Lightning to host inaugural SSN Grand Final

Official Result: Sunshine Coast Lightning (56) defeated Melbourne Vixens (55)
Via Suncorp Super Netball

Sunshine Coast Lightning has marched into the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final after shocking home side Melbourne Vixens in the major semi-final at Margaret Court Arena.

The competition newcomer will host the tournament decider on June 17 after its stifling all-court defence troubled the Vixens in the 56-55 thriller.

Melbourne was still in the hunt in the final minute despite falling behind by four goals during the fourth quarter.

With three goals to make up, the hosts won some crucial ball from the Lightning but the rally fell short in the dying seconds.

Sunshine Coast defender Karla Mostert was the hero for her outfit.

With intercepts at a premium, she won two crucial possessions for her side in the last quarter to put space between the Queenslanders and the chasing Vixens.

Caitlin Bassett was the one shooter to revel under the intense pressure.

Time and again she launched herself like a firework to present a set of clean hands, and finished accurately with 44 goals at 94 per cent.

Melbourne’s Mwai Kumwenda had 33 goals but had a tough time in the final term when the match was up for grabs.

The Lightning were at quarter-time cursing a scoreboard which showed no tangible rewards for their application of an effective defensive plan.

A cluttered midcourt meant fluency was difficult for the Vixens to achieve on their home court.

Heat from Laura Langman and Laura Scherian slowed the Victorians’ transition, and the Lightning backed Karla Mostert to go head-to-head with Tegan Philip.

Philip was unable to exert much influence, yet still her Vixens found ways to keep pace with the visitors.
The pressure at each end was claustrophobic.

Both outfits were forced to zigzag back and forth, patiently waiting for space to open up in their shooting circles.

There was little to be found, with only the shooters – Vixens’ Kumwenda and the Lightning’s Bassett – presenting as sure and reliable targets.

Bassett’s 18-from-18 at halftime was a flawless demonstration of poise as the Vixens entered the long break with a one-goal lead.

For all the blanketing defence, intercepts were near impossible to come by.

The first pilfer did not arrive until deep in the third term, a reward for Vixen Emily Mannix’s patience and tenacity.

Just two goals separated the sides at three-quarter time
Official Result & Statistics

Official Result: Sunshine Coast Lightning (56) defeated Melbourne Vixens (55)

Vixens shooting statistics
Mwai Kumwenda 33/38 (87%)
Tegan Philip 22/26 (86%)

Lightning shooting statistics
Caitlin Bassett 44/47 (94%)
Stephanie Wood 12/14 (86%)

Vixens starting seven – GS: Mwai Kumwenda, GA: Tegan Philip, WA: Liz Watson, C: Kate Moloney, WD: Chloe Watson, GD: Jo Weston, GK: Emily Mannix

Lightning starting seven – GS: Caitlin Bassett, GA: Stephanie Wood, WA: Kelsey Browne, C: Laura Scherian, WD: Laura Langman, GD: Karla Mostert, GK: Geva Mentor.

Match MVP: Caitlin Bassett (Lightning)