Sunshine Girl, Jamaican Jhaniele Fowler made an explosive start to the new season of Australia’s Super Netball Championship as she fired West Coast Fever to a decisive win over reigning champions Melbourne Vixens in the opening round of matches last weekend.
In a rematch of last year’s final when Vixens prevailed, Fever exacted revenge to pull off a 65-51 victory, with Fowler sinking 55 goals from 59 attempts.
For Vixens, Malawi international Mwai Kumwenda, the MVP of last season’s final, netted 30 from 31 attempts.
Fever jumped out to an early 16-12 lead at the end of the first quarter before securing a 34-27 half-time lead. On resumption, they out-scored Vixens 13-11 to take a nine-point lead into the final quarter which they never relinquished.
Vixens featured 24-year-old Jamaican defender Kadie-Ann Dehaney.
In the other contest at the John Cain Arena, another Jamaican grabbed the spotlight when Shimona Nelson knocked down 39 from 43 but her effort came in a losing cause as Collingwood Magpies went down 67-56 to two-time champions Sunshine Coast Lightning.
Trinidadian shooter Kalifa McCollin, 25, scored a single goal for Collingwood.
For the winners, Cara Koenen scored 37 from 42 attempts while Steph Wood supported with 18 from 21 attempts.
Lightning held a narrow three-goal lead at half-time, 33-30, before a big third quarter saw them put daylight between themselves and Magpies.
At the Nissan Arena in Brisbane, Trinidadian Samantha Wallace was flawless in 49 attempts as New South Wales Swifts edged Jamaican Romelda Aiken’s Queensland Firebirds 69-66 in extra time.
For her part, Aiken netted 39 from 46 attempts and Gretel Bueta, a perfect 13 from 13, but Wallace proved irrepressible.
Swifts leapt to an 18-13 first quarter lead but both teams traded goals in the second quarter, to leave the visitors with a 35-30 advantage at the break.
Firebirds surged in the second half, winning the third quarter 15-13 before producing a massive final quarter to outscore Swifts 19-16.
With scores locked at 64 at full time, Swifts then had the better of the extra time period to sneak the victory.
At the Netball SA Stadium in Adelaide, the Jamaican pair Latanya Wilson and Shamera Sterling came out on the losing end as Giants Netball beat Adelaide Thunderbirds, 66-52, to make a winning start to the season.