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Five-time WNBL champion Rachael Sporn has described Adelaide Lightning's schedule as "tougher" than an Olympic program.
The Lightning - who led the competition after two games - returned after a six-day lay-off in quarantine on Tuesday night and were beaten by 40 points by Melbourne Boomers. They now face another nine games in 18 days to finish the season.
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.
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It won't be easy but Sporn has backed the team to rise above the adversity, even if they must push through an Olympic-style schedule.
"Nine games in 18 days - wow," Sporn said of the Lightning, who back 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."
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."
Originally published as Lightning desperate to get show back on the road