NSW survive ACT scare to post win

The NSW 21/U Team have survived a scare during Round 3 by defeating Australian Capital Territory, 52-45, after trailing by three goals at three quarter time.

The victory came off the back of a fantastic fourth quarter performance in which NSW turned around a 16-6 goal advantage to claim their third win in as many games at the 2015 National Netball Championships at Caloundra Indoor Stadium on the Sunshine Coast.

It was a spirited performance from ACT, with NSW Head Coach Megan Simpson praising their efforts for the full 60 minutes.

“We always expected ACT to come out fighting and they did just that, so full credit to them for giving us a good, hard-fought contest today,” Simpson said. “Historically we’ve always had a really good encounter against ACT and that was no different today.”

NSW will now look to their next game where they’ll take on hosts Queensland at 5:40pm AEDST in what is expected to be a very loud encounter.

“It’s always a psychological advantage to play in front of your home crowd, and the noise will be something that our girls will have to deal with.  But if we just concentrate on our game plan, focus on each other and use our patience and skills, we can come through with a really strong performance,” Simpson concluded.

An intercept from NSW keeper Celeste Carnegie in the first play saw NSW open the scoring, with recent ANZ Championship debutant Kristina Brice doing the honours; however their dominance would be short-lived as ACT regathered to hit the front with five minutes until the first break.

The resurgence had much to do with their 190cm GS Alison Miller getting some beautiful feeds from the ACT midcourt, while Carnegie – who gives away 9cm to her opponent – tried in vain to shut down Miller’s influence.

Despite ACT finding some momentum during the last five minutes, NSW held strong to take a slim two goal advantage into the first break.

Simpson made her first change for the match by bringing on Billie Gurr to GD for the second quarter.  This saw the 19-year-old come up against her former Manly Warringah teammate Lauren Cantwell, who is playing for ACT as an import alongside City of Sydney/Sydney Uni athlete Madeleine McCathie.

The NSW defensive unit worked well in tandem to shut down the free space for ACT to drive to; however ACT used the same tactic in NSW attacking third, which put pressure on every pass. With experienced defender Keely Rodrigo doing a great job on her former Australian underage teammate Kristina Brice, NSW found it difficult to get an easy pass into their 196cm shooter.

Despite this NSW were able to hold onto a slight advantage at the big break, taking a three-goal lead into half-time.

Simpson opted to introduce her leadership team to the wings for the start of the second half, bringing on Captain Kaitlyn Bryce to WA and Vice Captain Maddie Hay to WD.  Despite their combined experience they couldn’t stop a fast-paced ACT who relished their opportunities to take back the lead after just a few minutes play.

Kara Styles came back onto the court at GK for NSW after a timeout halfway through the quarter, but the unscheduled break did little to disrupt ACT’s momentum as they soon had pulled out to a four-goal buffer.  This continued for much of the quarter with ACT outscoring NSW 15 goals to nine to take a three-goal buffer at the final break.

Using her bench extensively, Simpson brought on Georgia M. Marshall to WA for the final quarter.  NSW came out all guns blazing, putting up four consecutive goals to take back to the lead from ACT – setting up a see-sawing battle as the teams traded goals.

It was thrilling finish to a hard fought contest with both teams throwing everything into the contest. NSW pulled out to as much as a six-goal lead but ACT refused to lay down, with fans riding every play in full voice.

It wasn’t until there was five minutes left in the game that NSW had pulled back out to a comfortable lead, yet to ACT’s credit they continued to push right to the final whistle.

NSW will be back on court this afternoon to take on hosts Queensland at 5:40am AEDST for Round 4.

Follow Netball NSW’s social media channels for live updates throughout the game – facebook.com/OfficialNetballNSW and @netballnsw on both Twitter and Instagram.

Watch match highlights, including interview with Megan Simpson, below;

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NSW│ Q1: 15 – Q2: 27 (12) – Q3: 36 (9) – Q4: 52 (16)
ACT│ Q1:  13 – Q2: 24 (11) – Q3: 39 (15) – Q4: 45 (6)

Shooting Statistics
NSW: 52/62 @ 84%
K. Brice: 41/46 @ 89%
S. MacGougan: 11/16 @ 69%

ACT: 45/53 @ 85%
A. Miller: 31/34 @ 91%
L. Cantwell: 14/19 @ 73%

Starting Line-ups
NSW│ GS Kristina Brice, GA Stephanie MacGougan, WA Claudia Russell, C Brooke Lawrence, WD Lauren Stephenson, GD Kara Styles, GK Celeste Carnegie

ACT│ GS Alison Miller, GA Lauren Cantwell, WA Leigh Kalsbeek, C Georgia Clayden, WD Joanna Collis, GD Madeleine McCathie, GK Keely Rodrigo

Positional Changes
NSW│ Q2 – GD Billie Gurr; Q3 – WA Kaitlyn Bryce (c), WD Maddie Hay (vc); Q3 Timeout – GK Styles; Q4 – WA Georgia M. Marshall, C Bryce.

ACT│ Q2 – C Carly Symons; Q4 – C Georgia Clayden.