The final day of the 2019 Women’s U25 World Championship started off with a rematch between Thailand and South Africa in the 7th-8th placing game, with both teams looking to see how much they had improved since the opening game of the tournament against each other.
South Africa opened with two quick baskets to take an early lead, but then got into foul trouble, sending Thailand to the line, who converted 4/12 to make it a 2-point game at the end of the quarter.
A low scoring second quarter ensued. Duduzile McelenI got the scoring underway for South Africa, and as they extended their defence pressurising Thailand into forced turnovers, they went on a 6-0 run, to win the period 8-2 and extend their lead to 16-8 at the end of the first half.
The third quarter saw Thailand give South Africa a taste of their own medicine, with a press defence which rattled their opponents. Again in foul trouble, South Africa lost Lungile Ndlela to five fouls and had to change their line-up. Thailand won a quarter for the first time in the championship, 7-4, and brought it back to a five-point game, 15-20.
Thailand’s comeback was on, but with only four points in it, captain Nuttaporn Lasopa fouled out with five minutes remaining which was a big turning point in the game. They continued to fight all the way and brought it back to within three, but South Africa hung on until the end to take the win, 26-19.
Thailand’s Warisa Thamla-Aied was top scorer for the game with 12 points.
South Africa’s Head Coach, Nthombizile Nthombeni, said:
“The team played well today, even though we missed a couple of baskets, we had so many turnovers. I’m proud of how the team have played this time around, but we need little improvements here and there in terms of defence and shooting as well. We have really enjoyed the tournament, all the team is in high spirits, whether we win or lose we’ve got a great team spirit.”
It was evident for both teams how much they’d developed and improved since the opening game, a very postive sign for women’s wheelchair basketball in both countries.