Turnovers cut down Lightning’s first WNBL chance to strike at home

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Written By: Boti Nagy
Source: Adelaide Advertiser – Full Story

Shannon McKay brought Brett Maher Court to full voice with a 12-point final quarter which saw the Lightning rallying back into the game, falling short 61-66.

In truth, had Adelaide’s late resurgence paid off, it would have been an injustice to the efficient manner in which Melbourne went about its business.

Alice Kunek (17 points) and Bec Cole (12 points) led from the front, the lead blowing out to 22 at 60-38 on Kunek’s three with 6:40 left.

Laura Hodges, in her milestone 200th game, hit a jumpshot to ignite Adelaide’s best run of the match, an 11-0 outburst in which McKay stuck two of her triples.

Boomers guard Brittany Smart broke almost a five-minute scoring drought as Adelaide failed to capitalise on some great defensive work.

The Lightning forced a 24-second shot-clock violation – its third of the game as it worked to offset its offensive inadequacies – but didn’t convert the effort into anything tangible.

Adelaide’s turnovers ran the gamut and went beyond the young age of the team and its first home-game nerves.

There were travels, bad passes, a step out of court, steals and even a five-second tie-up violation as Lightning found new ways to cough up the ball.

Added to 30 per cent shooting across the first three quarters and Melbourne was in the box seat.

“A lot of them were unforced turnovers,” disappointed Lightning coach Chris Lucas said.

“We try to keep it simple and look after the ball.

“That’s why we’ve been emphasising pass fakes and ball fakes, because turnovers in the past two games have really hurt us.”

Melbourne controlled the game from the tip-off, Maddie Garrick hitting a quick three and within two minutes it was 6-0.

Tayla Roberts finally scored at 7:49 from an offensive rebound but after Jordan Hunter struck her three at 6:26, Adelaide went scoreless til the quarter’s last play, a three from Ieva Nagy.

Down 8-15, Adelaide had shot at 19 per cent and already given away the ball nine times.

“Our execution in the second eight seconds of the (24-second) shot-clock) was very poor,” Lucas said.

“We didn’t really make the ball work to get us a good shot.”

Adelaide’s 25-16 final quarter allowed it to excite the crowd gathering for the 36ers game, on a night the NBL club was acknowledging the 30th anniversary of its 1986 championship team.

Fittingly McKay, daughter of a key member of that team, star shooter Mike McKay, was able to put the icing on the ill-fated comeback.

Written By: Boti Nagy
Source: Adelaide Advertiser – Full Story

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