Koenen’s Eye-Catching Performance Reward For Effort
Cara Koenen grabbed her opportunity in the starting seven against Queensland Firebirds with both hands on Saturday, putting on a dominant display in the goal circle.
Being named Most Valuable Player was reward for effort according to the Lightning Coaching contingent, after an impressive training regime in the World Cup break.
“Cara has been doing some phenomenal stuff over the last three or four weeks,” Coach Noeline Taurua said.
“Kylee [Byrne] said to me when I came back that she’s been amazing.
“Peace [Proscovia] ran most quarters for Uganda and was a lynch pin – so it gave Cara an opportunity to get out there [against Firebirds].
“But in saying that, I thought [Cara] was phenomenal, she definitely has taken another step up and her confidence is really high.
“It’s really good that we’ve got two good options in there, with Cara or Peace out the back and Steph [Wood] out the front.”
Cara’s agility and movement around the circle forced Firebirds to change up their defensive tactics after the first half, with Laura Clemesha replacing Tara Hinchliffe at Goal Keeper.
Shooting a personal best 37 goals at 92.5% accuracy, with an additional two goal assists and four rebounds, the 23-year-old has certainly staked her claim for more court time in the back half of the season.
Lightning held off a fast finishing Firebirds to win 66-64 and while the fellow Queensland side are yet to notch a win in season 2019, Taurua said they can’t be underestimated.
“I thought in our attacking end we played some beautiful netball,” she said.
“There was a bit of fatigue that did set in in the last quarter but overall I’m happy we came out with six points.
“I think Firebirds should be able to hum in the second half of the season and hopefully take a few big scalps.”