Solomon Islands Women’s team stun New Caledonia as FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup gets underway in Port Moresby
By Taromane Martin
In Port Moresby
THE Solomon Islands women’s national basketball team has created history yesterday at the Taurama Indoor and Aquatic Centre in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The national team defeated New Caledonia 59-53 for the first time in their opening match of the 2017 Melanesia Basketball Cup.
Solomon Islands Basketball Federation (SIBF) President Brian Pongatapu and Vice President Mrs Delmah Nori including a team physio who arrived in time from Honiara on Wednesday to witness the historic win were all smiles after the final whistle.
The women’s team led New Caledonia 15-7 at the end of the first quarter, Jocelyn Basia, Elsie Daiwo and youngster Ruth Sade leading the charge for the for the national team.
New Caledonia collected ten points at the end of second quarter to see them trailing Solomon Islands 34-17 after 19 points more points to keep their lead at half time.
New Caledonia clawed their way back into the match shooting 17 points in the third quarter to see them with 34 points while the Solomon Islands extended their lead to 46 points at the end of that quarter.
Rowse Maea Lee, Mary Daffie, Rose Gwali and high school student Elizabeth Ma’aria were brilliant for the national team, taking up responsibility in defence and on the counter attack while Jocelyn Basia and Elsie Daiwo were not on the court.
The match grew intense in the final quarter as Basia was taken off the game after committing five fouls.
Daffie and Daiwo were also forced to seek attention from the court side physio after picking knocks on their ankles in the fourth and second quarters respectively.
Leading 53-47 New Caledonia came back stronger after the time out call by the match referee. New Caledonia had chances to steal the lead but saw their shots out of target.
Ma’ara collected a three-point basketball for the national team. Extending their lead, Sade calmed the nervous of the handful Solomon Islands fans at the centre with two more baskets converted from the free throw line to see them defeat New Caledonia 59-53 yesterday..
Team Captain, Elsie Daiwo was pleased with the win but says it is not over yet for them.
Solomon Islands will take on the Fijian women’s national basketball team today followed by Papua New Guinea in their final pool game tomorrow afternoon.