Lightning getting into a groove: midcourter
NETBALL: Elusive Sunshine Coast mid-courter Kelsey Browne says the Super Netball reigning champions are finally starting to jell this season, after they toppled Melbourne in round six on Saturday.
The Lightning claimed a third straight victory with a 64-56 win over the Vixens at Sippy Downs, and picked up three points in the process.
It was arguably their best outing of the year and a timely reminder to rivals that the side could again be a force to reckon with.
After losing their opening three matches of the 14-round campaign, they have beaten Collingwood, Adelaide and now the Vixens to leapfrog the latter into the top four of the eight-team competition.
"We're finally starting to jell and find a bit of flow as a team and that's what we've been looking for, for most of the season," Browne said.
"We knew it wasn't going to come straight away. Sometimes that stuff takes a little while and we needed to work through some things but it felt awesome out there and I'm so happy to get that win."
Browne said they were gutted with their results in the opening rounds, which prompted some changes.
"We came out of those three losses really disappointed. I was not the netball that we wanted to play and not the brand that we've decided we want to put out there so we did tweak a few things," she said.
"We had to really commit to putting out the brand of netball that we want to play and we're reaping the rewards now."
Goal shooter Caitlin Bassett bagged 51 goals from 53 attempts while goal attack Stephanie Wood shot 13 goals from 17 attempts.
For the visitors, Mwai Kumwenda scored 31 goals from 33 attempts while Tegan Philip snared 22 goals from 28 attempts.
The Lightning trailed 17-15 at the first break but levelled the scores at 30 apiece at half-time before making their move to take a 48-43 lead into the last change and then going on with the job.
"To come out with an eight-goal win is really impressive for us and is something that, going into the (mid-season) break, we are really going to cherish," Browne said.
"You rarely ever get ball off Vixens so for us to capitalise off the balls that they threw away and to generate some turnovers was awesome for us.
"They are a really quality team and some have pegged them to be the ones who will win this year so for us to put some consistent performances out there at the moment is really nice for us."
Vixens' Kate Moloney respected the Lightning, even when they were losing earlier in the season.
"When you've got the likes of Geva Mentor, Caitlin Bassett, there are superstars all the way down the line," she said.
"You knew they were always going to - even if they were a bit off in those first few rounds - they were going to come back.
"You knew they were building from last week and they were going to keep building."
But she also believes her side is capable of beating them when they produce their best netball.
"And unfortunately we didn't tonight."
"The pressure they put on us in the end got to us and that's not good enough. That's something we need to work on and be able to maintain that four-quarter performance."