Lightning surges into top two on Super Netball table

Via Suncorp Super Netball

The Sunshine Coast Lightning have kept alive their chances of a Suncorp Super Netball minor premiership with a crushing 63-49 win against the NSW Swifts at USC Stadium.

Captain Geva Mentor played with a Swifts attack end that was already weakened by injury and affected further when primary target Sam Wallace collected a niggle during the game.

Wallace battled on to score 39 goals but the dominance of Mentor was the outstanding feature as the England international pocketed seven intercepts and 10 deflections.

It was also a brilliant return to form from Caitlin Bassett whose 49 goals at 94 per cent killed any chance of a Swifts upset.

The win means the Lightning jump to the top of the ladder, at least until Sunday’s meeting between the Melbourne Vixens and Adelaide Thunderbirds.

An injury to Helen Housby demanded a change to the Swifts’ line-up but coach Rob Wright had already decided on a reshuffle.

Captain Abbey McCulloch started from the bench, creating a job for Paige Hadley at wing defence and a start for Claire O’Brien at wing attack.

Incoming goal attack Amy Sommerville drilled her first two shots, which was an encouraging start, given the edge handed to the Lightning by their ruthless defence.

Geva Mentor was scarily good, blocking a Sam Wallace shot amid a variety of ball-winning efforts.

Her circle partner Karla Mostert and Laura Scherian were also good for first-quarter intercepts.

The wheels started to fall off for the Swifts in the second quarter.

With the Lightning midcourt gaining control, the margin blew out to nine goals early in the quarter.

Swifts shooter Wallace was playing hurt, and the lack of movement at the attack end made it easier for the Lightning defenders to hunt for ball.

McCulloch’s injection changed the flow in an instant.

Although the Swifts still struggled to penetrate, the NSW captain worried the Lightning into some turnovers.

The Lightning led 31-24 at halftime but lost some of their fluency when playmaker Stephanie Wood stayed on the bench due illness.

At times the home side’s movement and pass placement looked ungainly yet the hosts still pushed the lead out to a commanding 11 goals at three-quarter time.

The gaping margin enabled the Lightning to leave Wood on the bench and plough some extra time into understudy goaler Cara Koenen.

Laura Langman also was given the last quarter to run the show from centre.

Official Result & Statistics

Official Result: Sunshine Coast Lightning (63) defeated NSW Swifts (49)
Lightning shooting statistics
Caitlin Bassett 59/52 (94%)
Stephanie Wood 9/11 (82%)
Cara Koenen 5/6 (83%)

Swifts shooting statistics
Sam Wallace 39/45 (87%)
Amy Sommerville 10/15 (67%)

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

Swifts starting seven – GS: Sam Wallace, GA: Amy Sommerville, WA: Claire O’Brien, C: Maddy Proud, WD: Paige Hadley, GD: Maddy Turner, GK: Sarah Klau

Match MVP: Laura Langman (Lightning)