West Coast Fever coach Stacey Marinkovic couldn't be happier with her Super Netball team's response to their first loss of 2018 while Giants counterpart Julie Fitzgerald was left ruing a second tight defeat.
The challenge was ahead of Fever on how they would respond to their first loss of the season, having gone down on the road by 10 goals to the Queensland Firebirds. The Giants were certainly not going to be a pushover in a top of the table clash at Perth Arena on Saturday night.
More than 8000 fans turned out and weren't disappointed with a spectacle that went right down to the wire.
The pressure was right up and there were 48 turnovers in the game of which 13 came from intercepts. While Stacey Francis forced six turnovers and had four intercepts on her own for Fever, it was captain Courtney Bruce who got the crucial one.
With Giants shooter Kristina Brice (20 of 23) on fire having come on after half-time to hit three straight goals and put her team up by one, Bruce forced a turnover. Fever went on to score three straight goals and win 63-61 to improve to a 5-1 record and sit clear at the top of the table.
Marinkovic couldn't be happier with thir response to the loss to the Firebirds and is now looking forward to a well-earned break.
"It was massive for us. You don't want to hype it up but I certainly wanted to see how we responded," Marinkovic said.
"That was the big question mark over the group because we went over to Queensland and we got towelled up on the day, so we wanted to show that we learned something and could go back out and execute in response against quality opposition. I think we did that."
The Giants have now lost two games this season by a total of three goals but they remain a game clear in second position.
Coach Fitzgerald's benching of Jo Harten for Brice paid dividends, but in the end it's little things she sees as costing them close games.
That included late on Saturday night, when centre Serena Guthrie left for a blood rule, then tried to come back on too early, leaving the Giants playing two possessions with just six players on the floor.
"It's just a bit of experience on our bench and Serena just being desperate to get back out there. But that's something we'll certainly be explaining and working out to make sure it doesn't happen again," Fitzgerald said.
"But we're not a perfect record and this competition is very close, and that's the way games are going."