Thunderbirds stun Swifts
Thanks to four quarters of relentless pressure, the Adelaide Thunderbirds have shocked the New South Wales Swifts 58-53 in Super Netball.
The Thunderbirds won each quarter on Saturday night at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre against the third-placed Swifts, with goal-keeper Shamera Sterling spectacular in her 50th game.
The Jamaican, instrumental in Adelaide conjuring a lopsided 16-3 intercept count, completely dominated Swifts sharpshooter Sam Wallace, forcing her to take a seat for the entire third period and much of the fourth.
A proud Thunderbirds coach Tania Obst said post-match:
"That's the first time we've won four quarters for a very long time.
"I thought Shamera was pretty spectacular and she was ably supported out the front.
"It was a full team effort back there.
"If anyone wants to underestimate that (us), you'll do that at your own peril because we have world-class athletes in our team and our combinations are building."
The Thunderbirds brought the heat from the outset, forcing NSW's offence to run dry early.
The visitors turned the ball over with their first two possessions and were restricted to a solitary goal in the first five minutes before mounting a temporary rally following a timeout.
The Thunderbirds finished strongly to lead 13-11 at quarter-time before continuing to go from strength to strength.
Wings Maisie Nankivell and Shadine Van Der Merwe created havoc in the second term which Adelaide ended full of momentum, rattling off three straight in the last minute before Wallace's super shot in the dying seconds reduced the T'birds' buffer to 28-25 at the main break.
Wallace, who hit 58 without a blemish last week against the Giants and had connected on her last 90 shots, struggled to escape Sterling's iron-fisted clutches and sat out most of the second half.
Sterling continued to shine in the third, while at the other end Lenize Potgieter's finishing paced a 5-0 mid-term run and helped Adelaide push clear 42-38 at three-quarter time.
The Thunderbirds scored the first three goals of the final term and continued to press home their advantage.
English shooter Helen Housby rattled off three super shots inside two minutes as the Swifts charged late before Sterling, fittingly, finished off them with her sixth athletic intercept.