The NSW Swifts continued on their winning way after closing out a tight 60-58 win over the Collingwood Magpies.The 2019 champions were pushed all the way by the desperate Magpies at Nissan Arena on Saturday but kept their cool in the closing minutes to earn their fifth win of the season.
The Swifts leaned on their experience performers after taking a narrow 55-54 lead into the final Rebel Power Five period.
Helen Housby stepped up with 10-of-10 shooting for the quarter, including one Suncorp Super Shot, to grab the victory for the Swifts.
“Two years ago we struggled to win those really close battles,” defender Sarah Klau said after they found a way to win when it mattered. But this year we’ve got that belief that we can finish those games off strong, which is really great.”
The Magpies upset the Swifts last season as part of a three-match winning sequence that helped them claim a semi-final berth .They appeared on course to repeat the dose after building a deserved 28-20 lead midway through the second quarter.
The defensive unit of Geva Mentor, Jodi Ann Ward and Melissa Bragg were outstanding in the first half, their dominance reflected in the stats (12-3 gains, 8-1 intercepts) as Collingwood asserted their advantage.
But the Swifts responded in the manner you would expect from the reigning champions, Housby landing two super shots and Sam Wallace – who did not miss a shot all game – adding one of her own on the stroke of halftime to level the scores 29-29.
NSW appeared to gain control in the third period as they took a five-point advantage but with Kelsey Browne lifting and goal shooter Emma Ryde making an impact, Collingwood tied the game again at 44-44 heading into the final quarter.
With midcourter Molly Jovic (concussion) ruled out of the match, sisters Kelsey and Madi Browne provided plenty of energy and direction for the Magpies but despite the promising performance they facing an uphill battle to make the top four with just one win after six rounds.
The Swifts will be back on court on Wednesday night against the Sunshine Coast Lightning, the only team to defeat them so far this season, while the Magpies back up on Tuesday against the West Coast Fever.
Q1: Swifts 14 v Collingwood 16
Q2: Swifts 15 v Collingwood 13
Q3: Swifts 15 v Collingwood 15
Q4: Swifts 16 v Collingwood 14
Nissan Player of The Match – Sarah Klau (NSW Swifts)
Swifts shooting statistics
Sam Wallace: Total points – 32 G1 – 30/30 (100%) G2 – 1/1 (100%)
Helen Housby: Total points – 20 G1 – 12/12 (100%) G2 – 4/9 (44%)
Sophie Garbin: Total points – 8 G1- 8/12 (67%) G2 – 0/0 (0%)
Magpies shooting statistics
Shimona Nelson: Total points – 26 G1 – 26/30 (87%) G2 – 0/0 (0%)
Gabby Sinclair: Total points – 19 G1 – 9/10 (90%) G2 – 5/7 (71%)
Emma Ryde: Total points – 13 G1 – 13/14 (93%) G2 – 0/0 (0%)
Swifts starting seven: GS – Sam Wallace GA – Helen Housby WA – Nat Haythornthwaite C – Paige Hadley WD – Sophie Craig GD – Lauren Moore GK – Sarah Klau
Collingwood starting seven: GS – Shimona Nelson GA – Gabby Sinclair WA – Kelsey Browne C – Madi Browne WD – Mel Bragg GD – Jodi-Ann Ward GK – Geva Mentor