Jamaica got off to a strong start, with goal shooter Romelda Aiken towering above her opponents to score twice. Fiji were unfazed though, and while Jamaica’s attack dominated, they were unable to settle themselves in the first five minutes and missed a handful of opportunities.
They got into their attacking stride though, building a healthy lead as the first quarter progressed. Once Fiji managed to break through Jamaica’s strong defence, they too showed glimpses of promise in the attacking third, despite ending the first quarter 19-8 adrift.
Fiji came back strong in the second quarter, scoring in the opening minute. Jamaica quickly seized control though, keeping their opponents out for a full ten minutes while consistently building their lead. Fiji regained some strength in the final five minutes, with Laisani Waqa scoring three times and Lydia Panapasa scoring in the final 10 seconds of the quarter.
Despite the brief rebuilding job though, when the half time whistle blew Jamaica were comfortably ahead: 40-14.
A dominant third quarter saw the Jamaicans add 27 goals to their total, with substitute Jhaniele Fowler contributing the lion’s share of those.
Jamaica’s experience and strength was really starting to show, as Fiji’s young team – which included a host of World Cup debutants – struggled to stop the flow. They remained resilient though, and brought on fresh legs which posed a new challenge for the Sunshine Girls in the fourth quarter.
Lydia Panapasa and Unaisi Rauluni took their opportunities when they got on to court, but Jamaica showed their class to wrap up a comfortable 85-29 win.
Jamaica’s Vangelee Williams said:
“I feel happy about the win. It wasn’t our best performance but the fact that we could make use of everybody today – we maintained the lead and we maintained our dominance.
“We threw away a lot of balls carelessly – we need to clean up on those simple errors. We need to fix those because we know in the bigger games it will cost us more.”
Fiji’s Lydia Panapasa said:
“The girls did good against the number two team in the world – there are a lot of positives for us to take. This is my first world cup and it’s been amazing – everyone is really supportive. We have family coming to watch and the atmosphere is really good.”