The Melbourne Vixens have secured themselves a place in the Australian Conference finals after recording a 66-53 victory in Round 14 of the ANZ Championship against the Central Pulse at TSB Bank Arena on Monday night.
The victory saw the Vixens leapfrog the West Coast Fever into third position on the Australian Conference Ladder. The Vixens will now face the NSW Swifts in Sunday’s Elimination Final in Sydney.
“I am very excited – it took a whole team effort today, so I am really proud of the girls for doing the job,” Vixens Captain Madi Robinson said.
Robinson produced a stand out performance to be named match MVP, finishing with 18 goal assists and 24 centre pass receives. The Captain said she was looking forward to the challenge that awaits against the Swifts.
“It is going to take a consistent four quarter effort but we have been trying to build every week, so hopefully we bring our best performance and take it right up to them,” Robinson said.
Robinson was well supported in attack by Emma Ryde. Replacing the injured Karyn Bailey at Goal Shooter, the 19-year-old had a break-out match finishing with career-high 52 of 56.
“Emma was so strong today and was a great target for our feeders. I think she is only going to continue to grow week in and week out, so I cannot wait to see what she does next week,” Robinson said.
Ryde led the charge for the Vixens in the opening quarter by shooting 13 from 14 to help the visitors to a 17-14 lead at the first break.
Ryde continued her stellar form in the second quarter. Robinson and Liz Watson proved instrumental in the mid-court, setting up 197cm Ryde and Alice Teague-Neeld with pin-point feeds to ensure close-range shots.
The Vixens went into halftime leading 33-27.
Kelsey Browne replaced Liz Watson at Centre in the third quarter as the Vixens continued to capitalise on the Pulse’s high turnover count.
The Defensive trio of Geva Mentor, Jo Weston and Kate Moloney did an excellent job of restricting the potency of the Pulse’s attack to help extend the Vixens lead to 11 goals at the final break.
With a comfortable double-digit lead established, Vixens Head Coach Simone McKinnis elected to rotate the squad in the final term with Kim Commane, Chloe Watson and Emily Mannix replacing Alice Teague-Neeld, Kate Moloney and Geva Mentor.
Mannix was particularly impressive late in the game, collecting two late deflections as the Vixens cruised to a comfortable 13 goal victory.
Emma Ryde 52/56 (93%)
Alice Teague-Neeld 13/14 (93%)
Kim Commane 1/1 (100%)
Maia Wilson 36/40 (90%)
Ameliaranne Wells 11/13 (85%)
Te Amo Amaru-Tibble 6/7 (86%)