Giants down Magpies to return to netball winners' list
The Giants have kept their slim hopes of a Super Netball semi-final berth alive after overcoming the absence of inspirational skipper Jo Harten to record a vital 69-56 victory over Collingwood Magpies.
With both teams stranded in the bottom half of the ladder on two wins apiece, Sunday's clash at John Cain Arena shaped as a defining moment, with the loser dropping out of finals calculations with five rounds of the regular season left to play.
The Giants recovered from a slow start to outplay the home side over the final three quarters and snap a three-game losing streak - their most recent victory before Sunday coming against the Magpies back in round five.
"If we lost this it probably was season over and we knew we had the belief that we can still push for finals," Giants attacker Sophie Dwyer told Fox Sports after the win.
Making her third appearance of the season, goaler Matisse Letherbarrow overcame some early nerves to play a crucial role as she and Dwyer each made 4-of-4 Super shots in the second half.
"Having Matisse in there, we had so much belief and I was really pleased that we grinded that out, and then in the fourth quarter we blew it open," Dwyer said.
The Giants trailed by four goals in the first quarter but rallied to grab a 30-27 buffer at the main break despite shooting at just 82 per cent for the half, a troubling 17 general play turnovers from Collingwood handing the visitors the majority of time in possession.
The Magpies appeared to find their groove in the third quarter and worked their way back to a narrow lead before the Giants rediscovered their shooting touch in the final five minutes, Letherbarrow drilling three of her side's four Super shots to edge her team ahead 50-43.
A run of five straight goals from Shimona Nelson allowed Collingwood to close the gap to four in the final period but the Giants closed out the win with the class of midcourters Jamie-Lee Price (33 feeds, 23 goal assists and two gains) and Maddie Hay (34 feeds, 21 goal assists) proving the difference.
"The last couple of weeks have been really close but it's just those last quarters that always let us down," Price said.
"Finishing well was really important for us."
The result compounded what has been a disappointing season for the Magpies, who dropped to the bottom of the ladder with their fifth loss in a row.