BATTLE FOR THE BALL: Lightning's Stephanie Wood and Fever's Stacey Francis in action at USC Stadium.
BATTLE FOR THE BALL: Lightning's Stephanie Wood and Fever's Stacey Francis in action at USC Stadium. Iain Curry

Lightning needs wins but wary of feeling pressure to do so

NETBALL: Sunshine Coast defender Karla Pretorius knows the Super Netball reigning champions need to find winning form soon but says they can't be burdened by the weight of expectation.

The Lightning are winless from three rounds this season, after a nail-biting 56-55 loss to West Coast at Sippy Downs on Saturday night.

Fever goal attack Nat Medhurst sealed the result with 32 seconds on the clock, leaving more than 2000 spectators aghast.

It leaves the Lightning chasing competition points in a relatively short 14-round season, in which four of eight teams will feature in finals.

Pretorius admitted they needed to start winning and soon but said they couldn't afford to get too caught up chasing results.

"We're well aware of the fact we need to (get wins) but we don't want to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves,” she said.

"We (have) put great performances out there. There are one-percenters that we probably need to improve on and that's what we're going to try to do better next game.”

They have won six of the 12 quarters they have contested and she said they have improved with each match.

A title defence is still the aim.

"Obviously, our goal is to go all the way.” she said.

"It's not like it's out of reach or anything.”

Pretorius said they gained plenty from their clash with the Fever.

"It was a much better game for us, compared to the previous two rounds,” she said.

"Although we came up with the loss it was really so much better for us as a team, stats-wise and (with) the things that we wanted to achieve.

"But still, we obviously wanted that win so badly, but the next opportunity is next week so that's where our focus is now.”

Pretorius relished playing at the USC Stadium for the first time this season.

"You almost jump a bit further, run a bit faster in front of your home crowd,” she said.

"They (the spectators) were so energetic. The support we got from them was so amazing. It will always be special playing in front of your home crowd.”

Lightning goal shooter Caitlin Bassett scored 33 goals from 39 attempts, and goal attack Stephanie Wood 22 from 25.

Fever goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler, the most valuable player, shot 39 from 44, with Medhurst claiming 17 from 21.

The Sunshine Coast claimed two bonus points by winning the first and third quarters.

Scores were locked at 19-apiece at half-time.

"It can't get any closer really, down by one,” Wood said.

"It's pretty disappointing ... it's probably (in) those crucial moments we seem to be making errors...”

But she also said her side was not too far off the pace.

"To be 0 from 3 is disappointing but I do think we're playing good netball,” she said.


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