Nelson stars as Magpies upset Sterling’s Thunderbirds
MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC):
The defensive pair of Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson were powerless to stop Sunshine Girls teammate, Shimona Nelson, as in-form Adelaide Thunderbirds slipped up and surrendered the lead in the Australian Super Netball Championship, after suffering a stunning 53-50 upset to bottom-placed Collingwood Magpies last weekend.
In contrast, New South Wales Swifts maintained their momentum with a 68-63 victory over Giants Netball, Jamaican shooter Romelda Aiken-George featuring prominently to earn them the precious points which took them to the top of the league.
Previous leaders and reigning champions West Coast Fever remained in the chase with a 69-65 win over Sunshine Coast Lightning, Jamaican superstar Jhaniele Fowler leading their charge.
Playing at the John Cain Arena here Saturday, Nelson produced an outstanding performance with a perfect 44-from-44 shooting as Magpies staged the season's biggest coup.
They stormed to a 16-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, remained up 37-23 at the half before stunning Thunderbirds again in the third quarter by out-scoring them 16-12.
Ahead 43-35 at the start of the final quarter, Magpies managed to hold off a late surge from Thunderbirds, Eleanor Cardwell finishing as the leading scorer for the visitors with 27 goals from 29 attempts.
Fever kept up the pressure with their win at RAC Arena in Perth, the 33-year-old Fowler pouring in 54 goals from 58 attempts.
For the visitors, Cara Koenen netted 38 from 39 attempts but Fever's 37-27 half-time lead proved difficult to overturn even though they were outscored in both quarters of the second half.
Having watched the events of the previous 24 hours, Swifts took full advantage of Thunderbirds' slip, Aiken-George sinking 32 from 39 attempts to lead the victory bid at the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney on Sunday.
Helen Housby provided excellent support with 18 from as many attempts.
Swifts led 25-19 at the end of the first quarter and 37-31 at the break but then suffered a 20-12 thrashing in the third quarter, to leave the contest tied at 51 at the start of the final quarter.
However, Swifts regained their balance when it mattered most, and pulled away.
They top the standings on 38 points, four clear of Thunderbirds, with Fever a further two back in third.