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Vixens dominate Fever to continue unbeaten start to season

9 March 2014

Melbourne Vixens (65) defeated West Coast Fever (56)

Vixens dominate Fever to continue unbeaten start to season

The Melbourne Vixens showcased their all-round abilities with a dominating 65-56 win over the West Coast Fever in Perth on Sunday.

The early morning start did little to deter the wide awake Vixens, who threatened a 30-goal winning margin after dictating all aspects for three quarters of the match.

The resting of impressive Vixens pair Karyn Bailey and Geva Mentor for the final quarter helped Fever gain some respectability. The home team finally found some form to win that stanza 19-11 - but by then the damage had already been done.

Vixens reinforced their credentials as title contenders by backing up an equally effective season-opener in notching a second straight win while Fever remain winless after two outings.

Being rewarded for her fine performance after replacing Catherine Cox in the first week, Bailey got the nod to start in Vixens second outing and continued to impress with her eye-catching form.

The visitors set the early benchmark with their speed through court and great defensive pressure to hold sway from the outset. Bailey and her shooting partner Tegan Caldwell were on song early, the Fever having few answers to their speed and accuracy in the goal circle.

The home team worked their way back into contention with a solid reply, doing the basics well to level the scores late in the opening quarter with hard-working wing defence Ashleigh Brazill playing a prominent role.

However, the Vixens offered few scraps, their tidy and accurate execution providing a late surge as they went to the first break with a slight 17-15 lead.

Looking to shore up their defensive end, Fever coach Norma Plummer introduced Courtney Bruce at goalkeeper for Josie Janz with Eboni Beckford-Chambers moving to goal defence on the resumption.

That coincided with a lift in intensity from Vixens who swung into overdrive with their methodical placement, timing and speed.

Fever had no such luxury at the other end, struggling on every play in their efforts on attack with the menacing presence of defenders Bianca Chatfield and Mentor denying Natalie Medhurst and Caitlin Bassett anything easy under the hoop.

Pressing her claims for a permanent start, shooter Bailey was almost unstoppable in-goal, her calmness on execution pushing the Vixens out to a compelling 38-25 lead at the main break.

Staring down the barrel, Plummer made substantial changes for the second half when pushing Medhurst back to goalshooter, introducing Kate Beveridge at goal attack and Shae Bolton to wing defence from the bench while Brazill moved into centre.

It had little overall effect in halting the ever-efficient Vixens but it did ensure a closer contest. The visitors retained their overall superiority, never giving Fever the opportunity of a sniff to get back into the contest.

Through the best efforts of Beckford-Chambers, Fever kept the difference to four goals in the third stanza but simply couldn’t disrupt the slick flow and precision of Vixens on attack.

It was the visitors who held all the cards as they raced to a 54-37 lead at the last break.

Predicted as the big improvers this season, Fever showed some of that character in a spirited closing stanza. Vixens had the luxury of bringing on new players for the run home, including veteran shooter Cox against her old team, but it backfired slightly as the home team came back strongly.

Vixens shooting statistics:
Karyn Bailey 35/42 (83%)
Tegan Caldwell 25/28 (89%)
Catherine Cox 5/8 (63%)

Fever shooting statistics:
Natalie Medhurst 28/31 (90%)
Caitlin Bassett 16/19 (84%)
Kate Beveridge 12/13 (94%)

Match MVP: Madi Robinson (Melbourne Vixens)

ENDS

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