Giants overcome Magpies to clinch spot in preliminary finals

The GWS Giants moved a step closer to the Suncorp Super Netball grand final after defeating the Magpies 55-48 in an extraordinary minor semi-final at Ken Rosewall Arena.

The Giants will meet the Vixens next weekend for a spot in the decider after proving too strong for the Magpies, posting their 12th straight win over the Melbourne outfit.

Giants captain Jo Harten scored 40 points to bring a victory for her team.Credit:Getty Images

The Giants asserted themselves from the word go, winning the ball back from the Magpies straight from the first centre pass. Captain Jo Harten took full advantage by putting the game’s first points on the board.

Harten’s accuracy in the first half was flawless, shooting at 100 per cent, and she drained a super shot in the final five minutes of the quarter to put the Giants up by two points.

In a physical first quarter, the Giants kept Magpies goal shooter Shimona Nelson tightly marked in an attempt to limit her access to the ball. But Nelson is a tough customer to keep under wraps, and her accuracy was also perfect.

The Giants led 13-11 at the end of the first quarter, but whatever Magpies’ coach Nicole Richardson said to the team in the first break must have resonated because the Magpies hit back early and powerfully in the second quarter.

The visitors kept their penalties lower and their points higher to win the quarter 17-12 and go to the halftime break leading 28-25.

The Giants came out firing in the third, and an early intercept from centre and vice-captain Jamie-Lee Price was the catalyst for the home side to grab three straight goals.

The scores were level lat 31-all until a shot from Harten as she was falling over the sideline landed in the hoop to put the Giants ahead for the first time since the start of the second quarter.

Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward struggled to keep Harten at bay as the home side seized the momentum, scoring 18 points in the third quarter.

As the game moved into the final quarter, the siren for the power five ignited the crowd and Magpies goal attack Gabriella Sinclair was the first to score a super shot for the quarter, bringing the away side within four points of the Giants.

But, with one minute left, the home crowd could sense the Giants had done enough, and a super shot from Harten with 10 seconds to go secured victory by seven points.

The Giants will now take on the Melbourne Vixens in the preliminary final at John Cain Arena at 7pm Saturday, June 25.

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