Lindsay Allen has inspired the Melbourne Boomers to a thrilling one-point 76-75 away win over Perth Lynx, forcing the WNBL grand final series into a third game decider.
- Marina Mabrey had a chance to send the game into overtime but missed her third free throw
- Guard Allen scored 28 points, while captain Cayla George (22 and 12 rebounds) was influential
- With the grand final series locked at 1-1, the decider will take place in Melbourne on Saturday
The WNBL title is decided by a best of three series.
Melbourne hosted the opening game on Saturday but were comprehensively beaten by 27 points.
On Wednesday night in Perth, they again trailed by six in the first quarter, but guard Allen (29 points) and captain Cayla George (22 and 12 rebounds) were influential for the visitors.
Trailing by three with just 0.2 seconds left, Perth had a chance at the death to send the game into overtime, with Marina Mabrey fouled on a three-point shot.
Mabrey made the first two free throws but missed the crucial third.
It was a rare blip for the American, import, who scored 13 of her game-high 30 points in the final quarter, including a three-pointer with nine seconds left.
The series will now conclude in Melbourne on Saturday, with the Boomers attempting to win their first title in 10 years and Perth looking to land their first since 1992.
“[We’re] just glad to be able to survive and to be able to play game at home in front of our fans,” Allen told Fox Sports after the game.
“We know we’re going to get Perth’s best game in game three and we’re going to bring our best as well.”
Allen hit three long bombs in the first quarter and had 19 against her name by the half.
George, who struggled in game one, scoring just seven, made three big plays in the final minute.
She hit a clutch three with 43 seconds left to give Melbourne a four-point lead, then forced a turnover by drawing a foul and hit two pressure free throws with seven seconds left.
Perth were up by three at quarter-time and trailed by the same margin at the end of the next two quarters.
The game featured 13 lead changes and Melbourne improved in a number of areas after being jumped in the first half of Saturday’s game.
They won the rebound count, took more free throws than in game one and George and Allen each hit four long bombs.
Most notably, their defensive intensity lifted.
“It had to be better than game one, didn’t it? That was not ideal,” George told Fox Sports.
“I think we did a great job of rectifying that.”
Allen hit a three on the halftime buzzer to give Melbourne a 42-39 lead and the Boomers scored the first four points of the third quarter.
Perth regained the lead with a Mabrey three highlighting a 8-0 run, but Melbourne held a slight advantage for most of a tense and tight second half.
They were up by a much as nine in the third quarter before two threes from Perth captain Darcee Garbin closed the gap.
Perth import Jackie Young had a poor shooting night, making just five of 20 from the field and finished with 12 points.
The Lynx’s Alex Sharp came off the bench to take a match-high 12 rebounds in under 19 minutes of court time.
Both teams will now depart Perth on early flights tomorrow morning, with the season deciding game three taking place at Melbourne Sports Centre in Parkville this Saturday at 5pm AEDT.