Women score 2nd win


The Papua New Guinea women scored their second win of the FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup yesterday beating New Caledonia 61-48 at the Taurama Aquatic Centre in Port Moresby.
Coming off a morale-boosting 63-54 opening round win over Pacific Games champions Fiji, the Moi Muri-coached side led by Marca Muri put in a more polished effort to stay unbeaten and all but guarantee a gold medal playoff spot in the third round today when they take on the Solomon Islands.
New Caledonia, who were beaten by the Solomon Islands 59-53 on day one, were behind on the scoreboard from the opening quarter.
In front by 21 points in the final quarter, coach Muri got his side to focus on defence applying a full court one-on-one press to frustrate the opposition.
PNG had taken a 16-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and improved to 31-22 at halftime.
It was in the third frame when the PNG women pushed the pace to take a 55-34 lead at three-quarter time.
The New Caledonians surged back in the final period outscoring PNG 14-6.
In the other women’s match Fiji bounced back from their opening loss to PNG with a 76-54 win over the Solomon Islands.
The standings in the women’s division after day two has PNG (4) on top followed by Fiji (2) and Solomon Islands (2) while New Caledonia (0) are yet to record a win.
In round three today PNG play Solomon Islands while Fiji take on New Caledonia.
These matches will determine the top two positions for the medal playoffs tomorrow.
PNG’s 19-year-old Rosa Kairi at guard hit double figures with 12 points and added three rebounds and an assist while teammate Mary Elavo Jr picked off 10 points and nine rebounds and an assist.
New Caledonia’s Monique Alice Pei was her side’s shining light scoring 15 points and adding five rebounds while her captain Yolande Luepek was not far off with 14 points as many rebounds and an assist.
Coach Muri said he was impressed with his side’s performance and said they were looking to win today to confirm their gold medal playoff.
“We polished up on our offence and defence which resulted in 23 turnovers and 24 steals and that was a good effort,” Muri said.
“We have to beat Solomon Islands in our next game to guarantee our top two spot and then we’ll see who our opponent is for the gold medal playoff if it’s Fiji or Solomon Islands.”

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