One of the quirks of the WNBL 21-22 draw is about to happen with the Lightning playing back-to-back matches against the top of the table Perth Lynx in what is shaping to be a measuring stick of where both teams are at heading to the finish line of the WNBL season
WHEN: MONDAY 7 MARCH AND WEDNESDAY 9 MARCH NIGHT – 9:00PM SA TIME
WHERE: BENDAT BASKETBALL CENTRE
Last time they met:
WNBL 21-22: ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 88 (Smith 25, Talbot 19, Brook 14, Shook 12, Williams 11) DEFEATED PERTH LYNX 86 (Mabrey 30, Garbin 15, Whitcomb 13, Scherf 10, Young 9) at the Lights Community and Sports Centre
Match Fact: The Lightning have won 4 of the past 5 against the Perth Lynx since 2019 by an average margin of 4 points…
Abbey Wehrung vs. Sami Whitcomb
Wehrung returned to Lightning duty with flying colours with 13 points and 3 assists against the Townsville Fire. In terms of point production, she was quiet against the Lynx last time at home but has shown particularly in away games she can produce what’s needed having grabbed 16 and 10 against the Flames and Flyers. She’s going to have her hands full stopping the Opals box seat point guard currently as well though…
Whitcomb isn’t just the scoring machine we’ve come to know, she’s the complete player and no wonder she currently holds the number one spot in the Opals team at the moment. She had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists on return against the Flames Saturday night but with the Lynx only putting 63 on the board in their loss; expect her to come out much more aggressive at the offensive end of the floor.
Kylee Shook vs. Darcee Garbin
Shook at the start of the season compared to Shook in her current form does not even compare when they last met earlier in the season. If there is an area the Lynx are going to find hard to contain it’s going to be Sami’s teammate at the New York Liberty. She’s one of the inform players of the competition and has found her role with the Lightning just at the right time for these double headers.
Garbin has played some beauties against the Lightning in recent times including dropping 15 and 31 in the 2020 season and 15 against us earlier in the season. She was really quiet on Saturday night with only 2 points on return from Opals duty and she’ll look at those numbers and know she’s a tough cover for the Lightning. Expect her to be a different type of player these two games and one defensively must be quelled.
Chelsea Brook vs. Jackie Young
The good news for Brook is that she averages 15 points against the Lynx in her last two outings against them. In terms of impact off the bench and with tight back-to-back games she’s a tough matchup with her stretch shooting and if she impacts the scorecard like she has in previous encounters, it’s going to help the Lightning go a long way to getting the wins on the road.
Young introduced herself to the red army in fine style, scoring a game high 28 points at 48 percent from the field, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. A majority of Young’s impact buckets came from hard drives in the lane and pull-up jump shots however she also was 0-5 from the left side of the court so the pull up from the left side may be the defensive strategy the Lightning may look at.
The Last Strike
Chris Lucas spoke on Saturday about the upcoming games and knows the Lightning while positioned where it is on the ladder doesn’t truly show where his team is at. “We are just pleased we got the result, and we can move forward; we got a tough week coming up. We know every team wants to play finals but I think it’s a little smoke and mirrors at the moment where we are sitting (on the ladder), I really think the next three games will give us a picture of where we are at in the run home but all you can do is play what’s in front of you, do the best you can and look forward to going over to Perth.” Lucas summarised the week ahead.
And our head coach is exactly right; the Lynx in many eyes have been the raging favourites from the start with their roster they’ve put together. With a double set of Ws however the Lightning can storm their way to the top of the table, seal a finals berth and be seen as not just a contender but at the front of the queue for the coveted Championship trophy.