The first match of Day Two at the M1 Nations Cup 2019 saw Namibia beating Ireland 52 – 31, making it their first win of the tournament following yesterday’s draw against Singapore.
Namibia’s shooters, Captain Jatjinda Kambatuku (GS) and Anna Kaspar (GA) led from the front, securing a 100% scoring rate for the match. For the next two quarters (2nd & 3rd), Namibia started to dictate the play with their physical strength and ball speed, making it difficult for their opponents to contain. The Irish did not flounder and continued to add points onto the score board with a 13 point deficit (36-23) heading into the final quarter.
Ireland came off the bench with much needed momentum, with Jan Hynes (GS) securing the first point to continue pressuring Namibia. Both sides were not slowing down their efforts and the speed of the match kept the crowd entertained. Ireland continued to press but Namibia’s Goal Keeper (GK) Mwale Mulenamaswe kept the Ireland forwards under control with exceptional defensive skills, aiding her side to secure their first win at this year’s tournament.
Coach of Namibia, Julene Meyer “I think we started better, our warmups were better, the intensity was much higher, we were a bit rusty yesterday when we started. I was much happier with the rhythm today. However, I’m still not quite happy with the third quarter, but overall a much improved performance and I’m looking forward to getting more rhythm and more speed onto the ball and of course, for us to improve with each game.”
Captain of Ireland, Niamh Reynolds “I think first of all Namibia, they are a class side, well done to them for the win. I think we made too many personal errors, from footwork, to too many passes that were thrown astray and too many missed shots. I think we were our own worst enemy out there at times. In terms of what went well, there were patches that we had shown what we could do when we moved the ball around with speed, but it just did not happen enough. Tomorrow we are playing Singapore, which we have played numerous times in the past few years and it has always been close matches.”
MATCH REPORT: COOK ISLANDS VS PAPUA NEW GUINEA FINAL SCORE: 62-34
The match between Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea was the second match of Day Two, with Cook Islands winning 62-34 – marking Cook Islands’ second consecutive win of the tournament.
The Islanders started strong, with 7 points scored in the first 5 minutes by their respective shooters Elena Mataora (GS) and Marjorie Toru (GA). Mataora displayed her ruthless accuracy by scoring 21 points from 21 attempts. Papua New Guinea, managed to keep one hand on the score board to stay in the game and headed into the final quarter chasing a 45-25 score-line.
Throughout the game, both Centres, Maeva Carr (Cook Islands) and Nerita Adula (Papua New Guinea) executed the strategy set by the coaches flawlessly and made some key goal scoring opportunities and intercepts to maintain the intensity of the match. The final score of 62-34 did not reflect the quality of play exhibited by the Pepe’s and they will be disappointed by the result today. The Cook Islands however have now set the bar on the highest points scored by a team in this year’s tournament, making clear their intention to retain the M1 Nations Cup Championship.
Coach of Cook Islands, Anna Andrews-Tasola “I’m really happy with the team’s performance. We’ve only been together for a couple of days and we’ve got some babies that have come through for us from our under 21’s. It’s really great to be able to get them to be exposed to this type of competition. Our pacific sisters, Papua New Guinea are a great team, they’re really skilful and really competitive.”
Co-Captain of Papua New Guinea, Courtney Abel “I am so proud of my girls, we had a number of girls debuting today and we played against a very tough and experienced team but we still came out and gave it our all. We have a lot to work on and of course we did not win the game but I am just so proud of the fighting spirit and the fact that we kept going.
Moving on from today’s match, we need to just keep going and keep composed no matter how the games’ are going, good or bad we just have to keep our calm and just play our own game.”
MATCH REPORT: BOTSWANA VS SINGAPORE
FINAL SCORE: 57-52
The final match of Day Two saw Singapore play against Botswana, with the African side beating Singapore 57 – 52 to snatch their first win of the tournament.
It was a heated first quarter with both teams clamouring for the lead, drawing 5-5 in the first 5 minutes. Botswana’s fast and direct passes revealed their strong presence on court as they began to pull away from Singapore to head into the second quarter with a 14-12 lead.
The next two quarters saw end-to-end action with Singapore taking the lead in the first minute in the 3rd quarter. Botswana remained a constant threat and counter attacked almost immediately with both shooters Tuminsang Bagidi GA (93% accuracy) and Ntebogang Motlakaloso GS (82% accuracy) and headed into the 4th quarter with a 46-41 lead.
While Singapore tried to close the gap, Botswana steam-rolled ahead and ran down the clock to see the game out. A consolation point by Charmaine Soh (GS) in the last second of the match raised applause from the Singapore crowd in appreciation of a spirited and admirable team performance.
Coach of Botswana, Sithulile Mlotshwa “We needed to get the win because it prepares us for the next game towards who is going to the medal games, yesterday we lost, so our build up was to mentally strategise how we could attack and defend. Our game play was that we first attack before we defend which I can say absolutely went very well because the mind of the girls had not lapsed during the game. Going on from here our aim is to be calm, in certain times when the team is leading us we tend to be scared to take out the ‘wildness’ in us, because in any sport someone has to be wild for them to win so going forward we will try to take the ‘soft’ person out of us.”
Coach of Singapore, Natalie Milicich “I think we showed a lot of courage out there, it was a very physical game so we had to front up to that and I thought that we did that very well. I know we drew two quarters and I think it was just critical moments that we needed to finish that off. Overall I’m really proud of how they just stuck to the game plan and really tried to do what we had talked about.”
Captain of Singapore, Charmaine Soh “I thought it was a very close fight because the last time we played them I think we lost with quite a bit and with them having a higher ranking then us, we go in with the mentality that we will go all out and focus on the game itself. I’m pretty proud of the team because I felt that they started well. There were definitely dips throughout the game. As compared to yesterday, I felt that the opponents were tougher on us by not giving us an easy time. I think we just need to buck up on that.
I feel that we have to continue that fighting spirit. Although we were down, the team kept going. There was resilience and we were determined to get every ball. So I think that we can keep that up and we should start the game strong. I feel that we started the two games we’ve played pretty strongly, however we just need to maintain it and be more consistent.”