Sunshine Coast Lightning has suffered a 24-goal loss in front of a sold-out UniSC Arena crowd. Playing against a strong Adelaide Thunderbirds outfit, Lightning show glimpses of promise but weren’t able to get ahead. Shannon Eagland made her debut for the Sunshine Coast side, becoming Lightning player #30.
It was hard to hear the whistle over the passionate Sunshine Coast crowd, but both teams were gearing up for a big match. Steph missed an early shot which was rebounded by Stirling, but this was quickly turned over again by the defensive duo of Pretorius and KD who were rewarded with a goal. The pressure caused by Thunderbirds’ defence caused a number of uncharacteristic turnovers for Lightning. But the first quarter ended strong with Mahalia picking up an intercept flying down the court and KD causing an offensive contact on English shooter, Caldwell.
The teams head into the second quarter, with Coach B making changes that moved Shez to the bench, Mahalia into Centre and Shannon Eagland into WD – making her Lightning debut and becoming player #30. Stirling continues to cause confusion for Lightning’s attack, making it difficult for the feeders to get the ball to Cara. While playing hard, Lightning weren’t able to capitalise at crucial parts of the game and had a number of turnovers. Steph and Cara seemed to reignite their connection in the second, with a number of quick plays into goal.
The crowd continues to roar at UniSC Arena coming into the second half of the match, which only got louder after Steph sunk a long-bomb followed by a turnover in Adelaide’s attack line. Lightning’s defence work overtime to turn the ball over, clearly increasing the pressure required to slow down the Thunderbirds. Not running smoothly still, Belinda calls a time out and switches Steph and Cara. Karla pulls through with a classic, clean intercept using her outside arm. Lightning are forced to take Super Shots which weren’t falling at crucial moments.
Charlie Bell takes the court in goal shooter, with Coach B using her bench to try different combinations. Cara comes out into GA, pushing Steph into WA — a position she’s not unfamiliar with. The attacking end took a few minutes to settle into the new combination, but there were moments of seamless play into Charlie Bell who was shooting strong. KD picks up the pressure and gains an intercept, but this was immediately turned over back to Adelaide. Charlie and Cara start to connect, with a number of plays showing promise for that combination.
Cara Koenen finished the match on 100% shooting accuracy along with three deflections. Karla Pretorius was impressive in defence, finishing on three intercepts, nine deflections and six centre pass receives. While her defensive partner KD gained four intercepts and five deflections.