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Steel outclass Fever to remain unbeaten

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/04/2016

Southern Steel proved they are the real deal in the trans-Tasman league and provided some inspiration for New Zealand teams with a 69-62 defeat of the West Coast Fever in Invercargill.

The surprise early leaders in the New Zealand conference of the ANZ Championship, the Steel showed it was no fluke as they outclassed a quality Fever side to retain their unbeaten record.

The visitors had few answers to a fluent Steel offence, which provided a steady stream of ball to prolific goal shoot Jhaniele Fowler-Reid. The Jamaican international shot most of her 58 goals from 64 attempts from close to the hoop, exemplifying the service she received from midcourters Gina Crampton and Shannon Francois.

Wing attack Crampton was a particular standout, producing the movement and slick passing that has become a trademark of the Steel this year under coach Noeline Taurua.

The win was the first by a Kiwi team over an Australian outfit this season, with the previous five such clashes having finished in lop-sided fashion the other way.

The Steel improve their record to four wins and one draw while the Fever slump to their second successive loss after starting the campaign with three wins. They will remain third in the Australian conference but risk losing touch with unbeaten leaders the NSW Swifts and Queensland Firebirds.

Caitlin Bassett shot 44 from 48 shots for the Fever and Natalie Medhurst 18 from 19 but shooting wasn't their biggest problem.

Steel won most of the effort statistics, making 15 deflections to seven, with goal keep Jane Watson especially prominent. They also pulled down 11 rebounds to one.

The second quarter was decisive, won 20-11 by the Steel.

The Fever embarked on a run of seven goals either side of the final break but they never threatened to overhaul the southerners.

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