With the Vixens leading by 12 goals at three-quarter time, the game was effectively over as both coaches rung the changes.
It made little difference to the talent-stacked Vixens who pressed home their advantage by withstanding a last quarter fight back from the visitors. It was not vintage Vixens but the Melbourne side exhibited patches of class in recording their sixth win of the competition.
Fever lacked consistency in a faltering display and were constantly stymied in their attempts to get the ball to the reliable Caitlin Bassett, who was the most accurate shooter on the day with 35 goals from 37 attempts.
Making the most of a number of early intercepts and turnovers, the Vixens stamped their intent from the outset.
The home team controlled possession through all areas of the court as captain Sharelle McMahon returned to her sparkling best. The goal attack’s explosiveness was evident from the outset as she showcased her speed on the drive and precision timing in the circle.
In combination with her shooting partner Caitlin Thwaites, the pair provided pinpoint accuracy under the hoop. In other areas defenders Julie Prendergast and Bianca Chatfield slowed the Fever’s attackers with a strong showing and Natasha Chokljat continued her good form with speed and vision through the midcourt.
Too many basic turnovers from the Fever helped the Vixens to a 17-11 first quarter lead. Maintaining a slight edge through the second quarter, the Vixens were unable to take complete control as their own error rate mounted.
Towering Fever shooter Bassett proved her worth with a reliable conversion rate but was forced to carry too much of the load for the visitors and lacked a steady supply of ball. Fever centre Stacey Rosman won some handy possession on the edge of the Vixens’ circle but time and again the visitors lost the ball on attack with some reckless passing and poor timing.
The Vixens were far from error-free but with more ball to play with and better finishing were comfortably placed 30-22 at halftime.
A string of eight unanswered goals early in the third quarter set the Vixens up for a commanding lead as their greater player power provided the polish.
As the quarter wound down both sets of defences fell away slightly. The ball flowed more freely from end-to-end, leaving respective goal shooters Thwaites and Bassett to trade goals. The Fever ended the third quarter the stronger with four straight goals but with the Vixens leading 44-32, the damage had been done.
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