Lightning outclass gallant GIANTS

A MERE four goals separated the Sunshine Coast Lightning and the GIANTS with the Lightning running out 56-60 victors in the end after a see-sawing encounter. The GIANTS got out to a handy lead in the opening few minutes of the first quarter before the Lightning wrestled back the momentum to kick start the constant lead changes.

Goal shooter, Cara Koenen continued to go from strength to strength getting the nod once again with the starting position. Koenen showcased her skill and clever footwork to open up space in the goal circle and proved that she was not afraid to turn and shoot, nailing nine goals at 100 percent. Her partnership with Steph Wood impressed with the two creating a moving circle to cause confusion for the GIANTS defenders. Wood seemed to have the ball on a string throughout the first term highlighting her play making abilities and good vision to sight Koenen on the lead while piling on her own scoreboard pressure with seven goals straight. Both Sam Poolman and Kristiana Manu’a struggled to get a read on the play in the first quarter credit to the movement of Wood and Koenen while Amy Parmenter failed to have her usual impact on the game in wing defence. Through the midcourt Laura Langman asserted herself on the game early with her physical pressure, hustle at the top of the goal circle and strong hands to wrench the ball from any opponents’ grip. The Lightning claimed the first bonus point of the match, however the GIANTS were hot on their tail only down by one heading into quarter time.

The GIANTS came out with a real intensity and desperation in the second term with both Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett upping the ante in attack and finding good space. The dynamic duo imposed themselves on the game, holding strong and using their height to their full advantage. Harten did a wealth of work out the front to feed the ball into Bassett while also showcasing her range in the circle sinking eight goals from 11 attempts. With the shooting end firing, Poolman also lifted in defence picking up two gains, one rebound and an intercept credit to her clever work around the body and ability to read the flight of the ball. With the cogs kicking into gear for the GIANTS, Lightning goal defence Karla Pretorius reigned supreme with her sheer athleticism and brilliance. The tenacious defender amassed two gains, one intercept, three deflections and a rebound in the second term keeping her side well and truly in the hunt. But the Lightning struggled to penetrate through the GIANTS defence and were forced wide through transition forcing changes from Noeline Taurua. Ugandan shooter Peace Proscovia made her way from the bench while Maddy McAuliffe replaced Jacqui Russell in wing defence with the changes having an immediate impact on the Sunshine Coast side.

Up by one goal at half time the GIANTS were unable to maintain that same vigour and intensity shown in the second term. The Lightning had a point to prove coming out strong and contesting every ball that came their way. Proscovia took complete control in the goal circle not missing a shot with nine goals while through the midcourt Laura Scherian lifted a gear. The speedy wing attack used her dynamic movement, impressive vision and strong arm to release balls into the circle with confidence and precision. Defensively Phumza Maweni came to life closely accompanied by Pretorius with the two dictating the space in the goal circle and limiting the easy access into Harten and Bassett. Maweni showcased her cleanliness and read of the play with five gains, two intercepts, two rebounds and one deflection while Pretorius notched up another three gains and an intercept. On the other hand, the GIANTS were forced to make a wealth of changes through the midcourt with Jamie-Lee Price unable to find good space in attack. Kim Green moved into centre while Keira Austin came onto wing attack while Price moved to the bench in hope to create more dynamic movement in the attacking third but it was to no avail.

The GIANTS mounted somewhat of a comeback in the last quarter after throwing the bibs in the air once again. Austin switched into her preferred position of goal attack with Harten going to the bench while Price re-entered the game in centre. Despite all the changes the GIANTS were unable to recapture their early dominance falling to the Lightning for the second time this season. Proscovia top scored for the Lightning with 25 goals from 25 attempts while Bassett converted 36 of her 40 attempts at 90 percent. Pretorius showcased her defensive prowess once again with seven gains, three intercepts, seven deflections and four rebounds for the Sunshine Coast.

STARING LINE-UP:

GIANTS Netball:

GS |Caitlin Bassett
GA |Jo Harten
WA |Kim Green
C |Jamie-Lee Price
WD |Amy Parmenter
GD |Kristiana Manu’a
GK |Sam Poolman

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

GS |Cara Koenen
GA |Steph Wood
WA |Laura Scherian
C |Laura Langman
WD |Jacqui Russell
GD |Karla Pretorius
GK |Phumza Maweni

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