Swifts 45 Thunderbirds 42
The Swifts held strong to down the Thunderbirds in a thriller. Photo: SMP Images
NSW Swifts coach Rob Wright credited a trans-Tasman record crowd in Sydney with helping his side end a three-year hoodoo against the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday.
The Swifts downed the visitors 45-42 in front of a buoyant crowd of 10,118 at Allphones Arena to edge them closer to a home final.
The hosts enjoyed a comfortable 16-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and, although the Thunderbirds hit back strongly to twice draw level, the home side was never headed.
Swifts shooter Susan Pratley was on target on Sunday against the Thunderbirds.
With their slim finals hopes on the line the defending champions rallied to set up a nervous finale but after finally drawing level at 39-39, the Swifts held their nerve to prevail for a crucial win.
Wright was delighted to see such a great crowd, which eclipsed the previous regular-season mark of 8509 set by Melbourne Vixens last year.
''I'm so thrilled to have 10,000 plus here, and in the last five minutes it was so nice to have that feeling and noise behind us and we needed all 10,000 of them,'' Wright said. ''Our record here is pretty bad so to get the win is fantastic for us.''
It was the Swifts' first win against the Thunderbirds in seven matches.
For the Swifts, the shooting combination of Susan Pratley (21 goals from 25 shots) and Caitlin Thwaites (24 from 30), were solid throughout. At the other end of the court, Erin Bell (17 from 20) and Carla Borrego (25 from 28) did their best.
It was the Swifts' fourth straight win, but the Vixens still hold top spot on goal difference.