2019/20 WNBL season team preview: Adelaide Lightning

ADELAIDE Lightning will be keen to right the wrongs of last season and go one better than their heart-breaking runners-up effort in 2018/19 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) finals series. The Lightning upset the second placed Melbourne Boomers in the semi-finals with a 2-0 series, before going down to Canberra Capitals 2-1 in the Grand Final series. They gave their fans some hope with an exhilarating one-point win at Titanium Security Arena in Game 2, but went down by 20 points upon returning to AIS Arena in Canberra, almost identical to the 21-point loss in Game 1.

Finished: 3rd (runners-up)
Wins: 13
Losses: 8
Points: 26
Percentage: 110.83%

Last season:

Despite narrowly missing out on the 2018/19 title, the Lightning can be pleased with their season, after finishing third percentage ahead of fourth and two wins adrift of the second placed Boomers. To upset them at home to claim a spot in the Grand Final was incredibly important for confidence to come into this season. Looking at the 2019/20 side, the Lightning will miss American Nia Coffey (18.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists), who was the dominant points scorer for the side, though the likes of Lauren Nicholson (12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists) and Nicole Seekamp (12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.3 steals) remain at the club as crucial cogs in the starting side.

New recruits:

The Lightning picked up Melbourne Boomers’ Stephanie Talbot early in the off-season, then signed Natalie Hurst from Bendigo Spirit, with American Brianna Turner also heading Down Under, while Sarah Elsworthy took the next step up to the WNBL after a strong season with the Werribee Devils in the NBL1. Hannah Kaser was a later signing, coming from the Canberra Nationals in the territory-based competition, while Aimie Clydesdale joined Coffey as one of the major outs, opting to remain in Victoria following the NBL1 season, signing with Southside Flyers, the continuation of the Dandenong Rangers.

Star player:

Lauren Nicholson. Following on from her strong performance in the WNBL last season, the 183cm guard was inspirational for the Kilsyth Cobras in taking out the NBL1 Women’s title. She played 20 games and averaged 25.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals, looming as a crucial player once again for the Lightning.

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