Sunshine Coast Lightning has cemented their spot at second on the ladder with an impressive 65-61 victory over West Coast Fever in Perth.
It was just the Fever’s third home game at RAC Arena for the season and first since beating the Giants by a goal on May 31.
They have now lost 2 straight to the top-2 teams.
Conversely, Lightning has put themselves in prime position for a top-2 finish.
It was all on the back of 3 super shots in a matter of minutes that broke the game open in the third quarter, including 2 from Steph Wood.
Wood finished with 16 from 18 attempts including 17 assists with Cara Koenen celebrating her 50th game with 43 from 47.
Jhaniele Fowler hit all 43 of her shots for Fever but she had a fascinating battle with Phumza Maweni who didn’t give her anything easy.
The result really closes things up at the top of the table with a month of fixtures remaining.
The win is the Lightning’s seventh out of 10 games this season as they bounced back from last week’s loss to the Melbourne Vixens.
The Fever remain a game clear in fourth place with their 7 wins from 9 games.
With Koenen dominating in attack for Lightning and their mid-court getting on top, they held a handy lead for much of the opening half until the Fever got on a roll.
That included a Super Shot from Alice Teague-Neeld to put the home team up just before half-time but Lightning responded and scores were tied at 33-33 at the main break.
Things remained tight in the third quarter until the final 5 minutes when Wood took full advantage of the Super Shot.
She knocked down 2 and Koenen another, and suddenly Sunshine Coast was up 6 at 3 quarter-time.
Wood stretched the Lightning’s lead to 7 to start the fourth quarter and after a turnover in defence, Koenen scored twice and the lead was out to a match-high 9 before Sunshine Coast won by four.
It wasn’t the start of a run of 3 straight home games Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich was hoping for.
“Lightning were pretty ruthless in attack and I think it took us a while to get our hand on ball, and for us in moving the ball across the transverse lines, we were a bit stagnant with our movement,” Marinkovich said.
“That made us become one dimensional and when we did have it firing we had great passages of play, and great variety and a lot of options, but it’s that inconsistency when you are playing against a team like Lightning that they capitalise on.”