8 May 2016

Steel steal Thunderbirds' thunder

6:22 pm on 8 May 2016

The Southern Steel have posted a record 69-54 win over the Thunderbirds in Adelaide.

The result continued an impressive start to the season for the southerners who maintained their unbeaten record while keeping the Thunderbirds winless this season.

The Steel's 69 goals, of which a dominant Jhaniele Fowler-Reid contributed an individual haul of 60, surpassed the 61 they scored against the same opposition in Adelaide in 2014.

Jhaniele Fowler-Reid

Jhaniele Fowler-Reid Photo: Photosport

Getting her first start of the campaign, lanky goal attack Brooke Leaver helped create openings into the circle with towering Jamaican import Fowler-Reid a prominent target.

Patient and poised through court, the Steel made easy inroads while in-form defenders Storm Purvis and Jane Watson kept the Thunderbirds shooters quiet.

With the Steel leaping out to an early seven goal lead, the Thunderbirds produced a late quarter rally to get back in the contest, reducing the visitor's lead to just two when trailing 14-12 at the first break.

However, it was the Steel who responded with decisive authority, steadying on attack, lifting on defence and pulling out to another handy lead.

With wing attack Gina Crampton finding great space on attack and Fowler-Reid imperious under the hoop, whether scoring or rebounding, the Steel regained all the momentum when leading 32-24 at half-time.

Replacement player Emily Burgess found her way to wing defence in place of Jade Clarke during the second quarter, and the Thunderbirds looked to another newcomer in Stephanie Puopolo to help resurrect their fortunes.

Taking over from Bell in the third, Puopolo had immediate impact in her first outing of the season with a confident showing. Providing the ability to create space ensured more ball for main shooter Carla Borrego as the home team delivered their best quarter of the match.

However, the Steel were in no mood to relinquish their hold on the match, retaining a solid effectiveness across all areas of the court, keeping their turnovers to a minimum and with the reliable presence of a dominant Fowler-Reid, the visitors were well placed when leading 49-39 at three-quarter time.