Sunshine Girls burn Barbados 76-32

By Dwayne Richards
Observer writer

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

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They often say that revenge is a dish best served cold, and it was a cold and calculating Jamaican team that took to the courts against Barbados in their fourth preliminary-round game in netball at the Gold Coast Exhibition and Convention Centre on Monday.

The Jamaicans ripped the Barbadians to shreds, winning the match 76-32 in a totally dominant display of intense defending and precise shooting.

The last time the two teams met, late last year, Barbados managed to pull off a surprise victory that cut the Jamaicans to the core. Buoyed by that win, the Bajans came to the Commonwealth Games brimming with confidence and threatened to beat Jamaica again.

Stung by the threats from their Caribbean rivals, the Sunshine Girls took the courts in a no-nonsense mood. With the swarming defence of Shamera Sterling, Stacian Facey and Vangelee Williams, coupled with the consistent and efficient offensive performance that was spurred by centre Paula Thompson and executed by Nicole Dixon, Shanice Beckford and Captain Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, the Jamaicans had five goals on the board before their opponents could put one in.

The consistent offensive move of Thompson to Dixon to Beckford to Fowler-Reid down the right side helped Jamaica to open up a gap on Barbados as the Bajan defence had no answer to the lob into the shooting circle from Beckford to her captain.

On the defensive end, Williams and Facey skilfully moved into the passing lanes to provide important interceptions, along with Thompson, that led to repeated fast breaks, while the long arms of Sterling made life difficult for Latania Blackman and company in the Barbados shooting circle.

Jamaica had a 13-point lead at the end of the first quarter as they led 22-9. While they scored less points in the second quarter, Jamaica were still able to hold their opponents to a lower score as they led 39-15 at half-time, after winning the second quarter 17-6.

The now-famous Jamaican third quarter let-down did not happen as Romelda Aiken, who replaced Fowler-Reid at the start of the second half, picked up where her teammate left off to continue to deliver the goods for Jamaica. With Jamaica outscoring their opponents 18-7 in the third quarter for a 57-22 lead, the writing was on the wall about who would win the game, if it had not already been apparent at half-time.

The fourth quarter was a mere formality, with the only consolation for Barbados being that they reached double figures in that quarter when they got to 10 goals to the Jamaicans 19.

The Jamaican twin towers of Fowler-Reid and Aiken had once again got the job done while sharing the responsibility a half at a time. Shanice Beckford continues to be the perfect foil for the two as her fitness and willingness to work for the benefit of the team ensures that the goals keep pouring in game after game.

Fowler-Reid was once again the leader in scoring for Jamaica with 32 of 36 attempts, while Aiken had 28 of 33 tries. Latonia Blackman had 17 of 19 for Barbados, while Shonika Wharton had nine of 12.

Jamaica's next opponents will be hosts and tournament favourites Australia at 9:00 pm on Wednesday (6:00 am tomorrow).

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