The Melbourne Vixens have climbed to third place on the 2016 ANZ Championship ladder after defeating West Coast Fever 54-53 in a nail-biting round of the season on Saturday evening at Perth Arena.
Karyn Bailey 35/39 (89%)
Alice Teague-Neeld 19/26 (73%)
West Coast Fever
Caitlin Bassett 37/42 (88%)
Natalie Medhurst 16/18 (89%)
Speaking to Vixens goaler Karyn Bailey after the match, she said, “I have had the flu for the last couple of days and it really hit me this morning, but what a nailbiter of a match. As a shooter it’s something that you dream of playing in.
“It’s always an honour to be on court and in this position, so regardless if I’m sick I get on and do my job, I’m just stoked that we have come away with a win. We really needed this win tonight and hopefully it puts us into finals contention.”
In a battle for third spot on the 2016 ladder, it was a fast and physical first quarter clash which had both teams under pressure early on. Caitlin Bassett opened the scoring for the Fever, however, Vixens youngster Alice Teague-Neeld quickly retaliated moments later by hitting target with a hat-trick.
The Vixens’ defending duo of Geva Mentor and Jo Weston struggled to shutdown Fever’s experienced goalers Bassett and Natalie Medhurst, who extended the Fever’s lead to 15-12 at quarter time.
Carrying a significant amount of penalties into the second quarter, the Vixens struggled to find the right players at the right time.
Starting to work together as a team, captain Madi Robinson led by example mid-way through the second quarter. Robinson opened up the play and fed the ball towards their attacking circle, allowing the Vixens to narrow the Fever’s lead by 2-goals, however, it wasn’t enough to steal the lead from the hosts who were out in front 28-24 at halftime.
Returning to the court after the halftime break, neither team made changes to their original starting seven.
Showcasing more movement, better timing and teamwork from the mid-court, the Vixens managed to edge their way back into the game. Trailing one goal behind the Fever, Bailey quickly took advantage of a penalty shot and deadlocked the score 40-all on the three-quarter time siren.
In a tense fourth quarter, Bailey and Teague-Neeld proved to be a powerful combination in the Vixens’ attacking circle, converting 14 out of their 16 attacking opportunities.
Controlling the play, the Vixens continued to dominate throughout the mid-court in the dying seconds of the match. Robinson, Kate Moloney and Liz Watson were on fire, helping the Vixens to overtake the Fever and secure their fourth victory [54-53] of the season and third place on the Australian Conference ladder.
It was a milestone match for the Vixens Head Coach Simone McKinnis, who coached her 50th ANZ Championship match. McKinnis now has a record of 31 wins and 19 losses since debuting as head coach with the Vixens in 2013.
The Vixens return to Melbourne tomorrow [Sunday] in preparation for their clash against the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Margaret Court Arena on Saturday 28 May at 5pm AEST.
The Vixens will be looking to repeat their Round Two win [59- 44] earlier this year against the Thunderbirds, however, this time on their home stage in Melbourne.
Melbourne Vixens' squad v West Coast Fever
Saturday 21 May 2016, Perth Arena
Karyn Bailey (GS)
Alice Teague-Neeld (GA)
Madi Robinson (WA)
Liz Watson (C)
Kate Moloney (WD)
Jo Weston (GD)
Geva Mentor (GK
Did Not Play
Fixtures & Results
Sunday 3 April: Vixens v Swifts, Sydney, NSW [42-57 Swifts]
Sunday 10 April: Vixens v Thunderbirds, Adelaide, SA [59-44 Vixens]
Saturday 16 April: Vixens v Firebirds, Melbourne, VIC [47-58 Firebirds]
Sunday 1 May: Vixens v Magic, Melbourne, VIC [57-34 Vixens]
Monday 9 May: Vixens v Tactix, Christchurch, NZL [69-48 Vixens]
Sunday 15 May: Vixens v Swifts, Melbourne, VIC [51-59 Swifts]
Saturday 21 May: Vixens v Fever, Perth, WA [54-53 Vixens]
Saturday 28 May: Vixens v Thunderbirds, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 4 June: Vixens v Firebirds, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 12 June: Vixens v Mystics, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 19 June: Vixens v Fever, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 25 June: Vixens v Steel, Invercargill, NZL
Monday 4 July: Vixens v Pulse, Wellington, NZL