THE PUZZLE PIECES FINALLY SNAPPED INTO PLACE FOR WEST COAST FEVER WHO HAVE POCKETED THEIR SECOND SUNCORP SUPER NETBALL WIN OF THE SEASON UNDER AN OPEN ROOF AT PERTH ARENA.
It was a case of better late than never for the Fever whose 57-40 win against the Adelaide Thunderbirds provided a reason for the home side to smile at the halfway point of the season.
Defenders Stacey Francis and Courtney Bruce wreaked havoc in the second half to turn an even contest into a romp.
To think this energetic pair had not played together before this season seemed absurd the way they hunted as a duo.
More important for coach Stacey Marinkovich was the way each player seemed to own her role.
Verity Charles looks at home at centre, Jess Anstiss is confident beyond her years and Ingrid Colyer had some handy touches late in her duel with Renae Ingles.
Skipper Natalie Medhurst (17 goals at 81 per cent) and Kaylia Stanton (40 goals at 83 per cent) were the bankable targets West Coast needed after a difficult start to the season.
Erin Bell (21 goals) had one of her best games of the season but could not change the fortunes of the last-placed Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds started full of energy but were quickly reeled in by a home side which was more purposeful in its movement and precise with passing.
Adelaide suffered from heavy legs at the attack end, offering few options to its feeders.
Time and again Chelsea Pitman looked forward only to find two stationary targets in the circle.
The Fever enjoyed a five-goal edge at halftime without looking totally in control of a scrappy contest.
Both teams worked overtime to shift the ball down the court as the midcourters ripped into each other in a bid to establish dominance.
Captain Erin Bell was a source of strength for Adelaide in that middle stage.
She drove strongly and shot confidently, shooting at 89 per cent as Karyn Bailey joined her for the second half.
When their opportunity presented itself in the third term, the Fever pounced.
Charles found space time and again in transition and never missed a target.
From her vantage point at the top of the circle she threaded a series of pinpoint passes into the Fever’s shooters.
A 15-11 third quarter from the hosts meant it was their game to lose in the final term.
Medhurst’s brief absence from the court due to the blood rule threatened to interrupt the Fever but the West Australians had worked far too hard to allow that to ruin their lead.
MVP: Courtney Bruce (Fever)
photos Janos Schmidt