- Fiji News
- Fiji Sports
By ANASILINI RATUVA
Cook Islands defeated Papua New Guinea 62-56 to record their first win in the LICI Pacific Netball Series at the Vodafone Arena last night.
With the inclusion of the overseas based players, Cook Islands had the advantage but did not really penetrate through the Pepes defence.
Obstruction, held ball and stepping continued to cost both sides as they were frequently penalized. Halftime: Cook Islands 34 PNG 28.
Cook Islands thought they could get away in the third quarter but continuously failed through the leadership of Pepes captain Lua Rikis.
The Cook Islands coach Margaret Foster switched game plan and made changes and her impact players made the difference. Third quarter: Cook Islands 45 PNG 41.
Fiji and PNG supporters started to cheer on the Mona Lisa-coached side from the grandstand as the girls in red lifted the game’s intensity in the final quarter with defenders Raka Buase and Yanam Hopina tightening up defence, disallowing chances for the Cooks.
But the Foster-coached side maintained pressure and had a good controlling game and sealed the win in the end. Fulltime: Cook Islands 62 PNG 56.
PNG coach Mona Lisa said her girl’s performance has really improved from their first game against Fiji on Wednesday night.
“We have really stepped up from our first performance,”she said.
“Our game plan worked accordingly and I take my hat off to the girls for their brilliant performance. They never gave up fighting till the final whistle. Two of my players who I rated the best tonight (last night) are Lua Rikis and our wing attack Kula Iamo,
“One of the areas that we will have to work on for our game against Samoa is our defence,” Lisa said.
Cook Islands coach Margaret Foster said they are looking forward to their game against Fiji today.
“PNG really gave us a good game and we are looking forward to a tough match against Fiji tomorrow (today) we will go back and analyse our performance and try to improve our weaknesses.”