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West Coast Fever have gone down 63-57 in a hard-fought battle against fierce rivals Collingwood Magpies at RAC Arena tonight.
But Fever did take home two bonus points after winning two quarters and drawing another in front of 5,200 fans on a Monday night.
Jhaniele Fowler had an enthralling battle with Collingwood Goal Keeper and Captain Geva Mentor, nailing 54 goals from 60 attempts, while Alice Teague-Neeld showed her court craft across four quarters with 21 goal assists, three goals, 23 feeds and 27 centre pass receives.
Captain Courtney Bruce had seven gains in another strong performance as Shimona Nelson managed 43 goals from 50 attempts.
Fever Head Coach Stacey Marinkovich was able to further test her combinations, with nine players taking the court during the match.
Marinkovich took away plenty of positives but said a short period in the third term had cost them.
“I think it was probably five minutes in the third quarter they got the run on us and we didn’t execute well and we probably found it hard to get ball off them in that last quarter,” Marinkovich said.
“We built our consistency and our execution was better and there are things that I definitely see from our training environment that came out on the court tonight, but it’s that five-minute block that just gives oppositions that chance.”
“We’ve got to realise those critical moments and take confidence to execute it and once we get that going we’ll be getting better results.”
“We still want to make sure we finish out the season strong. For us it’s making sure we continue to build on our game plan and build momentum for next season.”
“We’re really committed to making sure we value every opportunity. You are against quality opportunity every week and the girls need to keep challenging and we need to keep executing and if can do that in the last two rounds, you gain momentum for the pre-season coming up.”
Both teams relied on turnovers to score in the opening minutes before Fowler steadied the ship with Fever’s first score of their own centre pass to go ahead 3-2.
It was goal-for-goal from there before Magpies’ errors twice allowed West Coast two clear.
But the visitors fought back, with a Nelson goal just before the whistle making it a 14-14 quarter.
Fever opened the second quarter with a turnover but were able to get the ball straight back as Fowler scored.
Collingwood got their noses in front by two after some inaccuracy under the post but the home team battled back with a couple of defensive wins, drawing level and then pulling ahead.
Fever were able to prevent the Magpies scoring in the dying seconds to take a one-goal lead at the long break, and an all-important bonus point.
Collingwood made their move in the third term, forcing several Fever errors and taking full toll at the other end as they moved seven points clear and claimed a bonus point of their own.
Shannon Eagland was injected into the game at Goal Defence to start the final quarter, with Stacey Francis shifting to Wing Defence.
The teams traded goals in the opening minutes before Bruce came up with the ball for her team to help them get within four goals.
The Magpies pushed their lead back out to seven goals as Marinkovich made more changes, brining Olivia Lewis on at Goal Keeper and Jess Anstiss on at Centre as Bruce moved out to Goal Defence.
West Coast again got it back to five but the determined visitors wouldn’t be denied, though Fever did claim the last bonus point as Fowler slotted her 54th goal.
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