The Sunshine Coast Lightning have defeated the Collingwood Magpies 67 to 65 in Extra Time at USC Stadium.
Karla Pretorius's extra-time heroics saved the Sunshine Coast Lightning from a shock upset in the side's 67-65 Suncorp Super Netball win against a brave Collingwood Magpies at USC Stadium.
A boilover was on the cards until the dying seconds when the Lightning skipper stepped up with two intercepts to launch the home side four points clear at the top of the competition table.
Collingwood finished last in 2020 but have been pushing the top four this season and had control of the game until a Steph Wood super shot with three minutes left in regulation time.
Magpies shooter Shimona Nelson (52 goals at 91 per cent) had a blinder in her 50th Super Netball game but missed with an attempt in the dying seconds that would have handed the Victorians a famous upset.
At the other end, Sunshine Coast's Cara Koenen rarely missed with a match-winning 46 goals that underlined why she looms as the future of the Australian national team's shooting circle.
Under enormous pressure from champion Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward, Koenen's confidence, movement and unflappable nature ensured she had a mighty influence over the contest.
Magpies coach Nicole Richardson said goal attack Gabby Sinclair (13 goals at 90 per cent) and defender Ward could have done little more in the hunt for their biggest scalp of the season.
"I'm shattered for the girls," the coach said.
"But on the flip side, I'm really proud of what they put out there."
With a top-four berth in sight, Collingwood jumped the Lightning early thanks to sizzling shooting accuracy that hovered at about 95 per cent for most of the first half.
The key to their strong start was supersonic delivery into attack that prevented the Lightning's gun defensive duo of Phumza Maweni and Pretorius a clear shot at winning turnovers.
The injection of Maddy McAuliffe at centre and shooter Peace Proscovia gave the Lightning extra spark in the third term.
Q1: Lightning 14 v Magpies 19
Q2: Lightning 17 v Magpies 15
Q3: Lightning 12 v Magpies 13
Q4: Lightning 19 v Magpies 15
ET: Lightning 5 v Magpies 3
Player of the Match: Cara Koenen (Lightning)
Lightning Shooting Statistics:
Cara Koenen: 46/52 - 89%, G1: 46/52, G2: 0/0, Total Points: 46
Steph Wood: 9/12 - 75%, G1: 8/10, G2: 1/2, Total Points: 10
Peace Proscovia: 11/13 - 85%, G1: 11/13, G2: 0/0, Total Points:11
Magpies Shooting Statistics:
Shimona Nelson: 52/57 - 92%, G1: 52/57, G2: 0/0, Total Points: 52
Gabrielle Sinclair: 13/15 - 87%, G1: 13/15, G2: 0/0, Total Points: 13
Lightning Starting Seven: GS - Cara Koenen, GA - Steph Wood, WA - Laura Scherian, C - Mahalia Cassidy, WD - Kate Shimmin, GD - Karla Pretorius (Captain), GK - Phumza Maweni
Magpies Starting Seven: GS - Shimona Nelson, GA - Gabby Sinclair, WA - Kelsey Browne, C - Molly Jovic, WD - Ashleigh Brazill, GD - Jodi-Ann Ward, GK - Geva Mentor (Captain)