The Grand Final of the inaugural Women’s Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam proved to be a classic with The Storm coming from behind to clinch an exciting 86-84 victory against Team Sky.
Sky had made all the early running as the penetrative drives of Amanda Buck, Ayla Hoeta and Zara Jillings earned a steady stream of points and frequent visits to the foul line.
Sky led 69-55 at three-quarter time and was still in the ascendancy 79-69 with less than 5 minutes to play. It was then that the experienced pair of Jordan Hunter and Kate Lacey took control. Hunter converted an and one play and Lacey knocked down a corner three either side of a Milly Nathan put back and suddenly the Sky lead was just two points.
Buck got to the free throw line for Sky but Lacey then nailed another triple plus a brace of free throws and Storm were ahead for the first time in the game with 2:06 to play.
The Storm’s influential guard Hannah Turton fouled out, as did Tabitha Jenkins shortly after making two important free throws. Hoeta converted the two freebies following the Jenkins foul. – 84-83 in favour of Storm inside the final two minutes.
Jillings snared a steal but could only convert one of two free throws after being fouled on the lay-up – 84 apiece with 36 seconds remaining.
It was fitting that the player of the tournament, Tall Ferns point guard Jordan Hunter, sealed the game for Storm. She converted a free throw on each of Storms final two possessions with Sky unable to convert on its final play.
Earlier Jillings, Buck, Breanna Jones and Coutenay Leauanea had all connected with threes as Sky built a handy 49-40 half time advantage. With Katelin Noyer and Annabelle Jenkins holding their own on the boards against Nathan and Coola Baudry Sky appeared to have one hand on the trophy with a 14 points three quarter time lead.
What followed was a Hunter led Storm!
Storm 86 – Hunter 31, Turton 12, Lacey 10, T Jenkins 10, Baudry 9, Nathan 9.
Team Sky 84 – Jillings 24, Buck 13, Noyer 12, Jones 12, A Jenkins 9, Hoeta 9.
Referees – Jilly Harris, Tayla Ammunsen, Sherhon Mart