Lightning to have clear target to overcome WNBL finals hurdle

ADELAIDE coach Chris Lucas says he knows exactly what the Lightning need to mount a challenge for the WNBL Championship again after they fell just short of taking their semi-final series against the Southside Flyers to a final game.

The Lightning could not keep their season alive against the Flyers in Adelaide on Saturday night, as Lauren Nicholson and Nat Hurst could not make last-gasp three-pointers in a frantic end to the match – as Southside advanced to the Championship series 82-79.

It followed on from the Lightning going down in the deciding series in three games the season prior.

Lucas said he was confident his side could beat any in the WNBL, but needed to address some issues ahead next season.

“Rebounding without any shadow of a doubt,” he said.

“Possession play, we need to fix that area and we need some size.

“There are some individuals that we would like to see come back but it is a professional league so we will see in the future.”

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This came despite the Lightning nullifying the huge impact the Flyers WNBA starter Mercedes Russell can have on the boards as they limited her to 15 points and just the four rebounds – her second worst rebounding effort this season.

Brianna Turner was fantastic, finishing with 25 points and 18 rebounds, but it was the constant double teaming deployed by the Lightning that unsettled Russell so much.

Brianna Turner was fantastic for the Lightning but Lucas says they need more height and rebounding. Picture SARAH REEDSource:News Corp Australia

Flyers coach Cheryl Chambers said she knew the close attention for Russell was coming but was surprised at how hard the Lightning went at the star.

“The third quarter was a bit of a shock when it first started but finals basketball is like that,” she said.

Lucas said the Lightning were only serving it back to the Flyers.

But while the plan on Russell worked, the Flyers guards took advantage of the space created by the extra player on the tall – and shot an impressive 48 per cent from the three-point line.

“We just needed a little bit more, we needed to run them off the three-point line.” Lucas said.

“We did a great job on her (Russell)… but good teams have other players who step up.

“We still believe if we got through to the Championship series then we could beat any team on our night but it’s not to be so we need to learn from that and we need to make some adjustments next year.”

Originally published asLightning to have clear target to overcome WNBL finals hurdle

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