Lightning Ready For Fever Favourites
The underdog tag that Sunshine Coast Lightning will carry into this weekend’s Preliminary Finals is not something that Head Coach Kylee Byrne is disheartened by.
In fact she believes her team thrive when they are not weighed down by external expectations.
Lightning will face a dominant West Coast Fever in the Preliminary Final on Sunday and while the Queensland side are yet to defeat their opponent in 2020, the team are approaching the game with a quiet confidence.
“There’s nothing better than an underdog and it seems that in the last few years with Lightning, people write us off in finals – I am pretty happy with that position that the whole world has put us in,” Byrne said.
“It will be a massive game, it will be ridiculously hard and we do know that but in the end this is what this team does and we thrive under pressure.
“Finals in any sport shows you can’t look too far ahead and at the moment it’s about one quarter first.”
Limiting the impact of Fever’s Jhaniele Fowler is a crucial factor in overcoming the Western Australia side and that has been an increasing focus this week.
Byrne said attempting to beat the shooter one on one is important but that it would take a team-wide defensive effort to considerably reduce the opposition’s scoring opportunities.
“It’s stopping the ball out the front, it’s delaying play, it’s contesting her balls and limiting opportunities,” she said.
“She is the best in the world and she’s quite unstoppable but it’s the one pass that is missed or that isn’t accurate or on point or the rebound and we have to make sure we’re first to the ball on those.
“Any mistakes we have to punish them for.”
Lightning have taken a proactive approach when analysing and referring back to the previous two games against Fever this season.
Byrne said as a Club they have chosen to revisit the quarters in which they were able to successfully outplay the opponent to see what they can emulate on Sunday, as opposed to focusing purely on the negatives.
“We did go back and have a look but it was more about how we did break, how we were successful and how we were good against them,” she said.
“In the end in those games there was a really high penalty count and there were two quarters that were blow outs.
“We pulled apart where we were successful and where we beat them in one on one contests.”