The Gems extending their four-game winning streak over Singapore to five as their flowing game prevailed throughout each quarter, with strong shooting statistics being supported by turnover ball. Whilst Singapore showed promise in the third quarter, they were ultimately unable to contend with the speed of the Gems.
Barbados showed from the outset their intensity and dynamism. Tight player-on-player defence with a touch of added physical pressure presented an immediate challenge for Singapore.
Shonette Azore-Bruce – the tournament’s third oldest player – demonstrated her World Cup experience as she commanded her shooting circle, dictating the balls that were seamlessly fed into her.
Chairmaine Soh was a shining light for Singapore in the first quarter, but as the Gems began to stretch their legs, they also stretched their lead – to 17-6 at the end of the first 15.
Quarter two began with a new-look Singapore attack, and it initially showed promise. By opting for shorter and sharper passes in the attack and competing more for the ball in the through-court play, Singapore were able to deny the Gems opportunity to poach passes.
Changes made in the shooting end similarly deprived Latonia Blackman as much opportunity to turn over ball and Soh continued to shine for Singapore as she shot intelligently.
As the quarter progressed though, a general lack of execution prevented Singapore from making the most of their newly-found increased possession, whereas Barbados kept things ticking over, establishing a 33-14 half-time lead.
A new half saw another new Singaporean attacking line-up, and the improved connection in attack made Singapore a harder nut for the Gems to crack.
Xinyi Tan at goal shooter was able to support Soh, who had previously been carrying all the shooting duties, and with 83% (5/6) she committed to her task well. Barbados built momentum in the last minute of the quarter though, adding an extra three goals to their tally, breaking what had up until then been a goal-for-goal quarter.
Despite Singapore coming quickly out of the gates in the final quarter the Bajan Gems were a tour de force.
Shonica Wharton, coupled with Sheniqua Thomas, showed the expectant Liverpool crowd her shooting prowess with shots from all ranges and with a 92% accuracy, she enabled the Gems to quell any resurgent Singaporean spirit.
Barbados GD Rhe-Ann Niles-Mapp said:
“We’re feeling great – it was great that we got all 12 players on the court, and we played a consistent game, which is what we wanted. It’s always great to start with a win, and to get the competition going and get a feel for the court as well.”
Singapore coach Natalie Milicich said:
“I think we actually improved as the match went on. Our lack of experience at this level certainly showed in those first few minutes, and to play catch-up against Barbados was always going to be hard, but I was really proud of how we chipped away and made improvements throughout the match.”