REPLAY: Fire burns Adelaide’s WNBL finals dreams

 

The South Australians entered the Friday night contest in Cairns with a slim finals hope, needing to defeat the north Queensland side to keep their ambitions alive as well as having other results go their way.

And, they failed at the first hurdle.

They failed miserably.

The Townsville lead was 29 early in the second term and the door was slammed shut on Adelaide's finals hopes.

The Lightning has now lost six of their last seven games as a promising 2020 campaign went down the drain.

With their season on the line, it was an embarrassing performance and effort from Adelaide, down by almost 30 nearing halftime to a side only one slot above them on the ladder.

Townsville ended the Lightning's season, 95-66.

"Right now Townsville are having their way with Adelaide," broadcast and former player Michelle Gubbels said at halftime.

And, it did not get much better in the second half for Adelaide.

Abigail Wehrung of the Lightning gets past Megan McKay of the Fire during the round five WNBL match between the Townsville Fire and the Adelaide Lightning at Cairns Pop Up Arena, on December 11, 2020, in Cairns, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Abigail Wehrung of the Lightning gets past Megan McKay of the Fire during the round five WNBL match between the Townsville Fire and the Adelaide Lightning at Cairns Pop Up Arena, on December 11, 2020, in Cairns, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Forward Megan Mckay gave Townsville a presence under the bucket, connecting on eight of her first 12 shots, as the Lightning had no answers for her in the pained area.

Guard Abigail Wehrung was a bright spot for Adelaide, leading the way with 15 points.

But, they did not get enough from Alex Wilson and skipper Stephanie Talbot when it mattered the most.

Forward Marena Whittle sparked a little Adelaide run late in the third term to bring the margin back to 24 points.

Townsville shot out to a 9-0 advantage inside the first four minutes of play as the Lightning were well off the pace.

Fire guard Lauren Nicholson was cooking early on, making the first four of her five attempts, including one from deep as she scored as much as the entire opposition for much of the first term.

Nicholson led the game with 21 points in the end.

The Adelaide and Townsville game is the last in Cairns of the season with the rest of the fixtures and finals to be completed in Townsville.

Both club's finish their regular season in Townsville on Sunday before the Fire progress to the business end of the year while the Lightning head back to SA to enjoy a long off-season.

jordan.gerrans@news.com.au

Originally published as WNBL finals: Adelaide clinging to finals dream


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