What a difference a day makes. Tuesday had marked their first victory, but it came after their worst performance in three games.
Last night came their second win at the M1 Nations Cup – a 59-47 upset victory over 12th-ranked Cook Islands at the OCBC Arena – and Singapore coach Natalie Milicich was considerably happier.
She felt that world No. 28 Singapore had seized their chances and put up a significantly better performance in their “historic win”.
The New Zealander said: “To beat a team that’s 12th in the world is an incredible result. It shows what we’ve been building towards.
“I’m very proud we really implemented our game plan and it was really important to actually convert those opportunities. We’ve been working on how to keep it and we managed to do it today.”
She had rued the team’s inconsistency after the Ireland win on Tuesday, highlighting the unforced errors and the tendency to let slip the lead.
They spent yesterday morning ironing out the kinks in defence, going back to basic structures of play that helped them regain “that belief that we could get the ball”.
The move paid off, with captain Charmaine Soh noting: “We did very well in maintaining composure, especially after we got the lead. It was very good, the team… brought the ball down safely to the shooters.”
M1 NATIONS CUP
Cook Islands 47
The last time the two sides met at the 2017 Nations Cup, Singapore lost 57-49, and the hosts had anticipated a tough game again.
But, unfazed, Singapore took the game to their rivals, carving out a 14-7 first-quarter lead and maintaining their dominance to go into half-time 29-22 up. The margin grew to 46-35 in the third period before they held on to seal the win.
Cook Islands coach Anna Andrews-Tasola said: “There was a lot at stake for both teams. Singapore played really well and we were just not quick enough.”
The win came at a crucial time for the hosts, who had not tasted back-to-back wins in a while.
At July’s Netball World Cup in Liverpool, they lost all their matches. And they had started their Nations Cup campaign with a draw against world No. 33 Namibia and a loss to Botswana (26th) before the win over Ireland (25th).
Milicich said: “(Ireland) was our first win for a while. It was important that we built on that, so that (result) really helped our confidence.”
Earlier, undefeated Namibia (seven points) beat winless Papua New Guinea 59-47 to consolidate top spot in the table. Botswana, after their 46-34 win over Ireland, are second on six points, above Singapore with five.
The hosts can still make the final on Saturday if they beat world No. 20 Papua New Guinea tomorrow and Botswana lose to Namibia.
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