Sunshine Coast Lightning claim Queensland bragging rights as they take the win (65-55) over the Firebirds in Brisbane on Saturday afternoon.
The team will bring home the Queensland Cup — a trophy awarded to the winner of the game each time the two teams compete during the regular season.
Two of the three potential debuts took the court, with Charlie Bell and Ash Ervin becoming Lightning players #28 and #29 against their previous Club.
It was a strong start for both Queensland sides with Steph scoring the first point on the board for Lightning. Round 1 MVP KD made her presence known early with a deflection in the first minute. Lightning’s defence starts to build, almost causing a held ball in the Firebirds attack line and KD comes out for another tip that again falls the Firebird’s way. Steph gets a pick-up early and finishes it off with a long-bomb which ignites the Lightning attack. Defensive pressure builds against Firebirds which sees an offensive contact by Donnell Wallam and an uncharacteristic miss under the post, along with a centre pass tip and pick-up by Harls. Steph gets another tip to her name and Lightning finish the first quarter strong.
KP comes out firing in the second, getting a pick-up within the first minute. Ball speed showing no signs of slowing down for Lightning with the Steph x Cars connection stronger than ever. KD and KP step it up another level, with KD notching up a block to her name and Karla getting another pick up that converts to a goal. Lightning call two time-outs at crucial moments and put the foot down both times, keeping the Firebirds to only seven goals in the second quarter — with one of those goals a Suncorp Super Shot.
Firebirds start the third quarter with a pick-up and punish with a strong shot from Wallam. After a couple of turnovers to start the third, Lightning settle themselves in attack and return to the smart, patient play seen in the first half. KD sneaks a tip over the top of a feed into Wallam sending the ball down the court only for Ruby Bakewell-Doran to return the favour with an intercept. This was short-lived with Harls adding another intercept to her name which converts to a goal for Lightning. Both teams sink Suncorp Super Shots to finish the third.
Young Firebirds goal shooter Emily Moore causes a turnover to start the fourth quarter, followed by a missed goal by Steph. Lightning’s defensive unit step up the pressure and cause a breakdown between Firebirds’ mid-court and shooters. While there were a number of mistakes creeping into Lightning’s attack, they look to settle halfway through the final quarter and go back to how they played the first half of the match.
Captain Steph Wood claimed MVP for the match finishing on 83% shooting accuracy and 25 goal assists, she also picked up the most centre-pass receives and a deflection. Shooting partner Cara shot an impressive 98% shooting scoring 52/53 goals.
KD sustained the intensity from round 1, ending the match with 7 deflections, 2 intercepts and 3 rebounds.