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Lightning disaster as Seekamp hurt

ADELAIDE Lightning tonight survived a gritty challenge by a depleted Perth Lynx outfit 75-74 at the Lighthouse but it came at a huge cost with captain Nicole Seekamp badly injuring her right ankle.

Seekamp, who led the Lightning with 17 points - nine in a blistering first quarter - and also had eight assists, five rebounds and three steals, crashed to the floor with 1:09 left, in agony clutching her ankle.

It appeared to bend at a right angle as she was playing defence and her foot rolled over Maddie Allen's.

She was assisted from the court and straight to the changerooms and not only will miss Saturday's match against the Capitals in Canberra, but is likely to be ruled out of the Australian Opals team bound for Bourges in France for the final Tokyo Olympic qualifying games on February 7 (v France), 9 (v Puerto Rico) and 10 (v Brazil).

"At first guess it looks a four-to-five week injury," disconsolate Lightning coach Chris Lucas said in the immediate post-game.

Whether Adelaide's captain and inspirational on-court leader makes it back for the semi final series against Southside Flyers is up in the air.

Lightning was clinging to a 73-72 lead when Seekamp left the game, Kathryn Westbeld subbed in and immediately making a huge offensive play to give the home team a 75-72 lead.

Perth import Ariel Atkins was a final quarter force, almost scoring whenever she decided to, nine of her 16 points in the period, including a pull-up jumpshot for 74-75 with 26 seconds left.

Lauren Nicholson's shot to put the game out of reach missed - she had an off night, shooting 4-of-18 - but Brianna Turner came up with her season-record 24th rebound and Adelaide had secured the result.

Playing without injured Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger, Perth had no shortage of willing contributors and pushed Adelaide to the brink.

A 7-0 run in the second quarter pulled Adelaide 37-32 clear, prompting a timeout by Lynx coach Andy Stewart and an immediate recovery.

Scoring the last basket of the first half to trail 39-41 at the interval, Perth opened with the next seven points for a 9-0 run and 48-41 lead.

It took Adelaide more than four minutes to get on the board in the third quarter and with a quarter to go, it was 57-57 and never more than a three-to-four point game in the last.

ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 75 (Seekamp 17, Turner 16, Talbot 13; Turner 24 rebs; Seekamp 8 assts) d PERTH LYNX 74 (Ebzery, Atkins 16, Mansfield 12, Payne, Whittle 11; Allen 15 rebs; Mansfield, Atkins 3 assts) at The Lighthouse, Titanium Security Arena.

IN Sydney, Sarah Graham scored 16 points at 67 per cent with 4-of-7 threes in her last home game for the Flames before retirement and helped secure a 78-68 win over Bendigo.

Alex Wilson flirted with a triple-double for Sydney with 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and Jessica Kuster made her last home stand with 16 points at 50 per cent, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks.

Brittany Smart led Sydney with 22 points at 57 per cent, with 4-of-8 threes and four steals as the Flames scorched Bendigo with a sizzling 20-8 final quarter.

Shyla Heal with 17 points and Abbey Wehrung with 15, both with three triples apiece, paced the Spirit, who went into the last quarter ahead 60-58 but were unable to sustain the pressure.

With Townsville losing Bridget Carleton to Canadian duties though, the Spirit still may avoid the bomb shelter when they face the Fire.

SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 78 (Smart 22, Graham, Kuster 16, Scherf 12, Wilson 10; Wilson, Kuster 9 rebs; Wilson 8 assts) d BENDIGO SPIRIT 68 (Heal 17, Wehrung 15, Lavey 14, Richards 10; Richards 6 rebs; Lavey 6 assts) at The Law Courts, Bryden’s Stadium.

Jan 30

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.