Botswana upset Bajans
by The Nation Newspaper
Netball neophytes Botswana embarrassed Barbados 44-43 at the World Netball Championships, a loss that will confined the local girls to their lowest ever placing on the international stage.
The southern African country belied their status as newcomers with a nail-biting upset win in the play-offs for ninth to 16th places in Auckland,
Botswana held off a late-charging Barbados in a pulsating final few minutes for the first win of their short world championship history and the scalp of the seventh-ranked team.
"It is our first international win at this level so it's got to be very good for us,'' Botswana coach Joseph Makakaba said. "We have shown the world
we can compete."
Botswana trailed for much of the first half before finally nosing in front 23-20, after overcoming a 14-12 first quarter deficit.
Barbados started with Laurel Browne and Colleen Griffith, but she scored only one goal in each quarter.
At half time, she was replaced by
Nikita Piggott who missed only one of her ten attempts.
Coach Harriet Waithe made other changes, Samantha Browne went to centre and Therese Clarke replaced her at wing-attack; Kizzy Marville
sat and captain Don Small went to wing-defence.
In the final quarter, Sabrina Smith went to centre as Browne shifted back to wing-attack, but those changes weren't as effective as she had hoped.
The introduction of inspirational wing-attack Gagotheko Tshelametsi in the second quarter proved a masterstroke for Botswana. A busy player, the pocket rocket was all over the court as she added composure and flow to the attack line, carrying a huge workload on both attack
Barbados wasted too many opportunities in their attacking third, while Botswana's steady and patient build through court paid dividends. Barbados will have to lift their game against Singapore who they beat in a warm-up match prior to the start of the tournament.
The willowy figure of Tebogo Radipotsane was a major influence under the hoop for Botswana with her composure and accuracy scoring 34 of 36 attempts.
The pressure is now on the local girls to save much dented pride by defeating Singapore, the Asian champions, today.
Trinidad and Tobago enhanced their chances of finishing ninth by beating Singapore 42-32. Their athletic mid-courters and Anastacia Wilson's ability to pull down lobs for easy shots under the post put them back in front and they held a 21-18 lead at half-time.
In other results, Fiji beat Scotland 58-37 and Wales dealt Malaysia a 69-32 loss.