T&T senior women’s netball goal-shoot, Samantha “Sniper” Wallace was voted the Nissan Player of the Match after firing the New South Wales Swifts to the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball Championship crown at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday.
Wallace scored 40 goals from 44 attempts as underdog Swifts beat defending champions Sunshine Coast Lightning 64-47. The win made amends for two regular-season league defeats this season at the hands of the Lightning.
Based on recent meetings, the 25-year-old Wallace and the Swifts entered as the underdogs against the Sunshine Coast Lightning, as the Lightning’s record in finals spoke for itself – six from six, including two Grand Final victories.
They also had an incredible record against the Swifts, having beaten them six times out of seven.
However, the Swifts were sharp early and seemed to settle into the big match first, jumping out to a six-goal lead at the midway point of the opening term with Wallace on fire, as they frustrated the normally fast-moving Lightning with their patient ball movement and ruthless finishing.
When Wallace’s 11th first quarter goal from 12 attempts extended the lead to seven and with the Lightning offence sputtering, Lightning coach Taurua swapped out Stephanie Wood for Ugandan Peace Proscovia.
The big Ugandan shooter’s presence was felt immediately, as her team picked up the pace and scored four of the last five goals to go into the first break trailing 12-16.
The Lightning continued that momentum into the second quarter, drilling four quick goals to draw to within just one of the Swifts at 20-19. All over the court, Lightning players were lifting, and when Karla Pretorius stepped in-front of an errant Swifts pass intended for Wallace, for her third interception, the scores were level.
But the Swifts showed resiliency and led by Wallace’s ten goals from as many attempts, stormed into the halftime break with a 31-23 advantage.
In the third quarter, the Swifts started hot only to be answered by the Lightning, who were desperately clinging on to the match. But in the end, Wallace’s 12 goals from 12 attempts helped her team outscore Lightning 15-13 to take a commanding 46-36 lead into the final 15 minutes and was close to having the trophy in their hands.
And they were up to the challenge thereafter, blowing the Lightning off the court in a spectacular 18-goal final quarter behind Wallace’s eight goals from ten attempts and Helen Housby with seven from nine to seal the franchise’s first Suncorp Super Netball Championship.
With her final shooting display, Wallace pushed her season tally to 637 goals from 695 attempts for the second spot behind Jamaican Jhaniele Fowler 709/753, with another Jamaican, Shimona Nelson, in third with 637/724.
A former winner of the “Player of the Year” in the English Vitality Netball Super League in 2016, Wallace, who will return to the club for the 2020 season, now has a three-year career tally of 1,580 goals from 1,739 attempts.
New South Wales Swifts 67 (Samantha Wallace 40/44, Helen Housby 18/22, Sophie Garbin 6/7 ) bt Sunshine Coast Lightning 47 (Cara Koenen 23/27, Peace Proscovia 16/18, Stephanie Wood 8/14)
Quarter scores: 1st 16-12 Swifts; 2nd. 31-23 Swifts; 3rd. 46-36 Swifts; 4th. 64-47 Swifts.
Player-of-the-Match: Samantha Wallace (Swifts)
LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian