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Vixens suffer first loss

The Melbourne Vixens have suffered their first loss of the 2014 season, succumbing to defeat in the final minute of their round three clash with last year’s runners-up the Queensland Firebirds.

The Vixens, who lead from the early stages of the of the first quarter until the final minute of the match, had leads of six goals during the match, however were unable to withstand the pressure from the Firebirds.

The Vixens had impressive passages of play from the beginning, with young midcourter Elizabeth Watson feeding the ball well into the shooters, seeing the Vixens out to an early 7 – 3 lead.

Some offensive mistakes from the Vixens allowed the Firebirds to get back into the game, with just a narrow one-goal margin at the first break.

The second quarter followed the same pattern as the first, with the Vixens getting a minor lead before the Firebirds again reigned in the margin.

By half time, the difference was three goals.

After the half time break the Firebirds produced many changes to their on-court line up, with Jacinta Messer taking the court at goal defence, Demelza McCloud moving to wing defence and Gabrielle Simpson moving to centre.

The Vixens capitalised on the unsettled team, dominating with a full-court defensive effort.

With just under eight minutes left to play, the Firebirds reverted back to their original line-up.

With a four goal difference at the final break, the Firebirds had some work to do to catch the firing Vixens.

Quick scoring from the Firebirds shooters Romelda Aiken and Amorette Wild saw the visitors score four unanswered goals in a row to be level with the Vixens with just over one minute of the match left to play.

It would be an intercept by the Firebirds young gun Verity Simmons which would see the Firebirds hit the lead for the first time since the opening minute, winning the match 48 – 47.

Vixens’ coach Simone McKinnis said that the team panicked in the last few minutes of the match.

“We threw it away. We panicked a bit when they came back at us. We really only needed to score off our centre passes in those last few minutes”, McKinnis said.

“It’s a good lesson… they’ve felt that now, about what happens when you worry about what the opposition’s doing rather than thinking about what you need to do at that moment.”

The Melbourne Vixens will face the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic next weekend at Hisense Arena in Melbourne.

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