Singapore's netball team face uphill task after second loss
But hosts aim to bounce back against Hong Kong tonight
The Singapore netball team are facing an uphill task to meet their top-two target at the Mission Foods Nations Cup after yesterday's 64-51 loss to Swaziland.
Last night's defeat at the OCBC Arena, which came after Sunday's 53-54 loss to Ireland, left Natalie Milicich still searching for her first competitive win as Singapore coach.
Milicich, who took over in September, gave credit to the African side, who are ranked world No. 30 and dominated play against world No. 19 Singapore.
The 50-year-old New Zealander said: "We have to give credit to Swaziland because I think they played a very, very strong game.
"It was a combination of Swaziland playing a very disciplined game and then our own little errors in terms of ball placement, just making ourselves available to the ball a little bit earlier and making those connections earlier as well."
Swaziland, who beat Hong Kong 48-36 on Sunday, bagged their second win with the highest average shooting accuracy of 86.5 per cent in the tournament so far.
With Singapore's 1.96m-tall goalkeeper Chen Lili in the treatment room after Sunday's match against Ireland, Milicich felt that her team's defence could not cope with Swaziland's strong attackers - the 1.79m-tall Jabulisile Khathwane and Sebenzile Nxumalo, who is 1.73m tall.
Milicich added that she places more emphasis on the consistency of the team's performance than the scoreline.
She said: "I try not to think too much about the pressure. We've got to think about our performance and we've got a bigger picture.
"I've been with the team for only six weeks, so I'm still learning about the players and we're doing some really great stuff out there, we've just got to go for longer."
Going up against bigger and stronger opponents, Singapore's goal defender Nur Aqilah Andin felt that the hosts were at a disadvantage in terms of size.
The 21-year-old said: "The game started pretty slow for us, and what we planned for the first quarter didn't work as well so we switched it up after that. We knew that it was going to be tough, but we were ready.
"We had nothing to lose because we knew that they were a better team, and we fought as hard as they did, but they were definitely more fired up than during yesterday's game."
Despite the loss, Singapore's co-vice captain Nurul Baizura Abdul Razak remains optimistic ahead of today's game against world No. 24 Hong Kong.
The 27-year-old said: "Against Hong Kong, we should have the same mentality and stay positive.
"Ultimately, of course, winning is great but there's much more to learn from a defeat."
YESTERDAY'S OTHER RESULTS
- Ireland 48 Malaysia 34
- Cook Islands 48 Hong Kong 33
- Ireland v Cook Islands, 3pm
- Malaysia v Swaziland, 5pm
- Singapore v Hong Kong, 7pm