Fri | Dec 14, 2018

Commonwealth Games 2018 | Sunshine Girls beat NZ again, win bronze medal

Published:Saturday | April 14, 2018 | 9:55 PM

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls defeated New Zealand 60-55 to again secure the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday on Australia's Gold Coast. 

The result means that the Sunshine Girls repeated their placing from the 2014 Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and also closed Jamaica's 2018 medal tally on 27 medals (7 gold, 9 silver, 11 bronze), the most ever won by the island at the Commonwealth Games. 

This left the Jamaicans in 11th position overall, with the host nation Australia topping the medal table with 194 medals, followed by England 130 and India 63. 

At the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre, the Jamaicans started strongly, rushing to a 15-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, before closing the half 29-27 in front. They outscored the Silver Ferns 17-12 in the third quarter and kept things tight in the final quarter to again beat the world number 2 ranked New Zealanders, following their pre-tournament victory a few weeks ago. 

Key to the Jamaicans' victory was their improved protection of the ball as the game wore on, with the Sunshine Girls registering six turnovers in the entire second half, the same amount that they suffered in the first quarter alone. They also held the ball for longer periods in three of the four quarters, compared to their New Zealand rivals. 

Though a bit wasteful, Romelda Aiken did most of the damage for the Jamaicans, scoring 24 of her 31 attempts for 77 per cent shooting, with Jhaniele Fowler-Reid adding 21 from 22 attempts. Shanice Beckford provided valuable support with 15 from 18 efforts. 

Of note, this bronze was one of two medals won by the Jamaicans in Australia outside of track and field. Swimmer Alia Atkinson's silver medal in the 50m breaststroke is the other non-athletics medal won by Jamaica at Gold Coast 2018. 

Jamaica's track and field athletes ended the Games with 25 medals, second only to Australia,  36.