Replay: Second clash different as QUT down Thunder
USC Thunder’s battle to hold on to the vital fourth spot on the ladder could be over, with QUT pulling off a dominant performance to win 61-43 in round eight of the Sapphire Series netball on Saturday.
It was the second time in as many weeks the two sides faced off – but this latest clash was a very different game.
WATCH THE REPLAY ABOVE
QUT won by just nine points in round six, and while both teams proved even in the first quarter of the match, it didn’t last long.
Both sides put a strong focus on defence in the first quarter.
Binnian Hunt was back on court for the USC Thunder after a few games out playing up for Sunshine Coast Lightning and she was quick to make an impression.
But QUT’s speed in the midcourt and transitional moments made it hard for the Thunder. QUT finished the first quarter ahead 13-11.
No changes made any changes going into the second quarter but it did not take long for QUT to start increasing the gap.
QUT’s zone defending made it hard for Thunder to play their game, often being forced to go wide and long, forcing several turnovers.
The Thunder shooters’ accuracy kept them in the game but by the break QUT had edged ahead 31-20.
The Sunshine Coast team came on firing in the third quarter determined to claw back some points.
QUT made a few changes in the final minutes of the second quarter but were quick to get Hulita Veve back on court for the start of the third.
USC’s Chloe Bingham stayed composed under pressure and helped Thunder get back within four points of the lead.
But the close gap didn’t last long with QUT finding their structure again and surging ahead 45-34 – leaving the quarter a draw at 14 goals all.
Thunder showed moments of brilliance in the final quarter but just lacked the consistency shown by QUT.
QUT scored 16 to Thunder’s nine goals in the fourth quarter with the game finishing 61-43.
QUT’s coach Paula Stuart said she was “very happy” with the win but said there was still work to be done.
“There was still a little bit of inconsistencies, one minute we were 11 goals up, then we were five goals up,” Stuart said.
“But one thing I was really pleased with was that whatever combination we put on they combated the opposition.”
Stuart said the team had been concerned about Lightning player Binninan Hunt returning to the court for Thunder, but said it lifted the whole game.
“Binnian is a lovely player, she lifted the Thunder side and our players lifted as well,” she said.
Thunder could drop to fifth spot on the ladder if the Bond Bull Sharks get a win over the Tigers at 7pm.
With just six rounds left until finals and only the top four progressing every point is vital.
Originally published as Replay: Second clash different as QUT down Thunder