A massive win for the Southern Steel over the Queensland Firebirds in round eleven of the ANZ championships. An injury ravaged Firebirds felt the Steel sting with the loss of key players from their defensive side. The win sees the Steel move to the top of the ladder in the New Zealand conference by two points.
The Firebirds got the ball rolling, however it wasn't long before the Steel came back in leaps in bounds thanks to strong team work.
Southern Steel Coach Noeline Taurua says, “Each person at various times are under a huge amount of pressure and when we're not relying hugely on just one person to hold the whole team together so the motto for us is having a team that we can rely on each other and as a team we're working really well together and for each other.”
Handling errors set back the Firebirds back in the second quarter. The Steel taking the advantage to capitalise on turnovers extending their lead with a massive 12 point buffer before second half.
Taurua says, “Because of injuries especially in the defensive end, changes were made to their normal line up so to speak, which I found was interesting in regards to putting Remelda on to our Jamaican as well, which probably also came back as a negative for them.”
Elbow for an elbow, the Firebirds failed to come back in the third quarter with foul play working against them. Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Jhaniele Fowler-Reid never missing a beat for the Steel. 47-37 quarter time.
“Playing against a quality side it shows areas to us that we still need to work on and the improvements that we can still make,” says Taurua.
It was too easy for the Steel by the fourth quarter. With no chance of a come from behind win for theFirebirds, the Steel maintained their unbeaten record with a 66-51 win.