A Karen Bailey three-point `Supershot’ with 30 seconds remaining saw the Vixens snatch a 22-21 victory over West Coast Fever in the Shootout Final at Sydney Olympic Park.
Fever led by seven goals at half-time and appeared on track to clean sweep the `Shootout’ having qualified for the final with a one-goal win over the Vixens earlier in the day – after Kate Beveridge scored a three-pointer after the buzzer – and beating Mainland Tactix by three goals.
But the Vixens clicked into gear in the second half and overpowered Fever to claim the trophy.
Vixens captain Madi Robinson said the team took a lot from the three-day pre-season tournament as they now turn their attention to Round 1.
“It was great to get a win and just wrap up the weekend as a success,” Robinson said.
“It was a long weekend but I think as a team we got exactly what we needed the whole pre-season comp; good hit outs, got everyone out on court, got to feel the intensity and the pace of ANZ Championship competition.
“We can go back to training and there’s still a lot to work on but really happy how we finished.”
Despite losing the final, Fever coach Stacey Rosman walks away from the pre-season happy with the direction her side is heading towards Round 1.
“I can’t fault the team’s effort, I’m very proud of them,” Rosman said.
“The intent and composure with which they played is what we want to be known for as a team.
“This tournament has provided an invaluable test, and one that leaves us well prepared ahead of the season proper.”
The Vixens only qualified for the final after youngster Alice Teague-Neeld also nailed a `Supershot’ with seconds remaining in their final qualification match against the Central Pulse to secure the required six-goal winning margin.
After losing star goaler Tegan Philip to a season-ending knee injury earlier this month, Robinson said the performances of Teague-Neeld and newcomer Emma Ryde was an encouraging sign.
Robinson said the Shootout was a great opportunity for youngsters to experience more of the ANZ Championship competition.
“Alice (Teague-Neeld) and a lot of our youngsters are continually growing with every match and building, which it awesome,” Robinson said.
“It’s great to have them out on court and really showing that they are ready and made for this ANZ Championship competition.”
The Auckland Shootout was won by New Zealand side the Northern Mystics over the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 31-24.
Reigning champions the Queensland Firebirds and Adelaide Thunderbirds participated in that tournament and both teams returned home having three solid days of competition.
Day 1 (60-minute matches)
Melbourne Vixens 58 def Mainland Tactix 45
NSW Swifts 53 def West Coast Fever 48
Day 2 (30-minute matches)
Central Pulse 37 def Mainland Tactix 28
Melbourne Vixens 32 def West Coast Fever 27
NSW Swifts 26 draw Mainland Tactix 26
Melbourne Vixens 36 def Central Pulse 15
NSW Swifts 30 def Central Pulse 27
Mainland Tactix 30 def West Coast Fever 24
NSW Swifts 29 def Melbourne Vixens 21
West Coast Fever 63 def Central Pulse 57 (60-minute game)
NSW Swifts 33 def Mainland Tactix 27
West Coast Fever 30 def Melbourne Vixens 29
Central Pulse 25 def NSW Swifts 14
West Coast Fever 27 def Mainland Tactix 24
Melbourne Vixens 38 def Central Pulse 32
FINAL: Melbourne Vixens 22 def West Coast Fever 21