Overtime heartbreak for the Suns
THE Coffs Harbour Suns were so close to clinching the Waratah League title but were denied late in an overtime thriller.
Chasing the Division 1 Women's title for the fourth time in seven years, the match against Bathurst went into overtime after the Goldminers scored with only 5.1 seconds remaining to tie the game up at 60-all.
The Suns had the better of the contest early, leading by three points at quarter time and 11 points at the main break.
Bathurst fought back in the third quarter to cut the margin back to four points after three quarters.
From that moment on nerves were jangling and heartbeats were racing in a tense finish.
Matilda Flood opened the overtime scoring for bathurst but Jessi Reeves hit a sweet two points barely 15 seconds later to tie up the scores again.
Rachel Murray restored a two point lead for the Goldminers which they held on to until there was a tick under two minutes remaining.
With tensions high Murray drew a foul. Not happy with the attention she pushed Felicity Cook to the floor to gain an unsportsmanlike conduct foul, meaning both Murray and Cook would have two free throws each.
Murray missed both her attempts from the penalty stripe while Cook nailed her first shot but missed the second to make it one point ball game in Bathurst's favour.
Coffs hit the lead with 1:41 left when Laura Bamford-Cleland nailed a vital two pointer.
On the next possession Murray again drew a foul and again missed both her shots meaning the Suns still held on to a one point lead.
Rachael McGinniskin drew a foul as the clock counted down to 71 seconds remaining but the Suns centre was unable to extend the lead.
Bathurst centre Haylee Lepaio was a force throughout the match and she tied up the scores after making one of her two free throws when the referee blew a 50:50 call in her favour against McGinniskin for her fifth personal.
Reeves grabbed the rebound with 55 seconds remaining after Lepaio missed the second shot and the Suns, after some desperate play by Jordon Woods got the ball to Bamford-Cleland, once again had a two point lead with 38 seconds remaining when Bamford-Cleland nailed a shot fron the base line.
Woods' courage saw her leave the court to receive treatment.
Bathurst grabbed the lead with 24 seconds left on the clock when Lepaio was strong inside to score two points and draw a foul in the act of shooting from Ashleigh Fasala.
The free throw was made giving the Goldminers the lead.
Coffs had one more possession to win the game but couldn't come up with the winning play or the offensive rebound to have a last crack.
Lepaio was again fouled with only 0.3 seconds left on the clock and made one of the free throws to see the score become 69-37 in Bathurst's favour.
There wasn't enough time left for the Suns to even attempt a Hail Mary shot at victory.