A 30-point opening term wasn’t enough to shut down the Southside Flyers as they flew away from the Lightning in the second half 79-110. The Lightning gave up 83 points after the first quarter while only being able to notch 48 themselves. Despite an off scoring night from our captain, the game earmarked a season high 21 points to Abbey Wehrung (4-5 from beyond the arc), Marena Whittle with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists and NBL1 Central guard Brooke Basham who had her first points of the season draining 13 points (a perfect 3-3 triples) and 5 rebounds. The Flyers had plenty of winners led early by WNBA star Liz Cambage with 25 points at 76 percent from the field, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks and Sara Blicavs the game MVP with 21 points (4-5 from three), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a +/- of 22 and a solid defensive job on Talbot.
THE WRAP Q BY Q
Minus Alex Wilson, Chelsea Brook and Taylor Ortlepp, The Lightning started brightly with a handoff action from Louella Tomlinson to Wehrung, a beautiful assisst from Talbot to Tomlinson and a Wehrung bomb from beyond the arc to start with an 8-2 run. Tomlinson hit a long one signalling intent to let it fly before Sara Blicavs dropped a triple. Wehrung continued an explosive aggressive start with another bucket but Jenna O’Hea put the Flyers back in front with a long bomb. Wehrung returned the favour before Carlie Smith injected into the starting five registered her second deuce. Rookie Brooke Basham attacked the rim getting herself to the stripe for her first points of the season and the start of a big day. Talbot then rainbowed a corner two home before Basham and Ella Batish struck one each from deep showing their range. Sara Blicavs continued to shoot it well from deep, however, the Lightning with a sensational offensive opening flurry led at quarter time with one of their best scoring quarters of the season. Wehrung had a season high of 10 points in the opening term to lead the way for the team.
The Flyers started with a 0-4 run through Cambage and Rebecca Cole before Tomlinson dropped the Lightning’s fifth triple of the afternoon. Former player Aimie Clydesdale nailed a long bomb forcing a timeout from Lucas after a 3-9 run. Cambage continued to be a handful but Wehrung after her hot start continued it with a third triple before Cambage scored her twentieth point of the match in just under 15 minutes. With the shooting drying up but the defence ramping up, Flyers coach Cheryl Chambers burned a timeout for the Flyers. Whittle came up with the hook shot two before O’Hea drained another. Basham continued her best game of the season with a bucket before Blicavs drained a triple in the corner to hand the lead back to the Flyers 47-57 at the half. Cambage was the dominant force on the scoreboard with 21 points at the half but with the Lightning only trailing by 10 points you felt they were right in the game.
The Flyers kicked off the third with a 2-8 run led by O’Hea from beyond the arc with a pair of triples before Whittle dropped another triple to make her way to double figures. Whittle continued to be aggressive along with Tomlinson off a nice rebound assist from Smith before Talbot made an incredible spin and fade-away move against Cambage. O’Hea dropped a fourth for the quarter (15 points at 50 percent from the perimeter for the match), Clydesdale dropped a triple, Wehrung then drained her fourth before Rachel Jarry pushed the margin for the Flyers out to 16. A strong scoring third quarter for the Flyers had the Lightning trailing 67-89 at the final change.
The Blicavs shooting show continued in the fourth while Basham found another triple, Conti then shot one that dropped in the most user-friendly way that you could think of. The shooting display continued from the bench players for both sides including Rebecca Pizzey, Amy O’Neill, Taylah Giliam, Basham and Yaeger with Smith grabbing one more block before the afternoon was out. With plenty of key players down, the Flyers took out the Lightning comfortably 79-110 in the finish.
THE MOMENTS LIGHTNING STRUCK
– The Lightning came out blazing with their 30 points coming at 66 percent from the field
– Talbot only had 4 points in the first half but with no Ally Wilson, in her debut WNBL season, Eastern Mavericks NBL1 Central player Basham dropped 7 points in the first half in a huge boost, she finished with 13 points in an impressive performance.
– One of the keys to remaining in the game at half-time was the rebounding and despite Cambage getting 3 offensive rebounds, the Lightning won the rebounding 20-15 and the offensive glass 7-4
– The Lightning did win the rebounding count 40-38, an area that has been a work in progress
– It was a blitz from beyond the arc with both teams shooting over 47.5 percent (30/62)
THE PLAYERS VIEW
With her first points in WNBL , it ended up being a great opportunity for Brooke Basham to show her ability today. “Obviously, the result wasn’t great, but we got plenty out of the game which will help us for Wednesday night when we go up against them again,” Basham shared with the Lightning Press.
With no Wilson, Brook and Ortlepp for the match, Basham knew that with the condensed season there would be opportunities for rookies like herself to see minutes. “We knew yesterday they were going to miss; management was needed for some of the players,” Basham explained about the rotation decisions.
In the first quarter the Lightning dropped 30 points at 66 percent and for Basham there was a mentality once the first couple went in for her and the team; it was a case of let it fly. “That is generally how I operate, I got myself to the free throw line and that gave me some confidence. Chris (Lucas) gave me the licence to go out and play my natural game.”
Only down by 10 at the break and winning the rebound count, the Lightning were happy with where they were to strike in the second half despite it not going their way after half-time. “I think we were pretty happy where we were at, they made lots of threes towards the end of the second quarter and we went a little stagnant in the latter part of the quarter.”
Basham described a “picking your poison” mentality when it came to quelling the Flyers and their star players and shooters, an adage that worked to a large extent of the contest. “There was lots of conversation about how to stop Liz (Cambage), we knew she was going to be hard to stop so we focused on stopping everyone else.”
WHEN THE NEXT STRIKE COMES
Considering the short turn-around and without a full-strength line-up, the Lightning showed it can challenge the Southside Flyers this coming Wednesday. With a likely return of Wilson and Brook with a question mark still over Ortlepp, the Lightning will field a full-strength line-up for Wednesday and with Steph Talbot having a quiet game, there’s a good chance she’s going to bounce back…
ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 79 (Wehrung 21, Whittle 15, Basham 13, Tomlinson 9) DEFEATED BY SOUTHSIDE FLYERS 110 (Cambage 25, Sara Blicavs 21, O’Hea 15, Clydesdale 12, Mitchell 9, Conti 8) at CAIRNS POP-UP ARENA