Despite a late venue change, it didn’t stop the Lightning being on song as they marched their way away from the Flames 56-73 at the Hills Basketball Stadium and continued their undefeated record on the road in WNBL 21-22…
When they made their run in the second quarter it was Kylee Shook who flexed hard on the Flames with a season high 20 points and 9 rebounds and was well supported by partner in front court of Alanna Smith with 14 points (3-7 triples), 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Steph Talbot stuffed the stat sheet again with 7 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds and Kiana Williams splashed some deep hits to finish with 12 points and 4 rebounds and assists. The Flames were predictably led by Shyla Heal with a game high 24 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds and found an ally in Keely Froling with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
THE WRAP Q BY Q
The Lightning dominated the offensive glass from the opening tip creating multiple opportunities, but it was Heal leading her Flames to a 9-5 lead early in the game. Talbot’s and1 got the Lightning going with a 0-6 run but a Froling finish and step back triple was traded by Heal and Smith at both ends. At the end of the first quarter, both teams were tied 19-19 after a tight opening.
The Flames came out again through Heal and Funda Nakkasoglu with the Lightning responding with a 0-7 run of their own before Smith took a tumble on the baseline. She had to leave the court to get her ankle checked out and get some treatment. Shook and Marena Whittle hit back-to-back buckets to make it a 2-9 run leading 25-28. After another delay with Nakkasoglu copping an accidental contact to the face which sparked Heal with an on the rim finish then Kiera Rowe dropping a big bomb to make it 32-30. Shook with a strong second quarter, continued to dominate inside and set up the Lightning with a slender 34-37 lead at halftime.
Smith, Shook and Williams kicked the Lightning into gear with a brace of triples to create a 2-11 run to get the Lightning out to a 36-48 lead in the third. The Lightning increased their defensive pressure at half time and suffocated the Flames making every trip and point down to their offensive end of the court earnt. Talbot had her hand in absolutely everything, dishing and setting up her team-mates in an influential performance as the Lightning took a 43-59 advantage going into the last stanza.
The Lightning started with their most youthful lineup of the season with Ortlepp, Brazel, Simons, Brook and Batish in the fourth but Heal drained a couple of long bombs and Lucas flicked Smith and Talbot back into the fold 50-61. Batish drained her outside catch to steady the ship and the Lightning forced the Flames into some rash shots with Williams putting the finishing touches on the match 56-73 in a comfortable conclusion.
THE MOMENTS LIGHTNING STRUCK
– Shook had a huge second quarter with 9 points for the quarter setting up the Lightning lead at half-time
– The Lightning had a big 7 minutes in the third quarter holding the Flames to 2 points and dropping 13 points in a big run that opened up the contest; resulting in a 9-22 quarter which decided the match
– Holding the Flames to 4 points in the final five minutes was the defensive finish that the Lightning were looking for and capped off a good defensive second half of 22 points.
– The Lightning produced some impressive final numbers including shooting 42 percent from the field, 36.7 percent from beyond the arc, winning the rebounding 42-40, dished 21 assists and made 5 blocks.
WHEN THE NEXT STRIKE COMES
We said on Thursday night and in our preview that the response in this game on the back of letting the Spirit back in was important and the Lightning delivered an early douse of the Flames to comfortably cruise to the win.
Coming out 2-0 off the road means the Lightning have won all six games on the road with an average margin of 14 points; no doubt that record will be tested when it heads to Perth in two weeks but first up a wounded Townsville Fire awaits at home for Indigenous round next Saturday afternoon.
The Lightning will be wary of the Fire but to really make sure everyone takes notice of them as a contender, they’ll need the home win before going into the toughest test of the season over in the west.
SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 56 (Heal 24, Froling 14, Purcell 7) DEFEATED BY ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 73 (Shook 20, Smith 14, Williams 12, Talbot 7, Ortlepp 6) at Hills Basketball Stadium