Preseason champions Queensland Firebirds slumped to a 0-3 start to the trans-Tasman netball series after suffering a heart-breaking 41-40 loss to Adelaide on Sunday afternoon.
Thunderbirds goaler Carla Borrego won the battle of the Jamaican shooters as Romelda Aiken tried valiantly but was unable to haul her winless team over the line.
Both finished with 32 goals but Borrego’s far-superior accuracy was a major factor in Adelaide’s first win of the season at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
In Sunday’s other match-up, the New South Wales Swifts needed extra time in Christchurch to dispatch the Canterbury Tactix 56-53.
The home side outscored the undefeated Swifts 12-9 in the final quarter to send the game to a fifth period tied at 45-45.
Susan Pratley hit 31 of her 36 shot attempts and was ably assisted by Catherine Cox, who scored 21 points on 36 shots.
In Brisbane, Aiken had two chances to level the match in the last minute but missed with both shots before Adelaide ran the clock out.
It snuffed out a fine fightback after the Firebirds trailed by three going into the final quarter but reeled off the first five goals of the last term.
Firebirds star Aiken, averaging 26 goals this season compared to 44 last year, immediately put her early-season woes behind her by nailing the home side’s first three goals as they shot out to a 6-1 lead.
But Adelaide clawed its way back to trail 9-8 at quarter-time and grab the momentum in the desperate battle.
Borrego, Aiken’s predecessor as Jamaica’s goal shooter, stamped her mark on the match in a gritty second term with 15 goals at 100 percent accuracy for the Thunderbirds to lead 23-22 at the main break.
Borrego continued her rich vein of form in the third term and goal attack Kate Beveridge also picked up her act as the visitors took a 34-31 lead into the final quarter.