A stunning 6-17 first quarter has seen the Vixens hold on in a thrilling finish to defeat the Lightning on Sunday afternoon, claiming their first win on the road for the season.
A defensive masterclass from Emily Mannix and an after the siren super shot from Kiera Austin for the second week straight handed the Vixens a one-goal win at UniSC Arena on Gubbi Gubbi Country (61-62), giving the Vixens a bit of breathing room on the ladder as they move three games clear of the fifth-placed Lightning.
Q1 | Lightning 6-17 Vixens
Mannix (2 intercepts) set the tone early, forcing a turnover to give us a narrow lead then another which we consolidated thanks to some patient work on transition and slick ball movement. Her defensive partner Jo Weston claimed another and Lightning took a tactical timeout to reset, before a rejected shot from Mannix over Steph Wood and another conversion put us eight goals up (2-10) halfway through the term. Liz Watson and Kate Moloney were in tune from the outset, connecting with precision passes around circle edge to open space for Austin (13/14) and MJ Kumwenda (45/48) at the post.
Q2 | Lightning 20-30 Vixens
The home side steadied out of the first break and pulled a raft of positional changes, disrupting our momentum and holding the margin around 10 goals for the duration of the term. Kate Eddy made life difficult for the Lightning feeders, getting arms over everything and forcing resets around circle edge, while Weston (2 intercepts, 5 deflections) kept the pressure up including a neat intercept up against the sideline in the final minute. Eventual MVP Kumwenda was composed as ever against former teammate Kadie-Ann Dehaney, getting on the move to own the goal line and sinking 23 from 25 in the first half.
Q3 | Lightning 37-47 Vixens
The sides couldn’t be split before the super shot period, just one centre pass break converted in an otherwise goal-for-goal contest. Suffocating defensive work through the centre third from both sides made for tough work on transition, Watson and Austin working hard to disrupt the Lightning’s ball movement, before two super shots from Wood ate into the margin. Liv Lewis came on for Mannix with a few minutes remaining, and in a preview of things to come, Austin landed a super shot after the siren to restore the 10-goal buffer.
Q4 | Lightning 61-62 Vixens
Mannix returned to goal keeper with 10 minutes to go, Koenen and Wood having returned to their usual positions. Moloney steadied in her trademark workhorse role through the middle, despite Lightning upping their pressure in defence and forcing some turnovers to eat into our lead. The home side brought the deficit back to five ahead of the super shot period, while we called a tactical timeout and pulled a midcourt reshuffle - Hannah Mundy on in wing attack, Watson to centre, Moloney to wing defence and Eddy to the bench. Wood landed four consecutive super shots to give her side the lead for the first time, but Austin repeated her heroics from last week, landing a super shot after the final whistle to put us back in front by the barest of margins.
The Vixens head home to John Cain Arena to face the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Saturday 20 May at 7pm.
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