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Lightning jinx sinks Lynx in O/T

ADELAIDE Lightning tonight continued their successful WNBL sojourns into Perth, sinking the Lynx 90-86 in overtime, import Brianna Turner leading the onslaught with a 26-point, 17-rebound tour de force.

The 23-year-old American saved her best for last, dominating overtime after her last basket in regulation made it 79-79 to force the five-minute extension.

She opened the scoring in the extension, then swished two free throws for an 83-79 buffer. On Perth's next forward foray, she blocked Nadeen Payne's shot attempt and when the Lynx missed on their next attack, Turner grabbed the defensive board.

Nicole Seekamp (15 points, 12 assists, two rebounds, one block), then found Turner with a slick pass for an 85-79 edge, the 191cm "big" also with a bonus free throw.

Understandably fatiguing - Turner (pictured) played 43:42 of the 45 minutes - she missed it, Katie Ebzery fouled in Perth's attack.

The Opals guard had a huge night with 22 points and a career-high 15 assists, plus seven rebounds, and made the most of both foul shots.

The clock ticking into the last minute, Natalie Hurst was fouled and converted both free throws for 87-81 before Perth livewire Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger stuck her only 3-pointer of the game to force an Adelaide timeout.

Schwagmeyer-Belger, who in two road games last week averaged 22 points, 10.5 boards and 4.0 assists, was completely shut down by Lightning's defence, most notably by Lauren Nicholson but with several Adelaide players additionally harassing her. 

The Lynx star finished the game with nine points on 4-of-13 shooting, no rebounds, one assist and two turnovers. But proving you cannot keep a top player down, it was Schwagmeyer-Belger again who converted a basket after a Seekamp turnover - the Lightning skipper had seven in 40:08 - to have Perth down just 86-87.

With 12 seconds remaining, Seekamp made amends from the free throw line, calmly knocking down both for 89-86 to force a Lynx timeout.

On the inbounds play, Marena Whittle jacked the long 3-point bomb for the tie, Turner vacuuming in the defensive board, Whittle 0-of-4 from long-range for the evening.

Fouled, Turner knocked down her second free throw to put Adelaide out of reach at 90-86.

It was a gutsy road performance by Lightning, still down import Crystal Langhorne (knee) and Laura Hodges (calf), with coach Chris Lucas playing Turner, Nicholson (43:55), Seekamp (pictured), Steph Talbot (40:27) and Hurst (below) through most of the last quarter and on to the end, Sarah Elsworthy on for the first 2:16 of the fourth period.

The Lynx were down injured "big" Imani Mcgee-Stafford and new import Ariel Atkins did not suit.

But with Ebzery having a super game and Payne sticking four 3-pointers in her 22 points at 50 percent, Perth pulled 34-25 clear in the second quarter as Adelaide looked in danger of losing contact with the home team.

Seekamp scored inside, Talbot iced a three and Turner scored off a cut for 32-34, forcing Lynx coach Andy Stewart to call timeout.

Payne's free throws bumped the lead back to four before a rare Elsworthy 3-point swish, and 90 seconds from halftime, Turner's tip-in tied it at 42-42. Seekamp's drive and spin saw Adelaide take a 44-42 lead into the interval.

Perth owned the third quarter 24-16 as Ebzery went on the attack, Payne remained deadly and a triple from Lauren Mansfield blew its lead to 64-54.

It still was ahead 66-57 late in the third before Adelaide closed to 60 by the last break. Nicholson (21 points at 50 percent) and Seekamp tying it up 66-66 with 7:44 left in regulation, the 9-0 run its best of the contest.

Hurst's back-to-back threes mid-quarter took Adelaide ahead 73-70 as the game seesawed to the end of regulation.

And then again, when it mattered, Turner stood tall and the Lightning had their third win in four games.

ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 90 (Turner 26, Nicholson 21, Seekamp 15, Talbot 12, Hurst 11; Turner 17 rebs; Seekamp 12 assts) d PERTH LYNX 86 (Payne, Ebzery 22, Mansfield 14; Allen 8 rebs; Ebzery 15 assts) in overtime {79-79} at The Enclosure, Bendat Basketball Stadium.

Oct 26

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.