Swifts return to form
Sunday June 24, 2012
The NSW Swifts kept their finals chances intact with a 55-42 defeat of Southern Steel at Sydney’s Olympic Park Sports Centre.
Swifts were on the receiving end of a 27-goal demolition from Adelaide Thunderbirds and the Steel won a one-goal thriller over Canterbury Tactix last week.
Both teams had an erratic start before settling into some momentum and trying to build an early lead. The Steel’s shooting combination of Jodi Brown (goal shooter) and Donna Wilkins (goal attack) were locked in an intense battle with the Swift’s defensive end.
For the Swifts, Susan Pratley (goal shooter) created some shooting circle space and helped to create a four-goal buffer before the visitors worked their way back but trailed 15-12 at quarter time.
Picking up where they left off, the visitors found greater midcourt movement courtesy of Shannon Francois (wing attack) but Swifts were able to match their opponents. A drop in patience levels and missed shots by both team’s shooters were evident early on before Steel levelled the scores, but were unable to maintain momentum. A late run of Swifts goals them to a 27-23 half-time lead.
Susan Pratley moved to goal shooter and Amy Wild took over the goal attack bib, there was also a change made in defence. Samantha May came on for Jo Sutton at wing defence, but the Steel gained an early upper hand.
The Steel defenders Demelza McCloud and Storm Purvis made it tough for the Swifts attacking end to deliver the ball to their shooters cleanly. Picking up plenty of ball, the Steel were able to work their way back but again were not able to maintain momentum. Pratley was on song as she received the ball close to the post and shot with ease for Swifts. It was the strong defensive pressure that saw Steel buckle and trail 40-32 at the final break.
While the Steel made several final break changes, it was ineffective as Swifts built on their lead and came away with a win.
Coach Lisa Beehag was happy with her team’s rebounding win in what was their final home game of season 2012.
“I think we showed today that we’re ready to match that (physicality),” she said. “We stuck to our game plan, we kept working at it… within the game we had to make some subtle changes and the girls responded very quickly so I was very pleased with that. It was good to see them keep building.”
Susan Pratley shot 37 goals from 44 attempts in a consistent game playing at goal attack before switching to goal shooter for the Swifts.
For the Steel, dual New Zealand international Donna Wilkins (21/23 at 91 per cent) was the best of the Steel shooters.
Next for the Swifts is a trip to Auckland’s Trusts Stadium Arena to play Northern Mystics on Monday night and Steel host the Melbourne Vixens in Invercargill on Saturday.
In the all New Zealand clash, the Northern Mystics defeated the Canterbury Tactix 64-55 at the CBS Canterbury Arena in Christchurch.
Silver Fern Cathrine Latu (45/46 at 87 per cent) starred for the Mystics at goal shooter.
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