NBA: The 2 worst teams in the West are Phoenix and the Lakers. But they managed to play some entertaining basketball through an evenly matched first half.
SWIFTS captain Abby McCulloch said her young side will learn from the experience but that doesn’t mean they are happy about falling to the Firebirds in last year’s grand final rematch in Brisbane on Friday night.
McCulloch says the Swifts went into the Super Netball match with high hopes but let themselves down in the final five minutes.
“We came here to win and we didn’t get it done,” she said after the 62-53 loss which came after the Firebirds took just a one goal lead into the final quarter.
“The last five minutes, we let ourselves down. We blew it.”
McCulloch said while disappointed in the loss the Swifts, the most inexperienced team in the league, will learn from the experience.
“We are the youngest team and that’s one thing we can do, learn a lot.
“We will be much better for the experience.”
McCulloch said a positive to come from the match was the blooding of young gun Amy Sommerville who made her Super Netball debut in the goal circle.
Starting for the Swifts was Trinidad and Tobago shooter Swifts goalshooter Sam Wallace who netted a game best 48 goals.
NSW Swifts star Paige Hadley says the final nine-goal margin did not do her side justice, with turnovers killing the gutsy visitors.
“Obviously we are really disappointed. I don’t think the nine-goal margin showed the quality of game that it was,’’ she said.
“In the end we were doing so much work, we were throwing silly, silly turnovers. We just really need to cherish possession. We had lapses and they converted.
“For us, we are new and we are building and it’s pressure situations we are learning from.
“If we can tidy up those passes to our shooters we’ll right in there to the end.’’
Firebirds shooter Romelda Aiken finished with 44 goals from 56 attempts while Gretel Tippett had 18 goals for the home side with South African centre Erin Burger claiming MVP honours for a calm, collected and classy performance.
Swifts goalshooter Sam Wallace had 48 goals for the brave Swifts who fought the good fight for as long as they could but were unable to withstand the fast-finishing Firebirds.
Queensland surged to a six-goal advantage early in the third quarter but the Swifts again showed their mettle to leave the Firebirds with a 44-43 lead at three-quarter time to set up another potential grandstand finish.
Across both squads there were eight survivors from last year’s double overtime grand final won by the Firebirds which made the 2015 grand final decided in the last eight seconds of regular time look like walk in the park.
The desperation was clear with both revamped sides starting the year with one win, one loss and a draw apiece and little separated them at halftime when the Firebirds led 30-27.
Originally published as ‘The last five minutes, we let ourselves down’