The Fever downed the Giants 66-65 in a controversial finish, with the Fever’s Jhaniele Fowler breaking the deadlock after the final whistle, after drawing a penalty.
With the scores locked at 65-all and just 10 seconds left on the clock, Harten made what appeared to be the shot to put the Giants in front, only for the goal to be disallowed when she was called for a held ball. Players have three seconds to pass or shoot after taking possession of the ball.
After the game, Harten posted to Instagram the vile messages she had received on social media, with so-called ‘fans’ turning nasty after the loss.
The Giants star, a member of England’s Commonwealth Games gold medal winning side in 2018, had a simple, and classy, response.
“Love me or hate me, I compete hard for 60 mins, but no one deserves this,” Harten wrote.
Harten’s post drew immediate reaction from a number of Fever players.
“What a bitter and unacceptable note to end a competitive game on!,” wrote West Coast’s Stacey Francis, an England teammate of Harten’s.
“@Jarten may have been an opponent tonight, but she is also my friend and someone whom I respect greatly. Unfortunately this happens far too often, I don’t accept it and applaud her for calling this out! #shameful”
Fever captain Courtney Bruce, who as goal-keeper marked Harten during the match, was another to come out in support of the Giants star.
“This is NEVER ok! This behaviour is extremely unacceptable & shouldn’t be tolerated!” she wrote.
“First & foremost @Jarten is a human then an athlete (a great one) & these comments hurt, words have consequences!! Good on her for calling it out, enough is enough!”
The Fever scored seven of the last 10 goals to snatch the victory, their fifth win from as many games this season, while Harten missed three consecutive shots during the final quarter.
The Giants, however, remain top of the table, having won four of their five matches. That’s due to the fact the Fever have been docked 12 competition points (equivalent to three wins) for salary cap breaches last season.
“Full credit to Giants, the way they were able to slow our game down. I think they were really methodical with how they played the ball obviously,” Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich said.
“I just thought we were slow to get going today, not just the first quarter, but getting momentum through the game. It was a bit stop-start.
“I think it was great to see when it counts our girls played really good unit defence and I thought we played safe with the ball when we needed to stick it in the hands.”
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