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West Coast Fever thump Sunshine Coast Lightning to move a step closer to Super Netball finals

West Coast Fever moved a step closer to sealing a finals berth with a thumping 72-52 win over last year’s grand finalists Sunshine Coast Lightning at USC Stadium tonight.

Fever not only kept Adelaide at arm’s-length in the race to finish fourth but kept themselves within two points of the top-two ahead of a big game with reigning champions NSW Swifts on Saturday.

It was the bookends of Jhaniele Fowler and captain Courtney Bruce which starred for the Fever, although they played with different temperaments.

Fowler was cool and composed in goal shooter, slotting 55 goals from 58 attempts, while Bruce was aggressive in defence, running off her opponents to pick off errant passes as well as putting in plenty of bodywork in the circle.

Fever began the game strongly and at one stage in the first term led by seven goals, but Lightning scored nine of the last 10 as star goal attack Steph Wood (18 goals) ensured the home team led 16-15 at the first break.

As the Lightning threatened to get a hold of the game, Fever lifted their defensive pressure through the back half of the court and began delivering the ball to Fowler with more efficiency.

This helped Fever regain the lead before some late super goals from Alice Teague-Neeld (17 goals) had them take a comfortable six-goal advantage into the main break.

Fowler’s ability to convert from the opportunities was complemented by the efforts of Bruce, who recorded two intercepts and four of her 10 gains in the third term, with Fever blowing the margin out once again.

West Coast Fever goal defender Stacey Francis tries to intercept a ball from Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Laura Langman.
Camera IconWest Coast Fever goal defender Stacey Francis tries to intercept a ball from Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Laura Langman. Credit: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

“I thought Lightning came out flying, we had to catch them and steady our feet a little bit and steady the feed” centre Verity Charles said post-game.

“I just think the team’s performing so well, I’ve just got options.

“I don’t even know what day we’re at. I am just rolling along in hub life, just taking one day as it comes.”

Earlier in the day, Melbourne Vixens won their ninth game of the season by defeating Swifts 62-55.

Vixens shooter Mwai Kumwenda scored a game-high 49 goals, while keeper Kadie-Ann Dehaney had five gains and four intercepts in defence.

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