It was a titanic final quarter effort by the local ladies who clawed their way back from a 10 goal deficit to within one goal of PNG with two minutes left on the clock.
But in a tumultuous final two minutes PNG slowed the ball to wear down the clock and potted one last basket to seal the win 50-48 leaving the Cooks reeling with disappointment knowing the win was within their grasp and so the chance to play for the gold medal.
The Cooks were on fire in the opening minutes of the game to take the early lead by five goals before PNG, with the support of their huge crowd, found their feet and began to dominate the Cooks in what was a very physical match.
PNG took the first quarter lead 13-8, second quarter 21-25 and the championship third quarter 43-34.
Coach Dale Atkinson told her young charges that it was a big task to beat PNG in the last quarter but she added that it wasn’t impossible.
With that, Luciana Matenga led her team back on court for a last effort at beating PNG and in a spirited performance the national team put on a brave performance which no one can knock them for.
In fact the Cooks gained some of PNG’s staunch supporters and silenced the crowd with their tenacious last quarter effort.
But they did leave their run too late and the loss puts them in Saturday’s bronze medal playoff against Samoa.