The Melbourne Vixens have recorded their first win of the 2016 ANZ Championship season, after defeating the struggling Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday, 59 – 44.
The Vixens dominated three quarters of the match, with the Thunderbirds staging a comeback in the third quarter to turn a 17-goal deficit into just eight.
The Thunderbirds, undermanned following the loss of captain, Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan) prior to the season while she is expecting twins, and defender Amy Steel, who is out with glandular fever, were dealt another blow with what looks to be a devastating knee injury to rising shooter, Cody Lange. Lange joined the game halfway through the second quarter when the Thunderbirds were down by eight goals, however her appearance was short lived and she was stretchered off after just 40 seconds on court. It was later confirmed the incident has effectively ended Lange’s breakthrough season. She ruptured her Anterior Cruicate Ligament and lateral meniscus and will require a knee reconstruction.
The game was a career best for young Vixens’ shooter, Alice Teague-Neeld, who scored 21 goals from 23 attempts in just her second full ANZ Championship game. Her shooting partner, Karyn Bailey, was on song again after struggling against the NSW Swifts last week, scoring 38 goals from 46 attempts and controlling the shooting circle.
Both teams have a tough round next week, taking on two of the three undefeated teams left in the competition. The Vixens will go up against the reigning premiers, the Queensland Firebirds, whilst the Thunderbirds turn their sights to the NSW Swifts.
The NSW Swifts again dominated their opponents, defeating the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic 78 – 50 and solidifying their position as favourites in the competition. Kimberlee Green was strong again in her second MVP for the season, finishing with 17 goal assists.
The first draw of the season occurred between the Southern Steel and Mainland Tactix, despite the Janiele Fowler-Reid’s 50 goal haul for the Steel. The teams were locked on 58 goals each, with Fowler-Reid scoring all but eight of her team’s goals.
The West Coast Fever continued their good start to the season, defeating the Northern Mystics in New Zealand, 54 – 44. Shae Brown was again named MVP for the Fever, with 140 possessions and 134 passes, whilst Bassett was on song with her shooting, scoring 40 goals from 44 attempts.
The Central Pulse travelled over to Queensland to take on the reigning premiers, the Firebirds, with three Pulse players, Jacinta Messer, Chelsea Locke and Ameliaranne Wells, formerly playing for the Firebirds. The trio didn’t have success on their return to Brisbane however, with the Firebirds defeating the visitors 61 – 45.