Singapore, 1st September 2008…. Day two of the Fisher & Paykel Nations Cup was filled with much on-court action and Singapore got their first win of the tournament against gutsy Samoa 48 points to 41.
Singapore had to play a different game compared to their first game to match the physical and fast paced style of the Polynesian Islanders. It was a hard-fought game with a nervous start from both teams as they were looking for their first win of the competition. Singapore failed to take all their chances in the circle and Samoa made several passing errors in the final third.
The hosts were just six goals (20-26) ahead at half time and held the lead for the rest of the game but a win was by no means certain as Samoa dug deep. The home team grew in confidence throwing the ball across court and the second half shooters of Chen Huifen and Yasmin Ho were going for goal from all angles.
Singapore national coach, Lisa Beehag was delighted that her team came away with a win - all be it at a frantic pace. She said, “We were not deliberately trying to play at such a fast pace tonight; we really want to find a pace that suits us but there were times when we got a little bit out of control. We’re still a new group and the girls need to grow in confidence and feel they can speak up and take control.
“I was very pleased with our combinations today and we had three different shooting pairings out there throughout the game. Rachel Yim and Yasmin Ho both did really well in the circle.”
Samoan Coach, Linda Vagana talked about the physical battle on court. She said, “We are of a bigger physical stature to the Singapore girls and I felt the umpire’s calls weren’t always consistent today. We had to work really hard to get the ball so I was proud of the way the girls played and didn’t let Singapore slip out of our reach.”
Five points was the difference going into final quarter (32-37) and Singapore kept composure as Samoa looked a little frustrated as they were denied in the circle on several occasions.
Samoa faces Papua New Guinea (PNG) tomorrow night and are ready for a tough battle. Vagana continued, “The match against PNG will be a real learning curve for the young girls. They are very skilful and of a similar build. We played much better today compared with yesterday and are starting to gel well so tomorrow will be a close game.”
Singapore has a rest day tomorrow but will come out blazing against Botswana on Wednesday. Beehag thinks that Botswana are “a very athletic, exciting team and quite different to play against compared with the other nations. We will need to think about our strategies against them and work to our strengths.”
Papua New Guinea made their first appearance in this year’s tournament tonight against Botswana who was confident after their victory over Samoa on day one. It was a very tight match with PNG edging slightly ahead at half time (24-28).
The girls from the Pacific Islands, who return to Singapore after finishing second in the 2006 4 Nations Cup, worked well as a team and played a controlled game passing around the agile Botswana players who continued to impress the enthusiastic crowd with their fitness and skill on court.
It was anyone’s game for the taking but PNG stayed strong and got their first win 49-57 to keep this competition very much alive.
Day 1: Singapore 63 – 66 Sri Lanka
1st:17-13; HT:32-31; 3rd:47-45; FT:63-66
Samoa 34 – 49 Botswana
1st:11-17; HT:19-19; 3rd:28-38; FT:34-49
Day 2: Samoa 41 – 48 Singapore
1st:7-12; HT: 20-26; 3rd:32-37; FT: 41-48
Botswana 49 – 57 Papua New Guinea
1st: 15-14; HT: 24-28; 3rd: 35-44; FT: 49-57
4th September – OFF DAY