After finishing fourth in the Women’s Basketball Open Championship (WBOC) 2012, Team Jumpshot entered this year’s edition of the Women’s National Basketball Championship (WNBC) with high hopes and high morale. While the previous season’s focus was on development and granting the necessary exposure to younger players so that they can gain more experience, the stakes are higher for this season. With the inaugural WNBC taking place this year, replacing the old format of two divisions of play, the competition has certainly gotten tougher with 14 teams in total, spanning Group A and B.
Opening the season against Boon Lay CSC, Team Jumpshot sought to start the season on a high note with a resounding victory. Things were not so smooth-sailing, however, as Boon Lay put up a strong fight and knocked down the opening basket of the game, and held the lead for much of the opening period. Team Jumpshot showed that they are made of sterner stuff however, as they clawed their way back into the game and snatched the lead back from their opponents. The speed of Samantha Ang and cerebral play of Fong Hai Xin proved too much for the opposing backcourt to handle, and a deep triple from Wong Xiu Hui beat the buzzer to seal a 16 – 10 first quarter lead for her team.
Although the first period did not go the way they hope, it only served to fuel Team Jumpshot’s determination to play their best and take home the opening night victory. Tussling for every rebound and repeatedly taking to the floor for loose balls, the girls ignored scraped knees and floor burns in order to secure every possession for their side. The energy and activity of Janice Tan on both ends of the floor contributed much to the team effort, as did the fearless drives from Cheong Huiling. The game plan of Team Jumpshot finally began to click, thanks in large part to intelligent high post passing from Cheryl Chan and Samantha Tan, and the lead finally started to widen, to a 22-point margin at the half, and 28 at the end of the third.
Team Jumpshot maintained a high level of focus and never took their foot off the pedal for the rest of the game, eventually closing out the match with a well-earned 68 – 35 win, as Seet Hui Qin’s impressive finishing on the break did much to keep Boon Lay CSC at bay. In the season opener, Team Jumpshot managed to shine through with their team rebounding, effort and great free throw shooting. Coach Esther and Coach Ong commended their team on the victory, but stated that there was still much room for improvement, particularly in defense and off-the-ball movement.
With such a promising start to the season, Team Jumpshot will look to go far in this year’s WNBC. Although the task facing them is undoubtedly daunting, with traditional powerhouses like Home United Basketball Club and Singapore Min Chong Sports Club in their group, Team Jumpshot will go all-out in their efforts to close out the regular season with a spot in the semi-finals on 6 June 2012 and subsequently the finals on 10 June 2012. Till then, the girls will look to put up a good show for their supporters in every regular season game. Do head on down to the Singapore Basketball Centre to support them!
(All photos courtesy of Darren Khoo, The Mini Photo)