Silver Ferns set up rematch with Jamaica after big win over Fiji Pearls
Friday 23 March
The Silver Ferns will meet the Jamaica Sunshine Girls in tomorrow’s Taini Jamison Trophy final after posting a decisive 88-27 win over the Fiji Pearls at the North Shore Events Centre on Friday.
The Silver Ferns had the opportunity to get 11 of their 12-strong squad on court against Fiji as the home team honed their preparation ahead of their all-important rematch against a well-drilled Jamaica, who they lost to by eight goals earlier in round robin play.
With a huge amount of possession, the Silver Ferns were able to maintain consistency of performance and scoring intensity while reducing Fiji to limited opportunities, which was particularly evident in the second half.
The Silver Ferns welcomed back athletic wing defence Kayla Cullen earlier than expected from injury while livewire goalkeeper Temalisi Fakahokotau made her first appearance in the starting seven.
Recovering from injury and on managed time, veteran shooter Maria Folau got her first start of the series, the elegant goal attack pairing with Ameliaranne Ekenasio, who is continuing her comeback to international netball after the birth of her son last year.
Fakahokotau was in the thick of action, getting her hand to plenty of turnover ball while Fiji’s most experienced player, Alesi Paul showed some deft touches from goal attack.
Finding their feet with a new structure on attack, the Silver Ferns continued to gain momentum to close out the first quarter with a 21-8 lead.
Young defender Michaela Sokolich-Beatson replaced her captain Katrina Grant at goal defence on the resumption to secure her second test cap after making her debut two days earlier.
The rangy defender made the most of the opportunity with a terrific outing, snaffling five clean intercepts and six deflections to earn the rookie 21-year-old, the player of the match award.
On the back of sweeping long-ball play on attack, the Silver Ferns improved their execution to push on while suffocating Fiji defensively. Owning the possession stakes, the Silver Ferns continued to stretch out, extending their lead to 41-16 at the halftime break.
The introduction of Bailey Mes (goal attack) and the tall figure of Kelly Jury (goalkeeper) for the second half coincided with a forceful onslaught by the Silver Ferns.
Fiji wilted under the constant defensive pressure applied by the Silver Ferns with Sinclair, Cullen and Sokolich-Beatson prominent in providing a flurry of turnovers.
At the other end, Ekenasio and Mes consistently found their target under the hoop as the home team skipped into the last beak with a telling 63-22 lead.
Jamaica kept their unbeaten record intact at the completion of the round robin with a well-executed 66-55 win over Malawi in the early game.
In an entertaining match, Malawi certainly had their moments, a strong third quarter helping them get back on even terms before Jamaica unleashed in the run home.
The Sunshine Girls continued to impress with their overall composure, depth of talent and finishing prowess, six unanswered goals early in the fourth quarter sealing the final outcome.
Malawi and Fiji will contest the third/fourth play-off at 2:10pm ahead of tomorrow’s final at 4:10pm.
Silver Ferns Team v Fiji:
Katrina Grant (captain)
Maria Folau (vice-captain)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit
CHAMPION DATA MATCH STATISTICS: Click here
MVP: Michaela Sokolich-Beatson (Silver Ferns)
Quarter- by-Quarter Scores:
SILVER FERNS: Q1: 21 - Q2: 41 (20) - Q3: 63 (22) - Q4: 88 (25)
FIJI: Q1: 8 - Q2: 16 (8) - Q3: 22 (6) - Q4: 27 (5)
Ekenasio: 56/70 @ 80%
Folau: 15/19 @ 79%
Mes: 17/21 @ 81%
M. Rusivakula: 16/22 @ 73%
Paul: 5/8 @ 63%
Waqa: 6/9 @ 67%
SILVER FERNS: GS Ekenasio, GA Folau, WA Francois, C Sinclair, WD Cullen, GD Grant, GK Fakahokotau
FIJI: GS M. Rusivakula, GA Paul, WA Cirikisuva, C Galo, WD Rokoura, GD Naqiri, GK Kahatoka
Q2: GD Sokolich-Beatson
Q3: GA Mes, GK Jury
Q4: WD Grant, C Francois, WA Kara
Q4 Stoppage: GK Fakahokotau
Q4: Stoppage GK Jury, GS Ekenasio
Q2: C Waqainabete, WD Sawana
Q3: WD Rokoura, C Galo, GA M.Rusivakula, GS Waqa
Q4: WD Sawana, C Waqainabete
Saturday 24 March - Test Match 4:10pm (Live SKY Sport and Radio Sport NZ)
Time: post-match press conference
Venue: North Shore Events Centre, Argus Place, Wairau Valley, Auckland
USEFUL INFORMATION & MEDIA GUIDE
TAINI JAMISON TROPHY MEDIA GUIDE : Download here
SILVER FERNS TAINI JAMISON TROPHY SQUAD: bit.ly/2prZnlx
#SilverFans | #TainiJamisonTrophy
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