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West Coast Fever (66) defeated Mainland Tactix (51)

Official Result: West Coast Fever (66) defeated Mainland Tactix (51)

The high-flying West Coast Fever kept their unblemished record intact after recording an impressive 66-51 win over the Mainland Tactix in Blenheim on Sunday.

Making the long road trip from Perth, Fever notched their sixth win of the season to go with a fourth-round draw as they cemented their place at the top of the Australian conference.

It was always going to be a tough ask for the winless Tactix against a red-hot Fever who have proved the form team of the competition with their new-found composure and confidence.

The Fever have clicked up a gear this season and repelled every challenge thrown their way. Tactix stayed with them through the first half but were always on the back foot, unforced errors continuing to blight their efforts against a team who have few chinks.

With the game in the bag, both teams made changes in the run home, Fever giving a number of players a run as they stay on in New Zealand to prepare for their next match-up against Mojo Pulse. But each team ended the match in sloppy fashion, the final quarter featuring a high turnover count.

Tactix opted for captain Anna Thompson (centre) and Keisha Grant (wing attack) to pair in the midcourt while Demelza Fellowes and Jess Moulds formed the in-circle defensive pairing.

There were no surprises in the well-performed Fever mix with Josie Janz-Dawson and April Letton getting the nod on defence.

The visitors were quick to make their presence felt in the competition’s newest venue, feeding off early Tactix errors to build a slight buffer. Just as the score threatened to balloon out, the home team settled into their work, making good use of athletic goal shooter Mwai Kumenda who ensured the home team stayed in touch.

Under the hoop, the slick Fever pairing of Caitlin Bassett and Natalie Medhurst showed why they have become the most accurate shooting combination in the competition with their intuitive understanding and ability to set up close to the post.

A late rally kept the Tactix well in the contest when the Fever took a 16-13 lead into the first break.

Early turnovers again proved costly for the Tactix on the resumption, Fever making them pay as the crept ahead on the scoreboard. To their credit, Tactix hung on grimly to prevent the Fever from really taking a march.

Wing attack Khao Watts showcased Fever’s speed and accuracy on attack with a forceful outing as the visitor’s forward line showed impeccable timing on most occasions.

Tactix employed the skilful Kumwenda well with the high ball, the Malawi international showcasing her great range of skills but invariably her team failed to get enough ball into her hands.
Fever’s slick first and second phase play helped them double their advantage when leading 33-27 at the main break.

Defensively the Tactix struggled to contain the Fever’s quick transition on attack, the imposing presence of Medhurst and Bassett rarely putting a foot wrong as the visitors continued to stretch their lead during the third stanza.

Missed goals and errors again robbed the Tactix of vital possession, the Fever gobbling up the extra opportunities as they flexed their considerable muscle in making their dominance felt. Taking the game by the scruff of the neck, and with Tactix struggling to penetrate on attack, Fever pounced.

The visitors made every post a winner during a dominant quarter as they strode into the last break with a healthy 50-39 lead.

Fever shooting statistics:
Caitlin Bassett 49/57 (85%)
Natalie Medhurst 17/19 (89%)

Tactix shooting statistics:
Mwai Kumwenda 34/36 (94%)
Bailey Mes 13/20 (65%)
Gemma Hazeldine 4/8 (50%)

MVP: Natalie Medhurst (Fever)


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