Story by Koh Yizhe/Red Sports. Photos by Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports
Singapore GA Chen Hui Fen lines up her shot. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Toa Payoh Indoor Sports Hall, Tuesday, December 7, 2010 – After securing their first victory over India, Singapore succumbed to Tanzania 52-36 on the second day of the 2010 Netball Nations Cup.
Tanzania were too much for Singapore to handle with Mwanaidi Hassan, Tanzania’s 1.93 metre Goal Shooter, causing Singapore all kinds of trouble as she converted 38 of her 41 shots. When Singapore did manage to intercept the ball in their own third, the Africans forced them into turnovers. It also did not help that the host made plenty of sloppy passes throughout the match.
It was only in the fourth quarter that Singapore managed to get settled and started imposing themselves on the visitors to win the last quarter 16-14.
“I think we didn’t have a strong enough start,” said captain Lin Qingyi. “We picked up some balls against their shooters but couldn’t convert them into a shot (at the other end). We had a bit of difficulty from the defensive end to bring the ball down the court because they are very long and lanky so we just see arms and legs.”
“As the quarters went by, we managed to cope better and to see past the hands to find the options but probably it was a bit too late,” added Qingyi.
The hosts’ African opponent had beaten them 44-31 in last year’s edition of the Nations Cup and revenge was clearly on Singapore’s mind as they started matched strongly. Although Tanzania drew first blood, Singapore were able to match their opponents point for point in the early goings and Singapore’s defense pairing of captain Lin Qingyi and Premila Hirubalan managed to hold them back with timely interceptions.
However, Tanzania were soon settled and they began to give Singapore’s defense a torrid time and pressured them into many turnovers. Midway through the first period, Singapore were spraying passes wildly and struggled to get out of their own third. It didn’t help that Singapore’s shooting wasn’t on target.
All these allowed Tanzania to hold a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Once again, Singapore started the quarter strongly with Tan Hui Yan and Chen Hui Fen scoring two goals to narrow the gap to three points. This only sparked Tanzania into action and they went on a scoring spree to stretch their lead to double digits. Singapore continued to have trouble holding and passing the ball with Centre Charlene Porima guilty of losing the ball on a number of occasions.
On the offensive end, the pair of Tan Hui Yan and Chen Hui Fen were mere spectators on court as Tanzania’s tall defenders kept them quiet. With Singapore’s attack neuturalised, the Africans were able to take a 25-14 lead into the second half.
Despite the introduction of Singapore’s tall Goal Shooter Li Ling in the second half, much of the same followed. In fact, it looked like Singapore were falling apart as Tanzania ran circles around them. By the end of the third quarter, the match was over as a contest with the host trailing by 18 points at 20-38.
It was only in the final quarter that Singapore finally got their act together. Li Ling’s height in the semi-circle was the main difference for the host as she made all eight of her attempts on goal. The Tanzanians did manage to extend their lead to more than 20 points, but Singapore fought hard and eventually won the last quarter 16-14. However, despite trimming the lead, it was too little, too late for the host and they fell 52-36.
“I thought we were very smart and worked the ball well – we let it go when we needed to and played it when we needed to. This let us put together four very solid quarters. Defensively, we knew Singapore are a very fast side so we put on a very strong defensive pressure to slow them down,” said Tanzania’s coach, Simone McKinnis.
When asked if she felt that height was a very big factor in the match today, she commented, “Sure, there is a height advantage, but you’re only as good when the team makes use of that advantage. My team maintained their intensity, focus and standard of play throughout the match and to me it is really important.”
“I thought we made a lot of errors and were very hesitant with the ball,” analyzed Kate Carpenter, Singapore’s coach. “We created turnovers but were unable to put ourselves into an area (to score) and we didn’t get a lot of attempts. I thought Tanzania were the better side and they were deserving of the outcome.”
“Sure, it is really hard to contain a tall shooter, but we also turned over the ball a lot and allowed them to get into positions to score. We need to toughen up and get amongst it,” said the Singapore coach who also mentioned that their next opponents, Namibia, play a similar style to Tanzania.
Her captain, Lin Qingyi, agreed, saying, “We have to learn from the experiences today as we expect Namibia to be somewhat similar as we have seen them play. They also have very lanky players and I hope whatever we picked up today, we can work on it tomorrow. Our timing of coming to the ball has to be perfect. When we turn around, we always see more of them than us because we’re smaller so our timing has to be perfect.”
Singapore will play their third match against Namibia at 4pm on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at the Toa Payoh Indoor Sports Hall.
Centre Charlene Porima tries to find her away around her opponents. (Photo 2 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
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