Lightning inspire miracle comeback over Flames

LOOKING to finish off the season strongly and cause upsets for teams still fighting for finals positions, the Adelaide Lightning ended the Sydney Flames’ three-game winning streak, defeating the Flames by seven points at the Adelaide 36ers Arena.

In the absence of Lauren Mansfield, the win came following standout performances from Lizzy Tonks and Tayla Brazel off the bench. The Lightning shared the load from their starters, helping the side to a 74-67 victory.

With the Lightning controlling the opening term, taking a five-point lead, the Flames fought back in the second quarter, 14 points to 12, though the Lightning maintained a three-point advantage at the main break. 

The Flames got the match back on their terms in the third quarter, winning the quarter 22 points to 11, lifting their work rate from the field. They shot at 41 per cent, whilst the Flames shared the ball around the perimeter more recording 18-10 assists, forcing the Lightning to be stagnant, while winning to steal count, 9-3. 

The Lightning won the last quarter 27-12, doing the work on the boards, pulling down 10 defensive boards. The Flames had contributions from Didi Richards, Emma Clarke and Cayla George, but it was the field goal percentage and boards that were the difference. 

The Lightning finished the game shooting 28 from 61 at 45 per cent, compared to the Flames, 24 from 62 at 38 per cent. The Lightning controlled the rebound category, 39-37, and points in the paint, 30-28. 

Tonks shot four from six from the field, Brazel had five from eight, whilst Isobel Borlase shot from the field at 40 per cent and Joceyln Willoughby on song, finishing the game with eight rebounds.

For the Flames, Richards shot six from 14 from the field, shoot nine from 11 from the free throw line and picked up seven rebounds. Nicholson finished the game with nine points and eight assists, whilst George collected a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds, as well as two steals and two blocks. Clarke was impressive off the bench with 14 points, six rebounds and four steals. 

The Lightning look to continue the momentum in their second game of the weekend, playing the Lynx on January 7, whilst the Flames look to play in a big match to stay in the top four, playing the Melbourne Boomers at home.

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