New Zealand create some breathing room in win over Uganda

THANKS to a dominant second half performance, New Zealand’s Silver Ferns came away with a five goal win (65-60) over Uganda’s She Cranes who are within striking distance as one of the best teams in the world.

There was no splitting these two nations right from the first whistle, reflecting in the 15-15 quarter time score. When the Silver Ferns started to pull away, the She Cranes fought to be right back into the contest.

Both shooters in Grace Nweke and Mary Cholhok were having a field day at the post shooting 54 and 46 goals respectfully. Any ball thrown to them, they could pull it in and shoot under the post.

It’s now become normal to see these shooters put up these massive numbers, but it’s still captivating every time seeing how efficient they are will the ball only missing one and four.

Uganda went on a five goal run early in the second term starting from an offensive contact from Nweke and the She Cranes were able to convert and punish. In the matter of three minutes, Uganda claimed their lead and scored fast.

Haniisha Muhameed (four deflections, one rebound and one intercept) was able to get a tip on a high ball, get the pick up then the ball was sent down the other end and scored on.

Uganda continued to play laterally down the court, but it was damaging and efficient, breaking the Kiwis’ zone.

It then went goal for goal the remainder of the term as the She Cranes held a two goal lead ahead of the Silver Ferns heads, 29 – 31.

New Zealand started to flow more in attack and let the ball go with ease. They begun to release the ball from further off the circle edge if they saw the space open, resulting in a goal.

The shift of Kate Heffernan (nine feeds, four goal assists and two gains) from centre to wing defence proved worth while in an attempt to lessen the amount of ball Uganda gets on the circle edge. This caused Uganda to shift their attacking lineup and the Silver Ferns took advantage of it, flipping the two goal deficit into their favour.

A high scoring fourth term cemented the win for New Zealand slotting in 19 goals so Uganda’s 16.

The Kiwis established their eventual five goal lead early in the fourth and continued to run with it, pushing Uganda to giving away some ball while winning some of their own.

Neither nation was winning much ball in the second half, but they kicked it up a gear with all fourteen players going hard for the ball.

It’s tough to split the attack of the Silver Ferns as Whitney Souness (31 feeds and 16 goal assists) and Georgia Heffernan (12 goals, 32 feeds and 31 goal assists) both did a mountain of work on and off the ball. Souness’ prowess on the pass and the vision into the circle is unlike any other and Heffernan had the ball on a string only missing one goal.

Only one of Heffernan’s feeds didn’t result in a goal due to an offensive contact from Nweke on the rebound. Ultimately, every pass from Heffernan into Nweke resulted in a goal for New Zealand. That’s impressive to any standard and coming from only a second gamer, huge props to her.

There wasn’t much ball won defensively as both nations got six gains each, but it was the pressure that was put out the front and the hands to ball that caused doubt or delayed the play.

More of an attacking game, the Silver Ferns can take a deep breath heading into the next. group of games next week knowing they now have a win on the board.

Player of the Match = Karin Burger (NZL)

NEW ZEALAND                 15 | 14 | 17 | 19 (65)

UGANDA                        15 | 16 | 13 | 16 (60)


New Zealand

GS: Grace Nweke
GA: Georgia Heffernan
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Kate Heffernan
WD: Michaela Sokolich-Beatson
GD: Karin Burger
GK: Kelly Jury


GS: Mary Cholhok
GA: Irene Eyaru
WA: Sarah Nakiyunga
C: Margaret Baagala
WD: Florence Adunia
GD: Sandra Nambirige
GK: Haniisha Muhameed

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