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Westbeld fires but Southside flyers

NEW Lightning import Kathryn Westbeld made a strong WNBL debut today but a 24-point, 14-rebound performance by Mercedes Russell drove Southside to a flying 91-85 road win.

The success kept Southside at the head of the table, completing its "Doomsday Double" trip to Perth and Adelaide with a clean slate after Lightning opened full of spirit.

In her first game, Westbeld started and opened the scoring, followed by Lightning captain Nicole Seekamp swishing a 3-pointer.

Brianna Turner also was off to a hot start with six of her points in the first period on 3-of-3 shooting.

When Steph Talbot (game-high 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal while playing with four fouls throughout the whole final quarter) sank a corner 3-pointer, Adelaide had a 16-6 buffer and Cheryl Chambers was calling timeout.

It did the trick, Sara Blicavs (20 points at 50 percent, 10 rebounds) on fire for 11 first-period points, Leilani Mitchell (21 points at 57 percent, 3-of-4 threes) getting cracking and Russell grabbing three offensive rebounds on her way to eight points, as Southside swept to a 32-30 lead at the first break.

Seekamp (11 points, three rebounds, six assists in 20 minutes) played the entire second quarter trying to keep Adelaide on task as its offence started drying up.

That ultimately backfired though for Lightning as she left the game early in the third quarter with a quad injury she was icing for the rest of the night, Nat Hurst almost exclusively taking over Lightning's point duties.

Having to also work relentlessly at the defensive end against Mitchell, it became a long night for Hurst. From 40-40, Southside started to assert itself, taking a 51-47 lead into halftime, Adelaide scoring the last five points.

The first half of the third period was forgettable, Adelaide with only Seekamp's two free throws to show for its efforts as Southside pulled clear with a 12-2 start.

Trailing 49-61, Lightning looked in trouble, Russell causing keyway mayhem before Talbot cut loose with nine points to draw Adelaide to 67-70.

With a further nine points in the last quarter, Talbot pushed Adelaide into the lead before Russell, Bec Cole and Mitchell put the finishing touches on a six-point win, the Flyers' work out of the pick-and-roll sufficiently effective to drag them clear, Russell again imposing.

Westbeld (pictured above) finished with 16 points, six rebounds, an assist and two steals in 28 minutes, Laura Hodges also handy in her return with four points.

SOUTHSIDE FLYERS 91 (Russell 24, Mitchell 21, Blicavs 20, Cole 18; Russell 14 rebs; Cole 8 assts) d ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 85 (Talbot 25, Westbeld 16, Nicholson 13, Seekamp 11; Turner, Talbot 8 rebs; Seekamp 6 assts) at The Lighthouse, Titanium Security Arena.

Dec 1

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