Adelaide Thunderbirds exact revenge on West Coast Fever with emphatic 18-goal win

By Sports Desk June 08, 2024
Jamaica's Latanya Wilson (right) celebrate with a Adelaide Thunderbirds teammate after the victory. Jamaica's Latanya Wilson (right) celebrate with a Adelaide Thunderbirds teammate after the victory.

Adelaide Thunderbirds produced what was arguably their best performances of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) League season so far to turn the tables on leaders West Coast Fever, with an emphatic 68-50 victory at a sold-out Entertainment Centre, on Saturday.

Having lost the first meeting between the two by one goal in a nail-biting encounter, the Thunderbirds –comprising Jamaicans Romelda Aiken-George, Shamera Sterling-Humphrey and Latanya Wilson –were out for revenge against their Jamaican counterparts Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard, Shanice Beckford and Kadie-Ann Dehaney, and they delivered it in a swift and vicious manner with the 18-goal romp that handed Fever their second loss of the season.

In fact, the win for the Thunderbirds also marked a rebound from last week’s shock defeat to Queensland Firebirds, as they capitalised on 19 gains against the uncharacteristically careless, out-of-sorts Fever.

Aiken-George, as always, led the Thunderbirds from the front with 50 goals from 60 attempts, backed by Lauren Frew, who had nine goals from 13 attempts, while Georgie Horjus had five goals from six attempts, and Lucy Austin scored four goals from five attempts.

Meanwhile, Fever’s attacking front saw Fowler-Nembhard tally 41 goals from 46 attempts, as Alice Teague-Neeld (four goals from five attempts), and Olivia Wilkinson (three goals from four attempts) offered some support. Beckford failed to score from her three attempts.

As expected, the encounter started at a decent tempo, as Fever accounted for the first two goals, before Thunderbirds responded, finding free targets and keeping pace in a goal-for-goal opening term.

Sterling-Humphrey made her presence felt early, when she got her hands on the ball within the first two minutes, though she couldn't quite secure it to make it count. Still, she went on to Sterling-Humphrey tally eight intercept possessions by halftime.

Jamaican Shamera Sterling-Humphrey of Adelaide Thunderbirds soars above her West Coast Fever opponent to win possession.

The Fever defenders focused on protecting the backspace with a split circle, aiming to stifle the tall timber, Aiken-George, but it was to no avail.

Latanya Wilson later pulled off a crucial intercept, which assisted Thunderbirds, the reigning champions, to a two-goal lead heading into the Power Five, where they added three more goals to open a five-goal lead a 20-15 at the end of the first quarter.

Tayla Williams also shone early for Thunderbirds, as she racked up 53.5 Nissan Net Points, with eight goal assists, 11 feeds, and a deflection in the first term alone.

Much like she ended the first, Wilson started the second quarter in a similar vein, as she soared for another intercept, and kept possession in play even as she flew out of bounds. That play extended the Thunderbirds' lead and they duly maintained the momentum from there to take the quarter 19-9 for a 39-24 lead at half-time.

The Fever stepped up their game in the third quarter and that resulted in a slight momentum shift.  For the first and only time in the contest, they outscored Thunderbirds 17-12 to cut the deficit to 10 goals at 51-41 heading into the final quarter.

Though Fever showcased moments of fluid play that signalled a notable shift in energy and momentum at the top of the final quarter, their hopes of a comeback victory dwindle, as Thunderbirds regained their rhythm just before the Power Five and accelerated to cap a tidy victory.

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