The Melbourne Vixens’ trans-Tasman netball title defence is still alive thanks to an upset 56-48 win over the West Coast Fever on Sunday.
They were led by brilliant shooting from Vixens’ goal-shooter Karyn Bailey, who ended the match with 39 goals from 42 attempts and the MVP award.
The Vixens remain in fourth place on the ladder, but edged closer to the third playoff spot – occupied by the NSW Swifts – with the victory at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena.
Following recent loses away to the Swifts and Queensland Firebirds, the Vixens’ title defence was hanging by a thread, and they responded with an emphatic triumph over the Fever, who heading into round 12 were Australian conference leaders.
Bailey was the stand-out, leading the scoring while also creating space in the goal circle for her shooting partner Tegan Philip (17 goals from 24 attempts).
For the Fever, Caitlin Bassett was again accurate with 35 goals from 38 attempts and Natalie Medhurst had 13 goals from 17 shots.
Slow starts have blighted the Vixens’ season, but they were fast out of the blocks in front of a packed house of 5380.
They led 16-13 at quarter time and controlled the momentum of the match from then on.
The Fever didn’t get their usual amount of shots away as Melbourne’s defenders asserted their dominance.
Geva Mentor at goal-keeper was strong, ending the match with three deflections and two intercepts.
With third place in the Australian conference now a battle between the Vixens and the Swifts, the final place could be decided next weekend when the two teams face off in Melbourne again at Margaret Court Arena.