After a gutsy comeback in the first quarter to level the scores going into the first break, the Adelaide Thunderbirds have been defeated by Queensland Firebirds 67-46 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
In the first quarter the home team raced to a four-goal lead, however an inspired comeback by the Thunderbirds saw them equal the scores 15-all with less than eight seconds on the clock.
The Thunderbirds had the centre pass and swiftly moved the ball to shooter Shimona Nelson whose long bomb shot sailed through the goal net a fraction of a second after the buzzer, denying the Thunderbirds of a bonus point.
In the second quarter Nelson and Chelsea Pitman, who donned the GA bib in the absence of Charlee Hodges, continued to frustrate Firebirds defenders Laura Geitz and Kim Jenner who both racked up penalties.
With just over five minutes left in the second quarter, Adelaide Thunderbirds Head Coach Dan Ryan called a time-out with his key message to the playing group to keep it simple and focus on scoring from their centre passes and putting immense pressure on the Firebirds from their centre pass. Going into the half-time break, Firebirds lead by six goals, 33–27.
The game broke open in the third quarter with Firebirds scoring 18 to 9 and going to the final quarter with the lead, 51–36.
Ryan mixed his combinations for the final quarter with Cathrine Tuivaiti and Abigail Latu-Meafou replacing Nelson and Pitman. Kaitlyn Bryce also moved in to C, with Hannah Petty subbed. It marked Tuivaiti’s 125th national league game.
The Firebirds sailed home in the last quarter scoring 16 goals to 10.
The Adelaide Thunderbirds last game of the 2018 season is against NSW Swifts at Priceline Stadium on Friday 3 August at 7pm. Tickets on sale here.
Q1: Firebirds 15 v Adelaide Thunderbirds 15
Q2: Firebirds 18 v Adelaide Thunderbirds 12
Q3: Firebirds 18 v Adelaide Thunderbirds 9
Q4: Firebirds 16 v Adelaide Thunderbirds 10
Adelaide Thunderbirds shooting statistics
Shimona Nelson 33/35
Chelsea Pitman 3/5
Cathrine Tuivaiti 3/3
Abigail Latu-Meafou 7/8
Queensland Firebirds shooting statistics
Romelda Aiken 45/54
Gretel Tippett 22/27
Adelaide Thunderbirds starting seven
GS: Shimona Nelson, GA: Chelsea Pitman, WA: Bongi Msomi, C: Hannah Petty, WD: Fiona Fowler, GD: Leana de Bruin, GK: Kate Shimmin
Queensland Firebirds starting seven
GS: Romelda Aiken, GA: Gretel Tippett, WA: Caitlyn Nevins, C: Mahalia Cassidy, WD: Gabi Simpson, GD: Kim Jenner, GK: Laura Geitz
Nissan MVP: Caitlyn Nevins (Queensland Firebirds)