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Lightning makes it five straight wins

Via Suncorp Super Netball

THE ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS HAVE AGAIN BEEN LEFT EMPTY-HANDED BUT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THEIR HEARTS.

Sunshine Coast continued its impressive foundation year with a 59-50 Suncorp Super Netball win at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre after withstanding a gutsy fightback from the Thunderbirds.

When the Lightning led by 11 in the second quarter looked like a demolition job was on the cards but the final margin didn’t reflect Adelaide’s refusal to quit.

The last-placed Thunderbirds won the third term but did not have the class to match Sunshine Coast over long periods.

Captain Geva Mentor was once again a leader in defence and her partner Karla Mostert did a job on Adelaide’s Erin Bell.

Caitlin Bassett (37/41) and Stephanie Wood (22/25) were ruthlessly accurate but the platform was laid by midcourter Laura Scherian whose speed and ability to control the top of the circle could not be tamed by the Thunderbirds.

The first quarter started with players from both teams pausing to link arms in an act of unity over recent changes to the personnel elected to the governing body’s Board of Directors.

Their gesture over, regular transmission resumed, which for the struggling Thunderbirds meant a tough time from the Lightning.

The first half had everything you would expect from both sides.

A perfectly timed Karla Mostert block, combined with four intercepts from the Lightning’s circle defenders almost crushed the spirit of Adelaide’s goalers.

And shooters Caitlin Bassett and Stephanie Wood shot beautifully, missing just three shots between them as Sunshine Coast’s margin blew out to 11 goals at one point in the second term.

As expected, Adelaide made changes but neither Jade Clarke nor Gia Abernethy could halt the home side’s silky midcourt.

At times, Ama Agbeze was fighting a lone hand for the Thunderbirds but had little to show for her shining example.

Sunshine Coast led by 10 goals at halftime, but then a strange thing happened – Adelaide rediscovered some fight.

The ball flowed more freely through the hands of Chelsea Pitman and once again the Thunderbirds were energized.

Laura Langman had to be moved to wing defence to quieten Pitman, and by midway through the third quarter a mismatch had become a contest.

The Thunderbirds shaved the deficit to just two girls before three-quarter time, a raid that would require a response from the Lightning.

Sunshine Coast responded with a professional final quarter, with Mostert shutting down the Thunderbirds’ attack.

Player of the Match: Laura Langman (Lightning)