18 May 2010

The NSW Swifts have powered to their eighth straight victory with a thrilling four goal win over the Queensland Firebirds at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, 44-40.

The Firebirds entered the clash on the back of a four-match winning streak and were determined to avenge their loss to the Swifts in the opening round. But it was the NSW Swifts that consolidated their place at the top of the ANZ Championship ladder with victory.

The Swifts defence faced a formidable task up against the 1.96m tall Firebirds shooter Romelda Aiken, who had been combining well with shooting partner, Natalie Medhurst in recent weeks. Strong defensive pressure by the Swifts limited the feeds into Aiken, forcing the Firebirds to look for other options in attack. The Swifts capitalised on several held balls and wayward passes to pull ahead 13-10 at the first break.

Down the NSW Swifts shooting end, a close battle was also taking place with Cox and Pratley facing the athleticism and long reach of Geitz at GK. Working overtime to find good position in the shooting circle against the physical Firebirds defence, the Swifts` shooters were able to almost double their lead going to the half time break leading 24-19.

The teams went goal for goal in the opening minutes of the second half until mistakes at the Swifts goal end gave the Firebirds the chance to narrow the margin to just two. Geitz and McMeniman continued to make it difficult for Cox and Pratley to move in the circle, forcing the pair to pass out to Green and Ware or take the long range shot. Geitz continued to contest every pass and rebound, limiting Cox to just three goals for the quarter. But it was still the NSW Swifts who kept their noses in front to go to the final break ahead by five, 35-30.

Switching Wall and Nourse in the final quarter, the Firebirds rallied to draw to within one goal late in the quarter. A crucial rebound from Bulley stopped the Firebirds from drawing level with just five minutes remaining and gave the home side the momentum they needed to drive it home.

With a vocal crowd behind them, the NSW Swifts continued their unbeaten start to the season, defeating the Queensland Firebirds for the second time this season, 44-40.

The NSW Swifts will now head across the country to take on the West Coast Fever on Monday 24 May in Perth.

Quarter by Quarter scores
NSW Swifts: 13, 24(11), 35(11), 44(9)
QLD Firebirds: 10,19(9), 30(11), 40(10)

Shooting Stats
NSW Swifts
Catherine Cox - 19/33 @ 58%
Susan Pratley - 25/32 @ 78%
Team - 44/65 @ 68%

QLD Firebirds
Romelda Aiken - 26/33 @ 79%
Natalie Medhurst - 14/20 @ 70%
Team - 40/53 @ 75%

Next Game: Round 10, ANZ Championship
West Coast Fever v NSW Swifts
Monday 24 April, 6:05pm (local time)
Challenge Stadium, Perth, West Australia
Broadcast: 8:30pm on ONE (delayed)

Next Home Game: Round 12, ANZ Championship
NSW Swifts v Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Monday 7 June, 7:05pm (local time)
Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, NSW

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