We made it five wins on the trot and cemented our place at the top of the ladder on Sunday afternoon, defeating Sunshine Coast Lightning (64-60) at John Cain Arena on Wurundjeri Country in First Nations Round.
We got off to a hot start, nailing the first three goals of the opening term to set the tone. The intensity was right up in defence with Emily Mannix and Kate Eddy getting hands to ball as we pushed out to a six-goal lead. Liz Watson’s workrate was front and centre, collecting 12 feeds in the first 15 minutes as we entered quarter time up by six goals.
The Lightning made a couple of changes with former Vixen, Kadie-Ann Dehaney coming on to combat Mwai Kumwenda under the post. Kate Moloney impressed with her defensive hustle, chasing down every loose ball while Kiera Austin kept her intercept streak going as we extended our lead to eight goals. The rotating circle of Cara Koenen, Steph Wood and Reilly Batcheldor proved to be problematic as they reduced the margin to three goals at the main break.
Jo Weston started the third on fire picking up consecutive intercepts as we re-established a five-goal lead. The momentum continued to ebb and flow as Koenen impressed under the post for the Lightning. Simone McKinnis shuffled her midcourt with Moloney pushing to wing defence, Watson moving to centre and Hannah Mundy entering the game at wing attack to provide some fresh legs.
Our seven-goal lead quickly evaporated with inaccuracy marring the opening few minutes of the last quarter, while Wood and Koenen found the net with ease. Mundy was strong around circle edge while down back Mannix and Weston picked up a wealth of ball. The momentum swung back and forth as Mannix dialled up the heat to guide us to a momentous win.
Head coach McKinnis was proud of the effort the team put in throughout the four quarters.
“I think we had a good start to the game. I really enjoyed the start, you look at that last quarter and you look at the fight, the composure, and the heart they put in against Lightning,” she said.
We hit the road for the final time in the home and away season next week, when we take on Adelaide Thunderbirds in Round 13 on Saturday 4 June.
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