Giants, Firebirds win to stay in Super Netball finals race

The Giants and Queensland Firebirds have kept their slim Super Netball semi-final hopes alive after both recorded hard-fought victories on Wednesday night.

On the Sunshine Coast, the Giants triumphed 62-58 over Collingwood Magpies to move to fifth position on 18 points, two wins adrift of the fourth-placed West Coast Fever.

The Firebirds are also on 18 points to be sixth after surviving a late scare from the Thunderbirds to claim a thrilling 61-59 victory in Adelaide.

The Giants came into Wednesday’s contest at USC Stadium needing to win their remaining three matches to have any chance of qualifying for the finals.

Caitlin Bassett came off the bench to shoot 19-of-20 in the second half, as the Giants held their nerve in a tense final quarter.

“We had a lot of changes on the court tonight,” Giants captain Jo Harten said.

“I think some of our young ones stepped up and played really well and I thought [Bassett] just absolutely stormed on there and made such an impact which is really pleasing.”

The Magpies led 13-9 at quarter-time but Harten and Kiera Austin found their range in the second term as the Giants opened with seven of the first 10 goals, setting up a narrow 27-26 advantage at half-time.

Collingwood refused to go away in the third quarter, with strong aerial work in the goal circle from Shimona Nelson helping them regain the lead.

But the Giants settled once coach Julie Fitzgerald sent Bassett into the match, with the Australian Diamonds captain contributing seven goals, while Harten broke free to add three super shots.

Ahead 46-42 heading into the fourth term, the Giants answered every challenge Collingwood threw at them to keep their season alive.

Harten led the scoring for the Giants with 27 points (19 goals, four super shots).

The Magpies remain with just one win for the season and they play the top-placed Melbourne Vixens on Saturday.

Firebirds victorious on the road

The two big improvers of the competition battled it out at in Adelaide in a physical contest that went down to the wire, with the Thunderbirds coming back from 13 goals down to trail by one in the final minute.

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But the Firebirds held on in a frantic finish where they controlled possession for the last 50 seconds, Romelda Aiken adding the final goal as time expired to secure back-to-back wins for the Queenslanders.

“It was a tight one so it was great that the girls were able to play [the ball] around and play it really smart at the end,” Firebirds defender Kim Jenner said.

“We just played our game, making sure we were sticking to what we wanted to do and keep playing the ball forward.”

The Firebirds are in the same position as the Giants, needing to win their final three matches and have other results go their way if they are to qualify for the finals.

Playing outside of their home state for the first time this season, the Firebirds established a 29-16 advantage in the second quarter but the long-range shooting of Georgie Horjus kept the Thunderbirds in the contest, with three super shots helping reduce the visitors lead to 35-28 at half-time.

Down by 10 goals midway through the third period, the Thunderbirds responded again as Lenize Potgieter inspired an eight-goal burst to set up a dramatic final quarter.

But the Firebirds would not be denied at the finish, Aiken ending with 45 goals, while rising star Tippah Dwan produced another solid performance with 16 points (14 goals, one super shot).

AAP/ABC