24/04/2024

Alanna Smith starred in a revenge win over the Townsville Fire. (Photo: Adelaide Lightning)

After captain Steph Talbot was heavily guarded in the first half, Alanna Smith stood up in the second to guide the Lightning to an overtime revenge win over Townsville.

Big potential recruit Alanna Smith continues to show her wares in a big display for the Adelaide Lightning, helping to atone for their loss against the Townsville Fire in the season opener.

After a quiet start to life in the WNBA since 2019, averaging just 3.6 points and 2.8 rebounds, she showed just why she should be a mainstay in Sandy Brondello’s Opals side going forward.

With two personal fouls in the first quarter, Lightning fans might have been concerned about Smith’s presence early. However she made herself known the entire game, helping to fill the void left by Steph Talbot, who was heavily guarded.

In the second half Smith racked up 11 rebounds and 18 of her 21 points to help herself to a double-double. In the third quarter alone, she had nine points and six rebounds.

She went to work the final quarter for her team, being the lone scoring hand. She shot seven points in a matter of minutes at the very end of regulation time that pulled her team into overtime after the Fire led by just four with 90 seconds to go.

Kiana Williams and Talbot were equally handy, Williams helping herself to 13 points with three triples. Talbot was quieter but still influential with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists and three steals.

Williams did however sustain a leg injury in the final term, a concerning potential out in Sunday’s home affair against the UC Capitals. It would put an unfortunate halt on her dangerous season, with the young import finding her feet in Australia averaging 11 points and two assists.

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In what was a top of the table clash, the Lightning ultimately torched the Fire in overtime by eight points in front of a raucous Townsville home crowd. They sought revenge from the season opener, leaving the Fire still the only team to have beaten the Lightning this season.

Both the Fire and Lightning came into this game with wins, the Fire in spectacular fashion with a two point win against the Melbourne Boomers after being 20 points down.

The key player for the Fire was Lauren Nicholson, last week’s player of the round in the previous game against the Boomers with 37 points, four rebounds and four assists. She performed valiantly in her guarding of Talbot.

Townsville Fire co-captain and former Adelaide Lightning star Lauren Nicholson (left) playing for the Lightning. (Picture: WNBL)

Both starting sides were packed with star power and particularly opal stars, the Fire fielding Sug Sutton, Lauren Nicholson, Mia Murray, Zitina Aokuso and Monique Billings.

Billings put on a simply stunning display in the first half with 12 points, two steals, three rebounds (two defensive), creating and scoring for her team.

The Adelaide Lightning had a solid starting five with captain Talbot, Smith, Williams, Kylee Shook and Abigail Wehrung.

In the season so far, it’s been the Lightning’s captain who has been outstanding, with a total of 74 points, 29 assists, and 55 rebounds in the five games prior to this game.

Townsville Fire star import Monique Billings. (Picture: WNBL)

The second half of the game started with a scoring flurry, more so for the Lightning. They were helped out to a nine point lead, which opened the offence up for both sides as the Fire looked to get even.

While the Lightning pulled away for a seven point lead at three quarter time, a flat display in the last quarter saw the Fire even the game up at the end of regulation time.

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