West Coast Fever let Super Netball top two chance slip with loss to Adelaide

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Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
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VideoWest Coast Fever star Verity Charles intercepts a pass in the final round against Adelaide Thunderbirds at Brisbane's Nissan Arena.

West Coast Fever let a golden opportunity to finish second and claim a double finals chance slip, losing 64-63 to the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena tonight.

Not even knowing more than 6000 fans were watching from a special event at RAC Arena could get Fever over the line, with the WA team to face reigning champions NSW Swifts in a must-win semifinal at the Sunshine Coast next weekend.

Thunderbird teenager Georgie Horjus was the hero, scoring 26 goals, including eight from nine attempts at two-goal range as well as the winning shot in the final minute as Adelaide handed Fever their first loss since round six.

Adelaide were doing their best to restrict the impact of Jhaniele Fowler (54 goals), with defenders Shamera Sterling and Layla Guscoth double-teaming the star shooter in the circle.

This forced goal attack Alice Teague-Neeld to shoot more than normal and she struggled, going at just 33 per cent.

Fever still started well and early in the first term led by eight goals, but thanks to their defence and the introduction of outgoing co-captain Chelsea Pitman, Adelaide were within just five at the main break.

Adelaide could have been even closer if not for Fever captain Courtney Bruce, who recorded seven gains, three intercepts and five deflections in the first half alone.

West Coast Fever star Jhaniele Fowler puts up a shot against Adelaide on Saturday night.
Camera IconWest Coast Fever star Jhaniele Fowler puts up a shot against Adelaide on Saturday night. Credit: Albert Perez/Getty Images

Teague-Neeld’s confidence in her shot looked shattered in the third term and with Adelaide within two goals, coach Stacey Marinkovich made the move to bring on Kaylia Stanton.

With Stanton a threat from the two-goal area, Guscoth could no longer stick to Fowler, allowing the Jamaican to get on top in the one-on-ones against Sterling.

A pair of late two-goal shots from Horjus though had Adelaide down 49-47 at the final break, with Fever’s top two chances hanging by a thread.

Fever looked as if they had finally got control of the game when they led by eight with less than seven minutes in the game.

But Horjus turned it on again, hitting four successful two-goal shots in just over two minutes to see scores level with just 90 seconds left in the game.

The 18-year-old then scored straight out of the time-out to give Adelaide the lead, with Fowler missing a two-goal shot in the final 20 seconds before Adelaide successfully ran down the clock.

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