WNBL RD 4 GAME 1 PREVIEW
WHEN: DECEMBER 2 – 6:30PM SA TIME
WHERE: Cairns Pop-Up Arena
Lightning strike with Brooke Basham
Brooke Basham is one of a few rookies in the hub and she does have some “responsibilities” to fill as the baby of the team, “I have to sit in the back of the van and can’t get a front seat. Us development players get blamed for everything (chuckles), in seriousness though the senior players have been so good looking after us,” Basham joked and reflected about her first week’s as a WNBL rookie.
Basham coming from a small country town down on the Fleurieu Peninsula has a strong supporter base; with all the town behind her. “I’ve got like 100-200 people watching in Victor Harbour, it’s so good that a small area like that can get behind a local player,” Basham shared about the support she is receiving via message and call from South Australia.
With a couple of days in between games, Basham said the Lightning have been recovering well but are gearing up for the big game on Wednesday night. She noted she was looking forward to shooting at the “Snag Pit” again tonight. “We had Monday and Tuesday off to rest ahead of the big second half of the week stretch. The rings at the Cairns arena seem to help everyone to shoot well but the arena is just like any normal stadium. They have done a good job with the setup at the arena.”
Alex Wilson vs. Leilani Mitchell
Wilson would have found it hard to watch Sunday’s game being the kind of competitor she is and as many observers noted; her presence at the point was missed. You think she would have a point to prove with an average of 7.33 ppg against the Flyers in 2019 and a hunger to lead her team after watching some of Chris Lucas’ strategies work against the Flyers guards in the first half.
Though not required to contribute as much as expected for the Flyers side, Mitchell remains a huge danger for the Lightning considering her 2019 numbers. The 36-year-old veteran guard only dropped 9 points on Sunday, however if the others dry up she becomes one of the Lightning’s most dangerous players to defend at the crunch.
Steph Talbot vs. Sara Blicavs
For whatever reason, the ball simply did not want to go in the hole for one of the league MVP favourites; a tag I am more than sure Talbot is comfortable carrying. Every game where Talbot has needed to rise to another level she has, and it was evident against the Flyers she did not put all her cards out on the table.
On the flip side full credit to Blicavs for the way she played Talbot and made other Lightning players shoot the rock (which worked for a quarter and a half for us). She was clearly the most efficient player on the floor Sunday. Her 21 points at 63 percent, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals with a +/- of 22 was very impressive. If Talbot’s desire to play well against the Flyers flares; then we will see if she can handle “MVP” Talbot for the evening.
Brooke Basham vs. Aimie Clydesdale
Continuity breeds confidence and for Basham she will be looking to continue that against the Flyers. With still some doubt over Taylor Ortlepp who had been playing significant minutes, the door has opened slightly for one of the guards to step-up and play meaningful minutes. Basham played the most minutes of the bench with 28. Her sample size of work suggests that if she gets significant minutes against this team, she can be a surprise weapon for the Lightning against the Flyers.
Clydesdale hurt her former team from beyond the arc yet again. Along with O’Hea and Conti in the third quarter, they combined to blow the game right open. Knowledgeable and cunning, she is a difficult player to stop for the Lightning. Blessed with quickness, sharpness and nous, she’s the impact energy player for Flyers when the starters rest. She often needs to be doubled to get the ball out of her hands. If that does not happen the Lightning will be hard pressed to find a matchup advantage when the starting guards are resting.
The Last Strike
After a “dress rehearsal” Sunday afternoon the Lightning are ready to roll out the full cast. “Everyone is suiting up for today’s game, so we are trying to win this one, we only rested players Sunday to deal with the heavy workload in round three,” Basham shared about the rotation and thinking behind the fixture management.
Through the whole challenging hub season, the calmness of the coaches is a breath of fresh air and a key for the Lightning’s preparation, “I think Sunday was good for us (apart from the result), we got everyone on the floor and got some confidence and it gives us a team mentality that when we come off the bench we play our natural game. Nat (Hurst) and Chris (Lucas) give us that extra confidence to play. They are so good with their attitude and approach toward us, positive never negative, with a focus on the next play mindset. That kind of approach works for everyone in this team, I don’t think any of us want to be sworn or yelled at as that doesn’t work with this group,” Basham gave an insight into what is making the Lightning tick.
That is what the Lightning have going into round four; chemistry. That is something that the Flyers have stated numerous times this season they are searching for and the last couple of matches have begun to find.
Hopefully a lightning strike can disrupt that chemistry!
Last time they have met:
Round 3 2020: 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)
10 November 2017: Lightning wrangle Rangers on the road
The Flyers former identity the Dandenong Rangers were struck by the Lightning in more ways than one in a road double for Adelaide 63-69 three and a bit years ago. Ironically, this season was also a condensed one with the whole regular show wrapped up in three months prior to the end of the year.
The Rangers had a tough night with injuries (Sara Blicavs going down just before half-time) however nothing should be taken away from the Lightning as after a couple of challenging seasons, they were able to produce a solid win through Abby Bishop (15 points and 12 rebounds), Nicole Seekamp (14 points) and current Flyer Clydesdale with 12 points. The Lightning produced a magic third quarter to lead by 15 points before Carley “Mijovic” Ernst (17 points and 8 rebounds) got them back within 6 points before Bishop and Seekamp settled the Lightning down.
It was former Connecticut Sun WNBA import Kayla Pedersen for the Rangers with 13 points and 12 rebounds while Sara Blicavs’ sister in law Steph Blicavs came up with 14 points (one of the last seasons she played with her sister before a break to pregnancy, raising family and ending up at the Lightning for a season).