A season-defining crossroads greets both the Melbourne Vixens and the Southern Steel in their Round 8 clash at Hisense Arena tomorrow.
It's been a hard month for the Vixens with away losses to the Adelaide Thunderbirds and West Coast Fever, plus last week's home loss to the Queensland Firebirds and adjusting to life without star wing attack Madi Robinson.
Kelsey Browne was named earlier this week by coach Simone McKinnis as replacement player for the team and will stay with the Vixens for the remainder of the 2015 campaign.
The Steel look set to be locked in a battle for third in the New Zealand Conference ladder with the Mojo Pulse and need the win for confidence just as much as breathing space.
Their only two wins have come against the Mainland Tactix, including a record-setting 84-58 thumping in Christchurch just a fortnight ago.
The other win, back in Round 2, has seen the visitors experience just as difficult recent stretch highlighted by laying claims to the worst defensive record in the competition, conceding 61 goals per game.
Relying heavily on 198cm goaler Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, the Jamaican currently sits second on the ANZ Championship scorers list for the 2015 season, and needs just 16 goals to become the fastest player to reach 1500 goals in ANZ Championship history - which has been easy pickings for opposing sides aiming to deny Fowler-Reid's supply.
In the case of the Vixens - still the best defensive team in the competition, conceding just 47 goals per game - added responsibility will be on Steel goal attack Ta Paea Selby-Rickitt to move away from her regular pass-assist game, and focus on putting more shots up.
With the match poising to be Vixens shooter Karyn Bailey's 50th ANZ Championship match, the result, and how they construct the result will be key for the reigning champions as they look toward a new on-court seven to take them forward.
LAST MEETING: Rd 14, 2014: Steel 65 def Vixens 64, Invercargill
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