Silver Ferns post decisive win against Barbados
The Silver Ferns powered to a 78-25 win over Barbados to post their second straight win of the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 in Liverpool on Saturday.
Ranked No. 12 in the world, Barbados had few answers against the well-drilled Silver Ferns who made a number of changes throughout the match with all 12 getting decent minutes for the match-up.
Bailey Mes got her first outing of the campaign, starting at goal shoot while Katrina Rore slotted into wing defence and Shannon Saunders at wing attack in the starting seven as workloads looked to be managed effectively across the demands of the tournament which involves eight games in 10 days.
Mes and Jane Watson played full games for the Silver Ferns, both having strong performances with Watson a particular standout. The defender was an influential presence throughout while delivering a personal haul of six intercepts and a constant stream of tips and deflections.
Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua felt the team had shown a big improvement from their opening win against Malawi yesterday.
“I’m really happy, especially defensively where I thought we were tighter as a unit, and created a lot of turnovers. So, I’m really happy with that aspect and also being able to get all 12 on is a bonus,” she said.
“I was just really happy with how our whole unit combined and overall it was a great step-up from yesterday.
“Bailey offers us a lot of versatility and I thought she played really well and did a good job at both shooter and wing attack today.”
Coming up against another unorthodox style, the Silver Ferns took time to settle despite a flurry of turnover opportunities to open proceedings.
Midcourters Laura Langman and Saunders set the early tone on attack with slick movement and feeding while defensively the Silver Ferns effectively stalled much of the Barbados penetration around the circle edge.
Calm and nerveless, Barbados shooter Shonica Wharton showed no fear after sinking a number of long-range shots but with Watson, Casey Kopua, Rore and Langman picking off seven clean intercepts between them, it was the Silver Ferns who took a 16-9 lead into the first break.
With Saunders moving into centre, for Langman, Gina Crampton coming into wing attack, Maria Folau (for Ekenasio) at goal attack and Phoenix Karaka taking over from Kopua at goal defence, the Silver Ferns moved into overdrive on the resumption.
The changes proved seamless, the Silver Ferns dominating possession as they went on a 20-goal scoring streak while restricting Barbados to just one during a defining 11 minutes. Mes recovered from two opening misses to head into halftime with 23 goals from 25 attempts as the Silver Ferns leapt out to a 42-14 lead.
Captain Langman returned to the court for the third stanza while shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit and wing defence Karin Burger were introduced to the action, the Silver Ferns continuing to provide no let-up for a hapless Barbados.
Mes continued her fine form, finishing her day under the hoop with 30 shots from 33 attempts before shifting to wing attack for the final quarter while Selby-Rickit chimed in with a perfect 12 from 12 as the Silver Ferns went to three-quarter time in full control when leading 61-20.
The Silver Ferns will meet Singapore in their third pool match at 8pm on Sunday night (NZT) ahead of Preliminary Stage 2 starting on Monday.