Tuks would have expected a far tougher semi-final test against NWU, but bad luck and inaccurate shooting cost the visitors in the 57-38 defeat.
NWU lost their star goal shooter Alicia van Staden to a left foot injury in the build-up to this semi-final at Rembrandt Hall in Pretoria, and her absence was felt – almost from the get-go.
Tuks took the first centre pass and NWU soon turned possession over, but their stand-in goal shooter Bianca van Lelyveld missed the chance to get the scoring going.
The trend continued, while Tuks forwards Venetia Grobler and Chantelle Swart were much more ruthless as they quickly guided to the hosts to a 10-3 lead. It was 13-5, with 3:30 left in the first quarter when Tuks coach Jenny van Dyk called for the Powerplay. As it happened, each team scored a double-pointer during the two minutes, before the quarter then ended with Tuks leading 17-8.
NWU coach Elsunet du Plessis would have been desperate for her charges to produce better than the 50% goal percentage they managed in the first 15 minutes, but it only marginally improved in the next 15. Without much option upfront, du Plessis did switch her defence – without much changing.
Van Lelyveld and Jessica du Plessis did manage three bouts of three goals at a time, but Tuks still outscored them 15 goals to 13 to claim a 32-21 half-time lead.
The third quarter was always going to be decisive, and so it proved for Tuks. Despite it starting with an NWU centre pass, they were wasteful in possession for the umpteenth time. To add to their woes, the Stripe Generation racked up 12 unanswered goals before NWU’s new goal attack Lucy Strydom got on the score-sheet.
The Tuks domination showed – despite NWU finding a modicum of rhythm – in that they claimed the quarter by a nine-goal margin to lead 48-28 going into the final quarter.
As it happened, the final quarter lacked the tempo the previous three had as both coaches cleared their benches. NWU also still had their Powerplay available but managed only the single double-pointer to Tuks’ two during the two minutes.
By the time the final whistle sounded, the NWU had outscored Tuks 10-9 in the quarter, but the hosts were left celebrating a 57-38 win with a home final against Maties to come in a week’s time.
FNB Player of the Match: Chantelle Swart (Tuks)
Wimpy Moment Maker: Marlize de Bruin (Tuks)
MTN Pulse Interceptor of the Match: Akosua Mensah (Tuks)
Tuks: 5 Marlize de Bruin (vice-captain), 16 Anique Grobler, 13 Venetia Grobler, 8 Akosua Mensah, 7 Lungile Mthembu, 12 Tracey Mthunzi, 2 Tshina Mdau (captain), 1 Mbali Ntuli, 4 Chantelle Swart, 3 Jamie van Wyk, 6 Danielle van Zyl, 11 Jasmine Ziegelmeier.
Coach: Jenny van Dyk
NWU: 9 Londeka Buthelezi, 3 Jessica du Plessis, 14 Kailah Ferreira, 17 Anelda Jacobs, 2 Didintle Keebine, 12 Leonie Maree, 1 Monique Reyneke (captain), 11 Caitlinn Rousseau, 10 Lucy Strydom, 4 Adivhaho Tshivhiahuvhi, 6 Bianca van Lelyveld.
Coach: Elsunet du Plessis