NAMIBIA got off to a winning start at the when they beat Swaziland 51-34 in the opening match of the Debmarine Pent Series in Windhoek on Wednesday.
In an exciting encounter, played in front of an enthusiastic crowd, Namibia led throughout and displayed great temperament to shut out any comebacks that Swaziland attempted.
In a hard hectic start to the match, Swaziland opened the scoring but Namibia struck back to go 3-1 ahead and held the lead throughout to take a narrow 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
With goal attack Vendjihanga Kaitjamo on target, and wing attack Anna Shipanga and centre Uahengisa Tjozongoro quick on the counterattack, Namibia took a decisive lead in the second quarter to go 23-14 ahead at halftime.
Swaziland fought back hard after the break, but Namibia defended tenaciously and held on to go 32-26 ahead with one quarter to go.
With a six-point deficit, Swaziland were still in the game, but Namibia upped their game and steadily pulled away to snuff out any chances of a comeback.
They went 45-30 ahead, and with the buoyant crowd shouting for 50, they duly obliged to post their half century in a 51-34 win.
After the match, Namibia coach Mansie Tjivera said a tactical switch helped them to gain control after the hectic start.
"The first quarter didn't work out how we planned, because the girls were under pressure. Our goal shooter, Dorkas (Tjipetekera) was too static and I needed to bring in more movement so I brought Vendji (Kaitjamo) on and it worked out very well. I was also happy with the chances we created and our feeding into the circle was very good," he said.
It was a fine start for Namibia, but with tougher matches coming up, starting with this afternoon's encounter against Zambia, Tjivera did not get too carried away.
"We'll take it one game at a time and see how it goes," he said.
In the second match of the tournament yesterday afternoon Zimbabwe also got off to a good start, beating Botswana 52-40.
Zimbabwe held a narrow 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, but took a commanding 27-15 lead at halftime. They pulled further away to lead 43-29 by the third quarter, before winning the match 52-40.
In matches on Thursday, Swaziland play Botswana at 15h00, while Namibia play Zambia at 17h00.