Reigning premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning put on a dominant performance against the Adelaide Thunderbirds taking all eight premiership points with the final score 75-44 in the Round 12 game at Priceline Stadium.
Lightning were too strong from the start and went into the first break with a nine-goal lead, 20-11.
Halfway through the second quarter Cathrine Tuivaiti was brought on into GS replacing Shimona Nelson. Tuivaiti went on to play half a game, shooting seven goals at 100% accuracy.
Going into the main break, Lightning’s lead extended to 20 goals, 40-20.
Adelaide Thunderbirds Head Coach Dan Ryan played with the combinations for the third quarter, with Bongi Msomi moving into WA, while Leana de Bruin and Kate Shimmin were switched in defence. It was a move that paid dividends initially when the T-Birds matched the Lightning for the first five minutes of the third quarter.
However, the resistance was short-lived, with the visitors taking the quarter 18-10 and heading into the final term with a 26-goal lead.
Further changes were made to the line-up for the last quarter, with Msomi moved into C replacing Hannah Petty, and Kaitlyn Bryce into WA. Nelson continued to play in GS, after she replaced Tuivaiti with one minute left on the clock in the third term.
Lightning continued to show their strength and extended their lead in the final 15 minutes, scoring 17 goals to 12.
Speaking after the game, Ryan said the team will continue to fight on.
“There’s two games to go and as we have been doing all season we will continue to reflect, learn and go again,” he said.
“We’re still hungry and believe a win is possible.”
Ryan said the team’s preparation had been strong this week and it’s disappointing this didn’t translate into a competitive first quarter.
“There is frustration and disappointment that we couldn’t transfer a really good training week into a really good first quarter,” he said.
“We have been addressing our starts since the start of the season. We have had some good first quarters here and there, but when you’re nine goals down it’s hard to respond to and recover from.
“We want to make sure we start games with much more ferocity and convert off the turnovers we get so we are a position where we are right in the contest.”
The Adelaide Thunderbirds take on the Queensland Firebirds in Round 13 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Sunday 29 July at 12.30pm.
Adelaide Thunderbirds shooting statistics
Shimona Nelson 24/30
Cat Tuivaiti 7/7
Charlee Hodges 13/17
Sunshine Coast Lightning shooting statistics
Caitlin Bassett 41/45
Steph Wood 20/25
Cara Koenen 14/17
Adelaide Thunderbirds starting seven
GS: Shimona Nelson, GA: Charlee Hodges, WA: Chelsea Pitman, C: Kaitlyn Bryce, WD: Fiona Fowler, GD: Leana de Bruin, GK: Kate Shimmin
Sunshine Coast Lightning starting seven
GS: Caitlin Bassett, GA: Steph Wood, WA: Kelsey Browne, C: Laura Scherian, WD: Madeline McAuliffe, GD: Karla Pretorius, GK: Geva Mentor
Nissan MVP: Kelsey Browne