Southern Tigers 61 | North Adelaide Rockets 67
North Adelaide are the first side in the Women’s 2017 Premier League Grand Final, recording a Jo Hill-inspired victory over an erratic Southern at Morphett Vale on Saturday Night.
The former Opals star accumulated 18 points, 11 boards and 5 steals, and was at her commanding best in the final minutes as the Rockets made a vital late run to take the win.
Up 56-49 with under 6:00 remaining in the fourth, the Tigers were left shell-shocked after Hill and Opal Mader (11 points) pioneered an awesome four-minute 13-point run, completely reversing the score-line.
Despite a drought-breaking jumper from Skinner, the match slipped away from Southern, eventually losing out by six.
“We just had to dig deep,” said Hill.
“You find things wherever you can.
“We hadn’t beaten (Southern) all year and to beat them tonight and go straight into the grand final was fantastic.”
It was an impressive start for the home side, who built a seven-point lead in the first term through strong transition plays and the presence of Mollie McKendrick (12 points).
North coach Brenton Johnstone was particularly livid on the sidelines, and the visitors responded accordingly, taking the lead late in the second before Norrisha Victrum buried a crowd-taming layup as time expired.
Victrum celebrated with a huge fist-pump and roar, knowing how much it meant to have a four-point lead at the half after a dominant quarter.
The third term saw the margin chop-and-change, as Raynisha Washington fired consecutive baskets to place the lead back in the hands of the hosts.
Tayla Corrigan (11 points) restored the lead for the away side, before Hill ensured they entered the final term ahead, 41-44.
Jemma Thacker (10 points, 8 boards) was the catalyst in a 13-2 run for the Tigers at the start of the final period, as they built that seemingly dominant seven-point lead.
But a quality jumper from the brilliant veteran kick-started the match-winning streak that left the hosts in their wake, with a difficult Preliminary Final against an in-form Norwood outfit to suit up for.