Caitlin Bassett has had the last laugh in her first clash with former side West Coast Fever, leading the Sunshine Coast Lightning to a 17-goal win at HBF Stadium tonight.
Bassett returned to the court she dominated for so long in Fever colours and was at her accurate best to nail 44 goals from just 46 attempts to claim MVP honours in the 66-49 victory.
Lightning captain Geva Mentor (five intercepts, three deflections, five rebounds) dominated at the other end of the court to cause major problems for the Fever attack line, seeing rising shooter Kaylia Stanton benched before half time and Nat Medhurst (17 from 23) moved into the circle.
Kate Beveridge came on at goal attack and contributed 21 goals.
Speedy midcourter Ingrid Colyer was forced off with a suspected hip injury after a heavy collision during the third quarter and did not return.
Sunshine Coast Laura Langman was suited up with a dislocated finger on her left hand heavily strapped but not required as the visitors did it comfortably.
Courtney Bruce went toe to toe with Bassett until towering youngster Annika Lee-Jones came on to make her Suncorp Super Netball debut.
A shaky start from Stanton with the experienced Mentor piling on the pressure as the Lightning got the hot start, rapidly out to a five goal advantage.
The visitors’ attacking combination was operating smoothly, with the Fever defenders unable to pick up any ball.
When they finally did, they couldn’t score off it.
Fever managed to stem the bleeding through the middle of the quarter but when the Sunshine Coast pushed it back out to an eight-goal margin with two minutes remaining, Medhurst called a time out.
That gave Fever a little spark but they were still down by seven at the first change.
West Coast had some early wins in the second quarter but struggled to make the most of turnover ball.
Mentor continued to create headaches for the Stanton and Medhurst as the Lightning’s lead quickly stretched out to 10 goals.
Stanton was benched with four minutes remaining, with Medhurst thrown into goal shooter and Beveridge coming on in goal attack.
Beveridge immediately scored but it was turnover city from there as the Sunshine Coast took a 15-goal edge at the long break.
Coach Stacey Marinkovich kept the faith with that move to start the third term, but swapped Colyer from wing attack to centre, with vice captain Verity Charles heading to wing attack.
West Coast looked more settled but were not able to make inroads in the Sunshine Coast lead.
Colyer was then forced off after a heavy collision.
That allowed Annika Lee-Jones to make her debut at goalkeeper opposed to Bassett.
Bruce moved out to goal defence, Stacey Francis to wing defence and Jess Anstiss into centre in the reshuffle.
But despite the changes and a more controlled performance with the ball, the deficit stayed at 15 going into the final term.
Fever got within 11 during the last quarter, before the Lightning came again to claim the comfortable victory.