SSN R9: Lightning Vs Fever
Fowler fires Fever to third straight victory
West Coast Fever overcome the Sunshine Coast Lightning in an important 74-65 win helping maintain their top ladder position
Jamaican Jhaniele Fowler has produced another prodigious and almost perfect shooting display, as West Coast Fever consolidated top spot on the league ladder with a 74-65 away win over bottom of the table Sunshine Coast Lightning.
Fever’s third straight victory left the Lightning in serious danger of missing the finals for the first time.
The competition’s leading scorer, Fowler made all 66 of her conventional shots on Saturday and her only miss of the night was with her final attempt, which was from two-point range.
A 22-11 second quarter tilted the match in the visiting Fever’s favour after they trailed by two early in the term.
West Coast led by as many as 12 in the third period and did a better job of controlling possession and forcing the Lightning into errors.
They tallied three more intercepts, five more gains and had seven less general play turnovers.
While Fowler proved unstoppable offensively and the Lightning couldn’t restrict her supply, Courtney Bruce was influential at the other end gathering five intercepts, nine gains and ten deflections.
“Kudos to the crowd they pushed them a lot but we opened the gate and allowed Lightning to come in,” Fowler told Fox Sports.
“But that’s something we’re working on making sure we put our foot down when we have a massive lead.”
Lightning trailed by five early, but captain and goal attack Steph Wood dragged her side back into the contest with three super shots, as the home team led 19-18 at quarter time.
Fowler scored eight goals to the Lightning’s one early in the second as the visitors regained control and never relinquished the lead.
Lightning coach Kylee Byrne rejigged her attack for tor the third quarter, switching Wood from goal attack to wing attack and bringing on Reilley Batcheldor at goal shooter, with Cara Koenen moved from that position to goal attack.
The moves galvanised the home side who got within two late in the third quarter, with the previously subdued home crowd finding their voice.
While the Fever looked rattled, the unflappable Fowler peeled off five in a row to give her side a seven-point buffer at three-quarter time.
Lightning couldn’t get the deficit below six in the final quarter, with Koenen making 27 of her 29 shots with one of those misses from two-point range.