The Vixens came off second best against a resilient NSW Swifts side on Saturday night, going down by a single goal at Ken Rosewall Arena.
In a see-sawing match fought with the intensity and physicality of a final, the Vixens have endured a second tough loss on the road.
Q1 | Swifts 15 - 16 Vixens
The Vixens were quick to make their presence felt, with Kiera Austin immediately snatching an intercept off the Swifts’ very first centre pass. Both teams looked to move straight through the centre of the court, quickly finding their goalers with just a few passes. The Vixens took the aerial approach which paid dividends for MJ Kumwenda, who was near unbeatable in the air. Liv Lewis got her chance in the starting seven and took on the challenge of shutting down Romelda Aiken-George. Muscling into the contest, Liv’s persistence paid off with an intercept and two deflections in the first fifteen minutes. Jo Weston kept Helen Housby quiet, but the Swifts mounted a comeback late in the quarter to reduce the Vixens’ lead to a single goal at quarter time.
Q2 | Swifts 30 - 30 Vixens
The second quarter began in much the same way as the first, with neither team dropping their intensity. Momentum was all with the Swifts to start, stealing the lead early in the piece. MJ was tenacious under the post with some strong rebounds, and Liv continued to turn up the pressure at the other end of the court. Kate Eddy proved ever-reliable in the chaos of the fast-paced midcourt, while co-captains Kate Moloney and Liz Watson showed they were determined to match the Swifts’ physicality, consistently putting their bodies on the line for a loose ball. Kip kept her composure in the circle to keep the Vixens in the game, while an almighty leap from Liv Lewis in the dying seconds of the quarter denied the Swifts the lead, keeping scores locked at 30-all.
Q3 | Swifts 46 - 52 Vixens
Each team traded blows to begin the second half, before the long arms of Jo Weston broke through with a handy deflection. That turnover was quickly consolidated by another intercept from Liv, who came out flying to snatch the ball away from a waiting Housby. The Vixens looked to make the most of their chances, taking a five-goal lead. Liv was the star of the show in the third, her impressive elevation often catching the Swifts unawares. The Power Five brought some late super shots for the Swifts, but Kip wasn’t to be beaten in the white arch, keeping the Vixens’ lead at six goals with one quarter to play.
Q4 | Swifts 67 - 66 Vixens
A first centre pass with two turnovers served as the indicator for how the final fifteen minutes would be played, as a drama-filled fourth quarter unfolded. Eddy made Maddy Proud and Paige Hadley work for their feeds, but a few costly turnovers saw the Swifts make up the deficit and breakaway to a two goal lead. Despite a super shot from MJ in the last minutes of play, it wasn’t enough to catch the home side, who claimed victory by just one goal.
THE COACH SAYS
Head coach Simone McKinnis noted the swing in momentum that allowed the Swifts to re-enter the contest.
“There were a couple of moments in there when we stopped what was working really well for us… we just got a bit one-dimensional. The game was there to be had, well played from the Swifts, some of our errors handed a bit of momentum back to them.” she said.
The Vixens return to John Cain Arena to take on the Queensland Firebirds on Saturday 29 April at 5pm.
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