Lightning start turns into getaway from stubborn Spirit
The Lightning had a season high opening quarter of 32-2 to open their game against Bendigo, but in what looked like a steal of a win came down to a dogged getaway job across the remaining three quarters as the stubborn Spirit cut it back to 77-84 win in the finish…
With thunderstorms hitting Bendigo on and off the court came Lightning hard in the opening quarter as they smashed the Spirit led by Steph Talbot (18 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists), Alanna Smith (14 points and 8 rebounds) and Kylee Shook (14 points and 11 rebounds). The Spirit were guided back into the contest through Anneli Maley (21 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists), Tessa Lavey (19 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds) and Ally Wilson (14 points and 7 rebounds).
THE WRAP Q BY Q
Smith opened the contest with a triple, then a pull up two off the defensive rebound followed by another to open a 0-7 run with a very quick timeout to Tracey York. Kiana Williams continued the run on the back of a 1-2-2 press and Shook posting up in the paint made consecutive trips to the free throw line. Talbot cut to the hoop after Smith’s block, collecting back-to-back Shook rimmed layups twice to put back the offensive bucket for a 0-19 start. If forecast sirens weren’t going off at the Spirit they were when Chelsea Brook made it 0-22 with a triple then 0-25 with another from the opposite wing. After another timeout, Talbot used the up screen from Shook to spin her way to the hoop for another bucket, then Marena Whittle went for a spinning jumper herself to make it 0-30. It took Megan McKay to break the drought for the Spirit with a jumper from the corner. Whittle grabbed a late offensive board then putback to give the Lightning their best quarter of the season at both ends 2-32 after one.
Maddie Garrick opened the second from the right wing with a triple, Wilson then grabbed the o-board, putback then dropped a couple from the charity stripe to give the Spirit an 8-0 run. Maley then hit a tough fadeaway from the baseline with the run halted by Smith and Talbot. Wilson dropped the three then Maley faced-up on Smith but the Lightning dominating the offensive glass were taking advantage of second opportunities particularly Whittle and Taylor Ortlepp who nailed their triples. Carly Boag scored a couple in a row then Maley cut the margin back to round out the second 28-46.
Garrick started the third like she did the second before Shook went straight back at her. Wilson hit the nice shot off the window and Lavey dropped the triple to slash it to single digits. Wilson dropped another but Talbot hit the steading triple but with Smith copping another foul; timeout was needed by Lucas and the Lightning to sort things out. Whittle responded after the timeout with a triple, then Talbot did as well as the Lightning pushed back out to 45-60. Williams dropped the floater but the Spirit continued to even up the contest through o-boards and finishes; Shook however hit the exclamation point with her triple to give the Lightning a 51-65 lead with one to go.
Brook and Whittle grabbed a couple in the opening minute of the fourth with Ella Batish having some handy offensive minutes on court; but Maley and Megan McKay (5 of her 8 coming down the stretch) cut it back for the Spirit with a few. Batish then caught it with the clock going down for a jumper; Lavey then brought it back to 63-73 with a long bomb. McKay grabbed the and1 to cut it again, Lavey then struck another triple before Smith pushed the Lightning back out to a couple of buckets. Mary Goulding stole the ball and scored before Smith scored another turnaround at the free throw line for 73-79. The Lightning managed to stop the Spirits last onslaught with Williams taking it hard to the rim crossing Garrick over off the high pick and finishing then stealing it back on the inbound to earn a foul and a trip to the free throw line where she made both. The Lightning escaping a boilover after the start they had with a 77-84 win.
THE MOMENTS LIGHTNING STRUCK
– The Lightning’s opening quarter set the result up as they produced a 30-0 run on the back of 12-22 from the field and held the Spirit to 1-17. The Lightning in that quarter amassed 7-1 in assists, 19-8 in rebounds and 4-3 in steals
– In the absence of Abbey Wehrung and Brooke Basham, Marena Whittle stepped up significantly in 28 minutes she contributed 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists
– While quiet offensively in the clutch Kiana Williams came up big and provided the silver service for the Lightning with 7 assists
WHEN THE NEXT STRIKE COMES
Look at this game in two views, one view is what an incredible start and tone setting opening quarter which was stat stuffed and sensational offensive transition in true Lightning style that was.
The second view is that the game would be head scratching for Chris Lucas and Nat Hurst is giving up 75 points in three quarters to let the Spirit back into the contest.
The Flames game Saturday night will tell us a lot about which Lightning is the most likely to emerge at home next weekend…
BENDIGO SPIRIT 77 (Maley 21, Lavey 19, Wilson 14, Garrick 7) DEFEATED BY ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 84 (Talbot 18, Smith, Shook 14, Whittle 13, Brook 10, Williams 8) at Bendigo Stadium