Sunshine Girls end 'disappointing' fourth
Jamaica's World Fast5 Netball Series campaign crashed to a disappointing end in Auckland, New Zealand yesterday, after the team was forced to settle for a fourth-place finish following two crushing defeats.
The tournament was won by New Zealand, after their close 23-21 win over England in the final.
After pulling off a nervy 34-33 win over Australia on Saturday's second day of competition to book their spot in the semi-final round, the Jamaicans were soundly beaten by New Zealand, as the hosts ran riot on the Sunshine Girls, racking up a 52 - 18 victory over the Oberon Pitterson-Nattie coached team.
Jamaica trailed 6-14 after the first quarter, 11-24 at half-time. They were then outscored 20-5 in the third and 8-2 in the final quarter.
Goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler led Jamaica's scoring with 10 goals from 16 attempts, while goal attack Maria Tutaia led New Zealand with 10 from 14.
Defender Sasha Lynch, speaking after the loss, questioned some of the calls made by the officiating team, but admitted that her team had not been able to show their best during the weekend tournament.
Not yet in comfort spot
"It's very disappointing," said Lynch, while speaking to local reporters. "We played but for me, I don't think the umpiring was consistent, even though we didn't make use of the balls that we got.
"We are yet to show our best performance this weekend. It's one of those things," she added. "I guess we are not yet into our comfort spot."
Before the Jamaicans could lick their wounds, they then lost the third-place playoff 38-34 to South Africa, who had earlier lost the other semi-final 39-15, at the hands of England.
Jamaica actually led the first quarter 11-4, but were hammered 22-5 in the second quarter, to trail 16-26 at half-time.
The Sunshine Girls rallied to take the third quarter 10-6 and pull within six at 26-32 at the start of the last quarter, but could not overcome the deficit.
Fowler led all scorers with 18 goals from 24 attempts, while Chrisna Bootha scored 13 from 21 for South Africa.
Malawi, meanwhile, defeated Australia 33-30 in the fifth-place playoff.
Team captain Nadine Bryan lamented the team's approach and inability to keep stride with the Spar Proteas, who she noted were more accurate with their perimeter shooting and Power Play effectiveness.
"We are a little bit disappointed, but we gave it our all. In their Power Play they shot very well and had about three three-pointers, which gave them a big lead and that's where we fell short," said Bryan, a veteran player in the Jamaican team.
"We have to become more accurate in shooting, be stronger in our passing down the court; we have to let the ball do the work for us in a tournament like this," she noted.
This was the inaugural staging of the tournament, which sees games featuring four six-minute quarters played with five players per team as opposed to the usual seven. Fast5 also facilitates three-point shooting and rolling substitutions.