The Melbourne Vixens young attacking line have shone in their 57 – 34 win over the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic.
The Vixens are missing their two star shooters, with Tegan Philip out for the season with a serious knee injury whilst Karyn Bailey has missed the last two games after injuring her foot.
These injuries leave an inexperienced trio of shooters for the Vixens, made up of Alice Teague-Neeld, Emma Ryde and Kim Commane, who have impressed in recent weeks against the world’s best defenders.
It took both teams a long time to settle into the match, with neither team scoring a goal for nearly five minutes.
It would be Ryde for the Vixens who settled first, scoring the first four goals of the match, and 11 for the quarter.
The Vixen’s full-court defence were able to keep the Magic scoreless until the halfway mark of the first quarter. Teague-Neeld found her form in the second quarter, with the combination between her and Vixen’s captain, Madison Robinson, at wing attack began to flow seamlessly.
Commane entered the match three minutes before half-time and was the star for the Vixens, scoring more goals than anyone else in the match, including prominent English shooter, Jo Harten. Commane scored 25 goals from 29 attempts and four rebounds, rebounding the shots she missed.
Not to be outdone however was the Vixens’ defensive end, who are starting to find their feet after the retirement of team captain, Bianca Chatfield, last year. English defender Geva Mentor was effective against her national teammate, Harten, resulting in the shooter being benched after half-time, whilst Jo Weston was able to get some valuable intercepts to stem any flow the Magic could find. Between the two, they finished with 13 gains, three intercepts and 10 deflections.
The Vixens’ led from the opening goal of the match, never relinquishing their lead. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Vixens had an unassailable 20-goal lead, and the Magic had no answer, making changes to their on-court seven to no avail.
Vixens coach, Simone McKinnis was full of praise for Commane after match. “To have that option there for Kim [Commane] to come on to provide that movement; she’s strong, she’s tough, she creates the opportunity just by taking the balls that are not even good balls sometimes. She wants it and she demands it and that grows confidence with the players that are around her.”
The Vixens now turn their sights to the Mainland Tactix, who are a much improved side from last year, sitting second on the New Zealand Conference ladder.