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Lightning leave Lynx languishing in limbo

ADELAIDE Lightning tonight closed the door on the WNBL's Final Four when it ruthlessly left Lynx's season languishing with a 79-69 home rout paced by Brianna Turner's 12-point final quarter.

Turner also accounted for six rebounds in the final period making her final stats line a game-high 24 points, 13 rebounds, five steals and five blocks.

She also had two assists and just thrived in the final quarter when Perth trimmed back the 10-point deficit from the last break with a late rally.

Nicole Seekamp had six of her 14 points in the last quarter, and three of her game-high eight assists, lobbing the ball for Turner to show her amazing athleticism.

Fouled hard on three successive plays - two should have been USFs - Turner stood tall as Adelaide overcame an 18-turnover game with its 56-43 boards dominance and some exceptional offensive ball movement and misdirection plays.

The Lightning's cause was helped monumentally by Andy Stewart's unfathomable and almost continuous substitution pattern which often was at odds with his team finding any momentum or continuity.

Recovering from a quad strain, Seekamp was a game-day decision to play, and was consistent throughout. But she made two huge captain's baskets in the last term - one a jumpshot, the other a smart drive when she saw Katie Ebzery, on four fouls, was defending her.

But from the outset, Lightning was raring to go.

Lauren Nicholson, who has had her offensive struggles this season, opened the game with a confident 3-point swish, Kathryn Westbeld made it a 5-0 start, then Nicholson again buried a three for 8-0.

Perth hit back to tie the game at 8-8 with its best run of the contest and took the lead 14-13 on Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger's three, extending that to 18-15 with Imani McGee-Stafford's drive.

Adelaide closed the quarter with a 6-0 run, Nicholson (below) with a jumpshot, Seekamp to the basket, then Turner with a great assist to Nicholson to close the quarter on a layup ahead 21-18.

Nicholson capped her 10-point first quarter by scoring the second quarter's first two baskets, making it a 10-0 Adelaide explosion and a 25-18 buffer.

When Turner made it 27-20, Stewart called timeout but it had no real effect. Turner was blocking shots, Steph Talbot (game-high 14 rebounds) was owning the defensive boards, Nat Hurst with a clever fast break basket and Westbeld pulling Lightning's lead to 31-20.

Adelaide's lead was 37-25 when a sequence of turnovers by Nicholson, Seekamp and Talbot held the door ajar again for Perth.

McGee-Stafford's eight-point third period kept the Lynx hovering before Lightning pulled away in the last to be comfortably ahead 73-58.

Turnovers again swung open the door, Ebzery with six of her 18 points and Atkins with seven of her 15 coming in the last period before Adelaide weathered the storm.

Lightning face Sydney in Sydney and Perth tackles Melbourne in Melbourne before the round is over. But with Adelaide now 5-4 and Perth 3-7 and with two losses to Lightning as well, only some amazing and contrary results will change the shape of the playoff quartet.

ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 79 (Turner 24, Nicholson 21, Seekamp 14; Talbot 14 rebs; Seekamp 8 assts) d PERTH LYNX 69 (Ebzery 18, Atkins 15, McGee-Stafford 14; McGee-Stafford 11 rebs; Mansfield 5 assts) at The Lighthouse, Titanium Security Arena.

SEEK AND DESTROY: Nicole Seekamp weighs up her myriad options.

Dec 6

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