Game 5 - Melbourne Vixens v NSW Swifts
The Melbourne Vixens suffered their first and only loss as the ANZ Championship Summer Shootout drew to a close, falling to the NSW Swifts 46-49 this afternoon.
It was a tale of two halves as both sides' coaches utilised their final opportunity to experiment with combinations in the lead up to the 2015 ANZ Championship in just three weeks time.
"It's a huge experience (the Summer Shootout) and a huge occasion for the new girls, which is really important for us," Vixens coach Simone McKinnis said.
"We've got work to do. Even from today, things like bringing the ball along the court in transition. There are things to get better at.
"But that's the point of the weekend. We were able to identify those areas and I think we're going to get better and better."
The Vixens flew out of the blocks jumping out to a five-goal lead at quarter time off the back of strong shooting from Karyn Bailey and Alice Teague-Neeld, plus superb court control from Liz Watson and Madi Robinson.
The Vixens would push the lead out to nine, midway through the second term, before having their consistent shooting that was on display earlier, seemingly dessert them.
Led by energetic defender, Sharni Layton and cool mid-courter Paige Hadley, the Swifts went on an 11-goal-to-5 rampage to draw back to three goals at half time.
Further changes from coach McKinnis saw a younger Vixens seven take to the court. However, they were powerless to stop a Swifts side buoyed on by their home supporters as they grabbed a one-goal lead at the final change.
It would be a lead the home side would maintain as the Vixens continued to shoot themselves in the foot with inconsistent shooting and soft penalties in their defensive third.
Despite the result, McKinnis said she was very upbeat after gauging all of her players in match conditions over the past three days.
"I'm very happy (about the weekend as a whole)," McKinnis said.
"I thought across the weekend, we did things really well and then there were other areas in which we struggled.
"I'm just really happy with the group as a whole. It's a full weekend, it's a busy weekend.
"There's lots of netball and everyone has their individual physical challenges in terms of managing injury.
"The way they've been able to work together and coordinate the line-ups and the changes, and be really professional has been really pleasing for me."
The Vixens finish the 2015 Summer Shootout with four wins and a loss from five games, on a level record with the Swifts. The West Coast Fever were the only team to go through the weekend undefeated.
Coach McKinnis also confirmed that rested goaler Tegan Caldwell was on track to return to action in time for the Vixens' Round 1 clash against the Mojo Pulse at Margaret Court Arena on March 1.