WNBL: Adelaide Lightning face stern test with Olympic-style schedule

Adelaide’s five-time WNBL champion Rachael Sporn has described the Lightning’s schedule as “tougher” than an Olympic program.

The Lightning face a stern test to maintain their pre-quarantine momentum with 10 games in 19 days to finish the season, including three back-to-back games.

Adelaide led the WNBL competition with two wins prior to being forced into six days of quarantine last week following the COVID-19 outbreak in South Australia.

The players had to isolate and couldn’t train, while the team’s schedule has been revised as league officials juggle an already condensed season in a North Queensland hub.

It has left Adelaide with a formidable schedule to navigate as it aims to rebuild momentum after a six-day lay-off.

It won’t be easy for the Lightning but Sporn has backed the team to rise above the adversity, even if they must push through an Olympic-style schedule.

Rachael Sporn is confident Adelaide’s depth will come to the fore. Picture: Che Chorley/ SuppliedSource:Supplied

“Ten games in 19 days – wow,” Sporn said of the Lightning, who return from quarantine on Tuesday night against the Melbourne Boomers before backing up to play Bendigo on Wednesday night.

“That is even tougher than an Olympic schedule when you usually play eight games over 16 days, so playing 10 is extraordinary.

“By the end of the season the fatigue factor will be massive, and that is where the depth of the team will be really important.

“But you just have to get on with the job. You have been dealt that blow; you can’t control it and you must cop it on the chin.

“They have to stay resilient, confident and have that self-belief.”

Sporn believes the Lightning’s biggest challenge will be mentally trying to regain their early-season form.

“I think the saddest part is that they had wonderful momentum, which could take a turn,” she said.

“They are the only team that has had that disadvantage – it is not like everyone has had to stop playing.

“While they might come back from that, you do miss the match fitness, so they will probably feel a little bit tired.”

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