Trinidad & Tobago confirmed their spot in the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town with a 43-27 win over the USA at the Netball Americas World Cup Qualifiers at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston on Wednesday.
The Trinidadians went into the game with five wins from five knowing another win would confirm their spot in the World Cup next year.
They came out swinging, opening a 10-point gap by the end of the first quarter to lead 18-8. That gap swelled to 14 by halftime as they held the Americans to only five baskets in the second quarter to lead 27-13. Trinidad & Tobago doubled the USA’s score as it was 38-19 by the end of the third quarter. The Americans won the fourth quarter 8-5 but the damage was already done.
Goal attack Joelisa Cooper’s 20 goals from 24 attempts and goal shooter Afeisha Noel’s 15 goals from 16 attempts means T&T will join Jamaica, who have already qualified based on rankings, in next year’s World Cup, with one more Americas spot yet to be confirmed.
“We did what we came to do,” said Trinidad & Tobago head coach Kemba Duncan.
Even with a spot in the World Cup sealed, Duncan says a goal of the team is to finish the qualifiers undefeated. Their remaining games are against Barbados on Thursday and Jamaica on Saturday.
“We have to remain disciplined, execute our game plans and support each other on the court.”
T&T beat the Cayman Islands 60-21 earlier on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, goal shooter Faye Agard’s 44 goals from 47 attempts helped Barbados get past St. Vincent & the Grenadines 57-36 for their fifth win in as many games. They also beat Grenada 60-38 earlier on Wednesday.
The Bajans were behind 10-12 after the first quarter before making a remarkable 15-point turnaround in the next two to lead 43-26 heading into the fourth, eventually winning 57-36.
“After the first quarter, I realized that what I wanted wasn’t happening so I introduced wing attack Brianna Holder into the game because I wanted to add more speed,” was the response of Barbados head coach Margaret Cutting when asked how they were able to turn it around.
They are within striking distance of confirming their spot in next year’s World Cup alongside Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago and will look to cement their place when they meet the Trinis on Thursday.
“We had two games today so we’re going to go back to our hotel, have some ice baths, have our dinner then go back to the drawing board and plan for tomorrow’s game,” she added.
Wednesday’s other games saw Jamaica beat Grenada 74-48 and the Cayman Islands get a 47-42 win over Antigua & Barbuda.
Thursday’s other games will see St. Lucia tackling Jamaica, St. Vincent playing Antigua & Barbuda and USA playing the Cayman Islands.
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