25 Jun Round 1 Match Report: USC Thunder vs. Bond University Bull Sharks
USC Thunder def. Bond University Bull Sharks 53-44
Rewatch the game here
Match Report courtesy of USC Thunder
The inaugural match of the HART Sapphire Series was a battle between the beaches, with the Sunshine Coast based USC Thunder and Gold Coast Bond University Bullsharks, matching up in what was a physically tough start to the new competition.
With both sides boasting seasoned ANL players with a complimentary mix of talented youth, it was set to be a hotly contested match that would indeed come down to a full 60-minute performance.
The Thunder with first centre pass, and first points on the board in the inaugural series, was certainly a good omen for the side, who went on to take the first quarter, 11-9.
New goaling combinations of elevated Ruby player, Chloe Bingham (shot 14 from 15, 93%) alongside Thunder #9 signing, Abigail Latu-Meafou (shot 31 from 34, 91.2%) provided a strong finish for the Thunder scoring end. Latu-Meafou later worked in with regular defender, Sarahpheinna Woulf (shot 11 from 14, 79%), providing a dynamic moving circle, demonstrating Thunder’s depth of talent and ability to deliver versatile and creative combinations.
At the other end, Sienna Allen and Lily-May Catling were in everything defensively in the second quarter, ripping in numerous intercepts and with a high turn-over conversion, Thunder extended the lead to 10 points prior to a brief decline in momentum, but finishing the first half in front at 25-19, collecting the first half bonus points on offer.
The Bullsharks came out firing in the third and with too many errors from an otherwise impressive Thunder, the sharks took the bonus points and finished in front by 3, with a 3 goal Thunder lead to chase in the fourth. Thunder answered in the fourth quarter, utilising the strong mid-court options in Josephine Hungerford, Chloe Litherland, Ashlee Unie and Nicole Guenther, to consistently link well and deliver quality ball supply to the shooting unit. The lead again extended out to 10, with Thunder finishing the game 9 points in front.
Pashen was able to test out a number of combinations as well as the new league rules of rolling-subs and tactical time-outs, taking full advantage of making round one count for the team. ‘It was certainly a pleasing performance for the first run out of the season. We have a great group of athletes who have formed incredible connections in the very limited time we have had to date’, said Pashen. Pashen went on to say, ‘despite a great effort, there were far too many basic errors in the third quarter which otherwise would have allowed us to push the lead further, this is certainly something we will look at in training this week’.
With the Cougars and Wildcats drawing the second match of the round, and the Jets defeating the Tigers by 11 in the third, the Thunder sit in second after round 1.
11 v Bullsharks 9
Q2: Thunder 14 v Bullsharks 10
Q3: Thunder 12 v Bullsharks 15
Q4: Thunder 16 v Bullsharks 10
Thunder shooting statistics – 53/63 (84%)
Abigail Latu-Meafou – 31/34 (91.2%)
Sarahpheinna Woulf – 11/14 (79%)
Chloe Bingham – 14/15 (93%)
Thunder starting seven: GS – Chloe Bingham, GA – Abigail Latu-Meafou, WA – Josephine Hungerford, C – Chloe Litherland, WD – Ashlee Unie, GD – Lily-May Catling, GK – Sienna Allen
Substitutes: Abbie Mischke, Nicole Guenther, Sarahpheinna Woulf
Next USC Thunder match
Carina Easts Tigers v Thunder, QSNC, Tuesday, 2nd July, 6PM