Malawi Netball Queens’ shooter, Mwawi Kumwenda, top-scored on her debut for her new Australian club, The Melbourne Vixens, at Hisense Arena.
Kumwenda posted a 96 percent conversion rate as Vixens claimed a hard-fought win over premiership favourites, Magpies Netball, in Round One of the Suncorp Super Netball on Saturday.
The Vixens, in front of a crowd of 8,074, claimed the scalp, winning the first of the cross-town battles 58-55.
Vixens Head Coach Simone McKinnis told Vixens’ website that she was proud of her team’s performance.
“I was very impressed by the way they remained quite composed and were able to play it out against experienced opposition like that,” McKinnis said.
“The girls themselves were saying that they felt really connected out there on court and that’s been something that we have really been working on.”
McKinnis said she was aware of the amount of attention the Magpies’ star-studded line-up was attracting, but was confident in her players.
“We were very aware that it’s what happens out on court, and that’s what we spoke about before the game today; all that matters is what happens out on court.”
There was nothing separating the two teams throughout the game, with the lead switching continuously between the Vixens and the Magpies in a physical match.
It was a tough and tight first quarter, with the Vixens seeming to have settled quickest, leading 2-0 early. However, a quick four-goal flurry from the Magpies gave them a handy lead during the second.
Defensive duo Jo Weston and Emily Mannix were working overtime against the Magpies all-star line, and came away with some impressive spoils.
At the other end of the court, the newly formed attacking line of Kumwenda and Tegan Philip were gelling well, with the scoring spread evenly between the two.
McKinnis said she was impressed with the way the two were combining.
“I love it, I love that there is a bit of dare and flair and taking risks.”
Magpies shooter Caitlin Thwaites dominated, scoring 24 of her teams 27 goals to half-time. However a purple-patch from her opponent Mannix just before halftime brought the Vixens back into the match.
At the end of the first half, the two teams were still deadlocked, with the Vixens trailing by just one goal at the main break.
The Magpies again ran-away in a rush early in the third period, quickly getting back out to a four-goal lead.
Great defensive work from Weston and Chloe Watson brought the Vixens back into the game, with the score 42-39 at the three-quarter-time, this time, with the Vixens in the lead.
The first part of the final quarter saw the Vixens dominate, as the side stormed out to a six-goal lead.
The Magpies were not finished yet, with a final effort bringing the margin back to just one-goal difference with a minute left to play.
A costly turnover by the Magpies in the final minute of play saw the Vixens retain possession, and finish strongly to win by three, 58- 55.
Tegan Philip was named Player of the Match, finishing with 29 goals, whilst Jo Weston was a stand-out in defence, with four deflections and two intercepts—The Daily Times/ melbournevixens.com.au