Goal-scoring machine Jhaniele Fowler helped undefeated West Coast Fever shake off an indifferent start to mow down the Adelaide Thunderbirds 70-62 at Netball SA Stadium.
Fowler was a powerful presence in the circle, slotting 54 goals from 57 attempts as Fever overhauled an eight-point quarter-time deficit on Saturday.
The victory, West Coast’s fourth in succession to start the season, puts them in the black on the league table after they were docked 12 premiership points for salary cap breaches.
“Shamera (Sterling) came out really strong and played really well which meant I had to push my game and step up a bit,” Fowler said.
“We’re playing well at the moment and I just want to keep improving each week.”
With fellow Jamaican Sterling having Fowler’s measure early and Thunderbirds playmakers Hannah Petty and Maisie Nankivell winning their positions, the hosts started superbly, a 9-2 run crucial in their 21-13 quarter-time advantage.
Thunderbirds goal shooter Lenize Potgieter nailed her first 23 attempts and it looked like it might finally be the winless Thunderbirds’ day.
Jess Anstiss was switched to centre after quarter-time and ex-Adelaide goaler Sasha Glasgow impressed after replacing Alice Teague-Neeld as the visitors responded with their own 21-13 quarter to tie the scores at halftime.
With Fowler devastating in attack and Diamonds defender Courtney Bruce (who had a match-high nine gains) likewise at the other end, the Fever seized total control in the third stanza, outscoring the Tbirds 21-14.
Fever’s lead stretched to 11 in the fourth before Sam Gooden, who was substituted out after missing a couple of sitters earlier in the quarter, interchanged back in and rifled three Super Shots to allow Adelaide to finish with some pride.
“I think that was the best first quarter in my history at the Thunderbirds,” Adelaide coach Tania Obst said.
“We knew we had to score goals quickly because of their scoring power.
“They changed up their defence line and, as we know in this competition, especially with Jhaniele at the back, every error is so costly.
“We made a couple of errors and that’s where our next big learning can come.”