Sterling, Wilson deny Fowler’s Fever as Thunderbirds remain on top
ADELAIDE, Australia (CMC):
JAMAICAN DEFENDERS Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson produced outstanding performances as Adelaide Thunderbirds edged Jhaniele Fowler’s West Coast Fever in a thriller here last weekend, to remain on top of the Australian Super Netball Championship.
In a tantalising affair at Netball SA Stadium on Saturday, the hosts recovered from a very poor start, to claw their way back over the last three quarters and come away with a nail-biting 54-53 victory.
Sunshine Girl Fowler was again exceptional with 42 goals from 43 attempts for Fever but Sterling and Wilson’s defensive efforts proved vital, the 22-year-old Wilson pulling off a crucial intercept in the dying moments of the game to help shift the momentum in her side’s favour.
Thunderbirds were led by goal attack Eleanor Cardwell, who netted 26 goals from 30 attempts, her super-shot late in the contest giving the hosts a 52-51 advantage.
Fowler took charge in the opening quarter, getting the better of Sterling, to power Fever to a 20-12 lead at the end of the period.
However, Sterling came alive in the second quarter and her defensive heroics limited Fever’s scoring, Thunderbirds outscoring them 14-11, to be down only 31-26 at the half.
Helped by a series of penalties and turnovers in the third quarter, Thunderbirds continued their comeback and were within striking distance, down two at 41-39, at the start of the final quarter.
They tied the score at 47 before going ahead for the first time in the match at 48-47, through Lucy Austin’s goal – one of her six from as many attempts.
While the defeat left Fever third on 28 points, the victory lifted Thunderbirds to 34 points but the leaders were joined by New South Wales Swift who won away to Melbourne Vixens, 70-62, on Sunday at John Cain Arena.
Jamaican international Romelda Aiken-George spearheaded Swifts’ dominance, pouring in 26 goals from 34 attempts while Helen Housby was a perfect 16-from-16.
Vixens, meanwhile, were carried by Malawi international Mwai Kumwenda who scored 33 goals from 35 attempts.
Swifts took charge from the outset, cruising to an 18-15 lead at the end of the first quarter, which they converted into a 39-32 advantage at the half.
The visitors exploded in the third quarter to outscore Vixens, 20-11, and the 59-43 lead at the start of the final quarter proved insurmountable.
On Saturday in Sunshine Coast, another Jamaican international, Shamera Sterling, took the headlines, but her Collingwood Magpies suffered a 66-62 defeat to Sunshine Coast Lightning.
The 27-year-old netted 53 goals from 56 attempts as Magpies stormed to a 39-32 lead at the half, but a second-half meltdown saw the visitors’ threat fade.
Cara Koenen led the winners with 34 from 35 attempts.