S'pore coach Natalie Milicich pleased with historic win in Nations Cup
Republic, ranked world No. 28, upset the odds to beat 12th-ranked Cook Islands
What a difference a day makes. Tuesday had marked Singapore's first victory, but it came after their worst performance in three games.
Last night, the Republic managed their second win at the M1 Nations Cup - a 59-47 upset victory over the 12th-ranked Cook Islands - and coach Natalie Milicich was considerably happier.
She felt that world No. 28 Singapore had seized their chances and put up a significantly better performance in their "historic win" at the OCBC Arena.
The New Zealander said: "To beat a team who are 12th in the world is an incredible result. It shows what we've been building towards.
"I'm very proud we really implemented our game plan and it was really important to actually convert those opportunities. We've been working on how to keep it and we managed to do it today."
She had rued the team's inconsistency after the 51-35 win over Ireland on Tuesday, highlighting the unforced errors and the tendency to let the lead slip.
They spent yesterday morning ironing out the kinks in defence, going back to basic structures of play that helped them regain "that belief that we could get ball".
The move paid off, with captain Charmaine Soh saying: "We did very well in maintaining composure, especially after we got the lead. It was very good the team... brought the ball down safely to the shooters."
The last time the teams met at the 2017 Nations Cup, Singapore lost 57-49 to the Cook Islands and had anticipated a tough game yet again.
But the Republic were unfazed and went all out.
They started brightly to take the first quarter 14-7 and maintained their dominance.
Even though their rivals threatened occasionally, the hosts still went into the break with a 29-22 lead.
Their advantage grew to 46-35 and, despite a jittery start to the final quarter, Singapore managed to hang on to victory.
Cook Islands coach Anna Andrews-Tasola said: "There was a lot at stake for both teams to stay alive in the competition. Singapore played really well and we were just not quick enough."
The win comes at a crucial time for Soh and Co, who had not tasted back-to-back wins in a while.
At July's Netball World Cup in Liverpool, they lost all their matches.
They had started their Nations Cup campaign with a draw against Namibia (world No. 33) and a loss to Botswana (No. 26) before Tuesday's win over Ireland (No. 25).
Milicich said: "(Ireland) was our first win for a while. It was such a tough platform for us at the World Cup. It was important that we built on that, so that (result) really helped our confidence."
Earlier in the day, the undefeated Namibia (seven points) beat winless Papua New Guinea 59-47 to consolidate top spot in the table.
Botswana beat Ireland 46-34 and are second on six points, above Singapore with five points.
The hosts can still make the final on Saturday, with one more game, against world No. 20 Papua New Guinea tomorrow after a one-day break today.
- 3pm: Namibia v Botswana
- 5pm: Ireland v Cook Islands
- 7pm: Singapore v Papua New Guinea