Stacey Francis-Bayman re-signs with West Coast Fever

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 25: Stacey Francis of the Fever passes the ball during the round seven Super Netball match between the West Coast Fever and the Collingwood Magpies at Nissan Arena on August 25, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

West Coast Fever (Stacey Francis) and NSW Swifts (Helen Housby and Natalie Haythornthwaite) are in the top four as Super Netball reaches the halfway point of the regular season.

West Coast Fever 71-57 Collingwood Magpies

Vitality Roses involved: Stacey Francis (West Coast Fever) and Geva Mentor (Collingwood Magpies)

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West Coast Fever won every quarter to run out 71-57 winners against Collingwood Magpies and snap a two-game losing run.

Stacey Francis started at goal defence for Fever and formed a strong defensive unit with Diamonds defender Courtney Bruce (goal keeper).

Magpies co-captain and goal keeper Geva Mentor battled valiantly against prolific goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler but the league’s two-time leading goalscorer was at her unstoppable best while Collingwood struggled for attacking options.

Fever secured a 17-14 lead at the end of the opening quarter before converting six turnovers into goals in the second period to push their lead out to 39-30 at halftime.

West Coast charged ahead by 14 early in the second half and while the Magpies made some inroads during the third and fourth quarters, Fever ensured there would be no repeat of their nail-biting finish from earlier in the season.

The win sees Francis’ side break into the top four while Collingwood’s fourth loss in a row leaves them at the bottom of the ladder.

Score breakdown

Q1: Fever 17-14 Magpies

Q2: Fever 22-16 Magpies

Q3: Fever 15-14 Magpies

Q4: Fever 17-13 Magpies

GIANTS Netball 66-65 Queensland Firebirds

Vitality Rose involved: Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball)

The last time these two met, the game ended 61-all and there was another thriller on Tuesday as a last-second Caitlin Bassett goal carried GIANTS Netball to victory over Queensland Firebirds.

Firebirds came into the game riding high after beating West Coast Fever on Saturday and were chasing back-to-back wins for the first time since Rounds 13 and 14 in 2018.

They finished the opening quarter strongly to be 13-17 up and continued to push on in the second period.

But GIANTS worked tirelessly to cut the deficit and two Super Shots from captain Harten saw them draw level at 32-32 on the stroke of halftime.

The third quarter was incredibly tight throughout with Firebirds heading into the final 15 with a slender two-goal advantage (47-49).

Midway through the fourth quarter, Bassett made things all square again but once GIANTS took the lead, they never looked back and edged out their opponents.

Score breakdown

Q1: GIANTS 13-17 Firebirds

Q2: GIANTS 19-15 Firebirds

Q3: GIANTS 15-17 Firebirds

Q4: GIANTS 19-16 Firebirds

Vitality Roses shooting stats

Jo Harten – G1 – 19/20 (95%); G2 – 2/4 (50%)

G1 = shots during normal play | G2 = Super Shots taken

NSW Swifts 61-54 Sunshine Coast Lightning

Vitality Roses involved: Helen Housby and Natalie Haythornthwaite (NSW Swifts)

NSW Swifts stormed home in the final quarter to claim a 61-54 win over Sunshine Coast Lighting at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on Wednesday.

The Round 7 Super Netball clash was the second Grand Final rematch in a matter of weeks with Swifts bouncing back after going down to Lightning in Round 4.

The win was the Premiers’ third in a row, setting up a huge top of the table clash with Melbourne Vixens on Saturday.

Natalie Haythornthwaite started at wing attack with Helen Housby at goal attack and the Vitality Rose sunk the first Super Shot of the game.

At the first-break buzzer, there was nothing to separate the two sides at 16-all and the fast, free-flowing netball continued in the second quarter with Lightning leading by three at halftime.

Lightning could have built a substantial lead early in the third quarter but two hunting intercepts, good rebounding on the circle edge and four unanswered goals from Housby drew Swifts level and they led by one heading into the final 15.

A superb fourth quarter effort from NSW (17-11) secured the win and cemented their place in the top two at the halfway point of the regular season.

Score breakdown

Q1: Swifts 16-16 Lightning

Q2: Swifts 13-16 Lightning

Q3: Swifts 15-11 Lightning

Q4: Swifts 17-11 Lightning

Vitality Roses shooting stats

Helen Housby – G1 – 23/24 (96%); G2 – 1/3 (33%)

G1 = shots during normal play | G2 = Super Shots taken

Adelaide Thunderbirds 43-50 Melbourne Vixens

Vitality Roses involved: Chelsea Pitman, Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin (all Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Melbourne Vixens found an extra gear when it mattered most to grind out a tough 50-43 victory over Adelaide Thunderbirds.

While Thunderbirds led for most of the match, Vixens broke away in the fourth quarter of a rugged defensive battle at Nissan Arena to retain top spot on the ladder at the midway point of the season.

Adelaide stunned Vixens with a final quarter flurry to pull off an upset victory in Round Four but Melbourne took their revenge by dominating the fourth period 14-7 on Wednesday after scores were level at 36-36.

Vitality Roses Chelsea Pitman (WA) and Layla Guscoth (GD) both started for Thunderbirds with Kate Shimmin entering the defensive unit later on.

Adelaide overcame a slow start to build a five-goal lead at the end of the opening period and despite Vixens doing enough to earn a narrow second-quarter win, Thunderbirds enjoyed a 24-20 edge at the main break.

Melbourne fought their way to the front with a run of five unanswered goals in the third quarter before Thunderbirds responded to level the scores ahead of the crucial final quarter, but Vixens’ experience shone through to take the win.

Defeat saw Thunderbirds drop out of the top four ahead of an important meeting with Queensland Firebirds on Sunday.

Score breakdown

Q1: Thunderbirds 14-9 Vixens

Q2: Thunderbirds 10-11 Vixens

Q3: Thunderbirds 12-16 Vixens

Q4: Thunderbirds 7-14 Vixens

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