Lightning win Super Netball grand final
Sunshine Coast Lightning have secured their second straight Super Netball title after notching a 62-59 win over West Coast Fever in the grand final at Perth Arena.
The Lightning trailed by seven goals during the second quarter on Sunday afternoon and the home side held a one-goal lead with five minutes remaining.
But the Sunshine Coast finished strongly to secure the three-goal win in front of a record 13,722 crowd.
Former Fever star Caitlin Bassett finished with 45 goals from 50 attempts for the Lightning, while goal attack Steph Wood notched 17 assists to go with her 17 goals.
Fever goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler finished with 53 goals from 55 attempts in a star display.
Bassett, who was the face of the Fever for years before defecting to the Lightning at the end of 2016, gave West Coast goalkeeper Courtney Bruce a big hug after the game.
The Lightning had to win the title the hard way – losing the first three games of the season before finishing fourth.
The Sunshine Coast then beat the Firebirds and Giants in finals before defeating the West Coast on enemy territory.
The result means WA’s 22-year wait for a national netball title continues.
But the future at least looks promising, in stark contrast with the days of the Perth Orioles and the early existence of the Fever.
The Sunshine Coast suffered a blow in the dying minutes of the opening term when goal attack Wood had to leave the court after colliding with the goalpost.
Wood lay on the ground for several minutes while receiving treatment before being replaced by the taller but less mobile Cara Koenen.
Scores were level at 14-14 at quarter-time and Wood was able to return to the court early in the second term.
Fever shot out to a seven-goal lead courtesy of some excellent defensive work from goalkeeper Courtney Bruce but Lightning cut the margin back to just three by halftime.
The Sunshine Coast took the lead with a strong start to the third quarter and two goals in the final 15 seconds gave them a three-goal buffer at the final break.
That margin extended to four before Fever swung the game their way.
However, some late turnovers proved costly.
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