Swifts escape with thrilling Super Netball win over Fever as Lightning topple Magpies

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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.

The Swifts’ win followed the Lightning’s 51-47 triumph over Collingwood Magpies in the opening encounter of Sunday’s double-header at USC Stadium on the Sunshine Coast.

In a high-scoring affair, 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 half-time 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, with Jhaniele Fowler sinking three super shots in the final 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, the Fever forced two misses from the Swifts attackers in a tense finish until Housby calmly 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 made 21 of 23 shots as the defending champions swung the contest in their favour.

Housby also played a key role in her side’s comeback, with the Swifts taking better care of the ball after half-time while also forcing six Fever turnovers in the decisive third term.

Lightning defeat Magpies

Star attacker Steph Wood battled through injury to help inspire the Lightning to their four-goal victory over the Magpies.

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After sitting out the majority of the first half with a knee problem, Wood’s introduction triggered a third-quarter surge as the home side recorded their second win of the season.

A matchwinner for the Lightning in last week’s season opener against the Queensland Firebirds, the Australia international dropped out of the starting seven moments before the opening possession with a knee issue flaring during the warm-up.

But with Wood entering the game late the first half, the Lightning outscored Collingwood 16-9 in the third quarter to break open a tight defensive contest.

Langman was the driving force for the Lightning. The 34-year-old New Zealand international starred in midcourt with 30 feeds, 15 assists and two intercepts.

With goal shooter Shimona Nelson (32/37) playing her first game of the season, Collingwood capitalised on the Lightning’s late line-up change to grab an early 6-1 advantage.

As Jamaican defender Jodi-Ann Ward impressed alongside veteran defender Geva Mentor, the Magpies took a five-goal lead closing in on half-time with goal attack Gabi Sinclair nailing the only successful super shot of the half.

But Wood’s introduction paid immediate dividends as she played her part in the final two goals to cut Collingwood’s half-time lead to three.

The Lightning made their move in the third quarter, Koenen nailing 14 of 15 shots to build a 37-33 lead before a 6-2 start to the fourth quarter put the game beyond Collingwood’s reach.

Sunshine Coast’s win sets up an intriguing round-three encounter with the Melbourne Vixens on Wednesday.

The Magpies face the Queensland Firebirds on Tuesday with both teams desperate to record their first win of the season.

AAP

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