Adelaide Thunderbirds have finished Round 12 with a bang after their 61-60 win over the Sunshine Coast Lightning at Nissan Arena, Brisbane.
Lightning entered this game tipped to take the win, sitting 4th on the ladder compared to the Thunderbirds 7th position, even though the Lightning only won by one goal the last time these two teams met in Round 5.
Following the game, Thunderbirds’ Head Coach, Tania Obst, spoke of the team’s ambitions for the remainder of the season.
“We’re going to continue to put things into place and have teams stand and take notice of us and put a statement to the competition, and then that will lead on to 2022… We’re still trying to achieve”.
The Thunderbirds fought for possession from the first whistle, applying defensive pressure all the way down the court. Lightning’s GS, Cara Koenen, was forced to change up her gameplay as Thunderbirds’ GK, Shamera Sterling, applied continuous pressure in the goal circle.
Heading in to the second quarter, the Lightning simply wanted the ball more as their defence tightened up, causing the Thunderbirds to become congested and making it hard for them to keep possession of the ball.
Some great intercepts-turned-goals from Lightning’s GD, Karla Pretorius (3 intercepts and 3 deflections for the quarter), saw the Lightning hold a 31-28 goal lead at half-time.
The beginning of the second half saw both teams fighting hard for possession.
Thunderbirds’ Georgie Horjus worked to clear the goal circle, making room for fellow goaler, Lenize Potgieter to dominate the circle.
Determined to take the win, the Lightning entered the final quarter with a complete change up of their midcourt – Laura Scherian moving in to WA, Maddy McAuliffe heading in to C, and Kate Shimmin coming in to WD.
After a very exciting Power 5, Thunderbirds’ Lenize Potgieter scored the winning goal with five seconds remaining.
Lightning Assistant coach Vicki Wilson reflected on the game, acknowledging the Lightning’s mistakes and areas for improvement heading in to the final two rounds.
“We had opportunity, particularly in that last quarter, where we could have capitalised. We got the ball, we lost it twice in our own defensive third… There is hope we can get the ball, we can score, we can move it well so it’s about not drifting off the task and really staying focused for the entire game”.
The Lightning will come up against GIANTS next week, with the Thunderbirds taking on the Vixens.
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