Scoring-machine Jhaniele Fowler has broken her own Super Netball record for most goals in a season while steering West Coast Fever to a 68-57 victory over the Adelaide Thunderbirds at RAC Arena.
Fowler hit all 44 of her one-point attempts – she missed one super shot – moving past her old individual record (795 goals in 2020) with her 36th shot.
The marquee all-Jamaican match-up between Fowler, the premier shooter on the planet, and Thunderbird Shamera Sterling, the world’s best defender, didn’t disappoint.
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Fowler had her work cut out early, as another Jamaican – Adelaide’s goal defence Latanya Wilson – combined with Sterling to provide double-teams at every opportunity.
With Fowler held to a relatively low 15 goals at halftime, ex-Thunderbird Sasha Glasgow stepped up, particularly early, her third straight super shot giving the Fever a 20-15 quarter-time lead.
“I knew that ‘J’ (Fowler) was such a threat, so I just had to do my job on Tanya and Shamera in the circle,” said Glasgow, who actually outpaced Fowler early before finishing with 24 points.
“We wanted to get a win for the Green Army.”
The Fever went cold in the second quarter and Adelaide, plagued by 27 penalties in the first term, turned things around, clawing the margin back to 30-28 at halftime, largely through Sterling’s brilliance.
Fowler finally broke the shackles in the third period as the Thunderbirds, who needed a win to keep their finals hopes alive, unravelled through a flurry of crippling turnovers.
Centre Tayla Williams, who enjoyed a superb first half, was the worst offender and was duly subbed out of the match as West Coast regained control and led 49-40 at three-quarter-time.
The margin ballooned out to 13 early in the fourth term and while the Thunderbirds did well to peg the gap back to six goals late, it was never going to be enough with captain Courtney Bruce magnificent and Fowler breaking new ground.
The second-placed Fever will tackle the top-ranked Melbourne Vixens in next Saturday’s major semi-final at John Cain Arena, the winner earning direct passage into the grand final.
“Vixens have got on top of us every time we’ve played them,” Glasgow said.
“We know they are incredible in those first five minutes so we need to stay with our processes in those first few minutes.”