The Melbourne Vixens have battled against a competitive West Coast Fever side to edge one step closer to a top two finish.
The Vixens were on from the first quarter, holding the lead and claiming the win 64-52 with three bonus points.
With a hard task of a tall goal shooter and strong defence in Courtney Bruce, the Vixens were challenged early, but were quick to finish the game off together in true Vixens style.
Coach Simone McKinnis OAM was pleased with the efforts today, praising the entire team for their defensive pressure across the court.
“I thought defensively it was some of our best work, in terms of team defence and full court pressure. I was really impressed with that,” McKinnis said.
“Some great finish down in attack and some of our best attack work too.
“It’s important against a team like Fever, to have everybody doing their part, it really is critical. It’s hard work, but they did it for most part and majority of the game and to see Emily and Jo cleaning up some of those balls was great.”
“Each time we step out on court now, just really pushing the levels and the standards we can achieve ourselves, knowing that will hold us in good stead wherever that may finish.
“Going back earlier in the season, this was one of the games (over in Perth) that we were super disappointed in, so I think it was really important for us to show ourselves and turn that completely around and I thought they did that really well.”
“I think the pressure out the front from Renae, Kate and Jo and full court was really good today.”
Mwai Kumwenda returned to the court in the final moments of the last quarter, after rupturing her ACL a year ago, almost to this date (29 July).
“You have no idea how nervous she was. Everyone was so excited for her and to see her take that high ball and shoot it, that was good for her, even though it was only a couple of minutes, it’s a big step for her.”
With only three rounds to go in the home and away season, the Vixens are looking to compete against the top sides of the ladder, to head into finals with positive form.
“We’ve got two of the best teams in the competition coming up over the next two rounds and a tough one in the last round. But it’s in our hands still and it’s what we want and what we put out there each day will get us where we want to go.”
“If we want to finish top and be playing finals, we want to be embracing and stepping up and finding new levels in our performance against these top teams.”
“I think there is more there, in terms of the way we are moving the ball. I know I am a hard task master but there were patches in the third and fourth quarter I didn’t enjoy.
“Some of those little lapses we need to fix. We need to find the ability to execute across the sixty minutes, as it is going to be the difference for us and maintaining that high level and adapting to changes that might be happening around us.
Goalers, Tegan Philip and Caitlin Thwaites were on fire today, with Thwaites only missing one goal at 97% (32/33) and Philip 91% (29/32).
“Right from pre-season, we’ve been working with Caitlin moving out to goal attack, and it’s important for her to step out there and be able to play that role, and she is such a strong ball handler for us out there.”
It was a game of intercepts, with Liz Watson, Kate Moloney and Renae Ingles working hard in attack gaining one each, while Jo Weston took two game-changing intercepts that shifted the momentum.
Our Nissan Player of the Match, Emily Mannix started the day with a hard task on Fowler, but she kept her moving and was able to get a huge intercept, nine gained balls, and three deflections that put the ball back into the hands of the Vixens.
The Vixens will now head to Sydney to take on top of the ladder, the NSW Swifts on Saturday 10 August at 7pm which fans will be able to watch on Telstra TV and the Netball Live app.
They will return to Melbourne Arena on Sunday 18 August at 3pm to face the Lightning, tickets are available here.