The Sunshine Coast Lightning have made history by notching their first Suncorp Super Netball win and christening their new home venue in triumphant style at the USC Sports Stadium.
As the region’s first national league sporting team, they were rightfully cheered by a vocal home crowd after the 58-52 win against the Melbourne Vixens.
It was a day to remember for former Vixen Kelsey Browne who combined with Silver Ferns champion Laura Langman and Diamonds star Caitlin Bassett to sink Melbourne in a mighty second half effort.
There was no doubting Browne’s contribution was a match-turning one for the Lightning.
Bassett was a rock for the expansion club, and, based on the capacity 2003 crowd, the side’s enthusiastic fanbase already appreciate her accuracy and four-quarter consistency.
The Diamonds sharp shooter finished with a game-high 50 goals at 94 per cent.
Sunshine Coast is now undefeated from its first two outings, recording a draw in Round 1.
The Vixens were the first side to find some rhythm, with the combinations that last week showed so much precision again linking cohesively.
Liz Watson and Kate Moloney drove confidently to the top of the circle and their feeds were right on the money.
Conversely, the Lightning broke down across the transverse line.
Langman and Laura Scherian were not as slick and any hesitation was punished by Vixens defender Jo Weston.
The Vixens successfully clogged Sunshine Coast’s forward line which helped them to a three-goal quarter-time lead.
Melbourne’s lead trickled away on the back of one change from the Lightning – Browne’s injection at wing attack.
Browne’s agility and workrate opened up space at Sunshine Coast’s attack end, and her placement of passes into Bassett was just as impressive.
That eased some creative pressure on Langman whose mid-air, one-handed tip into Bassett was the highlight of an even first half.
The Lightning were even stronger after half time.
Goal attack Cara Koenen chose her second game for the club to make an impact, with her third term sparking the momentum for the home side to lead by nine goals at on point.
Her partnership with Bassett grew stronger by the minute as she poured in six assists from 13 feeds for the quarter.
Sunshine Coast led by six goals at the final change and had to endure some anxious moments as Melbourne threw everything at them over the final minutes.
Official Result & Statistics
Official Result: Sunshine Coast Lightning (58) defeated Melbourne Vixens (52)
Sunshine Coast Lightning shooting statistics
Caitlin Bassett 50/53 (94%)
Cara Koenen 8/13 (62%)
Melbourne Vixens shooting statistics
Mwai Kumwenda 28/36 (78%)
Tegan Philip 24/30 (80%)
Lightning starting seven - GS: Caitlin Bassett, GA: Cara Koenen, WA: Laura Scherian, C: Laura Langman, WD: Madeline McAuliffe, GD: Karla Mostert, GK: Geva Mentor
Vixens starting seven – GS: Mwai Kumwenda, GA: Tegan Philip, WA: Liz Watson, C: Kate Moloney, WD: Chloe Watson, GD: Jo Weston, GK: Emily Mannix
Match MVP: Karla Mostert (Sunshine Coast Lightning)