Adelaide Thunderbirds snapped a five game losing skid and kept their Super Netball final hopes alive by beating Sunshine Coast Lightning 51-44.
The visiting Thunderbirds got the job done at USC Stadium on Saturday night with outstanding defense paired with accurate shooting, connecting 92% to the Lightning’s 62% off color.
The brilliant Shamera Sterling led the defensive charge, recording seven rebounds, five deflections and three steals, giving the Lightning shooters nightmares to match her athleticism and anticipation.
“It’s good to have interceptions when they’re capitalized by your shooters,” Sterling said after the Thunderbirds moved the Lightning to fifth in the standings.
“We came here with the mindset that we wanted to win and take some of that pressure off the ladder.
“For now, it’s just a tough task to get into the top four.”
With Sterling starring, the visitors took a 13-10 lead into the first break as the Lightning ran dry for the Lightning, who went scoreless for more than six minutes either side of the quarter.
Steph Wood was temperamental all night and Cara Koenen looked short of a canter in her return to action after missing last week’s crushing loss to the Giants with COVID-19.
With Tayla Williams having influence after being injected from the bench in the center of Adelaide, the buffer exploded to nine goals at the start of the third stanza.
Laura Scherian was moved to midfield and Annie Miller promoted to wing attack, the changes helping Sunshine Coast rally in earnest twice in the second half.
With the Thunderbirds prone to penalties and turnovers, the Lightning cut the deficit to three goals before Adelaide responded and extended their lead to 39-31 in the final substitution.
The home side mounted one more charge in the fourth, but their poor shooting came back to haunt them and a 5-0 streak from Thunderbirds goal shooter Lenize Potgieter in the final three minutes put the Lightning through. away for good.