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Clinical Vixens too good for Pulse

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Update: 2:39PM Melbourne Vixens underscored their trans-Tasman netball league title credentials with a clinical 52-40 win over Central Pulse in Wellington on Saturday

The competition leaders built the win around a relentless second quarter, outplaying the fifth-placed Pulse 18-9 to take a 29-19 lead into halftime.

The Pulse battled back in the third stanza, the introduction of former Silver Fern Liana Leota at wing attack for Camilla Lees proving key in settling their feed into the circle.

Just five weeks after giving birth to her third child, Leota's experience and composure provided more certainty in the attacking third.

But although the Pulse narrowed the Vixens' lead to just three with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Australians weathered the storm before bouncing back to lead 41-33 going into the final spell.

Their up-tempo midcourt, well marshalled by hard-working wing attack Madi Robinson, put the foot down in the final 15 minutes to stretch out for their seventh win from nine matches.

Robinson's drive to the circle edge, her pinpoint feeding into goal shoot Karyn Bailey, and her combination with promising young centre Liz Watson consistently kept the Vixens half a pace ahead of the Pulse's scrambling through-court defence.

Bailey provided an excellent target under the post, and sunk 30 of her 35 shots on target, while goal attack Tegan Caldwell missed just one of her 23 shots in an outstanding performance that mixed accuracy, drive and defence.

In contrast, the Pulse's shooting combination of Irene van Dyk - playing in her 100th AMZ Championship match - and Donna Wilkins could only manage a sub-par 77 per cent success rate.

Much of the credit for that could go to English international Geva Mentor, whose combination with Bianca Chatfield shut down the Pulse circle and left their midcourt increasingly reluctant to let the ball go. 

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