Experienced heads proved crucial for the Melbourne Vixens in helping subdue the exuberance of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 51-48 in a pulsating outing in Tauranga on Sunday.
Looking to have made a decisive move when leading by five heading into the last quarter, the Vixens faced a test of character when the Magic produced a strong push to tie the scores up with five minutes remaining.
Unflustered, the Vixens kept their cool, experience ensuring they clinched the points to remain unbeaten after securing their third successive win.
Kate Moloney was influential in bringing the ball down court and proved to be a steadying factor again in her sides win.
“It was super close, super tight but you know just so proud of the girls to fight on in the end," Moloney said.
“They came back at us in the last quarter but to be able to push on and to win by three goals is really good."
Oozing class throughout the court, the visitors realised they had a challenge on their hands, early missed opportunities under the hoop helping Magic take a narrow 13-12 lead at the first break.
The quality midcourt pairing of Liz Watson and Madi Robinson found the top of the circle more regularly, dangerous goal attack Tegan Philip becoming more involved as the Vixens worked their way back to level terms with a five-goal streak.
There was no sense of panic from either team, neither refusing to concede as the teams hit the main break all tied up at 27 goals apiece.
With the Vixens attacking end stepping up the intensity during the third stanza, the visitors slowly but surely wrested the initiative in their favour. Finding more room in the attacking third, Philip began to make her presence felt, combining fluently with shooting partner Karyn Bailey while Robinson showed her canny knack of finding her shooters in open space almost at will.
Constant pressure from midcourters Watson and Maloney helped secure turnover ball as the Vixens tightened the screws in pushing out to a 43-38 lead at the last break.
Magic shooting statistics:
Ellen Halpenny 25/34 (74%)
Malia Paseka 23/36 (64%)
Vixens shooting statistics:
Karyn Bailey 34/38 (89%)
Tegan Philip 17/25 (68%)
MVP: Karyn Bailey (Vixens)
Article: ANZ Championship