Sunshine Coast Lightning knew a win against West Coast Fever was drawing near. Internally there was a strong belief ahead of Saturday’s game at RAC Arena.
All that stood in the way was 60 minutes of netball where they needed to collectively deliver.
“We did our homework and we made sure we went out and executed it,” Head Coach Kylee Byrne said.
“The game plan was really, really solid this week.
“The best thing from a coaching point of view is when you ask your team to do something and they deliver on it.
“While we’ve done that in the past, it’s about delivering on it for 4 quarters against Fever and we knew that was the only way we were going to get the win.”
Byrne was especially pleased with Lightning’s ability to thwart any extended run ons from Fever, unlike in previous games where they had at times managed 5 or 6 consecutive goals.
While preparations for the game did focus on how to limit Fever’s impact, Byrne said it was also about putting Lightning in positions to thrive.
“Here at Lightning we spend a lot of time building our foundation – as an individual, as a unit and a team of 10,” she said.
“We knew we couldn’t stray too far from what we were good at.
“It didn’t matter who was on the court – we all had to be on the same page and that’s something I think they came out on the weekend and executed brilliantly.”
Lightning defeated Fever 65 – 61 in the end and led by as much as 9 goals early in the fourth quarter.
Byrne expects the 2 most recent games against Melbourne Vixens and then Fever will greatly influence the team headed into the run home – for very different reasons.
While the Fever game was strong from start to finish, the residual hurt from the Melbourne Vixens loss the week prior prompted honest conversations and evolved into extra motivation which will only benefit the side long term.
“It was a turning point for us – again we reflected a lot on that Vixens game and how we didn’t want to feel that way and didn’t want to put out a performance like that again,” she said.
“And while we’ve spoken about that in the past, there was something really in that – just the sense of wanting to be so much better that what we put out in that game.”
And Byrne doesn’t believe that upwards trajectory is slowing down anytime soon.
“I think this Lightning group is one that is going to keep building and building and keep being better than we were – even against Fever,” she said.