Lightning leaps into second on table
Via Suncorp Super Netball
TWO PLAYERS DESTINED TO BE COMMONWEALTH GAMES OPPONENTS COMBINED FOR SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING TO SINK WEST COAST FEVER 66-49 IN THEIR SUNCORP SUPER NETBALL MEETING AT PERTH’S HBF STADIUM.
The Lightning’s England international Geva Mentor and Australian Diamonds squad member Stephanie Wood were unstoppable in a clinical performance that pushed the Sunshine Coast into second position on the ladder, at least until the clash between the Melbourne Vixens and GIANTS Netball.
West Coast put up a fight but were made to look ordinary by the red-hot Lightning who were without injured centre Laura Langman.
In her return to the state that raised her, Caitlin Bassett shot 44 goals at 96 per cent, while her circle partner Wood was almost as lethal with 22 goals at 92 per cent.
West Coast’s Natalie Medhurst (17 goals) had one of her better games of the season but it was not enough to worry the Lightning.
Australia is blessed with some outstanding talent at goal attack and two of the best were on show in this battle between east and west.
Wood, now back to full fitness after a knee complaint, is one of the country’s smartest players and has a reliable shooting game as part of her package.
Her timing, and ability see and create space was a major asset as the Lightning hit the ground running in the first quarter.
At the other end, Medhurst’s quick hands and confident shooting helped keep the Fever machine on track.
Still, the home side found itself down by seven goals at quarter-time after Lightning defenders Mentor and Karla Mostert generated more ball for the visitors.
The hosts, perhaps underrating Wood’s radar, left the goaler alone in the second quarter to double-team Caitlin Bassett but the tactic backfired.
Wood finished the half with 12-from-13 shooting to extend the Lightning’s lead to 15 goals.
Mentor was equally punishing at the defence end where she forced a change from the Fever – Kate Beveridge taking over in the shooting circle from Kaylia Stanton.
The second half brought even less joy for the Fever who lost midcourter Ingrid Colyer to what appeared to be a thigh injury.
They did, however, benefit from a wholehearted performance from Jess Anstiss who helped keep the midcourt together.
Defender Annika Lee-Jones had her first taste of netball at this level with a 24-minute duel against Bassett.
MVP: Caitlin Bassett (Lightning)
Photography: Getty Images