Match preview: Vixens v Fever

4 years ago

Finals have come early for the Melbourne Vixens and it starts with a critical match-up against the ladder-leading West Coast Fever at Margaret Court Arena on Sunday.

With three rounds left, the Vixens trail the NSW Swifts in third place in the Australian Conference by three premiership points, with the knowledge that the two sides will meet in the penultimate round.

It means the Vixens must have a do-or-die, elimination final attitude to their remaining fixtures – and some reliance on the Swifts' results – starting with meeting the Fever at home.

The two sides have already met this year, with the then-undefeated Fever re-writing history to win their second-ever match against the defending premiers.

West Coast's danger lies predominantly within their front-court led by Diamonds shooter, Caitlin Bassett who trails only Jhaniele Fowler-Reid in the competition for goals (432) at 81.6 per cent accuracy.

Add to that are the Fever's two link players in captain Natalie Medhurst and Khao Watts, who share 207 assists between them.

The Fever however are coming off just their first loss of the season, having their almost season-long hold of the Challenge Trophy stripped from them by the Queensland Firebirds.

The match is the first two matches at Margaret Court Arena and is potentially the second-last match in Melbourne for the retiring Bianca Chatfield. Add to the motivation of a berth, slim may it be, in the finals, expect the Vixens to stretch the extra yard in front of home fans.

LAST MEETING: Rd 6, 2015: Fever 53 def Vixens 47, Perth

  • The Vixens have won six of the seven encounters between the two sides in Melbourne by an average margin of 17.8 goals. Fever's only victory, which was their first ever over the Vixens, came in Round 8, 2010 when they triumphed 56-53.
  • This will be the second of three ANZ Championship matches played this season inside Margaret Court Arena, which is located in the Melbourne and Olympic Parks sports precinct. The Vixens defeated the Mojo Pulse 64-40 in the opening match of the season. They will play the NSW Swifts at the venue in Round 13.
  • Fever is coming off their first defeat of the 2015 season and first loss since losing to the SKYCITY Mystics in Round 13 last year.
  • The Vixens are averaging 58.5 goals against New Zealand sides in 2015 but just 46 goals from six matches against their Australian Conference rivals. They are yet to score 50 goals in a match against an Australian team this season with 48 their best – against the Adelaide Thunderbirds (Round 2) and the Mission Queensland Firebirds (Round 7).
  • The Vixens average 60.1 goals a match against the Fever in Melbourne while West Coast averages only 45.3 goals. They have only shot more than 50 goals once from their seven previous trips whereas the Vixens have never scored below 50 goals.

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