Sunshine Coast Lightning have leapt into top spot on the Super Netball ladder with one regular-season round remaining after a dramatic 56-55 win over Melbourne Vixens.
After trailing for the majority of the Sunday's clash at Melbourne Arena, Stephanie Wood capped a stunning comeback with the winning goal in the final seconds to secure the Lightning's seventh win on the trot.
The result put Sunshine Coast two points clear of the NSW Swifts at the top of the ladder with the minor premiership up for grabs in next week's final round, when they at home against lowly-ranked Adelaide Thunderbirds.
The Swifts will be at home against last-placed Queensland Firebirds.
Needing a victory to remain in the hunt for a top-two finish, the Vixens came out firing on Sunday as they jumped out to a 10-goal lead.
But the two-time defending champions gradually reeled in the third-placed Vixens, Wood securing their first lead with five minutes to play before nailing the match-winner.
The defensive tandem of Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius kept the Lightning in the contest after the Vixens' fast start, while Ugandan shooter Peace Proscovia came off the interchange to finish with 33 goals from 34 attempts.
Caitlin Thwaites (24 goals) and Tegan Philip (26) were on song early but the Vixens were overrun despite a powerhouse performance from midcourter Liz Watson (30 goal assists).
Melbourne opened with the first three goals of the match and with Thwaites and Philip clicking in attack, they stretched their advantage to 17-11 after one quarter.
The Vixens increased that lead to 10 goals in the second term but a late lapse proved costly as the Lightning fought back to cut the lead to 31-25 at halftime, denying the home side a crucial bonus point in the process.
The Vixens appeared to regain momentum in the third quarter but the Lightning refused to buckle as Proscovia and Wood found their range, closing the margin to 45-41 to set up a thrilling conclusion.
Australian Associated Press