Marina Mabrey poised to continue success from WNBL to the Wings

Marina Mabrey is no stranger to success on the basketball court. After shattering records at Notre Dame, she was drafted 19th overall to the LA Sparks in 2019. Following her rookie season, she was traded to the Dallas Wings ahead of the 2020 Wubble season. Marina found a home in Dallas where she had a breakout debut season in 2020. Her success is continuing five games into the 2022 season.


WNBA players often play overseas in the offseason and Mabrey did just that. This past offseason, she traveled to the land down under and player for Australia's professional basketball league, the WNBL. She put on a show and quickly became a fan favorite for not only her team, the Perth Lynx, but the league as a whole. Her success didn't come without a few bumps in the road.





WNBA players often play overseas in the offseason and Mabrey did just that. This past offseason, she traveled to the land down under and player for Australia's professional basketball league, the WNBL. She put on a show and quickly became a fan favorite for not only her team, the Perth Lynx, but the league as a whole. Her success didn't come without a few bumps in the road.


The Lynx looked destined to take the WNBL by storm. After an abysmal hub season in 2020, their version of a bubble, where they found themselves 7th out of 8th in the league with a 4-9 record, Perth needed to revamp. With Australia finally allowing international players back in, the Lynx loaded up. They brought in Olympics 3x3 gold medalist Jackie Young, Sami Whitcomb, and Marina Mabrey. With a great free agency full of talent, Perth looked to be lethal. But then Covid delayed their season.


While the rest of the league were competing, the Lynx had to sit at home and watch. Western Australia was put in lockdown in November 2021 No one in the state could travel out to the rest of Australia and no one could go in. In turn, Perth's season was delayed seven weeks. On January 2, Mabrey and the Lynx finally made their season debut in Ballarat, around 72 miles from Melbourne.





Mabrey recalls being five games behind set back the team. "We didn't get enough conditioning like everybody else was getting. We were five games behind and that's a long time." Aside from getting your body ready for games, chemistry is one of the most vital components in any team sport. In a sense, Perth was counted out of even the slightest possibilities of climbing up the rankings despite their plethora of talent.


It did take time for Perth to get acclimated to playing again. They lost a lot of players to injury including Marina. The injury set backs didn't stop Perth from building chemistry. In fact, it only made them stronger and subsequently stunned the league.


"To be honest, I don't think the league should've been stunned. If you look at the roster, it's ridiculous...chemistry matters. You can put a team full of all stars together but if they can't play together, they can't win."


When the team finally were able to get to Ballarat and be all together, they were able to build chemistry that led to their remarkable season. "We naturally spent a lot more time together and built chemistry as best as we possibly could...got into the gym together. We played well while we were in Ballarat."


To say they played well in Ballarat is an understatement. They went 3-1 there and 7-2 overall until they returned home to Perth on February 6. Marina recalls that it was tough going back to Perth.


"There were a lot of emotions going there...a lot of things that go into that season for Perth that doesn't really have to do with basketball. These girls haven't seen their families in how long. Now they're told they can. That takes a toll on anybody whether basketball is their profession or not."


A key to Perth's success when they returned home was to stay in the present moment. Months before, no one knew if Perth was going to be able to compete. Their season kept getting delayed, they couldn't leave Western Australia and they were away from their fans and home for months. Through those trials and tribulations, Mabrey and her teammates believed in themselves and made it to the WNBL Grand Finals, the equivalent of championship, due to their opponent in the semifinals, Canberra Capitals, not being able to finish their series due to Covid.





"Despite chemistry being set back because of the delay and injuries, we were a great team with great coaches and great staff. We made it all the way to the playoffs and then we ran out of gas." The Lynx were defeated by the Melbourne Boomers in the final game of the championship by a score of 84-66 in the deciding game 3.


Overall, Perth finished the season 11-5 and Marina was named All-WNBL Second Team. She left Australia with positive momentum as she averaged 19.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists.





"It was probably one of my toughest overseas seasons. I had a bad foot injury. It took a while to get back and I didn't know if I'd get to Australia. Even getting back [to Dallas], I was rusty and trying to get back in shape. I'm going to try and use that momentum from the end of my Australian season where I was actually fortunate enough to be able to play as it wasn't looking like that before."


Her mindset coming off her remarkable WNBL season is to get her conditioning back up and use her momentum to help her team in any way she can. Marina is doing just that. In five games, she's started four and is averaging 14.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists from shooting 52% from the field and 46.2% from three.


She recorded her first career double-double on May 18 in a 94-84 win against the Phoenix Mercury with 13 points and 10 assists along with pulling in six rebounds.





Marina is continuing to improve and build off her success and momentum since coming to Dallas in 2020. She is a game changer whenever she steps onto the court. She proved that even more in the WNBL and is poised to continue her high momentum this season for the Wings.







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