Barbados overcome plucky Fiji to atone for opening defeat

Barbados goal shooter Shonica Wharton

GOLD COAST, Australia, CMC – Barbados rebounded from Friday’s mauling at the hands of the hosts to easily dispose of Fiji and win their first match of the Commonwealth Games here yesterday.

Playing in Pool A at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Barbados used a strong second half performance to come away with a 65-44 victory.

They were led by goal shooter Shonica Wharton who scored 33 from 38 attempts while goal attack Latonia Blackman supported with 22 from 28.

Nikita Payne, who featured at goal attack in the first and third quarters, ended with 10 from 12.

For Fiji, goal attack Maliana Rusivakula netted 27 from 31 while elder sister Unouna Rusivakula, who played primarily at goal shooter, finished with 10 from 12.

Barbados were down three at the end of the first quarter, 9-12 but out-scored Fiji 17-11 in the second quarter to hold a slim 26-23 lead at the half.

Not much separated the two teams in the third, leaving the contest well placed at 42-36 heading into the final stanza.

But Barbados changed gears when it most mattered, out-scoring Fiji 23-8 to run out easy winners.

The script was much different for Barbados 24 hours earlier when they were battered by the mighty Aussies, 79-24, at the same venue.

Wharton shot 12 from 17 but was no match for the reigning World champions who powered their way to a 39-12 advantage at the half-time whistle and never took their feet off the pedal.

Barbados will next face powerful Caribbean neighbours Jamaica on Monday.

The Jamaicans have won both their matches, beating Fiji 88-30 on Thursday and getting the better of South Africa 57-46 on Friday.

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