The Melbourne Vixens have secured the home advantage in the ANZ Championship playoffs, dismantling a struggling Southern Steel 56-38 in Invercargill tonight.
With just three losses over the season, the Vixens are the championship's form team, and their win assures them of a home semi-final next week.
The Steel, second last on the ladder, had a horror start coughing up possession far too easily and lacking accuracy right through the court.
The Vixens piled pressure on every Steel pass and were decidely hungrier for the 50-50 ball with shooters Karyn Howarth and Tegan Caldwell clinical in their finishing.
The few times the Steel managed to keep possession, the midcourt could not find any drive onto the ball, and the feed into shooters Donna Wilkins and Jodi Brown was stilted and hesitant.
Ahead 17-6 after 15 minutes, the Vixens maintained the momentum in the second quarter.
The Steel rejigged their midcourt, moving Brown to wing attack and bringing in shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit, but the game was beyond salvage with the Vixens leading 31-17 at halftime.
Steel circle defenders Storm Purvis and Demelza McCloud worked hard throughout, but Vixens midcourters Madison Browne and Chelsea Tregear showed superior pace and variation into the circle and the scoreline kept mounting.
Ahead 44-26 at the three-quarter mark, the Vixens did enough to maintain parity at 12-12 over the closing 15 minutes for the 18-goal win.