PNG women take 1 point victory over Samoa
Before the game, Tema Hunkin, assistant coach for the Samoa Women's Basketball Team had this to say about having only nine players able to play tonight's game..."With April, Suzette and Pualele out of the game, we will have to adjust, but it will force the girls to work hard as a team. They came through last night with April out of the game, I am sure they can do it again."
The PNG team has had a hard run so far after being defeated in their first two games of the tournament. When asked what their strategy was fo tonight's game PNG Coach Veitu Diro said"...we will run a fast game."
The game began with Nape Waka from PNG scoring followed by a score by Artevia Wily of Samoa. PNG lead for the first six minutes of the quarter while the Samoa team looked exhausted. They weren't playing their normal game. The rest of the first quarter was riddled with forced errors from the Samoan side and ended with a score of 14-13, PNG ahead by one point!
The second quarter began much as the first one ended with PNG making the most of Samoa's tiredness. PNG attacked from the mid court, making it even harder for the Samoan girls to get to their goal. The PNG team were on fire as they continued to increase their lead with number 7 Nape Waka driving into the key and laying up the ball with incredible speed! Samoa just couldn't get their heads in the game as they continued to make wild passes and consecutive missed shots.The first half ended with PNG up by nine points 34-25.
Half way through the third quarter, PNG kept their lead. With four minutes remaining the score is 47-35 as number 14 of PNG receives a technical foul. The pressure is on La Toya Wily to close the gap. Not feeling the pressure at all Latoya sinks her two shots bringing the score to 37-47, PNG still leading. Two minutes remaining in the third quarter and PNG maintain their lead with little improvement from the Samoan side. The third quarter ends with an unbelievable score of 55-40.
What happened to the Samoan team we saw in the last two games?
With four and a half minutes left in the game the Samoa girls fight for the win eventhough PNG is still leading 51-57. The crowd is roaring and screaming, the players are jumping at the sidelines. The atmosphere is one of excitement and joy as the home team bring the game to a draw 57 all after number 4 Lisa Epa sinks three consecutive shots. Finally, a hint of a smile appears on Coach Anae's face as she dishes out instructions to her players.
Just over a minute remaining, everyone is on their feet as Samoa lead the game for the first time today. But, despite their efforts, PNG scored a final shot bringing the game to PNG 60, Samoa 59.