Sunshine Girls Fowler, Nelson shine in Aussies Super Netball
PERTH, Australia (CMC):
Sunshine Girl Jhaniele Fowler made a stunning start to the new Australian Super Netball season with a perfect outing, as reigning champions West Coast Fever held off a determined final quarter bid from Melbourne Vixens to pull off a dramatic 62-61 victory last weekend.
In a nailbiter at the RAC Arena on Saturday - a rematch of last season's final - Fever were ahead by two, 48-46, at the start of the final quarter but then found themselves outscored 15-14, barely holding on for the win.
Fowler, in her fifth straight season with the Perth-based outfit, scored 55 goals from as many attempts to lead Fever's attack and held her nerve in the all-important final quarter to sink the game's decisive goal on the buzzer.
"It was very intense. Good job to the Vixens, who brought it in the last 10 minutes of the game, but congrats to my girls. We held on and didn't let it get to us," said the 33-year-old goal-shooter afterwards.
"I reckon just us taking on each week differently, and knowing that we have what it takes to take on each round and to stay motivated within ourselves [will be important for us]."
Malawi international Mwai Kumwenda answered with 37 goals from 38 attempts for Vixens, who lost the first-quarter battle 12-17, but hit back to claim the next quarter and draw within four at 28-32 at half-time.
The third quarter also belonged to Vixens, who outscored Fever to be within two, 46-48, at the start of the final quarter.
At John Cain Arena in Melbourne also on Saturday, another Sunshine Girl, Shimona Nelson, proved outstanding as she guided hosts Collingwood Magpies to a comfortable 71-63 victory over New South Wales Swifts.
The 24-year-old Nelson poured in a perfect 53 from 53, with Magpies racing to a 39-29 half-time lead before taking their feet off the pedal in the second half.
Nelson's international teammate, 28-year-old Jodi-Ann Ward, also shone in the Magpies' defence, notching three rebounds, three interceptions and four deflections.
Jamaican counterpart Romelda Aiken-George led the Swifts scoring, with 30 goals from 35 attempts.
In the other game played on Saturday on the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Girls defender Kadie-Ann Dehaney helped Sunshine Coast Lightning to a 66-50 win over Giants Netball.
At Nissan Arena in Brisbane on Sunday, Sunshine Girls defenders Latanya Wilson and Shamera Sterling both featured in Adelaide Thunderbirds' 59-44 victory over Queensland Firebirds.