Darters improve but drown late in the Storm
Canberra Darters player Lillian O'Sullivan in action in the game against Territory Storm. Photo: Jay Cronan
A lack of patience and a failure to adapt cost the Canberra Darters a win in their final game of the Australian Netball League.
The Darters looked in total control in their first half against the Territory Storm, but they couldn't hold on and eventually went down 54-49 at AIS Arena today.
It looked like Canberra would run away with the game, getting out to a five-goal lead by quarter-time.
Canberra Darters' Shannon Priestly tries to block the shot from Territory Storm's Megan Fitzpatrick. Photo: Jay Cronan
Darters shooter Jo Pivac played a big part in that.
Her mid-courters utilised her height advantage perfectly and she was able to repeatedly out-body Storm goal keeper Fiona Themman, who looked like she might end up having nightmares over the game.
But Storm coach Dianne Brown brought on defender Chrissy Grieve to great effect.
Grieve's vertical leap disrupted the Darters' passing game and Themman, who shifted to goal defence, dropped back and helped double-team Pivac.
With the clamps applied to the Darters shooter, the momentum shifted and the Storm turned a three-goal half-time deficit into a five-goal lead at the final change.
Megan Clowry's intercepts from wing defence were a highlight for the Darters.
Canberra coach Melinda Clarke said the other shooter needed to take some more shots to help take the pressure off Pivac.
''That was part of it and I think we just needed to be a little bit more patient with the ball and not try and deliver it to a player who had two on one,'' she said.
While it wasn't the result the Darters wanted, Pivac said the team had improved on last year when they finished last with just one win.
It was a similar number of wins this season, but Pivac felt the side was slowly heading in the right direction.
''We've improved, I know the win ratio is not what we wanted but we've played some awesome games,'' Pivac said.
''Against Victoria we only lost by four and the Waratahs [was also a good game].
''We start really strong but we can never keep [going] to our potential.''
Australian Netball League: Territory Storm 54 bt Canberra Darters 49; Southern Force 51 bt NSW Waratahs 34; AIS 58 bt Victorian Fury 33.