The Tornados left it all on court last night against the Mpumalanga Sunbirds and didn’t have enough left in the tank for their match against the Baobabs this morning after being beaten 50-30. The Tornados grabbed momentum as soon as they scored the first goal from their center pass. It then started becoming a defensive contest when Tornados’ and Baobabs’ Goal Defense, Olukemi Agbai and Modjadji Ramurwalo respectively, claimed back-to-back intercepts for their teams. The Limpopo team clearly dominated the defensive battle in the opening quarter and took a 12-7 lead.
The Tornados struggled to push through the mid-court in the second quarter, with the Baobabs shutting down all their efforts and picking up loose balls in the process to add to their tally. The team from the Western Cape had only managed to score just two goals, five minutes into the quarter. Despite the high error rate, the Tornados remained relentless in challenging for balls but were unable to reward themselves with enough conversions and trailed by eight goals at half-time.
Tornados’ Goal Shooter Liandre Schoeman had not missed a single shot until the third quarter, due to the storm of pressure that came from the Baobabs. The Baobabs continued to be ruthless on defense in the last quarter and the defense put on a show in the Tornados’ goal third. Goal Keeper Cornelia Mupenda secured nine intercepts and Modjadji seven, contributing to the total twenty-three intercepts that the Baobabs were able to grab throughout the game and walk away with a twenty-goal win.
Baobabs coach Emily Mathosa is delighted that her team have shown how powerful they can be, ‘’I am proud of myself and proud of the girls. I played for the Baobabs back in the day and it was not a good feeling waking up and knowing that you are going to lose a game. I am glad that we are changing the narrative of people looking down on the Baobabs; we are actually showing them that we are capable, but it is just a matter of progress and having players that are hungry enough to show up.’’
Meanwhile, the Comets kept their semi-final hopes alive with a 43-38 victory over the Diamonds. A low scoring 10-6 first quarter score went in favor of the Comets as both teams worked tirelessly to set themselves up for gains. Only one mid-court change came from the side of the Comets in the second quarter as both coaches wanted to maintain the momentum. The Diamonds defense overpowered the Comets in their own shooting circle in the third quarter, stealing aerial feeds to draw level at the end of the championship quarter. The fourth quarter was goal for goal until the Diamonds blew up two brilliant intercepts from Center Senestie Ponie and Goal Keeper Bethanie Du Raan to give the Comets a lead. The Eastern Cape side pulled out all the stops defensively to extend their lead and win the match.
In Division One, the Crinums escaped past the Flames with a narrow 53-50 victory. The Crinums dominated the first half and momentum began to swing on the side of the Flames, closing the gap to just three goals in the third quarter. The physicality of the game intensified in the fourth stanza, with scenes of a couple of bodies on the floor. The Flames gave away too many balls in the shooting circle in the dying minutes of the game , which paved a slender win for the Free State team.
Flames coach Elsunet Du Plessis is gutted by the fact that her team didn’t secure a semi-final spot this year, ‘’I think that the players really stood up today and fought for the win. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way and it is sad because we really needed this one, as this was our last chance to make it into the semi’s. Now there are no semis for us.’’
Comets 43-38 Diamonds
Baobabs 50-30 Tornados
Flames 50-53 Crinums