The Melbourne Vixens have been outclassed by defending champions the Queensland Firebirds, going down 56-44 in their Round Ten ANZ Championship clash at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday night.
Karyn Bailey 19/25 (76%)
Alice Teague-Neeld 11/17 (65%)
Kim Commane 14/19 (74%)
Romelda Aiken 39/43 (91%)
Gretel Tippett 17/23 (74%)
Speaking to the Vixens experienced defender Geva Mentor after the match, she said, “As a team we are really disappointed in the way we started the match today. We have been talking all season about stringing together four good quarters and you just can’t start a game the way we did tonight.
“I thought we actually did some good work in the first and second quarters, we manage to stick in the game being four-goals down at halftime. It’s a tough job in the back to try and get the ball off Romelda [Aiken] and Gretel [Tippett], however, as a team we kept being persistent and it was unfortunate that the score line did blowout in the end.
“We need to stick together as a team, learn from the things that didn’t go to plan out there tonight and make sure we come out firing next week.”
The Vixens struggled to match the high-intensity displayed by the Queensland Firebirds in the opening minutes of the match.
A high penalty count coupled with missed opportunities in the Vixens’ attacking circle saw the Firebirds score the first five-goals of the game. Vixens youngster Alice Teague-Neeld ended the scoring drought after five minutes, however, was soon replaced by shooter Kim Commane.
The Vixens were trailing 11-6 as they approached the end of the first quarter. A lift in intensity had the Vixens close the gap by two-goals only eight minutes into the second quarter.
Jamaican import Romelda Aiken was at her ultimate, shooting a perfect 19/19 to lead the hosts to a 25-21 lead at halftime.
Talking about Mentor’s match-up against the Firebirds rock-in-defence Aiken, she added, “It’s about engaging my smarts as a player rather than my physical attributes in order to shut her down, she has got me covered on height and jump.
Tonight I was trying to focus on what I could do in the back in order to create a bit of confusion around her, I was also trying to go for any loose balls that were around.”
Inaccurate shooting continued to hold back the Vixens at start of the second half as the Firebirds established a game-high nine-goal lead eight minutes into the third quarter.
The reigning premiers proved too strong for the Vixens on this occasion, extending their lead in the final quarter to record a comfortable 12-goal victory.
The Vixens will now return to Melbourne to host the Northern Mystics at Hisense Arena on Sunday 12 June from 12pm AEST.
Melbourne Vixens' squad v Queensland Firebirds
Saturday 4 June 2016, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
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 [57-51 Vixens]
Saturday 4 June: Vixens v Firebirds, Gold Coast, QLD [44-56 Firebirds]
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
Follow the team's results on Twitter by following @MelbourneVixens and using #PowerTogether.