National senior netball team head coach Connie Francis says a lack of discipline and poor transitioning is to be blamed for the Sunshine Girls’ 71-45 defeat to New Zealand in their second match of the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in Birmingham, England, yesterday.
The defeat was the Sunshine Girls’ first loss to the New Zealanders in their last four encounters. The Jamaicans, who are ranked fourth in the world, two places below New Zealand, committed 14 turnovers in the first half as they were outplayed by their opponents in every department.
“I think that we made some really silly mistakes in the match,” Francis said. “We know that it is a fact that their game is really fast and it was going to be tough, but I don’t think we were physically fit to manage them, and hence the game just went away from us.
“But the good thing that I was pleased about is that I was able to give 11 players a game in this match.”
The Sunshine Girls, who trailed in every quarter of the match, started shakily as they trailed the New Zealanders 18-11 at end of the first quarter and 32-22 at half time.
New Zealand, who are now into the final of the competition, dominated the third quarter of the match as they outscored the Jamaicans 19-9 for an easy 51-31 at the end of the stanza.
Francis made several changes to the Sunshine Girls at the start of the fourth quarter but despite this, the New Zealanders still managed to maintain their dominance to take home a comfortable victory.
The Sunshine Girls will face rivals England in their next game in the series on Saturday, and Francis says that they are now looking forward to this contest.
“Some of the girls have started to look at the mistakes that we made, so we know that the stepping can be cleaned up and bad passes can be cleaned up, and we just have to try and be resilient as we move forward,” Francis said.
“All the games are tough because remember, coming into this, we were at the bottom because we lost to both South Africa and England at the World Cup last year, and New Zealand are the World Champions. So it is a work in progress for us, and we will bounce back.”
Captain Jhaniele Fowler led the way for the Sunshine Girls with 41 goals.