching 200 state league games for the Willetton Tigers. In a 92-81 preliminary final victory against Joondalup Wolves Keeley made eight three-pointers, scored a game-high 28 points shooting at 56.3% from the field and took 10 rebounds. Willetton were defeated in the Grand Final by Warwick Senators. During the 2022 NBL1 West season Keeley averaged 14.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.5 steals per game.

On being a development player for Perth Lynx in the 2022/23 WNBL season 27 year-old Keeley told WNBL Media I’m excited to be given an opportunity to be involved with a WNBL program such as the Perth Lynx. It is something I’ve been working towards and feel as though it is the right time for me to give it a go! I’m looking forward to working with Ryan and the coaching staff as well as being a part of a playing group that is filled with amazing talent. I can’t wait for it all to start!”18

Ruby Vlahov

#15                                            Position: Forward                  

DOB  5 March 2004                 Height 185cm

Ruby Vlahov commenced her junior basketball career with Perry Lakes Hawks and progressed to represent Western Australia. Due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury Ruby missed 14 months of basketball and made her return from injury in March 2022. Ruby’s dad Andrew represented the Australian Boomers at four Olympic Games, played for the Perth Wildcats in the NBL from 1991 to 2002 and was inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

At 18 years of age Ruby attended FIBA’s 12th Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia camp held in Canberra from 7 to 10 August 2022. Ruby was one of eight players selected in the All-Stars Girls team at the camp.

In Perry Lakes opening game of the 2022 NBL1 West season Vlahov made an impact off the bench in her league debut to score a team-high 24 points, making 10 of 15 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 66.7% in 21 minutes and 26 seconds court-time. During the 2022 NBL1 West season Vlahov played nine games for Perry Lakes Hawks and averaged 9.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

Vlahov signed as an amateur development player with the Perth Lynx for the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season. After the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season concludes Vlahov will be attending St Mary’s University and playing college basketball. On signing with Perth Vlahov commented in the 12 October 2022 episode of the Dribble Podcast “It has always been a goal of mine to be in the Lynx squadand I have been in the Lynx Academy for the past couple of years so finally getting on the roster has been really great.”

Head Coach profile – Ryan Petrik

Ryan Petrik will be in his third season as the Head Coach of Perth Lynx during the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season, having commenced the role in 2020. On 30 May 2022 Perth Lynx announced that Petrik had been appointed as the club’s Head Coach for the next three seasons until the end of the 2024/25 season. Perth Lynx and WA Basketball CEO Rob Clement told WNBL Media Our value in Ryan as a person, in addition to his basketball knowledge were the driving forces behind our decision to offer him a multi-year deal to remain in Perth. We have no doubt Ryan will continue to work alongside the leaders of the team and push for another final’s appearance with the ultimate goal of winning a championship.”19

Ryan Petrik and Perth Lynx players at the end of a time-out during the game against Melbourne Boomers at Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium (GRISS), Traralgon on 6 February 2022

From 2005 to 2008 Petrik was an assistant coach of the Rockingham Flames men’s team in the WA State Basketball League.

In December 2008 Petrik was appointed the head coach of the Rockingham Flames women’s team in the WA State Basketball League. Rockingham Flames made the finals in both 2009 and 2010, having a combined regular season record during these two seasons of 31 wins and 11 losses. The Flames made the Grand Final in 2012 but were defeated by the Southwest Slammers, Petrick was named the WSBL Coach of the Year.

During the 2014 regular season the Flames women’s team which included current Perth Lynx player Sami Whitcomb and 2021/22 Lynx captain Darcee Garbin had 20 wins and two losses during the regular season to win the minor premiership. In the Grand Final Rockingham Flames defeated Lakeside Lightning 80-75 to win the club’s first ever State Basketball League Championship. The Flames won their second consecutive minor premiership in 2015, again with a record of 20 wins and two losses. Led by a dominant 41 point performance from Whitcomb in the Grand Final Rockingham defeated Willetton Tigers 68-63 to win back-to-back State Basketball League Championships. Petrik coached the Rockingham Flames women’s team for 10 seasons from 2009 to 2018.

From 2015/16 to 2019/20 Petrik was an assistant coach of Perth Lynx with Andy Stewart as the head coach. Perth were WNBL runners-up in 2015/16 and were defeated in the semi finals for three consecutive seasons from 2016/17 to 2018/19. The Lynx missed the finals in 2019/20.

In June 2020 Petrik was appointed the Head Coach of Perth Lynx for two seasons. Perth finished seventh in the 2020 hub season. Due to border restrictions in Western Australia Perth Lynx didn’t start their 2021/22 WNBL season until Round 5 and then faced an extended time on the road based in Victorian country town Ballarat. Perth finished second on the ladder and were runners-up, being defeated in the Grand Final by Melbourne Boomers two games to one. Petrik was named the WNBL Coach of the Year for the 2021/22 season.

Ryan Petrik providing instructions for Perth Lynx players during a time-out in game against Melbourne Boomers at Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium (GRISS), Traralgon on 6 February 2022

Since 2019 Petrik has been the Head Coach of the Rockingham Flames in the men’s State Basketball League. In 2021 the competition was rebranded as the NBL1 West. The Flames men’s team made the Grand Final for the first time in their history in 2021 but lost to Perry Lakes Hawks 82-92. Rockingham finished in second place at the end of the 2022 Regular season with 18 wins and four losses, one win behind the Geraldton Buccaneers. With Petrik as their head coach the Flames defeated the Buccaneers 91-79 in the Grand Final to win the NBL1 West Championship. During the NBL1 National Finals held at the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna, Victoria Rockingham won all three games to be NBL1 National Champions. 

Article and photographs by Dean Andrews

Twitter – @DeanAndrews7777

References

1 https://thewest.com.au/sport/basketball/perth-lynx-coach-ryan-petrik-explains-lack-of-wnba-imports-as-nbl1-star-robbi-ryan-joins-club-for-wnbl-c-7743911

2 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/winning-providing-pathway-the-double-goal-for-lynx/

3 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/winning-providing-pathway-the-double-goal-for-lynx/

4 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/winning-providing-pathway-the-double-goal-for-lynx/

5 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/amy-atwell-adds-a-spark-to-the-perth-lynx-roster/

6 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/chloe-bibby-signs-for-the-perth-lynx/#:~:text=Her%20standout%20play%20earned%20her,4.5%20rebounds%20and%201.5%20assists

7 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/burrows-elevated-to-main-roster/

8 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/mac-is-back/

9 https://wnbl.basketb5all/perth/news/jessie-edwards-back-for-perth/

10 https://gophersports.com/sports/womens-basketball/roster/jessie-edwards/14729

11 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/gandini-elevated-to-main-roster/

12 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/welcome-robbi-ryan/

13 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/scherf-staying-in-perth/

14 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/sharp-signs-on/

15 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/whitcomb-ready-for-the-next-challenge/

16 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/bronze-winning-sami-excited-for-lynxs-normal-season/

17 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/forster-and-kelley-join-the-lynx-as-development-players/

18 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/forster-and-kelley-join-the-lynx-as-development-players/

19 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/perth-lynx-sign-ryan-petrik/

20 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/bronze-winning-sami-excited-for-lynxs-normal-season/

21 https://wnbl.basketball/perth/news/perth-lynx-sign-ryan-petrik/

Milestones and Misses

Milestones and Misses publishes articles to celebrate the achievements of sportspeople, mainly in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and Australian Rules Football (AFL and AFLW). In sport as with life in general it is common that milestones are only achieved after overcoming adversity, so whilst the articles on the Milestones and Misses website celebrate sportspeople achieving milestones they also cover the misses along the journey such as a player having minimal game-time or spending a prolonged period on the sidelines due to injury. The aim of the articles is to enable readers to gain a greater appreciation of the journey sportspeople have had during their career.

A link to Milestones and Misses homepage and WNBL category is below:

https://milestonesandmisses.com/

https://milestonesandmisses.com/category/wnbl/

The Milestones and Misses website was set up in December 2015. From 2020 onwards articles have been published on the following sportspeople:

WNBL

Penny Taylor

Rachel Jarry

Steph Reid

Kristy Wallace

Anneli Maley

Lindsay Allen

Jade Melbourne

Maddison Rocci

Cayla George

Kelly Wilson

Steph Talbot

Bec Cole

Aimie Rocci

Abby Bishop

Tessa Lavey

Ezi Magbegor

Zitina Aokuso

Leilani Mitchell

Maddie Garrick

Sara Blicavs

NBL

Nathan Sobey

AFLW

Ashleigh Riddell

Hayley Miller

Darcy Vescio

Tessa Lavey

Georgia Patrikios

Alyce Parker

Tyla Hanks

Tyanna Smith

Tarni White

Caitlin Greiser

AFL

Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin

Nicky Winmar

Sam Walsh

Jack Steele

Luke Jackson

Harry McKay

Seb Ross

Jayden Short

Clayton Oliver

Lenny Hayes

Tim Membrey

Rowan Marshall

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