November 2, 2023 | Adelaide Lightning news

Upon round one of the WNBL, the city of Adelaide was in for an exciting season opener. As the Lightning and the Boomers warmed up on court, fans began rolling in ready for tip off. 


The start of the game saw the Adelaide Lightning with a flying 7 – 0 run in the first two and half minutes of play and the energy was at a high. Beginning with Brianna Turner winning the centre tap, Adelaide then went on to score three times and create two turnovers in the defensive end. Stemming from this intensity, the team-orientated offence was well executed through the use of ‘pick and roll’ with Lauren Mansfield and Brianna Turner, combining for the first seven points of the Lightning run. 

After the first time out, the Melbourne Boomers focused on their composure and began their attack on the basket. With a total of 16 free – throws for the Boomers, the Lightnings defensive intensity took a step back to prevent foul trouble. By the end of the first quarter, the Boomers had a total of 8 offensive rebounds. Penina Davidson leading this with aggression and IQ, grabbing 3 of those offensive rebounds to create five more points off of second chance opportunities. 

Entering the second quarter, both teams continued playing high intensity basketball with passion on both ends of the floor. As the Lightning held onto the lead, Mansfield continued to attack the basket with Jocelyn Willoughby following suit. Although the Lightning were still keeping tabs on fouls, their defensive pressure led to 10 more stops. 

The Boomers continued their push, hunting the lead, with an increasing number of offensive rebounds. Without being the biggest team in the league, they ended the quarter with an impressive 13 offensive rebounds. Heading into halftime, Naz Hillmon led their push, grabbing 4 offensive rebounds and scoring nine of their 26 – points. 


In the second half, the defensive intensity displayed from the Melbourne Boomers is what brought the 9 – point lead back to an even ball game before the fourth quarter. With a focus on their matchups and slowing the Lightnings attack, Melbourne created 26 defensive stops in the half. They converted these stops into scoring opportunities, 10 of these points from second chances. Jordin Canada’s ability to organise her team well, created scoring opportunities in their offensive end, seeing her finish with 8 assists. Alongside Canada’s organisation, Naz Hillmon and Penina Davidson had 10 rebounds each and a combined 26 points. 

With a total of 10 lead changes, the Adelaide Lightning did not stop fighting. The intensity was still a key factor in the second half and was noticeable in the dying minutes of the game. Having a few players in foul trouble, some young Lightning guns stepped up, hitting important shots when needed most. Brianna Turner had a massive influence on the boards at both ends of the court, finishing the game with 15 rebounds and 8 assists. Jocelyn Willoughby had a great scoring game with 14 points as well as Lauren Mansfield and Isobel Borlase closely behind with 9 points to their names. 

In the last few minutes, the Melbourne Boomers slowly pulled away with an 8 point win over the home team. 


Melbourne Boomers, head coach, Chris Lucas, and stand out player Penina Davidson, their overall thoughts on the game were very positive. With discussion around their second half defence, Chris explained what preseason had looked like and how they wish to improve over the next few weeks. As a coach that has been around the game for a long time, Chris stated in the press that he was not nervous about the flying start Adelaide had and knew that his team would work hard till the very end. 

“Even though we had scored 24 at the half, the game was still there for the taking. I ask the girls to dig in and level it up at 3 – quarter time and that’s exactly what we did”. 

“I think we made some terrific adjustments defensively”. 

Afterwards, head coach Nat Hurst and Lightning star Lauren Mansfield (captain) discussed the start of their game and the team conversation when things got tight during the second half. Nat says that throughout their seven-week preseason, being physical and playing as a team has been their key focus. With continued discipline in these areas, there are exciting games ahead. 

“A lot of great signs, there are things we work on every day, things we can fix so I’m not worried”. 

“That’s the ball movement and teamwork we have been working on for the last 7 – 8 weeks. I have such an unselfish team that the style of play wasn’t hard to buy into”. 

With a high-energy and intense first round, it is exciting to see the talent across the WNBL league. We look forward to seeing more of this in the upcoming weeks. For the Adelaide Lightning fans, our next game is on Sunday the 5th of November at 5:00pm. Make sure to tune in on 9NOW to watch our talented team chase the win over the UC Capitals in Canberra for round two of the WNBL season.