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Mwawi Kumwenda top-scores in Vixens’ loss

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Malawi National Netball Team top shooter, Mwawi Kumwenda, continued with her excellent form in Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball on Saturday when she top-scored for her club, Melbourne Vixens, in a narrow 56-55 loss to Sunshine Coast Lightning in the competition’s major semifinal.

Mwawi converted 33 out of 38 attempts while her teammate, Tegan Phillip, scored 22 times.

Lightning’s Caitlin Bassett emerged top scorer in the match with 44 goals from 47 attempts at 94 per cent accuracy.

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The result means Vixens will be forced to take the long road to secure a berth in the Super Netball Grand Final.

Vixens had everything in their favour- hot lead-in form, home crowd, a big win over Lightning at the same venue in their last meeting and looked to have the match in their control when they opened a five-goal lead early in the third quarter.

But they were unable to find answers for the offensive onslaught from towering Lightning spearhead Bassett, who propelled her team to the win on the back of a dominant haul.

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The victory sends the Lightning straight into a home Grand Final in Brisbane in two weeks.

Having earned the double-chance, Vixens must now prevail in a home preliminary final on Saturday night if they are to get the chance to feature in the decider for the inaugural Super Netball crown.

The start was not as polished as the Vixens would have wanted, with some wild and errant passes into attack underlying the rise in pressure for a match with a spot in the Grand Final on the line.

With Bassett firing, Lightning established a three-goal lead late in the opening term, but Vixens scored the last three goals through Mwawi to lock the scores at 13-13 at the first change.

The combatants went goal for goal to start the second quarter before Vixens seized on a Lightning miss to capitalise at the other end and get the break.

After hitting just the two goals in the opening quarter, Philip found her groove with eight goals in the second quarter to help steer Vixens to a 26-25 lead at the halftime break.

Vixens lifted their game a gear in the third quarter to open a five-goal lead after the first six minutes, but by three-quarter time, Lightning had reduced the margin to two goals at the final change.

Bassett continued to prove a headache for Vixens’ defenders, who struggled to quell her influence under the ring as Lightning reeled in the lead and then quickly opened up a four-goal buffer.

Three late goals from Mwawi cut the margin, but time was against a Vixens’ resurgence.

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