Giants secure crucial Super Netball win over Lightning
The Giants have kept their Super Netball finals hopes alive with a hard-fought 70-64 win against Sunshine Coast Lightning.
A pivotal 19-14 fourth quarter proved the difference in Saturday's fifth-versus-sixth stoush at Ken Rosewall Arena and sealed the Giants' second successive victory.
Sophie Dwyer enjoyed a grand second half, connecting neatly in the Giants' shooting circle with Matisse Letherbarrow, who is doing a fine job of filling the big shoes of injured captain Jo Harten.
"It was a game of changing momentum," Dwyer said.
"We knew it was going to be a grind against them.
"For both teams, it was must-win to keep our seasons alive."
At the other end, Steph Wood's accuracy, particularly from long range, was uncharacteristically inconsistent but fellow shooter Cara Koenen enjoyed a fine outing before slipping over late in the match and having to sit out the closing minutes.
Sluggish out of the blocks in last week's heart-stopping loss to Melbourne, the Lightning silenced the home crowd in the initial stages, bursting ahead 9-3 and forcing Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald to take an early time-out.
Her side, spearheaded by the brilliance of in-form captain Jamie-Lee Price, responded and leapt ahead 16-12 via a 7-0 burst before the Lightning rallied late and tied the scores 16-all at the end of a topsy-turvy opening stanza.
Price was momentarily curbed by Lauren Scherian in the middle after quarter-time but the Giants defensive trio of Amy Parmenter, April Brandley and Lauren Moore lifted, as did shooter Letherbarrow.
Sunshine Coast sprang a surprise by shifting Wood to wing attack to start the second term.
The Lightning skipper, predictably, was moved back into the circle later in the quarter and missed a couple of late super shots but Koenen's strong offensive rebounding helped put Sunshine Coast up by one at half-time.
Uncompromising wing attack Mahalia Cassidy swapped bibs with Scherian and successfully took over Price's duties in the centre as the Koenen-led Lightning threatened to take control.
The Giants responded to a 46-42 deficit with another well-executed time-out from Fitzgerald, followed by a 9-4 run.
Dwyer broke away from Karla Pretorius's shackles before Letherbarrow's two-pointer in the dying stages gave the Giants a 51-50 three-quarter-time edge and the momentum which they carried throughout the fourth.