GIANTS NETBALL HAVE REGAINED COMPOSURE AT THE TOP OF THE SUNCORP SUPER NETBALL TABLE AFTER A BREATHLESS 59-56 WIN AGAINST THE NSW SWIFTS AT SYDNEY OLYMPIC PARK.
The Giants looked shaky when they trailed by five goals late in the third term but, with the game on the line, charged home with a 17-10 last quarter.
Standards soared at both ends of the court, with all four shooters scoring at better than 90 per cent accuracy.
The Giants’ Jo Harten (36 goals) and Susan Pettitt (23 goals), and the Swifts’ Sam Wallace (35) and Helen Housby (21) had their radars working.
As has often been the case this season, defenders had the last word, including the Giants’ Sam Poolman whose powerful fourth quarter proved decisive.
A handful of rebounds was all that separated the two teams at quarter time.
Swifts pair Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner made the most of any scraps offered to them by the Giants.
At the other end, the Swifts were just as effective, with Housby and Wallace shooting at 100 per cent accuracy until late in the second quarter.
Otherwise, the teams could not be split over the first 30 minutes.
Defenders at each end traded wins at key moments but none could shut down their shooters for extended periods.
In the middle there was a fierce battle between the two generals, the Swifts’ Maddy Proud and Giants centre Serena Guthrie, whose drive and vision contributed to a 31-30 advantage to the Swifts at the long break.
The Swifts were the first to strike with a mini-run that stretched their lead to four goals halfway the third term.
Klau nabbed three intercepts and a rebound during that period in the first meaningful momentum shift for the game.
Sensing a critical moment had arrived, Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald unleashed replacement midcourter Sarah Wall who has now stepped onto the court for four national league teams.
But the former Vixen, Firebird and Swift was unable to wrestle back control from the Swifts.
The Swifts led by four at the start of the final quarter but were unable to convert that to an unbreakable advantage.
Poolman dragged her side back into contention with a pair of intercepts that enabled the Giants to draw level with eight minutes left.
Paige Hadley did everything but haul her Swifts back into the lead in the dying minutes but it was her side which again left empty handed.
MVP: Paige Hadley (Swifts)
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS