The two teams came into the meeting off the back of defeats to Jamaica and South Africa, with Trinidad and Tobago holding the superior historical record over their opponents, having won the previous three World Cup meetings.
Trinidad and Tobago started quickly, with centre Candice Gueroro particularly influential across the court as her side established an early lead.
Despite being put on the back foot, Fiji soon found their rhythm and Lydia Panapasa and Unaisi Rauluni began to have an impact in the shooting circle. However, Trinidad and Tobago retained their dominance in the middle of the court, and they led at the end of the first quarter by 23-10.
Fiji upped their game in the second quarter, ensuring a much more even contest. The teams traded goals, with Samantha Wallace impressing in front of the net and Kalifa McCollin ably supporting her with some excellent positional play.
As the quarter progressed both Panapasa and Rauluni were shooting at over 90% for the Fijians, but they were starved of the service needed to really pull Trinidad and Tobago back. At half time, the Calypso Girls led 40-25.
Both teams struggled to settle in the third quarter, with the two previous defeats in their tired legs beginning to show. Fiji again made a strong attempt of keeping up with Trinidad and Tobago though, losing the quarter by just two goals – an overall advantage of 57-40 for the Calypso Girls to take into the final quarter.
Fiji admirably upped their game in the final quarter though, retaining possession much better than they had done previously and nullifying Trinidad and Tobago’s much-changed attack.
Despite their best efforts though – and eventual 16-10 margin of victory in the final quarter – it was too little too late to reel Trinidad and Tobago back in, as the Calypso Girls completed a 67-56 victory.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Khalifa McCollin said:
“As a unit we were very good – much better than our previous matches. It’s all learning from here. Going into the next round I know it’s going to be tough so we’ll go back to the drawing board and work on things we need to.”