Leeds Rhinos outplayed Saracens Mavericks in what head coach Dan Ryan called a “significant” moment in their maiden Superleague campaign.
Ryan said his side had been “searching for that type of moment to catapult our season forward.”
Rhinos, who are seven points off a play-off spot, have beaten a side above them in the league for the first time.
“Every player was on top of their game – we need to enjoy this moment,” added Ryan.
Meanwhile, league leaders Team Bath overcame a significantly improved Celtic Dragons who remain bottom of the table, and second-placed Loughborough Lightning continued their chase for top spot with a 52-42 win over Wasps.
Strathclyde Sirens beat Severn Stars for the second time this season, running out 45-37 winners to record their fifth victory of the campaign.
In Monday’s fixtures, Wasps play their second game of the round against Severn Stars, while London Pulse will hope to pull away from Surrey Storm, who are only currently separated by goal difference.
Manchester Thunder sat this week out and will return in Round 13.
Wins for Bath, Lightning & Sirens
As the season passes the halfway point and the teams adjust to a new setting at the Copper Box, after the first half of the season was played at Wakefield’s Studio 001, gaps are beginning to emerge between the top, middle and bottom of the league.
Dragons, still searching for a win this season, looked rejuvenated after a two-week break as they started quickly and led Bath by one goal at half-time, holding them to six goals in the second quarter.
But the leaders showed their prowess in the circle with shooters Kim Borger and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis leading the charge, thwarting any hope of a an upset and ensuring Bath remain three points clear at the top.
A strong start and finish was enough for Sara Bayman’s Lightning, who appeared emotional after the loss of in-form wing attack Hannah Joseph to an ankle injury, to overcome fellow top-four opposition Wasps, who face Stars on Monday.
Lightning lost only the second quarter, asserting their authority in the other three as the league’s top goalscorer Mary Cholhok added an impressive 43 goals to her already significant season’s total of 439.
Despite the return of mid-court maestro Liana Leota, Stars fell short against Sirens, who were missing goal attack Bethan Goodwin, but had done enough in the first half to prevent a tied second half from influencing the overall result.
Game of the week – Mavericks 48-63 Rhinos
The last time these two sides met in February, Rhinos lost three of their starting players to injury – including shooting sensation Donnell Wallam – but a confident performance from the Yorkshire franchise secured them their biggest win of the season.
Mavericks, who remain without defensive stalwart Razia Quashie through injury, struggled to build momentum and trailed by four goals after the first quarter.
By half-time, Rhinos had built an 11-goal lead as the mid-court fed shooters Rhea Dixon and Wallam, who scored a staggering 54 goals, missing only one shot all game.
Kadeen Corbin’s move to goalkeeper, a position she had not played for several years, for the third quarter disrupted Wallam’s flow – but Mavericks were unable to match the Rhinos’ momentum and despite making wholesale changes, were beaten convincingly by Dan Ryan’s side.
A win for Mavericks would have put them back in serious contention for a top four spot, particularly as closest rivals Wasps dropped points to Lightning, but they now sit three points adrift of the play-off spots.
Results & fixtures
Sunday, 25 April
Celtic Dragons 34-51 Team Bath
Severn Stars 37-45 Strathclyde Sirens
Saracens Mavericks 48-63 Leeds Rhinos
Wasps 42-52 Loughborough Lightning
Monday, 26 April
Wasps v Severn Stars
Surrey Storm v London Pulse