‘Too little, too late’ - Sunshine Girls produce best World Cup performance in win over Zimbabwe
It was a matter of too little too late for Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls after they put on a clinical display to thrash Zimbabwe 77-47 at the Vitality Netball World Cup at the M&S Bank Arena here yesterday.
The victory has advanced the Sunshine Girls to the fifth-place match against Malawi tomorrow.
The Sunshine Girls’ performance yesterday was by far their best of the tournament to date. This after they were very impressive in all four quarters against the Zimbabweans, who were never in the contest from the start.
The Jamaicans, who are missing out on a spot in the semi-finals for the first time since 1995, committed only 17 turnovers during the match, which is the lowest in their seven matches in the competition.
The Sunshine Girls also were very fluent in their transitional play as they moved the ball very swiftly at both ends of the court while outscoring Zimbabwe in every quarter.
Jamaica head coach Marvette Anderson described yesterday’s performance as their best in the competition, but she said it was a bit too late.
“At the beginning, our concern was the amount of turnovers that we were making, and if we had corrected that from earlier, then we would have been in the semi-finals,” Anderson said. “In terms of turnovers and how we executed, I think today is our best game in the tournament, but it is a bit late in terms of going on the podium.
SHOW OF STRENGTH
“To have this finish at the end, hats off the ladies. It showed that they have resilience, and it showed that they have inner strength. It comes at the wrong time, but I am happy with what they did.”
Anderson, who has faced heavy criticism over the Sunshine Girls’ poor performance at the championships, underlines that the tournament has been a learning experience for her as well as some of her players.
“Some things take time, and I think they recognised that that was what was wanted in the beginning, but nevertheless, the fact they were able to show that going forward, that they will be able to build on this,” she said.
“It is where I have learnt that things will happen on any given day, and I am sure if they were able to play over those games that we lost, you would have seen a different team. It is gone, and there is nothing that we can do about it, so it is just about moving forward.”
The Sunshine Girls led 23-15 at end of the first quarter and 47-24 at halftime. Captain Jhaniele Fowler, who has been one of the stand-out shooters in the competition, shot an impressive 16 goals from 16 attempts before she was replaced by Romelda Aiken at the start of the second quarter.
The Jamaicans, who are ranked second in the world, extended their lead in the third period as they ended the quarter with a 59-38 lead. Aiken, who has not looked herself during the championships, finished the match with 27 goals from 35 attempts.
Goal attack Shanice Beckford recorded 18 goals from 23 attempts, and Rebekah Robinson scored 16 goals from 21 tries.