Wilson's Player-of-the-Match performance on 50th-game milestone propels Thunderbirds over Swifts

By Sports Desk May 25, 2024
Jamaicans Latanya Wilson (left) and Shamera Sterling-Humphrey share a light moment after the game. Jamaicans Latanya Wilson (left) and Shamera Sterling-Humphrey share a light moment after the game.

Jamaican defender Latanya Wilson, produced a Player of the Match performance in her 50th national league game to assist Adelaide Thunderbirds to a comfortable 58-33 win over New South Wales Swifts in a lopsided affair at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Saturday.

The contest, which was a repeat of last year’s grand final, was expected to be just a fierce, but Wilson and her Thunderbirds teammates were in a no-nonsense mood, as they won all but one quarter of the encounter to bounce back from last week's nail-biting one-goal loss to West Coast Fever.

Wilson, 23, notched up 118.5 Nissan Net Points thanks to four intercepts, seven deflections and nine pick-ups in a performance that matches her milestone.

“It feels so amazing. What a milestone. It is such a great feeling and I am so happy we got the win. We are evolving and we are hunting something new, whatever that looks like, I am so happy that I am a part of this great team,” a beaming Wilson said in a post-game interview.

While the wing defence did her part along with compatriot and goalkeeper Shamera Sterling-Humphrey, who had five deflections and three intercepts, another Jamaican Romelda Aiken-George led the Thunderbirds attack with 30 goals from 32 attempts.

Lucy Austin (12 goals from 12 attempts), Georgie Horjus (nine goals from 10 attempts), and Lauren Frew (seven goals from nine attempts), contributed the others.

Wilson was on song in the Thunderbirds defence.

Meanwhile, the Swifts, who were off beat all-around, got most goals from Sophie Fawns (16 goals from 19 attempts). Helen Housby (10 goals from 14 attempts), Trinidad and Tobago’s Samantha Wallace-Joseph (five goals from seven attempts) and Grace Whyte (two goals from four attempts), got the others.

Aside from the opening quarter in which they came out strong and secured a 13-12 lead over the Thunderbirds, the Swifts struggled to maintain momentum throughout.

In fact, they made a number of errors in the second quarter that shifted things in favour of the Thunderbirds, who capitalised and won the quarter 11-7 to overtake the lead at 23-20 at the half-time interval.

Wallace-Joseph finally entered the court for the Swifts to start the third quarter which meant Housby moved back into her preferred position of goal attack, but the move proved futile.

While both teams made some uncharacteristic errors, the Thunderbirds recovered best and later asserted their authority on the contest in what turned out to be a match-winning third quarter.

Sterling-Humphrey made her presence felt and picked up a flying intercept, after which, Wilson took the mantle to shut out the Swifts, as they ended the quarter 13 goals up at 41-28.

Faced with the huge deficit, it was crucial for the Swifts to come out firing in the fourth quarter - and they did for the most part, but another intercept from Sterling-Humphrey prevented them from scoring.

From there, the Swifts racked up penalties and turnovers, while missing six of their 11 attempts, as Thunderbirds effortlessly took the quarter 17-5 to complete the 25-goal rout.

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