The Adelaide Thunderbirds were led by Shamera Sterling and Shadine Van Der Merwe, as they stunned the high-flying NSW Swifts for a boilover victory 58-53.
Sterling had a dominant performance, with six intercepts and five deflections leading to eight gains on her own. Sterling had more gains than the Swifts, and along with her partner in crime for the night, Van Der Merwe, completely walled off the Swifts.
Coach Tania Obst, after the game, was glowing in her assessment of her defensive stars.
“Shamera was pretty spectacular. She was ably supported out the front. I thought Shadine was fantastic, Tilly [Matilda Garrett] was great, Letty [Latanya Wilson] comes on and offers something a little bit different and disrupted their flow as well, so I think it was a full team effort,” Obst said.
The defensive group were so dominant, that they forced star Swift shooter Sam Wallace off the court for the third quarter, and most of the fourth.
The Swifts were forced to share the bibs around, cycling through three different players at Goal Attack in an attempt to navigate around Sterling and Van Der Merwe.
Obst commented that it was about how the Thunderbirds reacted to the play on the court.
“We will play to what is presented on the Court. We will play to ho the feel of the game. It was very tight, we were just plugging away, winning the quarters, there was no need to try and push it out,” Obst explained.
At the other end, Lenize Potgieter and Georgie Horjus held their own and ensured that they managed to convert the turnovers from the defensive end, shooting over 90% of their shots.
“When we can expose Leny [Potgieter] at the backline like we did tonight, she was amazing. So we have different tools to get the ball through the rings, and we did that tonight,” Obst said.
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The Thunderbirds showed trust in each other when the Swifts mounted a comeback in the dying minutes but held their nerve to ensure that they managed to secure the five-goal victory.
Obst was complimentary of the team’s performance across the board.
“I think we obviously are very familiar with the defensive end of the Swifts, so we know their strengths, and how we can get past their strengths.
“Our work through the court, as soon as we didn’t have possession of the ball, we were seven defenders, and then it paid off. We were looking to come forward for interceptions.”
“We were strategic in the way we were putting it out there, and we were able to stick at it for the majority of the game. I think that’s the first time that we’ve won 4 quarters for a long time, so it was a good 60 minute effort”.
The Adelaide Thunderbirds have now managed consecutive wins, after going winless over the first five rounds. They’ll take on the Giants next week, who will be keen to end a three-game losing streak.
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