December 20, 2021 | Adelaide Lightning news

Pine on point as shooting “Storm” strikes Caps

An impressive bench display in the first half from Marena Whittle, Sam Simons and Chelsea Brook set up the Lightning before the “Storm” duo of Kiana Williams and Steph Talbot closed it out comprehensively against the Canberra Capitals…

The Adelaide Lightning have bounced back hard, crushing the Canberra Capitals away from home 62-88 at the National Convention Centre Canberra. It was an impressive bench display in the first half from Marena Whittle, Sam Simons and Chelsea Brook as they set up the Lightning before the “Storm” duo of Kiana Williams and Steph Talbot closed it out comprehensively against the home side.

THE WRAP Q BY Q

Starting in the new South Australian Country and Metro Red tribute away strip, Alanna Smith off the tip got it to Kylee Shook then back to Smith for the opener. Smith ultra-aggressive early score the first six points for the Lightning with Williams nailing a step back triple punishing the passive zone of the Caps. Brook entered the game with a floater, while Jade Melbourne injected some enthusiasm into the Caps with a floater of her own off the baseline cut to make it 11-11 with a timeout to Chris Lucas. Three buckets in a row from Simons including her first triple in the WNBL was the start of the “pine on point” onslaught as Whittle whacked one of her own to give the Lightning a 17-21 lead despite a late Melbourne triple.

Simons found Whittle for the opener of the second, Williams drained her second triple of the quarter then Whittle struck another one to give the Lightning a 0-10 run. Brittany Smart hit back for the Caps with a triple and Whittle dropped another deuce. Brook then made the Lightning’s sixth triple of the opening half before Smart hit another one with a quick timeout to Lucas to stop the Caps getting back into the game 25-38. Melbourne then nailed two triples to cut it back to seven and despite several offensive rebounds increasing the tension in the Lightning camp Simons drained a timely triple to notch an early career best. Shook did what her name was to her opponent for a contested layup to give the Lightning the half time lead of 34-46. The Lightning led the rebound count 26-25 despite giving up 15 rebounds in the first half.

Brittany Sykes missing in the first half offensively, started with a deuce off the opening play of the third before Steph Talbot was doubled but found Brook cutting to the hoop. Whittle then got the mismatch on Melbourne and finished before then draining her third triple of the match on a perfect tre of tre. Talbot then sent back Melbourne of Canberra with a ferocious block before Kelly Wilson dropped a triple for the Caps. Melbourne tried to go through the spot again but this time was met at the summit of Simons. Amy Bunton then hit the fadeaway jumper on the baseline but Talbot and Shook then denied Sykes for another Lightning rejection. Simons then hit the runner for another for her while Williams three quarter time one just fell short and the Lightning had a handy lead going into the final change 42-59.

Shook grabbed and1 to start the last, Brook found one herself and Williams dropped a floater to create another 0-9 run and timeout was struck by Paul Goriss and the Caps with a 42-67 lead with 7:47 to go. Williams continued the run with a steal off Wilson and scored, Smith then banked a triple to get her way into doubles before Melbourne grabbed another two to force timeout to the Lightning with some scrappy play a slight concern. Talbot dropped another triple in an exceptional overall performance before a mini run from the Caps through Melbourne and Sykes of 4-0 caused a late timeout but the Lightning still comfortably led 50-77 with 3:55 to go. Despite some late pressing from the Capitals, Williams found another triple in which the Lightning closed out a comprehensive performance through Talbot to win 62-88 in the finish.

THE MOMENTS LIGHTNING STRUCK

– Alanna Smith bounced back quickly from last week asserting her dominance early with the first 6 points of the game, despite only 17 minutes she finished with 16 points including 7 of 8 from the charity stripe and 7 rebounds.

– The Lightning gained their lead through a 7-0 run to Sam Simons which turned into a 10-4 run in the last 1:41 of the opening quarter shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc as well as a 50 percent overall from the field.

– To show the Lightning’s balance in their offence, the reigning League MVP and Captain Talbot did not score until the 43rd point of the match however she was very influential in the contest, nearly grabbing a double double with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

– The Lightning shot 47 percent in the first half along with seven triples at 46 percent with 29 of their 46 points coming from the pine (Whittle 12, Simons 10 and Brook 7); that group finished with 41 points total.

– It was quality defence in the third quarter as the Lightning held the Capitals to 8 points in the quarter on 3/15 (20 percent) and forced 5 turnovers

– The Lightning’s biggest lead was 30 points at the 6:58 minute mark of the third quarter when Smith struck her bank triple

– Marena Whittle lit the spark in the Lightning’s win to finish with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists while shooting at 75 percent

–  Sam Simons 12 points was a perfect 5-5 from the field

WHEN THE NEXT STRIKE COMES

The momentum of the last quarter against the Fire really lifted the energy for the Lightning this afternoon and it came out all over the Capitals from the start. It’s the first game in a long time where the workload was left to many and an encouraging sign the Lightning will be a contender in the 21-22 season. The Caps however were down some key personnel and while encouraging signs Chris Lucas won’t be getting carried away with the big test coming against the Melbourne Boomers with their WNBA stars and the twin peaks of Magbegor and George.

For now though the first win of the season is a nice early Christmas present for the club and a big reason to pack out the “House of Lightning” at Lightsview after the mini-break.

UC CAPITALS 62 (Melbourne 18, Smart 12, Ruef, Sykes, Wilson 9) DEFEATED BY ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 88 (Whittle, Williams 17, Smith 16, Brook, Simons 12, Talbot 9) at the NATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE CANBERRA