Round 2 preview: Tough test with Fever rising

1 month ago

The Magpies' first home match for the 2022 season is here, with a huge clash against the West Coast Fever incoming on Sunday afternoon at John Cain Arena.

Sophie Taylor

The scenario:

One game down, 13 home and away clashes to go.

A loss is never the way you want to start a season, but the Magpies will have a home crowd behind them this week for the first time in 2022, so have plenty to gain from their Round 2 outing.

Confidence is key this week, with no easy battles in 2022 and least of all against the West Coast Fever who proved they will be hard to stop.

If the Pies can slow the Fever down in transition and reduce the amount of goals scored against them, they could really test the side especially if they can re-secure the services of co-captain Ash Brazill.

With eight days between sips for the Pies, expect the team to be feeling fresh as they fire up and push for a tight clash in front of the black and white army.

Coming off Round 1:

The close 50-54 loss to the Adelaide Thunderbirds last week will well and truly put a fire in the belly of the Magpies squad.

Missing both head coach Nicole Richardson and co-captain Brazill, the side had its moments but could not capitalise on patches of momentum. Greater consistency and hunt was needed, with the four-goal difference hurting at the final siren.

Molly Jovic had an excellent run, playing across all three midcourt roles, while Shimona Nelson held strong with 38 goals from 43 attempts during her 48 minutes.

Nelson and co-captain Geva Mentor both topped statistical categories during the loss, with Nelson registering five offensive rebounds to be equal top, and Mentor equal first for deflections with seven to her name.

Unforced errors were the story of the Pies' game, with plenty of good moments left uncapitalised and 25 general play turnovers putting the nail in the coffin.

An eye on the opposition:

The West Coast Fever have rocketed to the top of the 2022 ladder after Round 1, following a huge 82-63 demolition of the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

The side looked slick, with their transition down court hard to stop and little the Lightning could do to limit their impact, although their 66 penalties could bode well for the Pies, who registered 10 less penalties throughout their own 60 minutes.

They recorded the highest score in SSN history in the process, with tall timber Jhaniele Fowler putting up 64 goals from 66 attempts, while Sasha Glasgow was pivotal in goal attack with 29 goal assists and 13 goals.

Courtney Bruce was enormous with 11 gains (seven rebounds), while the Fever also got to flex their versatility with all ten contracted players getting a run in the 19-goal victory.

Last time we met:

The Fever have gotten the chocolates in our last three meetings, with two 20-goal victories over the Pies in 2021 and a 10-goal victory during the 2022 Team Girls Cup. The Fever have consistently managed 20-plus goal quarters against the Pies in past seasons, making that a major focus as the squad looks to stop the Fever in their tracks.

Significant rotations were made across the court during both of the 2021 match-ups, with the Pies struggling to stick to a core group especially in the condensed end to the season.

In their most recent encounter during TGC, Kelsey Browne topped the Pies assists tally with 12 in the shortened format, while Sophie Garbin put up 18 goals against Fever's Courtney Bruce, who topped the gains category with six to her name.

Geva Mentor played just one quarter during the TGC loss due to an ankle injury sustained at the end of the first term. Her return is sure to pay dividends this week against Fowler, whose accuracy and overall power will be a big threat to the Magpies' chances.

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