The unflappable Melbourne Vixens have taken another confident stride towards the minor premiership with a 73-53 crushing of the GIANTS at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena.Their eighth win from nine games reflected a side in command and just as importantly a group who can respond to a variety of challenges.
The GIANTS tried everything, experimenting with April Brandley at wing defence, regular rotations in the shooting circle and, on occasions, niggling physicality.
But on every front the competition frontrunners toyed with the fifth-placed GIANTS.
Unstoppable Melbourne midcourter Liz Watson’s 33 goal assists and 48 feeds puts her streets ahead of any other wing attack in the competition.
Defender Emily Mannix earned a last quarter spell but not before she shut down GIANTS goalers Kiera Austin, Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett.
“It’s working well. We’ve talked a lot about creating space in that attacking third and I’ve been able to find (Mwai Kumwenda) better than previously,” Watson said. “We’ve been disappointed with how we’ve finished off games and this season we’ve shown we can come back, we can be up and take a game out. Variety is something we’ve lacked but everyone’s really happy.”
Kumwenda scored a game-high 32 points, almost double the GIANTS’ best shooter Harten (18).
GIANTS Jamie-Lee Price was outstanding in her 100th game but she could not do it on her own.
The Vixens led the GIANTS to the ball and in almost every statistical category.
They controlled possession, intercepts, assists and the all-important percentage of conversions from both their own centre pass and from possession gains.
With defender Amy Parmenter rested from the opening half, there was little to slow the Vixens’ attack on the shooting circle.
Were it not for Harten’s seven super shots the GIANTS would have been on the canvass by halftime.
Parmenter’s introduction after the break, and Price’s refusal to yield, kept the GIANTS competitive but the weight of class was overwhelming.
A Jo Weston shove on Parmenter was the only crack in the Vixens’ composure as they ran away with the contest.
Q1: GIANTS 15 v Vixens 19
Q2: GIANTS 19 v Vixens 20
Q3: GIANTS 8 v Vixens 15
Q4: GIANTS 11 v Vixens 19
Nissan Player of The Match – Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens)
GIANTS shooting statistics
Jo Harten: Total points – 25 G1 11/13 (85%) G2 7/10 (70%)
Kiera Austin: Total points – 16 G1 12/15 (80%) G2 2/6 (33%)
Caitlin Bassett: Total points – 12 G1 12/15 (80%) G2 0/0 (0%)
Matisse Letherbarrow: Total points – 0 G1 0/0 (0%) G2 0/2 (0%)
Vixens shooting statistics
Mwai Kumwenda: Total points – 34 G1 30/32 (94%) G2 2/3 (67%)
Caitlin Thwaites: Total points – 22 G1 18/19 (95%) G2 2/4 (50%)
Tegan Philip: Total points – 17 G1 17/21 (81%) G2 0/0 (0%)
GIANTS starting seven: GS – Jo Harten GA – Kiera Austin WA – Maddy Hay C – Jamie-Lee Price WD – April Brandley GD – Kristiana Manu’a GK – Sam Poolman
Vixens starting seven: GS – Mwai Kumwenda GA – Caitlin Thwaites WA – Liz Watson C – Kate Moloney WD – Kate Eddy GD – Jo Weston GK – Emily Mannix