Milicich not getting carried away after first win
The Singapore netball team bounced back after two straight losses to clinch their first win at the Mission Foods Nations Cup, defeating Hong Kong 44-37 yesterday.
Last night's victory was also Natalie Milicich's first competitive win since taking over as national coach in September.
The 50-year-old New Zealander, who received hugs from supporters after the match, said: "The win justifies all the hard work the girls have been doing.
"Winning is a habit, and we just needed to get that one under our belt to know what it feels like. And now that they've felt it, hopefully they'll just continue with that."
With a 1,200-strong home crowd behind world No. 19 Singapore at the OCBC Arena, the team led the first three quarters 12-10, 24-21, 34-30.
It was not till the final three minutes that they extended their lead to seven points over their world No. 24 opponents.
Despite losing the first two games - 53-54 to Ireland on Sunday, and 51-64 to Swaziland the day after, Milicich commended her team's steady progress in the tournament.
"In the first game (against Ireland), we've had a great defensive game," she said.
"For the second game (against Swaziland), we played an attacking game. But today, we put it altogether and I'm very, very proud of them."
Milicich has refused to let the win get into the players' heads, ahead of tonight's match against arch-rivals Malaysia.
While Malaysia have yet to win any of their matches, going down 50-67 to Swaziland yesterday, she warned against complacency.
"Malaysia are a team that we cannot underestimate. There'll always be that rivalry, so we've just got to make sure we stick to our strategies and our own game, do what we did today and even better tomorrow."
Singapore's co-vice captain, Charmaine Soh, was pleased with the team's performance.
Asked about the home support at the OCBC Arena, the 27-year-old beamed and said: "The crowd was fantastic.
"We always have home crowd advantage, so to hear them cheering for us, and hear them being here for us physically was fantastic for us."
But Soh is wary of the threat from Malaysia, who beat them in the SEA Games final in August, but have sent a largely Under-19 side for the Nations Cup.
"Today's win definitely lifted our spirits quite a bit. But going against Malaysia, all we want is to stay calm, get that composure on court, and just work the ball down."
OTHER RESULTS YESTERDAY
- Cook Islands 40 Ireland 32
- Swaziland 67 Malaysia 50
- Cook Islands v Swaziland, 3pm
- Hong Kong v Ireland, 5pm
- Singapore v Malaysia, 7pm