WELLINGTON, - The tenacious Adelaide Thunderbirds broke the hearts of the Central Pulse with the final shot of their trans-Tasman league game, winning 45-44 in Wellington.
Goal shoot Carla Borrego rebounded two of her own missed shots and nailed the third with one second remaining to snatch victory for the defending champions in a thrilling finale to the first round.
It was the first time the Thunderbirds had led since midway through the opening quarter.
The Pulse kept their nose in front through most of a tense second half before their Silver Ferns goal shoot Irene van Dyk was called for a penalty when lining up a shot with 50sec remaining.
The visitors pounced, scoring twice through Borrego to silence a large crowd.
It capped a superb comeback from 17-10 down early in the second quarter, also defying a heavy penalty count against them.
The result was a jarring one for the Pulse, regarded by many as New Zealand's best prospects in this year's 10-team league.
Their coach Robyn Broughton said before the game they needed to learn how to win tight matches.
Pulse captain Katrina Grant said her team shouldn't be too downcast despite squandering a chance to beat Adelaide for just the second time in seven meetings.
"We can take positives from a close game," she said.
Thunderbirds counterpart Renee Hallinan said her team had planned for a 60-minute battle so it was no surprise the game went down to the wire.
"We practise those exact situations so I'm really pleased that it helped us out."