SSN R9: Vixens Vs Giants
Mwai Kumwenda shoots a perfect night to lead the Melbourne Vixens to a 66-63 win over GIANTS Netball in an extra time thriller.
The Melbourne Vixens have set up a massive midweek top-of-the-table clash after a thrilling 66-63 extra-time win over the Giants in Sydney.
The win kept the Vixens second on percentage behind West Coast Fever, who earlier on Saturday defeated the Sunshine Coast Lightning and will host Melbourne on Tuesday.
Giants trailed by 11 points in the second and third quarters at Ken Rosewall Arena, but sensational two-point shooting from youngster Matisse Letherbarrow kept them in the game.
The 20-year-old, who came on late in the second quarter for captain Jo Harten, showed nerves of steel.
She made eight of her first nine super shots as the Giants surged to a 60-57 lead with just over three minutes to go.
The Vixens scored the last three points, with former Giant Kiera Austin leveling the game with her team’s only successful two-point attempt.
The teams traded the first six goals of the extra-time period before Melbourne’s Mwai Kumwenda completed a super individual effort by scoring the last three of the match to finish with 50 goals from as many attempts.
“The good thing is we have practised extra-time before which the girls have complained about before and I said ‘see, that’s why we practise these things’,” Vixens’ coach Simone McKinnis told Fox Sports.
“It was always going to be a really tight, tough game.
“You never feel comfortable ten goals ahead because of their capacity to shoot which you saw there.
“It was all going the Giants way, the shots were going, the crowd and I’m really impressed and happy with their composure to keep it simple, to not panic and to play it out.”
Captain and wing attack Liz Watson was a huge contributor to the Vixens win, notching 28 goal assists and 46 feeds in an influential effort.
With just one win separating third from eighth, the loss could be significant for the fourth-placed Giants, whose next two matches are away in Tasmania and Perth.
The game started in even fashion with three Kumwenda goals late in the opening quarter securing Vixens a 13-10 lead at the first change.
Letherbarrow nailed four two-point shots in the third quarter and three in the last to set up the thrilling finish.