07 Sep Tigers secure first win of the season over Bull Sharks
In a game that saw the last two winless teams in the HART Sapphire Series face off, it was the Tigers that left Nissan Arena with their first victory and the much-needed points.
The game was an intense encounter in which each ball was fiercely contested, and the momentum shifted on a near-constant basis as both teams sought to prove that early results did not reflect their true capabilities. However, the Tigers were ultimately the more clinical of the pair, with higher conversion and fewer errors on their way to prevailing 48-41.
Early on the Bull Sharks struggled to find their attacking rhythm and the defensive partnership of Hayley Mulheron and Shelley Rosanoff was successful in limiting their options. At the other end, young Goal Shooter Emily Gage (22/25) was able to handle the pressure applied by Shenae Grant, affording her more experienced teammate Amy Somerville (26/29) the freedom to move around the circle into superior scoring positions.
Trailing 14-8 at quarter-time, Bull Sharks coach Sheryl Burns was not afraid to experiment with different mid-court combinations, rotating Kristen Oxenford, Ava Black and Leigh Alder in and out of Centre. The changes worked and the Bull Sharks won the second quarter 12-10, as Stephanie Bairstow (29/36) used her experience in the WNBL to perform several successful lay-ups and score 10 goals overall for the quarter.
The Bull Sharks continued to work away at the deficit after half-time but failed to reduce the Tigers’ lead to less than 4 goals. Lily Gribble was impressive in countering Bairstow’s height following her introduction to the game. However, her physical play was penalised by the umpires, helping to keep the margins small as the clock ticked on.
Despite obvious fatigue, the Bull Sharks continued to fight until the end and were deserving of the point gained for tying the final quarter. Ultimately, however, the Tigers were able to contain the resistance and continuously find ways to reinstate control through the creative play of Alana Schuster and Claire Haigh, the root of many positive movements.
Although the Tigers won the game, both teams demonstrated their passion and determination and will be difficult opponents for any team in the Sapphire Series. Next week the Tigers will be aiming to make it two in a row against the Wildcats, while the Bull Sharks have another opportunity to claim their first win when they play the Thunder
Bull Sharks 41 Tigers 48
Q1 8 – 14
Q2 20 – 24
Q3 30 -37
Q4 41 -48