Last laugh for Aiken despite Fowler-Reid brilliance

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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BRISBANE, Australia (CMC) — Jhaniele Fowler-Reid produced a near-perfect performance but Sunshine Girls teammate Romelda Aiken had the last laugh, as Queensland Firebirds ended West Coast Fever's four-game unbeaten start to the season with a resounding 71-61 defeat here last weekend.

Playing at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Saturday in the Suncorp Super Netball League, Firebirds stormed to a 35-30 half-time lead before blowing away the visitors in the final quarter, to secure a dominant win.

Goalshooter Aiken scored 45 goals from 51 attempts to lead Firebirds, while goal attack Gretel Tippett supported with 26 from 28 attempts.

Fowler-Reid, the league's leading scorer this season in her maiden campaign, knocked down 48 from 49 to spearhead Fever's attack, while Nat Medhurst at goal attack tallied 11 from 14.

The first quarter was closely contested with Aiken netting 13 goals from 14 attempts to push Firebirds to a 17-16 lead at the end of the period.

Fowler-Reid went 14 from 15 attempts to keep the game close but Firebirds stretched their advantage in the second quarter, outscoring their opponents 18-14.

Neither Aiken nor Fowler-Reid could be separated, each proving perfect from the circle with 10 and 11 goals, respectively.

In the third quarter, the two titans were virtually unstoppable with both shooting 12 from 12, as Firebirds narrowly out-scored Fever 17-16, to take a crucial 51-47 lead at the start of the final quarter.

With the result still up in the air, Firebirds put any lingering hopes of a Fever comeback to bed by clobbering them 20-14.

While Aiken was not at her best shooting 10 from 15, Tippett stepped up to net 10 from 11 and lead the Firebirds' assault.

For the third straight quarter, Fowler-Reid did not miss a single attempt, converting all 11, but the effort was not sufficient to save Fever from their first defeat of the season.

In Sydney, meanwhile, Trinidadian goalshooter Samantha Wallace took centre stage as New South Wales Swifts defeated Collingwood Magpies 64-54 at Quaycentre on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Wallace, in her second season with the Swifts, netted 43 goals from 48 attempts to lead her side to their third win of the campaign.

Swifts were down 13-17 at the end of the first quarter but Wallace buried 13 of 15 in a big second quarter for the hosts, to hand them a 32-27 half-time lead.

Wallace once again spearheaded the Swifts third quarter charge, shooting 14 from 15 as they outscored the Magpies 19-13, and such was their momentum that they still came away with a 10-point win in the end despite being edged 14-13 in the final stanza.

Fever top the standings with 29 points, two clear of Giants Netball, with Firebirds third on 22.

Swifts are three from bottom of the eight-team league on 20 points.

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