The Melbourne Vixens have claimed a third consecutive victory, defeating Sunshine Coast Lightning 60-56 at John Cain Arena on Wurundjeri Country.
As both the Vixens and Lightning looked to cement their positions in the top four, it was the Vixens who converted their chances and stormed home to claim a four-goal win on Saturday night.
Q1 | Vixens 15 - 17 Lightning
The Vixens started the match with aggressive pace and high energy, and it was clear they were looking to take the game head on. Hannah Mundy shot out of the blocks in wing attack, her smooth passing providing some early feeds to MJ Kumwenda. Lightning had a chance to break away after some early turnovers, but a late super shot from MJ kept the Vixens hot on their heels heading into the first break.
Q2 | Vixens 31 - 33 Lightning
A turnover from the very first centre pass got the Vixens right back into the contest, levelling the scores. Jo Weston kept up her good form from last week, providing a few handy deflections to keep Lightning’s goalers on their toes. Cara Koenen proved a challenge, her calm presence under the post a consistent asset for the Lightning. A timeout saw Liv Lewis come onto the court in goal keeper and she had an immediate impact, quickly causing a turnover. The reinvigorated Vixens’ full-court defence kept the pressure on, and eventually their hard work paid off. A flurry of late super shots and some slick feeds and shooting from Kiera Austin saw the Vixens cut the deficit to two goals at the main break.
Q3 | Vixens 47 - 45 Lightning
Kate Eddy stepped on in wing defence after the half time break, with Liz Watson moving to wing attack and Kate Moloney to centre. Karla Pretorius and Kadie-Ann Dehaney caused some headaches for our attack, but MJ and Kip kept their cool under the post. The teams traded goals for much of the third term, but a costly turnover from the Lightning saw the Vixens level the scores with three minutes to play. A scrappy last minute of play went the way of the home side, and the Vixens hit the front.
Q4 | Vixens 60 - 56 Lightning
With everything to play for in the last quarter, both teams came out firing. Emily Mannix returned as goal keeper and set up a crucial turnover for the Vixens in the first five minutes of play. Liz was polished as ever dominating circle edge, her feeds finding Kip effortlessly. Jo and MJ were the stars of the rebound battles at either end of the court, while Keddy and Moloney proved a menace for the Lightning attack between the transverse and top of circle. Em is becoming a true fourth-quarter specialist, taking incredible intercepts and disrupting the flow of play between Annie Miller and Koenen at critical moments. The momentum was all with the Vixens heading into the final Power Five of the match. Despite some late super shots from the Lightning, the Vixens held firm and played out the final minutes with their trademark composure in front of a thrilled home crowd.
THE COACH SAYS
Head coach Simone McKinnis was impressed with her side’s ability to adapt throughout the match, and is looking forward to the challenge of facing the Adelaide Thunderbirds next week.
“We got some reward defensively, I think our defensive pressure really lifted in that second half, and we were a little bit smarter with the use of our ball.” she said.
“We’ll talk through today’s match and take out of it what we need to… we’ve got to back our own game and go over there [Adelaide] to enjoy the challenge.”
The Vixens hit the road again, heading to Adelaide next Saturday 15 April to take on the Thunderbirds at Netball SA Stadium on Kaurna Country.
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