Thunderbirds are go after statement win

THE Adelaide Thunderbirds have recorded a statement win, downing the Sunshine Coast Lightning 66-42. Things were tight early, but things started to fall apart for the Lightning at the end of the second term and they never recovered.

It did not take long for the Thunderbirds to pinch a goal off a Lightning centre pass after a rare Steph Wood miss was capitalised on up the other end. The Thunderbirds then consolidated off the next centre pass to confirm their lead.

Their lead did not last long though as Karla Pretorius pick up an intercept and the home side ran the ball down and converted up the other end. The lead continued to see saw as both sides would get on a run of goals before the other would counter with a run of consecutive goals of their own. In the end it was the visitors who took a four-goal lead into the first change.

Adelaide maintained its lead in the opening minutes of the second term as the Thunderbirds’ defence – in particular Shamera Sterling and Matilda Garrett – held really strong. However after a good run from the home side suddenly the margin had halved, but the Thunderbirds were quick to stem the Lightning run and restore their quarter time lead.

The margin was only five goals at the start of the power five, but that changed drastically in the final five minutes of the quarter. The last six goals of the quarter (which included one Super Shot) went the way of the Thunderbirds to see their lead balloon out to 13 at the main break.

After having changed a few things up position wise on court in the second term, the Lightning changed things up again to start the third term but it made no difference.

As much as Pretorius was trying to keep her side in the game with a strong defensive performance, things were falling apart further up the court as the Thunderbirds were able to intercept the ball way too easily. It did not help that the Lightning were missing an unusually high number of shots.

The margin remained in the double figures for the entire quarter, and when it finally did get to Power Five the Lightning could not land the crucial Super Shots they needed to land to reduce that deficit. As the teams turned for home, the margin had galloped out to 17 goals in the visitors’ favour.

The Lightning really changed up their on court line-up again at three quarter time, in the hope that things would turn around but that was far from what happened.

Nothing went right for the Lightning as an already confident Thunderbirds defence continued to grow in confidence and make life hard for the Lightning shooters. The Thunderbirds’ lead just continued to grow, ultimately resulting in the 24-goal final margin.

Sterling (seven gains, seven deflections, three rebounds and three intercepts) was a clear best on court for the Thunderbirds and played arguably her best game in a while, while Garrett (five gains, four intercepts, two deflections) and Latanya Wilson (two gains, two deflections, two intercepts) also both had great games.

Meanwhile for the Lightning their defence was a real shining light in an otherwise poor performance. Kadie-Ann Dehaney (five gains, five deflections, four intercepts, one rebound) really tried to keep her side in the game, as did Pretorius (nine deflections, three intercepts, three gains).

Sunshine Coast Lightning             12 | 10 | 11 | 9 (42)
Adelaide Thunderbirds                 16 | 19 | 15 | 16 (66)


Sunshine Coast Lightning

GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Annie Miller
C: Laura Scherian
WD: Mahalia Cassidy
GD: Karla Pretorious
GK: Kadie-Ann Dehaney

Adelaide Thunderbirds

GS: Eleanor Cardwell
GA: Tippah Dwan
WA: Georgie Horjus
C: Tayla Williams
WD: Latanya Wilson
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

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