Continuing to fine-tune, the NZU21 team delivered another decisive effort when despatching Pacific neighbours Samoa 85-33 on the second day’s play at the Netball World Youth Cup Gaborone 2017 (NWYC2017).
The New Zealanders were again able to give a number of players decent court time following an equally impressive first-up 89-22 win over Northern Ireland in their first match of pool play in the Botswana-based tournament. Showcasing their depth of talent and variety, New Zealand were able to play several combinations without disrupting the structure or flow of their game plan. Defender Michaela Sokolich-Beatson was the only player not to take the court, the captain recently returning from a back injury.
``We’re pleased with how we’re progressing after the first two games of pool play,’’ coach Kiri Wills said. ``It’s great that we’ve been able to run a number of different combinations while giving all of our players good court time as we get important match-time under our belts ahead of the challenging games ahead.’’
New Zealand were quickly into stride, the connection between fleet-footed wing attack Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and goal shoot Maia Wilson on song from the outset. Samoa had few answers to Reuelu-Buchanan’s slick play where her quick turn and release to Wilson under the hoop gave New Zealand the upper hand. At the other end of the court, Kelly Jury and Abby Erwood’s superior height allowed the in-circle defensive duo to take ownership of Samoa’s circle.
Quick with their through-court transition and a rock solid defence propelled New Zealand to a handy 19-9 lead at the first break.
Retaining the same seven for the second quarter, New Zealand scored the first five goals on the resumption to ensure there was no slip in standards.
In her first outing of the tournament, WBOP goal attack Monica Falkner showed her increasing confidence from range in a telling partnership with Wilson. The defensive trio of Kelly, Jury and Fa’amu Ioane nullified Samoa’s options on attack while restricting their opponents to just eight goals.
Displaying the overall strength of their 12-strong team, New Zealand showed few chinks in whatever combination took the court, finishing with a flourish and scoring 24 goals in the run home.
Showing her versatility, Falkner finished with a stint at wing attack while rising young teenaged talent Tiana Metuarau produced a 15-minute final quarter cameo with her combined shooting ability while also picking up useful turnover ball on defence. New Zealand play their third pool match against Scotland later tonight (Monday, NZ time).
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