Wed | Jun 19, 2024

Fowler-Nembhard’s Fever fall to first defeat

Published:Tuesday | May 28, 2024 | 12:11 AM
Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard
Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard

MELBOURNE (CMC):

AN UNBEATEN start to the Super Netball League season for West Coast Fever came to a screeching halt after a series of blunders, and the suppression of ace Jamaica goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard led to a 76-65 win for Melbourne Vixens on Sunday.

Fowler-Nembhard ended with 43 goals from 47 attempts – including two Super Shots that count for two goals – but the Vixens succeeded where other teams failed previously and cut the supply of the ball into the shooting arc to her. They were able to silence a regular season record crowd of 11,119 at the RAC Arena in the western Australia city of Perth.

The loss was not enough to knock the Fever out of top spot in the eight-team league – they have a 6-1 record and 24 points – the same for the Vixens – but the visitors were unable to overtake their opponents due to an inferior scoring percentage.

The Fever led 22-19 after the first quarter, but the Vixens seized control of their seventh-round match in the second quarter. At the same time, defender Emily Mannix and Rudi Ellis slowed the service of the ball into Fowler-Nembhard to a season low.

Brought the match alive

It was clear that the fever defensive pair of Ethiopia-born Australia international Sunday Aryang and Jamaica international Kadie-Ann Dehaney had their hands full in the back court with the Vixens scoring duo of Sophie Garbin (GS) and Kiera Austin (GA), and the visitors led 7-4 early.

But Jamaica international goal attack Shanice Beckford brought the match alive for the Fever when she reeled off four Super Shots to propel the home team into the lead late in the first quarter.

The complexion of the match changed during the second period, and the Vixens forced Beckford into eight turnovers that led to her being benched.

The Fever drew within four points of the Vixens early in the third, but the visitors were unrelenting, remaining composed, sticking to their game plan with precision, and gradually widened their lead every time the hosts threatened to reel them in.

Beckford ended with seven goals from 11 attempts including five Super Shots.

Elsewhere, a smothering defensive masterclass from the Jamaican duo of Shamera Sterling-Humphrey and Latanya Wilson enabled the Adelaide Thunderbirds to turn a rematch of last year’s title match into a lopsided affair, trouncing New South Wales Swifts 58-33 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

Long-standing Jamaica goal shooter Romelda Aiken-George scored 30 from 32 for the T-birds, and they hung onto third in the standings on 20 points with a 5-2 record, while Trinidad and Tobago ace Samantha Wallace-Joseph was held to five from seven scoring and Swifts stay in fifth on 12 points with a 3-4 record.

A strong and reliable performance of 40 from 42 from Jamaican goal shooter Shimona Jok failed to inspire Melbourne Mavericks, and the Giants picked up their first away win of the season with a 66-59 win at the John Cain Arena in Sydney.

On the other side, Jamaica defender Jodi-Ann Ward had one intercept and four deflections for the Giants.

Both teams ended the match with the same 2-5 record and on eight points, but the Mavericks are sixth, and the Giants are seventh under the tiebreaker rules.