Four on the trot for flying Swifts
NSW Swifts have extended their Super Netball winning streak to four games with a 67-63 victory over Sunshine Coast Lightning to set up a mouth-watering clash with reigning champions West Coast Fever.
The Swifts entered Sunday's fixture at Ken Rosewall Arena having won each of their previous three contests in nail-biting fashion through dramatic fourth-quarter comebacks.
But the home side found their rhythm midway through the second quarter to take control as Maddy Proud (44 feeds, 26 goal assists) and Helen Housby (7-of-10 two-point goals) led them to a four-goal win - their biggest winning margin of the season.
"The past three rounds were heart-stoppers and very stressful so it was nice to have that little buffer, but we know how dangerous the other teams can be in those two-point times," Swifts defender Sarah Klau told Fox Sports after the win.
The sweet-shooting touch of Steph Wood kept the Lightning in the contest with the Australian Diamonds attacker making her first eight Super shot attempts, including 4-for-4 in the third quarter.
NSW's defensive unit came to the fore in the fourth quarter as Klau, Teigan O'Shannassy and Maddy Turner helped thwart Sunshine Coast's hopes of a late fightback.
The Swifts regain third spot on the ladder from Melbourne Vixens with their fifth victory of the campaign, with Briony Akle's squad now preparing for a trip to Perth for a marquee match-up against the second-ranked Fever.
The visitors made a promising start by outscoring the Swifts 17-15 in the opening quarter but saw defender Mahalia Cassidy leave the court after being collected high by teammate Kadie-Ann Dehaney.
The Lightning kept pace with the Swifts through the early stages of the second period but a run of three straight goals from the home side quickly levelled the scores and Housby closed the half with a Super shot for a 35-34 lead.
Proud had racked up an impressive 25 feeds and 18 assists by the main break.
The third quarter turned into an arm-wrestle with Housby and Wood trading two-point shots until the Swifts scored three goals to nil in the final minute to extend their lead to 53-49.
A 3-0 start to the final term put the home side in the box seat and while the Lightning managed to close the margin to four goals leading into the last five minutes, the Swifts took the pace out of the game to deny the Lightning the chance of a late push at victory.
Sunshine Coast have now lost back-to-back games to fall two wins behind the fourth-placed Vixens on the ladder and will host the Melbourne club in a must-win match next Sunday.