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Melbourne Vixens continued their impressive unbeaten run with a classy 48-34 win over Adelaide Thunderbirds, in Adelaide today.
The match-up between the two unbeaten teams was made sweeter for Vixens who achieved their third straight win on the road as they clinically dissected Thunderbirds on their home court.
Apart from a brief third quarter flurry, by which time it was largely too little too late, the home team were on the back foot against the well-drilled team from Melbourne.
Clinically efficient from end to end, Vixens quickly asserted an air of control over the match. There was little to fault from the visitors from the outset, a complete team effort complementing the efficiency of their all-round play.
The midcourt pairing of Chelsey Tregear and Madison Browne were a class act in penetrating the attacking third and delivering quality ball to shooters Kate Beveridge and Tegan Caldwell. At the other end, the quality Vixens defensive trio of Geva Mentor, Bianca Chatfield and Julie Corletto did an expert job of slowing down and at times halting Thunderbirds momentum.
It resulted in a shaky start by the home team, turnover ball and missed goals not helping their cause as Vixens went to the first break with a 14-9 lead.
It was more of the same on the resumption, Vixens tightening the screws as the home team struggled to make any impact. The tall figure of shooter Carlo Borrego, usually such a pivotal target for the Thunderbirds, was kept unusually quiet through the sterling efforts of Mentor, who was in outstanding form.
At the other end, there were no such problems with Caldwell continuing her excellent early season form. The athletic goal attack provided a strong link on attack while completing a perfect first half with 17 goals from 17 attempts.
It was all one way traffic with Thunderbirds unable to stem Vixens flow. They also struggled on attack with ill-directed passes and missed goals adding to the frustration.
Restricting the home team to just six goals, Vixens were in the box seat when they went to the main break with a 27-15 lead.
With no changes to either team, it was a fired up Thunderbirds who returned to the court on the resumption. Lifting their intensity and holding on to the ball for longer periods, shooters Borrego and Erin Bell helped Thunderbirds trim the margin.
Thunderbirds won the quarter 13-9, Vixens withstanding the barrage to keep their noses in front and still in control when leading 36-28 at the last break.
The 1.92m Karyn Howarth replaced Caldwell, for Vixens, in the run home but any chance of an unlikely Thunderbirds comeback, was undone by the return of too many errors. Mentor continued to add to Thunderbirds misery with a string of intercepts to complete an impressive outing.
Note: Image used from 2011 ANZ Championship season