The Collingwood Magpies have pulled off an upset in Brisbane, knocking off the Queensland Firebirds 67-59 to keep in touch with the top four.
Collingwood Magpies have put their season back on track with a 67-59 upset win over the Queensland Firebirds.
After a tight opening term at Brisbane's Nissan Arena on Sunday, the Magpies (2-4) created separation in the second quarter before responding to a second-half rally from the Firebirds (3-3) in emphatic fashion.
Molly Jovic (35 feeds, 12 assists) and Kelsey Browne (52, 28) ran the Firebirds' midcourt ragged all afternoon, while Shimona Nelson (54 goals) presented powerfully in attack despite being less pinpoint accurate than usual.
"All the girls stood up," said Jovic, who played a starring role in her return after recovering from COVID-19.
"I think that's what we've been missing the previous rounds.
"It was a four-quarter effort from everyone, so really proud of the girls.
"I got through a full game - I didn't think that would happen.
"Braz (Ash Brazill) and Kels (Browne) made it so much easier for me out there."
Jovic had Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion's measure from the outset and Nelson got the scoreboard moving.
Collingwood stretched their 18-16 quarter-time lead to 37-31 at half-time, thanks chiefly to Jovic's brilliance.
Ravaillion lifted in the third term, spearheading Queensland's brief rearguard.
Gretel Bueta and Donnell Wallam caught fire in the Firebirds' shooting circle and Ruby Bakewell-Doran began having an influence at goal defence, cutting the margin to 51-48 at three-quarter-time.
Collingwood responded with the first four goals of the fourth, while the defensive smarts of Magpies co-captains Brazill and Geva Mentor put a stranglehold on Queensland.
Nelson uncharacteristically missed a couple of sitters but with Jovic and Browne continuing to dictate with their playmaking in the middle, the heavily-fancied Firebirds were left with too much to do.
Q1: Magpies 18 v Firebirds 16
Q2: Magpies 37 v Firebirds 31
Q3: Magpies 51 v Firebirds 48
Q4: Magpies 67 v Firebirds 59
Player of the Match: Molly Jovic (Magpies)
Magpies Shooting Statistics:
Shimona Nelson: 54/65 - 83%, G1: 54/65, G2: 0/0, Total Points: 54
Sophie Garbin: 11/18 - 61%, G1: 11/17, G2: 0/1, Total Points: 11
Gabby Sinclair: 2/4 - 50%, G1: 2/3, G2: 0/3, Total Points: 2
Firebirds Shooting Statistics:
Donnell Wallam: 31/41 - 76%, G1: 29/32, G2: 2/9, Total Points: 33
Gretel Bueta: 24/27 - 89%, G1: 22/23, G2: 2/4, Total Points: 26
Magpies Starting Seven: GS: Shimona Nelson, GA: Sophie Garbin, WA: Kelsey Browne, C: Molly Jovic, WD: Ash Brazill (C), GD: Jodi-Ann Ward, GK: Geva Mentor (C)
Firebirds Starting Seven: GS: Donnell Wallam, GA: Gretel Bueta, WA: Lara Dunkley (C), C: Kim Ravaillion (C), WD: Gabi Simpson, GD: Ruby Bakewell-Doran, GK: Eboni Usoro-Brown