Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Sunshine Girls chase series sweep tonight

Published:Wednesday | October 20, 2021 | 12:07 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Nicole Dixon-Rochester in action against Trinidad during game-two of their Sunshine Series at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston yesterday.
Jamaica’s Nicole Dixon-Rochester in action against Trinidad during game-two of their Sunshine Series at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston yesterday.
Sunshine Girl Shamera Sterling (centre) is hoisted by teammate Latanya Wilson to block a shot by Trinidad and Tobago captain Kalifa McCollin.
Sunshine Girl Shamera Sterling (centre) is hoisted by teammate Latanya Wilson to block a shot by Trinidad and Tobago captain Kalifa McCollin.
Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls in a team huddle before the beginning of the match.
Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls in a team huddle before the beginning of the match.
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Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls will be looking to sweep their Three-Test Sunshine Series against Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago when both teams square off in their third and final match at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston at 6 p.m. today.

The Jamaicans lead the series 2-0 after recording a 64-32 victory over the Calypso Girls last night in game two at the same venue. The Sunshine Girls won game one 71-22 on Saturday.

Head coach Connie Francis made four changes to her starting line-up for last evening’s game with captain and shooter Jhaniele Fowler being replaced by Gezelle Allison and Shanice Beckford coming in for Rebekah Robinson at goal attack.

Nicole Dixon came in for Adean Thomas at centre, while Shannika Johnson got the start over Shadian Hemmings at wing defence.

However, despite this, the Jamaicans still managed a 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

They then increased their advantage in the second as they outplayed the world number 10 ranked Trinis at both ends of the court to take a 24-14 lead at half-time.

Goalkeeper Shamera Sterling and goal defence Latanya Wilson played brilliantly for the Jamaicans in the first half as they made a number of inceptions while shutting down both of Trinidad’s shooters.

SUBSTITUTION PAID OFF

Fowler was brought into the game at the start of the third quarter. The move quickly paid off as she scored 18 of the Sunshine Girls’ 20 goals as they outscored the Trinidad and Tobago 20-8 for a 44-22 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Beckford scored the other two goals for the Sunshine Girls in the third quarter of the match.

The Trinidadians fought hard in the opening exchanges of the final quarter but they were overpowered by the speed and strength of the Sunshine Girls who ended with the win. Fowler top-scored for the Jamaicans with 36 goals from 38 attempts.

Allison, 13 from 20, Beckford, 12 from 14, and Amanda Pinkney, three from five, were the other scorers for the Sunshine Girls. Afeisha Noel, 17 from 20, and Kalifa McCollin, 15 from 16, were the scorers for the Trinidadians.

Francis said she is pleased with the team’s performance and they are now looking forward to finishing off the job in style today.

“I thought the game went to plan,” she said. “It is a 10th-ranked team and when we play a 10th-ranked team, the expectation is that winning is what we are going for and nothing less.”

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Althea McCollin said they did well despite the defeat.

“It is far better than the first game that we played because we came and we executed,” she said. “I think we still have to be more consistent in feeding the ball in to our shooters because when something is working, we need to continue to work on it. I think we are getting a lot better as the series goes on, so I am expecting a much better performance in the final game.”

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com