Cara Koenen of the Lightning with the ball during the Round 10 Super Netball match between the Queensland Firebirds and the Sunshine Coast Lightning at the Brisbane Arena in Brisbane, Saturday, July 27, 2019 (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Cara Koenen of the Lightning with the ball during the Round 10 Super Netball match between the Queensland Firebirds and the Sunshine Coast Lightning at the Brisbane Arena in Brisbane, Saturday, July 27, 2019 (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt) GLENN HUNT

Shooter is on the rise at Lightning

NETBALL: Sunshine Coast goal shooter Cara Koenen says the immense pool of experience on offer within Lightning's core is helping to strengthen her game and impact on court.

The 23-year-old earnt her first 'player of the match' award in a breakthrough display during Lightning's 66-64 triumph over Firebirds in Round10 of Super Netball on Saturday.

The victory resumed Lightning's season following a competition-wide four-week break for the Netball World Cup.

Koenen shot at 92.5 per cent accuracy in the clash, landing 37 of her 40 attempts.

She was "shocked” and humbled to get the MVP accolade.

"It's a bit weird,” Koenen said.

"I was honestly just concentrating on doing the best that I can and, obviously, I've had dribs and drabs of court time this season, so to be able to get the start off the break (was great).

"I was so nervous and I think today I felt the most anxious for any game.”

Koenen is in her third and biggest season at the club, playing an integral role in attack.

She's so far played in eight games and racked up 238 minutes of court time whereas she only hit the court twice during the regular season last year for a total of 27 minutes.

The 190cm north Queensland product has relished the increased game time and said she'd been soaking up all she could from her teammates in a bid to grow stronger.

"I've definitely been working hard in training and I think just constantly going back to the coaches and seeing what more I could do,” she said.

"We've got an awesome starting seven and Peace (Proscovia) obviously brings something very different to my game so I'm always learning off her as well as Stephanie Wood.

"Just being able to draw off the players around me (is great) and having those international girls is just going to make that so much easier.”

Coach Noeline Taurua said Koenen could go on to play for Australia if she continues to build on her breakout year in Suncorp Super Netball.

"Overall, I'm really happy with what she is doing. I think she is definitely a Diamond in the future,” Taurua said.

"She's been chipping away for a few years now ... being behind C-Bass (Bassett) and the learnings she got from that has been invaluable for her progression and now the opportunity has opened up for her.

"I was really pleased with the volume she put up and the percentage (against Firebirds). She is progressing nicely.”

With five internationals, Taurua admitted she'd been unsure how the Lightning would fare on their return on Saturday but was more than pleased with the performances in the Round 10 battle.

Sunshine Coast Lightning will now host Swifts at USC Stadium this Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash for Round 11 of competition.

-Tom Threadingham & Greg Davis