Lightning strikes twice to defeat Swifts

EARNING their second successive Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) victory, the Sunshine Coast Lightning have taken down a couple of key scalps, the latest being reigning premiers NSW Swifts by seven goals. The Lightning backed up their shock win over Melbourne Vixens the week before with a commanding start in the opening quarter against the Swifts, then finishing the stronger of the sides to run out seven-goal victors (69-62) at Ken Rosewall Arena.

The mind games started from the first tip-off with Swifts coach Briony Akle opting to put Sarah Klau in goal defence against the smaller Steph Wood, whilst fellow Diamond Maddy Turner took on Cara Koenen. Unfortunately for the home side, it did not go to plan, as the Lightning piled on 19 goals to 15 to lead by four at the main break.

Koenen shot 18 goals at 100 per cent per cent efficiency, whilst Wood produced nine goal assists, the most of anyone on the court. Wing attack Laura Scherian (eight goal assists) also got on top of Allie Smith early, whilst for the Swifts, Housby shot 10 goals from 12 assists and Maddy Proud started strongly with six goal assists and a deflection.

Akle quickly reverted back to the regular programming with Turner and Klau switching bibs, whilst teenager Sophie Fawns came on for Kelly Singleton, whilst Housby moved into goal attack to start the term. The moves did seem to help the Swifts as they not only worked their way into the game, but actually scored 13 of the first 20 goals to take a two-goal advantage heading into the final five minutes.

Not rest on their laurels, Tayla Fraser switched with Smith at wing defence, but Koenen stepped up to score six of the last nine goals to take the Lightning to a one-goal lead at the main break. Maddie Hinchliffe was doing well in centre with an intercept and two deflections, whilst her sister Tara Hinchliffe was limiting Fawns’ access to the easy shot. Proud scored 10 goal assists for the Swifts in the term, whilst Fawns (seven goals from eight attempts) and Housby (eight from nine) both worked hard to get the Swifts back in the contest.

Sunshine Coast Lightning took control in the second half though, scoring 37 goals to 31 to extend the lead to an eventual winning margin of seven. Though the Swifts did not make any changes after half-time, the Lightning rotated plenty of players around with Reilley Batcheldor and Annie Miller both getting chances in the third term, as Wood and Koenen had rests. Kadie-Ann Dehaney also had a quarter in goal keeper for her new side, holding up the fort well.

Closing the gap to the same margin as three quarter time – three goals – the Swifts had some early chances, but could not bridge it any further. As the lead went out to as much as eight goals heading into the Super Shot period, the home team exclusively shot from the long range, but could only nail three of the eight attempts, and the accuracy of the Lightning meant they came away with the 69-62 victory.

Tara Hinchliffe finished with three intercepts, six deflections and seven rebounds, whilst her sister Maddie had one intercept, four deflections and five goal assists. In the shooting circle, Koenen shot 48 goals from 49 attempts, whilst Wood (eight from 10 and 23 goal assists) and Batcheldor (eight from nine) also contributed. Proud racked up 34 goal assists in a massive effort for the Swifts, also picking up an intercept and a deflection in the loss. Housby (31 goals from 42 attempts) and Fawns (21 from 28) both stepped up when it counted, whilst Turner managed the two intercepts, seven deflections and one rebound in defence.

NSW SWIFTS 15 | 16 | 17 | 14 (62)
SC LIGHTNING 19 | 13 | 19 | 18 (69)


NSW Swifts:

GS: Helen Housby
GA: Kelly Singleton
WA: Maddy Proud
C: Paige Hadley
WD: Allie Smith
GD: Sarah Klau
GK: Maddy Turner

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Laura Scherian
C: Maddie Hinchliffe
WD: Mahalia Cassidy
GD: Kate Walsh
GK: Tara Hinchliffe

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