Traditional rivals face off for 21/U title

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Traditional rivals Victoria and New South Wales will face off in the 2016 21/U Grand Final after both states triumphed in Saturday’s semi-final action at The Silverdome in Launceston.

Victoria defeated Western Australia 58-50 while New South Wales scored a 60-41 victory over Queensland to set up a Grand Final showdown in the 21/U age group for the first time since 2011.

While the two states have dominated this tournament since its inception, the Waratahs were last crowned champions in 2012 while Victoria, which has finished runners up the past three years, is chasing its first title since 2007.

In their only meeting during the week, Victoria inflicted New South Wales only defeat in a one-goal thriller.

After an even first half, Victoria pulled clear of WA in the third quarter and coach Leesa Gallard was pleased with the way her team handled themselves under pressure.

_MCA9111Li“Really pleased with the performance. They stuck really tightly to the game plan and they delivered, even in the really tight, close moments when WA came back at us,” Gallard said.

“We needed to execute when we had the ball and we knew they would keep coming. That’s happened to us in other games earlier in the week so it was important that we kept doing what had been working for us in those moments.

“We’re definitely excited about the opportunity (to play in the Grand Final). We have built throughout the week and I believe we’ve still got some improvement.

“To win any national title is extremely special so were going to do all we can to be coming out to do that.”

A dominant opening term paved the way for New South Wales’ victory as the Waratahs advanced to their first Grand Final since 2012, which was the last of five consecutive titles the state won from 2008.

NSW coach Maria Lynch praised her players for maintaining a high standard over the four quarters.

“Our plan was to get out there, crack them early and maintain possession, keep the flow happening and we were able to do that,” Lynch said.

“We showed patience when we needed it but we were able to use our ball speed as well._MCA0086Li

“We’ve been very lucky that we’ve been able to mix our lines up and bring something different each time we take the court. Today the girls showed the class act that they are.”

Sunday’s Grand Final gets underway at 1pm.

Western Australia and Queensland will meet in the play-off for third and fourth at 11.30am.

_MCA8678LiDefending champions South Australia will take on the ACT in the first match on Sunday, the play-off for fifth and sixth, at 10am.

ACT defeated Tasmania 39-34 in the first semi-final played on Saturday morning. The result means that the hosts will finish the tournament in seventh place.

SEMI FINAL RESULTS

ACT (39) defeated TASMANIA (34)
ACT shooting stats:
Victoria Schmahl 18/22 (82%)
Zanna Woods 14/16 (88%)
Cristy Linaker 7/8 (88%)

Tasmania shooting stats:
Zoe Claridge 23/33 (70%)
Estelle Margetts 7/11 (64%)
Deanna Wadley 4/6 (66%)

 

VICTORIA (58) defeated WESTERN AUSTRALIA (50)
Victoria shooting stats:
Jane Cook 33/35 (95%)
Andrea Tai 14/16 (88%)
Samantha Gooden 11/17 (65%)

WA shooting stats:
Sophie Garbin 31/36 (87%)
Kimberley Shepherd 19/24 (80%)

 

NEW SOUTH WALES (60) defeated QUEENSLAND (41)
NSW shooting stats:
Kiera Austin 28/28 (100%)
Alison Miller 18/21 (86%)
Georgia Marshall 10/11 (91%)
Natalie Eldridge 4/5 (80%)

Queensland shooting stats:
Cara Koenen 19/24 (79%)
Abigail Meafou 15/16 (94%)
Bianca Cattelini 7/9 (78%)