Sunshine Girls closer than ever to top three - Vangelee Williams

By October 31, 2018

Captain Vangelee Williams believes the Sunshine Girls are inching ever closer to the likes of New Zealand, Australia and England, following their silver-medal finish in the recent Fast5 tournament in Australia.

Jamaica defeated eventual champions New Zealand and world number three England on their way to Sunday’s final where they were edged 34-33. To Williams, this latest showing by the Sunshine Girls is ample evidence that the Caribbean queens are not that far off becoming the best in the world.

“We are definitely closing the gap on the top three. We’ve had some good run outs against Australia, New Zealand and England in this year alone, and it really showed our growth as a unit,” she said.

“Losing by one point always hurts the most but we are grateful for the opportunity to play in our second Fast5 final ever! We have played in the FastNet version once, so that showed us that we are still able to compete with the best of the best and compete well.”

However, the 26-year-old goal defence, who has won two Commonwealth bronze medals and now three medals at Fast 5, said there are some key areas in which the team needs to improve, especially in the Fast5.

“For the Fast5 version, it’s just to keep improving on our long-range shots, because that’s necessary to have. Shanice Beckford was awesome for us again this year and the support of the other shooters was admirable,” she said.

She also indicated that the team could have done a better job in the finals on Sunday.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Jamaica trailed by nine points. They were outscored 10-5, 10-7, and 8-7, respectively, in the previous three quarters, before they rallied to win the final stanza 14-6 but still fell short by a point.

“What we could have done earlier was taken better care of the possessions we gained on their centre passes; be more disciplined in our power play, knowing when to take the one that was now a two, instead of rushing for the two-point shot, and also manage the clock better.”

These lessons will prove valuable for a team with ambitions of winning a world title in the summer of 2019, but 2018 has been a year when the Sunshine Girls would have seen what is possible.

In addition to the medals at the Fast5 and the Commonwealth Games, in March they beat New Zealand three times on their way to winning the Tiani Jamison Trophy. It was the first time a team had gone into New Zealand and beaten the Silver Ferns to claim the trophy.

“This has been a great year! It just makes us hungrier to cross that line,” Williams said. “We know we have the team to do it (but) it is what happens on the day in the tough moments that will count. So we are pretty confident in what we do and we can’t wait to show the world our game.”

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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