A Helen Housby goal with five seconds left has handed reigning Super Netball champions NSW Swifts a thrilling 73-72 victory over West Coast Fever.
In a high-scoring affair at USC Stadium on Sunday, the Swifts produced another stunning third-quarter turnaround as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
After outscoring the Giants 21-13 in the third quarter on their way to victory in the opening round, the Swifts recovered from eight goals at halftime against the Fever with Sophie Garbin triggering a 27-11 third-quarter charge.
But the Swifts were again pushed all the way to the death, Jhaniele Fowler sinking three Suncorp Super Shots in the final rebel Power Five period as the Fever closed an eight-goal gap in the final minutes.
After Alice Teague-Neeld levelled the scores in the final minute, Fever forced two misses from the Swifts attackers in a tense finish until Housby cooly sealed the result with the final shot of the game.
With prolific goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler (53/58) in fine form, the Fever led by as many as 12 goals in the second quarter and appeared on track to open the season with back-to-back wins.
But Swifts coach Briony Akle’s decision to start Garbin in the second half proved a masterstroke, the 23-year-old goaler making 21 of 23 shots as the defending champions swung the match in their favour.
Housby also played a key role in her side’s comeback while the Swifts took better care of the ball after halftime while forcing six Fever turnovers in the decisive third term.
Fever attacker Teague-Neeld continued her impressive start to the season in tandem with Fowler while centre Verity Charles added 29 circle feeds and 19 assists in her match-up with Swifts counterpart Paige Hadley.
Young defender Olivia Lewis also filled in admirably after Fever captain Courtney Bruce was ruled out before the match with a lower back injury.
The Swifts now prepare to face an improved Adelaide Thunderbirds outfit on Wednesday night while the Fever take on the winless Giants on Tuesday night.
Q1: Swifts 18 v Fever 20
Q2: Swifts 15 v Fever 21
Q3: Swifts 27 v Fever 11
Q4: Swifts 13 v Fever 20
Nissan Player of The Match – Sophie Garbin (NSW Swifts)
Swifts shooting statistics
Sophie Garbin: Total points – 28 G1 – 28/32 (87%)
Helen Housby: Total points – 19 G1 – 13/14 (92%) G2 – 06/11 (54%)
Sam Wallace: Total points – 18 G1 – 16/20 (80%) G2 – 02/05 (40%)
Fever shooting statistics
Jhaniele Fowler: Total points – 53 G1 – 49/51 (96%) G2 – 04/07 (57%)
Kaylia Stanton: Total points – 01 G1 – 01/01 (100%)
Alice Teague-Neeld: Total points – 11 G1 – 08/10 (80%) G2 – 03/05 (60%)
Swifts starting seven: GS – Sam Wallace GA – Helen Housby WA – Nat Haythornthwaite C – Paige Hadley WD – Sophie Craig GD – Lauren Moore GK – Sarah Klau
Fever starting seven: GS – Jhaniele Fowler GA – Alice Teague-Neeld WA – Ingrid Colyer C – Verity Charles WD – Jess Anstiss GD – Stacey Francis GK – Olivia Lewis