Desert Jewels blow away Cook Islands

23 October 2019 | Sports

The Desert Jewels caused a storm in the Pacific by beating favourites Cook Islands 61-47 in their third match at the M1 Nations Cup that is underway in Singapore.

The Namibians dominated all four quarters, while punishing their opponents after winning turnovers.

Namibia led 16-13 after the first quarter, with Jaumbuaje Zauana showing brilliance under the basket. She was ably supported by Anna Kasper, who snatched the player of the match accolade.

At the end of the second quarter the Desert Jewels led 31-24.

In the third quarter the 33rd ranked Namibian extended their lead to 45-38. The fourth quarter, the islanders looked drained as the match ended in Namibia's favour.

Kasper said coming into the match they knew they were the underdogs against their 12th ranked opponents.

“We just applied pressure throughout the match,” an overjoyed Kasper said. Namibia will now face Papua New Guinea (PNG) today at 9:00, and then Botswana on Friday.

The coach Julene Meyer said Cook Islands have a very defensive system of play, similar to New Zealand, and have an attack circle like Australia. “They are a very good team, so we had to absorb a lot of pressure. They challenged hard on the ball. We started strong and built momentum in each quarter.

“I'm happy with intensity that we played with, as well as our consistency. The shooters shot well, the defence was disciplined. We need to work on getting the ball around more,” added Meyer.

She said today's match will be tough and physical as PNG plays similar to Cook Islands, but the Namibian team is enjoying the challenge.

The Desert Jewels are top of the table after drawing their first match against Singapore 54-54. They beat Ireland 52-31 in their second match and then defeated Cook Islands yesterday.

Cooks Islands are in second place, followed by Botswana in third, PNG in fourth and hosts Singapore in fifth, while Ireland are in sixth place.

The playoffs will start on Saturday.

LIMBA MUPETAMI

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