The weekend wrap from March Madness

March 20

Ella Bradley at Elite Eight of NCAA Division II Tournament, Charlotte Whittaker our remaining hope in Division I, Junior College Nationals about to begin. It’s fun to follow and record.

All this and more:

Wrapping up the major Breakers numbers from the season

That record Game 4 crowd was something special.

Following the Game 5 Grand Final defeat in Sydney the curtain has come down on a hugely entertaining and successful Sky Sport Breakers season. Whilst the ultimate prize eventually eluded them the club can take immense pride in turning the disaster that was the 2021-22 wooden spoon into an almost successful march to the championship in 2022-23.

There were many memorable games during the season but for those present Grand Final Game 4 played in front of 9,742 fans at Spark Arena took the biscuit. Not only was it a record crowd for a basketball game in New Zealand but the atmosphere and passion of the supporters was spine tingling – it will live long in the memory.

Here are the key numbers from the season:

Jarrell Brantley and Derek Pardon were the only two players to play all 36 games, rookie coach Mody Maor guiding the club to an overall record of 22-14.

Brantley, the Breakers Most Valuable Player of the Year Award winner, led the scoring amassing 581 points with Barry Brown Jnr not far behind with 544 points.

The other main scoring contributors were Derek Pardon (424 points), Will McDowell-White (366) and Izayah Le’afa (359).

Tom Abercrombie’s defensive masterclass in Grand Final Game 4 in which he garnered 6 steals set a new career mark for the Breakers skipper. It also equaled the record held by another Breaker’s great Mika Vukona for the most steals by a Breaker in a play-off game.

Abbo has extended his Breakers all-time appearance record to 399 games. He has also further extended the club’s all-time records in the following categories:

Points to 4,319

Blocks to 215

Wins to 226

In addition he is second all time in rebounding behind Mika Vukona and steals behind Dillon Boucher.

Surely Tom will be back in 2023-24 to play his 400th game and take those records to greater heights!

Will McDowell-White’s emergence as an elite point guard was a joy to behold. In addition to his 366 points he dished 200 assists and pulled down 175 rebounds.

He now has 390 career assists in 78 games at exactly 5 per game. That moves the Aussie into heady company as only Cedric Jackson, with 6.4 dimes per game, has a better Breakers career average. 

Those 390 assists already place him 8th on the Breakers all-time list which is led by Paul Henare (901).

Derek Pardon led the team in blocked shots (38) and rebounds (290). His 38 blocks in a single season have only been bettered by Ben Pepper, Ekene Ibekwe and Shawn Long.

Rob Loe has moved up the Breakers all-time list on a number of statistical categories during the season:

66 blocks – 7th all-time

145 appearances – 10th all-time

68 wins – 11th all-time

542 rebounds – 12th all-time

Roll on the 2023-24 season only seven months to wait!

Ella Bradley headlines March Madness wrap

March 16

March Madness is set to get hectic over the coming days as over 20 Kiwis take the court in different tournaments.

Check the fixture list in the attached story.

A belated congratulations to former Waikato and St Peter’s School standout Ella Bradley. She and her University of Texas at Tyler team emerged victorious from a titanic struggle against Lubbock Christian to reach the Elite Eight at the NCAA Division II National Championships.

Full story here:

Breakers on the receiving end of rough treatment?

March 10

There is all to play for this weekend as the Sky Sport Breakers take on the Sydney Kings in Games 3 and 4 of the NBL Grand Final with the five games series locked at 1-1.

The Breakers coaching staff and hierarchy have said nothing publicly but behind closed doors there must be some furrowed brows when they look at the box scores from the five NBL play-off games played to date involving the New Zealand team.

After all there are a couple of statistical categories in which the Breakers trail alarmingly. Over the three semi-final games against Tasmania Jack Jumpers and Games I and 2 against the Kings they trail the foul count 119-94. By that I mean the Breakers have been called for 25 more fouls than their opponents – an average of 5 per game.

Perhaps not surprisingly the trips to the foul line see the Breakers beaten up badly – 137 free throws taken by their opponents to 107 by the Breakers. A differential of 30 opportunities or 6 per game or almost a third more for the opposition.

It was equally lop sided overall in the regular season against the Kings. In game 1 back in November the count was almost even with Sydney called for one more foul (23 to 22) and the Breakers visiting the charity stripe on one more occasion (30-29).

Games two and three were a different matter entirely with the Breakers called for a total of 46 fouls compared with the Sydney-siders 27. As a result trips to the foul line were massively in favour of the Kings (55-32).

Michaela Aylen and Vaughan Mayberry are the best two NBL referees, of that there is no doubt, and one or both have officiated the Breakers play-off games thus far. But even they might be surprised by the discrepancies that have occurred on their watch!

Let’s hope the scales are more evenly balanced in the remaining games of this captivating Grand Final series.

It would be nice to put to one side the impression the NBL (and referees) favour the big market clubs in Melbourne and Sydney. 

Go Breakers!

March Madness Update #3

March 5

The Washington State Cougars dream run at the Pac 12 Conference Tournament has carried them all the way to the Grand Final.

Having seen off second seed, and number three ranked team in the nation, Utah in the quarter-finals they powered away from third seed Colorado (that included Charlotte Whittaker) in the fourth quarter to win 61-49. Charlisse Leger-Walker led the WSU scoring with 15 points to go with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. 

The reward for Washington State is a first ever championship game which will see them match up with UCLA on Monday after they ousted number one seed Stanford in the other semi-final.

Also headed for a first ever grand final are Wofford College. Helen Matthews had 5 points, 5 rebounds and a couple of assists as regular season champions Wofford beat UNC Greensboro to advance to the Southern Conference tournament championship game. Wofford will meet the number two ranked Chattanooga in the final on Sunday, the winner of course advancing to the NCAA Tournament beginning March 15.

Tayla Dalton scored 11 points, claimed 6 rebounds and dished 4 assists while Jade Kirisome, playing her 108th Division I game, made both her 3-point attempts for 6 points as St Mary’s College were beaten 82-77 by Pacific. The second round defeat eliminated St Mary’s from the West Coast Conference Tournament (WCCT).

There was better news from the WCCT with BYU working their way to the semi-finals with a 66-56 win against San Francisco. Arielle Mackey-Williams and Kaylee Smiler combined to make 6 from 7 threes. Mackey-Williams finished with 14 points while Smiler, playing her 101st game for BYU, scored 6 points.

University of California Irvine clinched a share of the Big West Conference regular season title with a 52-44 victory over CSU Bakersfield.

Freshman Akiva McBirney-Griffin, an NBL championship winner with Otago Nuggets in 2021, has enjoyed a solid freshman year earning 8 starts in his 28 appearances.

Flynn Cameron had 16 points and 5 assists as UC Riverside clinched third seed at the Big West Conference Tournament after a 73-72 overtime win at Cal Poly. The 5 assists pushed Cameron up to fifth spot on UCR’s single season record for assists made – he has 108 in 32 games in this campaign.

Older brother Tobias Cameron scored 10 points as Abilene Christian wrapped up Western Athletic Conference regular season play with a 72-54 defeat at the hands of Sam Houston.

Colorado State completed Mountain West regular season fixtures with a 92-84 victory over New Mexico. James Moors with 8 points, on 4 from 5 shooting, plus 5 rebounds in the win.

March Madness Update #2

March 2

Washington State have seen off second seed, and number three ranked team in the nation, Utah 66-58. Charlisse Leger-Walker finished with 15 points making 4 from 7 threes including a clutch effort with 8 seconds to play when WSU’s lead had been trimmed to just three-points.

The reward for Washington State is a semi-final match up with Charlotte Whittaker and the University of Colorado. Whittaker scored 4 points in their 62-54 defeat of Oregon State.

Those 4 points brought up 300 career points for the Cantabrian forward.

Helen Matthews filled the stats line as Southern Conference regular season champions Wofford College beat Western Carolina 71-56. Matthews finished with 11 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, a block and a steal in the Southern Conference tournament opening round.

Tayla Dalton scored 12 points and Jade Kirisome 5 points as St Mary’s eased to a 74-43 win against Loyola Marymount in the first round of the West Coast Conference Tournament.

Ashlee Strawbridge scored 8 points as New Mexico State (10-8) rounded out the regular season with a 70-64 win against Sam Houston.

In her 50th NCAA Division I game Grace Hunter scored 7 points as Cal State Bakersfield were defeated 52-46 by Long Beach State.

In NCAA Division II play Ella Bradley claimed 7 rebounds to accompany 11 points as the University of Texas at Tyler beat West Texas A&M 75-54 to reach the semi-finals of the Lone Star Conference Tournament.

Eckerd College bowed out at the semi-final stage of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament. Hannah Wentworth scored 6 points as #2 Eckerd went down 60-52 to #3 Lynn. 

Making a vital free-throw with just 4 seconds left on the clock Marvin Williams-Dunn (3 points) and Ouachita Baptist ousted top seed Southern Nazarene from the Great American Conference Tournament winning 70-67. Nazarene had won 15 games on the bounce and were ranked 11th nationally.

March Madness begins with Leger-Walker on song

March 1

Having been named to the 2023 All-Pac 12 team by both the Pac-12 coaches and the League’s media earlier in the week Charlisse-Leger Walker scored 23 points to ensure Washington State University made a winning start at the Pac 12 Tournament.

WSU beat Cal Berkeley 61-49 and will now match up against second seeds Utah. Leger-Walker’s 16th point in the game carried her past 1,400 career points – becoming the fifth Kiwi after Stella Beck (1,439), Megan Compain (1,497), Akiene-Tera Reed (1,624) and Erin Rooney (1,647) to have reached 1,400 points in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

In other Pac 12 news Charlotte Whittaker and Colorado, seeded #3, will play the winner of the Oregon State and Southern California first round tie.

Emme Shearer scored 9 points as Portland University Pilots rounded out the regular season with a 61-49 win at BYU. The win was the 15th West Coast Conference victory of the season for Portland – a programme record.

As second seeds at the conference tournament Portland will enjoy a bye straight to the semi-finals.

McKenna Dale scored 4 points and claimed 6 rebounds as Virginia’s season came to an end. The Cavaliers were beaten 68-57 by Wake Forest in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Dale played in all 30 games as Virginia finished with a 15-15 record.

Sam Mennenga was once again the leading scorer for Davidson College (7-9) as they fell 75-70 to George Washington. Mennenga finished with 23 points (7/11FG, 6/6FT) to go with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Mennenga now in striking distance of a 500-points season – currently with 460 points to his name.  

In NCAA Division II action Eckerd College are through to the semi-finals of the Sunshine State Conference tournament after dismantling Embry-Riddle 74-51. Hannah Wentworth was a major contributor with 17 points making 5 from 10 threes.

In case you missed the news from earlier in the week:

Wofford College Terriers (10-4) claimed a first ever Southern Conference regular season title with an 82-76 victory over Mercer. Helen Matthews put together an all-action display with 16 points (3/6 3PG), 9 rebounds and a career high 4 blocks in the win.

It’s not just the first title for the Terriers but the first by any women’s team sport at Wofford.

Ben Gold scored 4 points on 2 from 2 shooting as Marquette University Blue Demons pulled away for a 72-56 victory at Butler University. The win clinched Marquette’s first ever outright Big East Conference regular season title.

Given Marquette were picked ninth in the preseason poll it’s a remarkable result for the Blue Demons. Only in his freshman season Gold, a 2022 Tall Black, has been a contributor off the bench in every game. 

In NAIA Division 1 play Nico Hill and Missouri Baptist University clinched back to back American Mid-West Conference titles with a 12-4 record (16-12 overall).

The Taranaki native played all 28 games for the Spartans averaging 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Corey Le’aupepe and Menlo College failed to reach the Golden State Conference play-offs after finishing with a 7-11 record. However the former St Pat’s and Wellington forward had the satisfaction of bringing up 1,000 career points and Menlo in the final month of his collegiate career. He is only the 10th player in the programme’s history to reach the notable milestone.

Gold for Gold and Matthews

There were 9 points, 4 rebounds and a couple of blocks for Ben Gold as Marquette University Blue Demons (15-3) defeated De Paul 90-84. With two games left in the Big East Conference Marquette are guaranteed at least a share of the regular season title – one more victory and they will be outright champions.

It’s Marquette’s second Big East title since joining the conference in 1989 and the first since 2011-12.

Wofford College Terriers (10-4) claimed a first ever Southern Conference regular season title with an 82-76 victory over Mercer. Helen Matthews put together an all-action display with 16 points (3/6 3PG), 9 rebounds and a career high 4 blocks in the win.

It’s not just the first title for the Terriers but the first by any women’s team sport at Wofford.

Back to the men and James Moors made 4 from 8 from the field and 8 out of 9 free-throws in his 16 points as Colorado State (5-11) beat Wyoming 84-71. Moors has a season high 24 points with the 16 points his highest tally in Mountain West Conference play this season.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt and South Dakota enjoyed a monster win to conclude the Summit League regular season. Making 4 from 8 threes KP-H finished with 21 points to pass the 400 points mark for the season.

Sam Mennenga recorded his sixth double-double of the season – adding 11 rebounds to 14 points – as Davidson (7-9) gained a 71-67 win over Duquesne.

Callum McRae scored 13 points and snared 8 rebounds as Sacramento State (6-11) lost a close one at Montana going down 74-72.

Tobias Cameron had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals as Abilene Christian (5-10) were beaten 66-62 by Utah Valley.


A double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds from Charlisse Leger-Walker wasn’t quite enough to get Washington State (9-9) the win against USC with WSU pipped 68-65 in overtime.

McKenna Dale continued her recent strong form with 14 points, on 6 from 8 shooting, 5 rebounds and 3 assists as Virginia were defeated 85-74 by Miami in its ACC regular season finale.

Emme Shearer scored a baker’s dozen – her 13 points came on 5 from 10 shooting, as  Portland (14-3) fell 74-58 at San Diego. Portland will face BYU in a rearranged fixture to conclude West Coast Conference (WCC) play on Tuesday (NZT).

Arielle Mackey-Williams scored 11 points as BYU (9-8) were defeated 58-51 by WCC leaders Gonzaga.

Also with 11 points (5/8FG) was Grace Hunter as Cal State Bakersfield (3-15) lost 57-44 to Cal State Fullerton.

Tayla Dalton contributed 9 points as St Mary’s College Gaels concluded the West Coast Conference regular season with a 68-53 loss to Pacific.

Amiee Book tallied 7 points as Fresno State fell 73-66 at San Jose State.

Dale dials up a ton & Mennenga a couple of dozen

Playing her 100th NCAA Division I game McKenna Dale scored 12 points as Virginia (4-13) fell 79-69 at Clemson. Prior to Virginia the former Junior Tall Fern played 45 games at Brown in the Ivy League. She has become the 24th Kiwi woman to make 100 Division I appearances.

For the first time in programme history Washington State (9-8) scored a win in Pauley Pavilion, the home of UCLA Bruins. Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 12 points and added 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a couple of blocks as Washington State won 62-55. 

Helen Matthews had a very similar stats line as Wofford (9-4) beat Samford 86-60. The Cantabrian finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Grace Hunter scored 11 points as California State Bakersfield (3-13) were beaten 65-52 by Hawaii. It was the seventh double figure outing of the season from the Wellingtonian guard.

Tara Manumaleuga tallied 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists as Texas Christian went down to Baylor 67-57.

Dani Bayes produced 8 points and a team high 6 assists as Boise State (11-6) defeated San Jose State 78-70.


Sam Mennenga scored 24 points (9/13FG, 3/4 3PG) as Davidson (6-9) eased past St Bonaventure for a 74-61 win. It was the seventh 20+ score of the season for the former Westlake Boys big man.

Flynn Cameron’s good 3-point shooting form was on display once again as UC Riverside (13-5) easily accounted for California State Northridge with a 96-76 win. Cameron made all four of his three point attempts in his 14 points – that’s 71 from 166 threes on the season at an impressive 42.8%.

Callum McRae scored 14 points on 7 from 10 shooting as Sacramento State (6-10) went down 60-56 to Montana State.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored 14 points as South Dakota went down to Summit League leaders Oral Roberts 82-70. 

Milestones for McRae, Mennenga and Cameron

19 February 2023

Another double-double from Callum McRae, his ninth of the season, helped  Sacramento State (6-9) inflict a 70-65 defeat on Idaho State. McRae tallied an impressive 21 points and 15 rebounds and is now just 2 points shy of 1200 career points.

Flynn Cameron dished 5 assists, grabbed 5 rebounds and scored 21 points as UC Riverside Highlanders (11-5) beat UC Santa Barbara 74-63. The 2022 Tall Black took his career tally to 918 points becoming the ninth Kiwi male to reach the 900 NCAA Division I points milestone. In addition he became just the seventh Highlander to log 100 assists in a season.

Sam Mennenga also reached a notable milestone. He scored a team equal best 17 points as Davidson College (5-9) won 76-75 against St Joseph’s. Mennenga was an efficient 5 from 7 from the field and 6 from 8 free throws including the all-important go-ahead freebie with just one second left on the clock.

Mennenga now has 810 career points and up to 10th on the all-time list of New Zealand scorers in Men’s NCAA Division I hoops.

Tafara Gapare scored 11 points and secured 7 rebounds as Massachusetts (4-10) defeated Rhode island 69-45. It was freshman Gapare’s third double figure outing of the season.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt made 4 assists to go with 8 points as South Dakota (6-8) slipped to an 86-68 defeat at Denver.


Tara Manumaleuga made 4 from 8 threes on her way to 16 points as Texas Christian defeated Kansas State 75-62. Manumaleuga had a fine all-court game with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal.

Washington State (8-8) defeated Oregon State 67-57 – Charlisse Leger-Walker with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. That’s 400 points this season at 18.3ppg for CL-W.

McKenna Dale had a nice stats line of 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and an assist as Virginia were pipped 56-52 by Duke.

Emme Shearer scored a team equal best 12 points, and added 3 assists as Portland got the better of Pacific 57-46 to remain second on the West Coast Conference ladder.

Tayla Dalton scored 6 points as West Coast Conference leaders Gonzaga pulled away in the second half to beat St Mary’s 65-51.

Also undone in the West Coast Conference were BYU (9-7) beaten 72-59 by San Francisco. Arielle Mackey-Williams top scored for BYU with 14 points, while Kaylee Smiles tabbed 8 points and 6 rebounds. 

Ashlee Strawbridge scored 7 points as New Mexico State (8-7) slipped to a 73-65 loss to California Baptist.

Brown leads Breakers back to the Grand Final

The Sky Sport Breakers are headed to the NBL Grand Final for the first time since 2016.

In front of a raucous crowd of close to 7,000 at Spark Arena on Sunday the Breakers won the third and deciding semi-final series fixture 92-77. It sounds a comfortable scoreline but the Breakers were only five points ahead (77-72) with five minutes to play and the home supporters were on edge.

However, led by import Barry Brown Jr, the Breakers closed out the game with a 15-5 run -Brown scoring 11 of those points to finish with a game high 32 points.

It was a fabulous performance from the ‘NBL’s Sixth Man of the Year’ and those 32 points have only been bettered once by a Breaker in play-off basketball – Kirk Penney scored a memorable 38 points in Perth against the Wildcats back in 2011.

Brown finished on 10 from 16 shooting from the field and a perfect 10 from 10 at the free throw line. He got great support from Derek Pardon (15 points and 13 rebounds), Jarrell Brantley (14 points and 7 rebounds), Rob Loe (11 points and 8 rebounds) and Izayah Le’afa (10 points and 3 steals).

The Breakers will now enjoy a few days off before looking to win a fifth NBL championship with the best of five Grand Final series beginning in Sydney on March 3rd.

Here are the major numbers from the three semi-final games:

Game 1 at Spark Arena

Barry Browne Jr passed 400 points for the season and Will McDowell White 600 points for the Breakers in his 71stappearance.

With his 8 points Tom Abercrombie moved to 4,301 career points – the fourth highest cumulative total amongst active players in the NBL.

Game 2 in Tasmania

Izayah Le’afa scored his 300th point of the season 

Game 3 at Spark Arena

The Breakers made a collective 24 from 24 free throws, a best performance in club history. The previous best 100% shooting effort was 14 from 14.

Derek Pardon posted his tenth double-double of the season. He becomes only the 8th Breaker to have posted ten or more double-doubles.


Jarrell Brantley is one point shy of 500 points for the season.

Will McDowell-White is 2 points short of 300 points this season. 

NCAA Weekend Wrap – Milestones for Book and Matthews

13 February 2023

Amiee Book with 13 points was one of two Fresno State (1-13) players in double figures in a 61-54 loss to Colorado State. Book now has 1,202 career points – 8th all time on the Kiwi list of Division I scorers.

Helen Matthews tallied 9 points (4/7FG) as Wofford (7-3) defeated Western Carolina 83-62. The junior guard now has 500 career points, the seventh Kiwi amongst active players to reach the milestone.

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 17 points as Washington State were beaten 73-57 at #7 Utah.

Ashlee Strawbridge scored a team high equaling 11 points for New Mexico State (7-6) but it was in a 90-57 thumping at the hands of Utah Tech.

Tayla Dalton scored 9 points and Jade Kirisome 7 as St Mary’s (6-9) overcame Santa Clara for an 89-79 win. Hats off to the St Mary’s administration in recognizing the game as a Waitangi Day celebration.

Next up for St Mary’s is a clash with former Harbour team mate Emme Shearer and Portland.

Grace Hunter, passing 400 NCAA career points in the process, scored 9 points as Cal State Bakersfield (3-12) slipped to a 66-55 loss at the hands of Long Beach State.

BYU snapped a three game losing streak in defeating Loyola Marymount 67-42. There were 9 points for Arielle Mackey-Williams and 6 for Kaylee Smiler in the win.

Dani Bayes scored 8 points as Boise State fell 76-63 to Mountain West Conference leaders UNLV.


Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored 15 points (3/6 3PG) but couldn’t prevent South Dakota (6-8) losing 72-67 to South Dakota State.

A big double-double from Callum McRae, his eighth d-d of the season, helped Sacramento State (6-8) to a convincing 70-54 win against Northern Colorado. McRae finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds.

In a game featuring Kiwis on opposing sides UC Riverside’s Flynn Cameron scored 11 points but UC Irvine’s (9-3) Akiva McBirney-Griffin left with the smile, 4 points (2/2FG) and an 83-64 victory from the Big West Conference clash.

In another game featuring two Kiwis Sam Mennenga scored 9 points for Davidson (4-8) in a narrow 73-71 loss to Fordham (8-4) – Zach Riley with an assist for the victors.

Tobias Cameron tallied 7 points and 4 each in assists and rebounds as Abilene Christian (5-7) slipped to a 77-62 loss to Sam Houston.

No 10 ranked Marquette (12-3) enjoyed an 89-75 win against Georgetown with Ben Gold scoring 7 points on 3 from 5 shooting.

Latest NCAA News: Leger-Walker reaches another milestone

11 February

Former Junior Tall Ferns team mates Charlisse Leger-Walker and Charlotte Whittaker were in opposition as Washington State (6-7) visited #25 Colorado (10-3) in Pac 12 play. Leger-Walker posted a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds as Washington State came up just short going down 71-68. Whittaker had 2 points, 2 rebounds and a block for Colorado.

CL-W has taken her career points tally to 1,312 – just the fifth Kiwi after Erin Rooney, Stella Beck, Megan Compain and Akiene Tea-Reed to reach 1300 points in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

Fresno State struggling at 1-12 almost pulled off one of the upsets of the season against unbeaten Mountain West Conference leaders Nevada Las Vegas. Fresno, with Amiee Book scoring 10 points (3/5FG) were pipped 64-63.

Arielle Mackey-Williams also scored 10 points in a one-point loss as BYU (7-6) were edged 64-63 by Pepperdine.

Also in West Coast Conference play Tayla Dalton scored 6 points in the 69-66 defeat St Mary’s (5-9) suffered at the hands of San Francisco.

Eight points from Dani Bayes helped Boise State register a 69-62 win against New Mexico.

Another freshman, Ella Brow, added 5 assists to 8 points as Southern Methodist (6-4) eased aside Tulsa 81-58.

Tara Manumaleuga  scored 8 points as Texas Christian went down 69-50 to Kansas.

Ashlee Strawbridge claimed 5 rebounds to accompany 7 points as New Mexico State (7-5) were beaten 63-56 by Western Athletic Conference leaders Southern Utah.

Virginia (3-11) were beaten 63-53 by Louisville with McKenna Dale scoring 5 points and grabbing 3 boards. 

Rochelle Fourie had a quadruple in points and rebounds as Cal State Northridge (4-9) got one over on Grace Hunter (3 points) Cal State Bakersfield (3-10) in a 69-60 win.


Freshman Ben Gold posted 12 points (4/5FG, 2/3 3PG) in Marquette’s (11-3) somewhat surprising 87-72 loss to Connecticut. It was a collegiate career high for the 2022 Tall Black

Flynn Cameron also scored a dozen points as UC Riverside (9-4) beat UC Davis 72-65.

Callum McRae tallied 11 points and 8 rebounds as Sacramento State (5-7) were beaten 77-55 by Northern Arizona – that’s 300 points this season for the former Palmerston North Boys High standout.

Ahmed Essahaty scored 8 points as Long Island came within a couple of points of recording their second Northeast Conference win of the season – eventually going down 80-79 to Fairleigh Dickinson.

There were 7 points and 7 rebounds for James Moors as Colorado State (3-9) soared past Air Force 69-53.

Weekend NCAA D1 Wrap – Leger-Walker and Perrott-Hunt on the move

February 6

A game high 25 points from Charlisse Leger-Walker – 4 from 9 from beyond the arc – catapulted Washington State (6-6) to a 70-60 home win against California Berkeley. The Tall Ferns guard has edged past her former Waikato and St Peter’s School teammate Kendell Heremaia on the all-time list of kiwi scorers in Women’s NCAA Division I basketball.

Heremaia (Fordham University 2017-22) scored 1,291 career points with CL-W now up to 1,295 points.

Tara Manumaleuga put together a fine shooting display despite Texas Christian (0-11) losing 77-65 to Oklahoma State. Manumaleuga finished with a career high 19 points shooting 7 from 11 from the field, 3 of 4 threes and 2 out of 3 freebies.

Grace Hunter, with 10 points, was the only Cal State Bakersfield (3-9) player in double figures in the 56-42 loss to UC San Diego.

Kaylee Smiler scored 9 points and Arielle Mackey-Williams 7 as BYU (7-5) were beaten 52-49 by San Diego.

McKenna Dale was close to a double-double totaling 9 points and 9 rebounds as Virginia (3-10) fell 60-51 to Pitt. Dale also had a brace of steals and blocks.

Emme Shearer’s 8 points (and 5 assists) in Portland’s (12-1) 80-68 win at Santa Clara has carried her beyond 600 career points.

Dani Bayes also scored 8 points – adding 4 rebounds and 3 assists – as Boise State (7-5) defeated Fresno State (1-11) 66-61. Amiee Book scored 5 points for Fresno State.


Tobias Cameron was a perfect 5 from 5 from the field, totaling 15 points, as Abilene Christian got the better of California Baptist to win 87-71.

A couple of Kiwis were in opposition as Davidson College grabbed a much needed 93-78 win against Massachusetts. Tafara Gapare scored 4 points for UMass but that was trumped by Davidson starter Sam Mennenga who posted 14 points on 6 from 9 shooting.

Callum McRae also scored 14 points – and added 8 rebounds and 4 assists – as Sacramento State suffered an agonizing 82-76 overtime loss at Idaho.

James Moors was in good form for Colorado State (2-9) despite an 88-79 loss at Utah State. Moors finished with 13 points making 5 from 8 shots whilst also tallying a team high 7 rebounds and a couple of blocks.

Flynn Cameron scored 8 points as UC Riverside (8-4) slipped to a 64-58 loss against Cal State Fullerton.

Recapping that Kruz Perrott-Hunt has moved into elite company after scoring a team high 18 points in South Dakota’s 86-72 loss to North Dakota.

His fourth point in the game brought up the senior guard’s 1,000th career point – only the fifth Kiwi to reach that mark in Men’s NCAA Division I basketball. 

He joins fellow Tall Blacks Kirk Penney, Tai Webster and Craig Bradshaw, plus current collegiate player Callum McRae, in the 1,000 points club.

Top 10 scorers (NZ Men) in NCAA Division 1 Basketball:

1,454 in 127 games, Kirk Penney (University of Wisconsin Badgers, 1999-2003)

1,146 in 116 games, Callum McRae (UC Riverside 2018-22 & Sacramento State 2022-present)

1,116 in 127 games, Tai Webster (University of Nebraska Huskers, 2013-17)

1,114 in 123 games, Craig Bradshaw (Winthrop University Eagles, 2003-7)

1,014 in 102 games, Kruz Perrott-Hunt (University of South Dakota (2019-present)

973 in 133 games, Rob Loe (University of St Louis Billikens, 2010-14)

945 in 125 games, Mark Dickel (UNLV, 1996-2000)

941 in 117 games, Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa (Sacramento State University, 2016-20)

850 in 115 games, Flynn Cameron (DePaul Univ, 2018-20 & UC Riverside 2018-present)

785 in 63 games, Isaac Fotu (University of Hawaii, 2012-14)

Breakers cap off tremendous regular season with overtime win – semi-finals bound

The Sky Sport Breakers began the season with an overtime loss at Melbourne United and finished their regular season campaign with an 80-75 extra time win in Brisbane against the Bullets.

The 26 games in between saw the Breakers carve out a further 17 victories, 11 of those away from New Zealand – an 11-3 road record the best in NBL’23.

It’s also matches the road record of the all-conquering 2012-13 team that only lost four games all season in its championship winning run.

The Breakers final two regular season games were at Illawarra Hawks on Thursday and at the Brisbane Bullets 48 hours later.

At Illawarra the Breakers had to overcome a 16-point (50-34) half-time deficit to defeat a spirited Hawks outfit and lock in a top three finish. With Cairns Taipans winning in Perth the following evening the Breakers faced a trip to Queensland to secure the coveted second spot on the ladder and with it an automatic semi-final berth.

It wasn’t pretty last night, neither was it at Illawarra for long stretches, but this Breakers team has some inner steal and it was on display in abundance in the final two games.

It was perhaps fitting that the Breakers longest serving player, Tom Abercrombie (playing his 391st game for the club) produced the game winning play. His fourth steal of the night, with 14 seconds to play in the overtime period, meant the Breakers were able to extend their lead from three points to five, secure the win, and return home for a first semi-final series since being swept 2-0 by Melbourne United in 2018.

Abercrombie finished with a season high 14 points with other notable contributions coming from the club’s leading scorer Jarrell Brantley (19 points), Will McDowell-White (15 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds), Izayah Le’afa (12 points) and Tom Vodanovich (10 points).

The Breakers can now rest up for a couple of days as they await the outcome of the third versus fourth play-off game between Cairns Taipans and Tasmania Jack Jumpers. The Breakers will face the winner of that contest in a three game series – dates to be announced in the coming days.

Some other numbers from Round 18:

At Illawarra on Thursday:

Rob Loe, with his first rebound of the game, claimed his 500th for the club – the 13th Breaker to reach that mark.

Tom Vodanovich scored 2 points bringing up 100 points for the season.

At Brisbane on Saturday:

For Rob Loe it was his 64th win for the Breakers moving him ahead of Daryl Corletto (63 wins) as the 11th “winningest” Breaker of all-time.

Will McDowell-White, with 15 points in the game, passed 600 career points (589 for the Breakers).

The regular season record of 18-10 has only been bettered in the four championship winning campaigns.

22-6 (2010-11 first championship year)

21-7 (2011-12 second championship year)

24-4 (2012-13 third championship year)

19-9 (2014-15 fourth championship year)

NCAA wrap – Leger-Walker, Shearer & Cameron catch the eye

February 4

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the women’s Basketball Coaches Association have named Charlisse Leger-Walker as a mid-season finalist for the 2023 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award for the second season running.

The Award goes to the top shooting guard in NCAA Women’s basketball. KL-W is averaging 19.2 points and 4.9 assists per game for the Washington State Cougars.

The Cougars (5-6) found the going too tough against the #2 ranked team in the nation losing 71-38 to Stanford. KL-W had the satisfaction of top scoring and leading the rebounding for the Cougs but it was just 8 and 6 against the Pac 12 Conference leaders.

Also in the Pac 12 Charlotte Whittaker scored 4 points as third placed Colorado (8-3) claimed a 63-53 win against Oregon.

Emme Shearer, one of the leading 3-point shooters in the West Coast Conference made 5 from 7 from deep for a career high equaling 21 points – and grabbed 8 rebounds – as Portland (11-1) overcame a 16-point deficit to defeat San Francisco 83-80 in overtime.

Amiee Book top scored for Fresno State (1-10) in their 74-59 loss to Air Force. Book scored 14 points (4/7FG) taking her career total to 1,174 and up to 9th on the all-time list of NZ Women’s Division I scorers. 22 more points will take Book past the 1,195 scored by Micaela Cocks (University of Oregon Ducks, 2006-10).

Passing 100 points for the season Ashlee Strawbridge scored 13 points (6/11FG) as New Mexico State (7-3) edged past California Baptist 62-61, the winning basket made with just 7 seconds to play.

McKenna Dale was one rebound shy of a double-double tallying 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in Virginia’s (3-9) loss to North Carolina. 

Dani Bayes passed the 200 points mark for the season in scoring 11 points as Boise State (5-5) defeated San Diego State 62-57. The freshman guard made all three of her 3-point attempts and overall was 4 from 6 from the field.

Jade Kirisome scored 8 points, Tayla Dalton 6 and Amy West a couple as St Mary’s (5-7) won 62-55 at Pepperdine.

Grace Hunter totaled 7 points and 4 rebounds as Cal State Bakersfield (3-8) won a very low scoring contest against UC Riverside 43-39.


Flynn Cameron knocked down 5 of 7 threes on his way to 19 points as UC Riverside (8-3) lost an overtime thriller to CS Bakersfield 82-76.

Callum McRae’s 16 points (6/8FG) and 8 rebounds were not enough to grab Sacramento State (5-5) a win – Eastern Washington the victors 82-63.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt, after scoring 15 points, is just 4 points short of 1000 career points. Those points came in South Dakota’s (6-6) 71-62 win over North Dakota State.

Tobias Cameron played a big part in Abilene Christian (4-6) defeating Seattle 83-68. The senior guard mustered 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a brace of steals.

In just his third game for Long Island Ahmed Essahaty was thrust into the starting line-up and didn’t disappoint scoring 10 points, on 5 from 9 shooting. The Wellingtonian guard helped Long Island to their first North East Conference win of the season as they defeated Sacred Heart 74-70.

Akiva McBirney-Griffin had 10 points and 6 rebounds as UC Irvine defeated UC San Diego 76-60.

Tafara Gapare scored 5 points as Massachusetts slipped to a 70-59 defeat at the hands of George Mason.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt the latest Kiwi Centurion

January 31

Kruz Perrott-Hunt has moved into an exclusive century club after playing game number 100 for the University of South Dakota today.

Perrott-Hunt is just the 17th Kiwi male to bring up a century of NCAA Division I appearances joining a distinguished list that includes fellow Tall Blacks Kirk Penney, Tai Webster, Rob Loe, Mark Dickel, Jack Salt and Sam Timmins.

KP-H scored 10 points in his ton up game but it was a contest in which South Dakota suffered its biggest loss of the season going down 103-53 at Summit League leaders Oral Roberts.

The senior guard is enjoying an outstanding senior season – he leads the Coyotes scoring with 305 points at 14 per game making 40% (40/100) of his 3-point shots and 84% (43/51) from the foul line. In addition he is second on the team for assists with 2.0 per game.

Another milestone beckons – he is currently just 19 points shy of 1,000 career points.

Women’s NCAA weekend review – Matthews with a season high

January 30

Helen Matthews takes the spotlight as we review the weekends Women’s NCAA Division I action. Matthews played a significant part in Wofford College Terriers securing a pair of Southern Conference away wins. The brace of victories takes Wofford to equal first on the conference standings with a 5-2 record.

Matthews top scored as Wofford recorded their first ever success at Mercer winning 76-71. The Cantabrian guard made 3 from 6 threes on her way to 21 points.

Matthews followed that with a valuable 8 points and 8 rebounds, playing all 40 minutes for the first time in her career, in Wofford’s 79-75 road win at Samford – the former Junior Tall Fern is now just 6 points shy of 500 career points.

Portland (10-1) maintained second place on the West Coast Conference ladder comprehensively beating Loyola Marymount 58-39. Emme Shearer top scored for Portland with 12 points and in claiming 10 rebounds recorded her first collegiate double-double.

Lauryn Mapusua earned 10 free throws and converted 8 on her way to 14 points as Houston Christian (3-5) lost 59-48 to Northwestern State.

McKenna Dale tallied 11 points in Virginia’s (3-6) 90-72 loss to Syracuse.

Ella Brow scored 8 points as Southern Methodist (5-3) got the better of Tulsa winning 61-54.

Five Kiwis were on show as BYU (7-4) got the better of Saint Mary’s 74-59. For BYU Kaylee Smiler scored 9 points (plus 4 blocks) and Arielle Mackey-Williams 7. St Mary’s forward Amy West contributed 6 points and 6 rebounds while Jade Kirisome, in her 100th NCAA game, made 5 points and Tayla Dalton 4 points.

Saint Mary’s followed that with a 67-54 home defeat at the hands of San Diego – 7 points for Dalton in that one.

Seven points and 5 assists for Grace Hunter in the 79-57 defeat California State Bakersfield suffered at the hands of UC Davis.

Dani Bayes, last week named Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Week, scored 6 points as Boise State (4-5) flew past Air Force 60-55.

Charlisse Leger-Walker had a rare scoring off-night as Washington State overcame #19 Arizona 70-59, Leger-Walker made 5 from 6 free throws but was 0 of 13 from the field. The Tall Fern still found other ways of impacting the contest as she gave 7 assists and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Amiee Book also scored 5 points, bringing up 200 points for the season, as Fresno State went down 75-56 to San Diego State.

Ashlee Strawbridge added 6 rebounds to 4 points as New Mexico State (6-3) edged Abilene Christian 69-61.

Tobias Cameron surpasses Rob Loe’s all-time Men’s NCAA record

Over the last few days Callum McRae, Sam Mennenga and Tom Webley have set new career marks but it is the record set by Tobias Cameron that headlines the latest Men’s NCAA Division I roundup.

Playing his 134th game for Abilene Christian University Cameron has set a new New Zealand record for the number of games played by a Kiwi in NCAA Division I Men’s basketball. Cameron celebrated the milestone with a win – tallying 8 points and 5 rebounds as Abilene pipped Utah Tech 81-76.

Rob Loe, who played 133 games for the University of St Louis Billikens (2010-14), had previously held the all-time high appearance record. The Tall Blacks centre still holds the record for most starts – 121.

It should be noted that Loe played the standard four years at St Louis while Cameron has taken advantage of the additional ‘covid year’ to play a fifth year at Abilene.

Callum McRae pulled down 9 rebounds to accompany 15 points as Sacramento State (5-4) were  beaten 72-65 by Montana State. McRae has pulled alongside Tai Webster (University of Nebraska Huskers, 2013-17) as the second highest Kiwi points scorer in Men’s NCAA Division I basketball. Kirk Penney is the all-time leader with 1,454 points for the Wisconsin Badgers.

In collegiate game number 99 Kruz Perrott-Hunt made 3 from 4 threes on his way to 13 points as South Dakota (5-5) secured an 81-67 road win at St Thomas. With 971 career points the Tall Black is closing in on the double of 100 appearances and 1,000 NCAA Division I points – only achieved previously by four Kiwi men. 

Davidson College snapped a four game losing streak with a 64-57 win at La Salle. Sam Mennenga was once again to the fore leading Davidson in points and rebounds with a double-double of 27 points (10/16FG, 3/4 3PG) and 11 rebounds. Those 27 points were a career high and it was the third double-double in the last five games for the 2022 Tall Black.

Mennenga followed that with a team high 16 points against Rob Loe’s alma mater St Louis but Davidson (3-6) came up short against the Atlantic 10 Conference co-leaders losing 74-70.

Despite Hartford falling 76-52 to Pennsylvania Tom Webley produced a career high 16 points shooting a highly efficient 8 from 10.

Flynn Cameron totalled 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists as UC Riverside (8-2) beat UC San Diego 72-65.

Tafara Gapare came up with 6 points and 4 rebounds as Massachusetts (4-5) got past Duquesne 87-79.

Akiva McBirney-Griffin tallied 5 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks as UC Irvine (7-2) outclassed Cal State Northridge winning 81-56.

James Moors also scored 5 points in Colorado State’s (2-7) 80-59 loss to Boise State.

In other news Wellingtonian guard Ahmed Essahaty made his debut, playing a couple of minutes, for Long Island University in their 73-66 loss to Stonehill. 

Breakers play-offs bound

The Sky Sport Breakers pulled off an impressive pair of wins in Round 17 of the NBL thrashing the Bullets in Brisbane 99-71 on Thursday before seeing off Melbourne United at Spark Arena on Sunday.

Victories number 15 and 16 for the season have secured the Breakers a first play-off spot since 2017-18 and the first under the ownership of Matt Walsh.

The 80-74 defeat of Melbourne, which keeps the Breakers in the hunt for a second place finish, was meritorious on a number of counts.

Melbourne had won five games on the bounce and had also won the last nine encounters against the Breakers stretching back over the last three seasons – however it should be noted that all but one of those games were played in Australia.

Jarrell Brantley’s 18 points led the way for the Breakers with pivotal contributions also from Rob Loe (15 points & 6 rebounds), Rayon Rupert (12 points) and Derek Pardon (11 points & 8 rebounds).

However it was the Breakers fourth quarter defence that stood out forcing the 2021 NBL champions into a rash of turnovers while holding them scoreless for almost four minutes of that final stanza.

Cairns (17-9) and the Breakers (16-10) each have two games to play to decide the top three makeup. Sydney Kings (18-7) appear certain to win the regular season while fourth place  Perth Wildcats (14-11) could make the top three but a number of results would have to go their way.

The numbers from the two Round 17 games:

Home v Melbourne:

The Breakers completed their regular season home programme with a 7-7 record (4-5 at Spark Arena).

It was Rob Loe’s 62nd win in Breakers colours – he draws level with Reuben Te Rangi in equal 12th spot as the winningest Breaker.

In his 83rd NBL game Izayah Le’afa brought up 700 career points – 425 of the points scored during his two seasons with South East Melbourne Phoenix.

Tom Abercrombie’s 2 points in the game means he has 100 points chalked up this season.

at Brisbane Bullets:

Brantley became the first Breaker to score 400 points this season – the power forward averaging 16.1 points per game for the season, 22.2 over the past five outings.

Derek Pardon pulled down his 200th rebound this season.

In other news former Breaker Corey Webster brought up 3,000 NBL points in Perth Wildcats recent win. He joins Tom Abercrombie (4,268 points), Kirk Penney (3,773) and Mika Vukona (3,218) in the distinguished Kiwi 3,000 points club.


The Breakers final two regular season games are at Illawarra on Thursday February 2nd and at the Brisbane Bullets 48 hours later.

Road Warriors – the latest Breakers numbers

Who could have predicted that in Round 16 of the NBL the Sky Sport Breakers would lose at home to the bottom placed team on the ladder and win on the road against the team at the top of the table?

In front of a crowd of over 14,000 the Sky Sport Breakers pulled off one of their more impressive wins of the season defeating the table topping Kings in Sydney 93-88 on Sunday.

Jarrell Brantley was immense piling on 30 points to accompany 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and a steal – his banked three with 15 seconds to play the game clincher.

Will McDowell-White was equally impressive reeling off a double-double of 20 points and 10 assists, a performance even more meritorious given he had to carry added back court responsibilities given the absence of the injured Izayah Le’afa and Barry Brown Jr.

Earlier in Round 16 the Breakers had gone down 78-76 to cellar dwellers Illawarra Hawks 78-76, the Breakers undone by a dramatic Tyler Harvey long range three as time expired.

With one home game to come, against Melbourne United on Thursday at Spark Arena, the Breakers record is 6-7 in New Zealand and 8-3 on the road. This means the Breakers, for the first time in the club’s history, will have a superior regular season away record than home record.

Perhaps those 57 games played in Australia in the previous two years have provided the foundation for the successes on the road!!

Here are the numbers:

Thursday v Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena:

Derek Pardon made his 8th double-double of the season producing a season high 17 rebounds (10 of those offensive) to accompany 19 points.

2 points from French Next Star Rayon Rupert took him to 100 points for the season.

Sunday in Sydney against the Kings:

Derek Pardon, with 11 points in the contest, became the third Breaker (all the three imports) to score 300 points this season.

Brantley’s 30 points was a season best for the power forward and within a point of the individual high for the club in 2022-23 – Barry Brown Jr scored 31 against South East Melbourne back in December in Christchurch.

McDowell-White’s double-double was his fourth of the season.

Rob Loe and Cam Gliddon both passed the 100 points mark for the season, Loe also now with 901 points for the club – the 20th Breaker to reach the milestone.

NCAA DI midweek wrap – Mennenga, Cameron, McBirney-Griffin, Mackey-Williams the standouts

21 January

Cameron was just one point shy of his season best in scoring 25 points (10/20FG) as UC Riverside (7-1) took care of business against Cal Poly winning 83-78. 

The Tall Black guard followed that with a team high 19 points and added 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for the Big West Conference leaders as they edged a tight one against UC Davis winning 74-72.

Cameron has passed 200 points for the season and is also closing in on 800 career points – a mark reached in NCAA Division I Men’s basketball by just eight Kiwis including current players Callum McRae and Kruz Perrott-Hunt.

Sam Mennenga remains in good form but Davidson College (2-5) slipped to a fourth straight Atlantic 10 defeat going down 68-61 at Dayton. Mennenga completed his fourth double-double of the season amassing 15 points and 13 rebounds whilst moving his career points tally to 704.

Second in the Big West are UC Irvine (6-1). in their latest game freshman Akiva McBirney-Griffin enjoyed his first double digit outing as Irvine beat Hawaii 76-68. The Waikato native finished with 11 points (4/7FG) and 3 rebounds plus one each in blocks, steals and assists.

Doing well in the Big Sky Conference are Callum McRae and Sacramento State (4-2) although they did drop their latest game, defeated 69-65 at Idaho State. McRae was held to 8 points and 4 rebounds in this one.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored 10 points as South Dakota (3-4) fell 82-64 to South Dakota State.

Tobias Cameron, passing 200 points this season, scored 7 points as Abilene Christian (1-4) fell to a heavy 84-54 defeat against Utah Valley.

Tom Webley posted 6 points on 3 from 4 shooting in Hartford’s 87-62 loss to Maryland Baltimore. The Cantabrian forward also reeled in 3 rebounds along with 3 assists and a block.

Colorado State (2-5) were defeated 82-76 in overtime by San Diego State. James Moors scored just the one point but did snag 8 rebounds and a career high 4 blocks.

In other news former Onslow College and Scots College guard Ahmed Essahaty has been added to the Long Island University roster for the remainder of this season.


BYU (6-2) made it seven wins on the bounce defeating San Francisco 78-59 with Arielle Mackey-Williams posting 13 points (5/8FG) and Kaylee Smiler 6 points. Sophomore  guard AM-W also distributed a career high 6 assists and passed 200 points for the season at 9.2ppg.

Helen Matthews scored 11 points and claimed 3 rebounds as Wofford (3-1) accounted for Chattanooga 64-51.

Joy for Yzabelle Tevao and Chicago State as the Cougars won their first game of the season pounding Olivet 108-50. Tevao finished with 11 points (5/9FG) and 8 rebounds – both season highs for the West Aucklander.

Dani Bayes and Boise State entertained Amiee Book and the Fresno State Bulldogs and it was Boise that protected home court winning 60-53. Bayes scored 10 points – Book 3 points and a couple of steals for Fresno.

Grace Hunter scored 8 points and added a pair of assists and steals as Cal State Bakersfield (2-5) defeated Cal State Fullerton 64-58.

Olivia Williams scored 7 points, snared a couple of rebounds and had a single, assist, steal and block as UC Irvine, 7-0 in Big West Conference play beat UC Santa Barbara 70-60.

McKenna Dale produced 7 points, 6 rebounds and a couple of assists as Virginia (3-5) went down 77-68 to Florida State in the ACC.

In a game featuring a bunch of Kiwis, St Mary’s (4-4) were given a hammering by Portland (7-1) going down 64-41. Emme Shearer (7pts, 4rebs) and Melika Samia (4rebs, 1 block) wore the smiles of victors while Tayla Dalton (6pts), Jade Kirisome (5pts) and Amy West (2pts, 2 assists) will be rueing a poor home performance.

Lauryn Mapusua’s 6 points helped Houston Christian (3-3) to a 71-52 success against Incarnate Word.

Other Women’s Scores:

Cal State Northridge (3-5) 60 (Rochelle Fourie 3 points, 2 rebounds) Hawaii 76

Southern Methodist (3-3) 65 (Ella Brow 2 points, 1reb, 3 assists, 2 steals) Wichita State 73

Texas Christian (0-6) 66 (Tara Manumaleuga 3 points) Oklahoma 93

New Mexico State (4-3) 62 (Ashlee Strawbridge 2pts, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) Grand Canyon 69

Numbers from Breakers Round 15 losses

It was a disappointing Round 15 of the NBL for the Sky Sport Breakers with three straight losses – two by a single possession scoreline!

Here are the numbers:

Tuesday @ Perth Wildcats Lost 93-90

Derek Pardon added 12 rebounds to a season high 28 points. His seventh double-double of the season moves him to 10th all-time on the Breakers Double-D list alongside Rich Melzer.

Thursday v Melbourne United in Christchurch Lost 77-65

Without the injured Barry Brown Jr the Breakers slipped to a ninth straight defeat to United and registered their lowest score of the season in losing 77-65. Not surprisingly the shooting percentage of 33% (21/63) was also the lowest of the campaign.

Jarrell Brantley, in scoring a team high 17 points, became the second Breaker after Brown Jr to score 300 points this season (average 14.7ppg).

With 7 assists Will McDowell-White became the 9th Breaker to dish 300 assists.

Sunday v Cairns Taipans at Spark Arena Lost 85-83

Jarrell Brantley had a massive double- double of 25 points and a season high 14 rebounds, whilst also claiming 5 steals. Glad I had him in my NBL Fantasy Team this week!

Will McDowell-White scored a career high 29 points (made 7 from 10 three-pointers), passing 500 points for the Breakers in the process. He’s the 27th player to score in excess of 500 points for the club.

Rob Loe played his 131st game for the club – now 10th all-time moving past Cedric Jackson and Aaron Olson who each played 130 games (Olson 130 consecutive games).

Tom Abercrombie pulled down his 440th offensive rebound to draw level with Dillon Boucher in that statistical category. The pair are now in joint third spot all-time for the Breakers behind Mika Vukona (933) and Alex Pledger (534).


The Breakers are back at Spark Arena on Thursday to take on Illawarra Hawks.

NCAA DI Weekend Wrap – 8 Kiwis in double figures

16 January

In NCAA Division I weekend action eighty Kiwis scored in double figures with Charlisse Leger-Walker, Olivia Williams and Helen Matthews leading the way.

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 17 points to help secure Washington State (3-3) an 85-84 overtime win at Oregon. L-W, who added 7 rebounds, 6 assists and a block, moved past the 300 points mark for the season – 310 to be exact at 20.7ppg.

Olivia Williams top scored with 15 points (3/6 3PG) as Big West Conference leaders UC Irvine (4-0) defeated Rochelle Fourie’s California State Northridge 69-62.

Wofford (2-1) eked out a 55-51 win against UNC Greensboro with Helen Matthews scoring a team high equaling 15 points (6/9FG) to accompany 5 rebounds.

Ella Brow made 3 from 5 triples on her way to 14 points as Southern Methodist (3-2) won an overtime contest with East Carolina 68-66. The freshman also had a career high 8 assists to go with 6 rebounds a block and a steal.

Grace Hunter also scored 14 points in California State Bakersfield’s (1-5) 62-50 loss to UC San Diego.

Jade Kirisome scored 10 points as St Mary’s Gaels (3-3) pinched a 67-63 away win at neighbours San Francisco.

There were 9 points apiece for Kaylee Smiler and Arielle Mackey-Williams as BYU (5-2) defeated Pepperdine 63-52 for a fifth straight win.

Dani Bayes added 5 rebounds to 5 points as Boise State (2-2) went down 55-42 to San Diego State.

Unbeaten teams Portland (now 6-1) and Gonzaga met in a West Coast Conference heavyweight clash with the Zags getting the win 73-66. Emme Shearer scored 5 points for Portland.

Other Women’s Scores:

Fresno State (1-5) 71 (Amiee Book 4 points) Air Force 68

Virginia (3-4) 66 (McKenna Dale 2pts, 2rebs, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) Boston College 50

Texas Christian (0-5) 70 (Tara Manumaleuga 2pts, 1 steal, 1 rebound) Oklahoma State 80

In Men’s NCAA Division I play Sam Mennenga’s 13 points – his 17th double digit outing in 18 games – couldn’t prevent Davidson (2-3) slipping to a third straight Atlantic 10 defeat going down 67-65 to George Mason.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt tallied 10 points but South Dakota (3-3) were well beaten by South Dakota State 

Nine of each – points and rebounds – for James Moors as Colorado State (2-4) won a thriller against Nevada, Las Vegas 82-81.

Tobias Cameron had 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists as Abilene Christian (1-4) slipped up against Tarleton State going down 72-63.

Younger brother Flynn Cameron also tallied 9 points as UC Riverside (5-1) won 65-64 for a first win in 25 attempts at UC Santa Barbara. The young Tall Black flirted with a double-double as he also had 9 assists.

Eight points, 10 rebounds and a block for Callum McRae as Sacramento State (5-1) edged Northern Arizona 59-56.

Tafara Gapare scored 6 points and added a block, a steal and 4 rebounds as Massachusetts (2-3) beat Rhode Island 75-65.

NCAA DI mid-week roundup including career high’s for Smiler and Mennenga

January 13 

NB Bracketed figures are conference records (wins-losses)

In this NCAA Division I wrap we feature career high’s from Kaylee Smiler and Sam Mennenga plus a number of other strong performances most notably from Callum McRae, Grace Hunter and Dani Bayes.

Callum McRae was once again in double-double mode as Sacramento State (3-1) defeated Norther Colorado 72-64 with the senior centre tallying 15 points and 11 rebounds as well as dishing 7 assists. That’s 7 double-D’s already this season for McRae with four of them coming in the last five games.

Sam Mennenga pulled down a career high 16 rebounds as Davidson (2-3) slipped to a 61-57 home defeat at the hands of Richmond. Also scoring 11 points it was Mennenga’s third double-double of the season.

Abilene Christian (1-3) were defeated 103-86 by Texas Rio Grande despite 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals from Tobias Cameron.

Flynn Cameron had 6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal as UC Riverside (4-1) eased past UC San Diego 74-68 in Big West Conference action.

Making his first start of the season Tom Webley scored 9 points and also accumulated 5 rebounds, an assists and a steal in Hartford’s narrow 78-73 loss to St Francis Brooklyn.

Other Men’s Scores:

Colorado State (1-4) 74 (James Moors 4pts, 3rebs, 1 assist) Air Force 85 AOT

Fordham 58 (1-3) Zach Riley (3pts, 2 steals, 1 assist) Dayton 82

Marquette 82 (6-1) Ben Gold 3 points) v #6 Connecticut 76

Massachusetts (1-3) 77 (Tafara Gapare 2 points, 2 rebounds) La Salle 78 

In women’s Division I play Grace Hunter was a single point shy of her career best as Cal State Bakersfield (1-4) suffered an agonizing 63-62 defeat at UC Santa Barbara. The Wellingtonian guard scored 22 points (also tallying 6 assists and 5 rebounds) as Bakersfield gave up four points in the final 6 seconds to lose 63-62.

Dani Bayes top scored for Boise State with 16 points, making 4 from 6 3-pointers, but the Broncos (2-1) were beaten 71-50 by Colorado State. It was the eighth double figure outing for the freshman guard in her first 16 collegiate games.

New Mexico State (4-1), with Ashlee Strawbridge making a season best 13 points, comfortably beat Sam Houston 69-48. Strawbridge shot a very efficient 6 from 8 and also added a steal and 2 rebounds.

Kaylee Smiler and Arielle Mackey-Williams shared 20 points as BYU (4-2) comfortably defeated Loyola Marymount 63-46. Mackey-W scored 12 points while Smiler was beaming after a career high 8 assists and 8 points.

Tayla Dalton scored 10 points as St Mary’s (3-3) won 78-64 at Santa Clara. Playing a team high 34 minutes Dalton also had deuces in rebounds, assists and steals. Jade Kirisome had a trio each of points, rebounds and assists in the win.

Helen Matthews grabbed 5 rebounds to compliment 7 points as Wofford (1-1) came off second best against West Carolina going down 53-49.

Freshman starter Ella Brow caught the eye with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal as Southern Methodist (2-2) clawed the Cincinnati Bearcats 55-44.

Fresno State (1-4) went down 49-43 to San Diego State with Amiee Book making 5 points and 5 rebounds in the loss.

Other Women’s Scores

Texas Christian (0-4) 45 (Tara Manumaleuga 3pts, 2rebs, 1 assist, 1 steal) West Virginia 77

UC Irvine (4-0) 57 (Olivia Williams 2 points, 2rebs, 2 assists, 1 steal) Cal State Fullerton 39

Breakers two from two in Round 14

The Sky Sport Breakers maintained second spot on the ladder with a pair of hard earned victories in Round 14 of the NBL.

A 97-94 victory in New Plymouth on Wednesday night over the Perth Wildcats was followed by an equally tight 85-83 win in Adelaide – their third win of the season against the 36ers bolstering their overall record to 13-6.

The Breakers took the lead in the first quarter in Adelaide and led for the majority of the game thereafter but did have to withstand a late charge from the 36ers, who scored the last seven points of  the contest.

After missing the last two games with a broken finger the Breakers welcomed back Will McDowell-White to the line-up and he was his typical influential self with 10 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.

Also in double figures were Barry Brown Jr (16 points), Jarrell Brantley (15 points), Izayah Le’afa (13 points) and Derek Pardon (10 points).

McD-W’s return meant the Breakers had all 12 full roster players available for the first time this season at the 19thattempt.  

The win against Perth broke a sequence of five straight losses to the old enemy from out west. Once again the Breakers had to withstand another strong performance from former clubman Corey Webster who scored 19 points – he, Bryce Cotton and Brady Manek combined for 71 points.

Tai Webster, signed by the Wildcats a couple of day prior to the game, was suited up on the Wildcats bench but didn’t take the court. Unofficial reports indicating his release from the Breakers, who held his NBL playing rights, precluded him from playing against his former club.

The Breakers were once again paced by Brown Jr who scored 23 points.

Next Star Rayon Rupert made an eye catching return after missing the previous eight games with a wrist injury. The young Frenchman came off the bench to score 14 points in just 18 minutes of action.

Other notable performances came from Pardon (13 points), Brantley (11 points and 7 rebounds) and Le’afa 18 points (7/11FG).

But it was Brown that was the star turn for the hosts adding 6 rebounds and 6 assists to the 23 points that came on 10 from 18 shooting.

Brown Jr brought up his 300th point in 15 appearances. He’s the 49th Breaker to score 300 points for the club with only Carlos Powell (11 games), Kirk Penney and Mike Chappell (both 14 games) passing the mark quicker.

Other Numbers:

V Perth Wildcats

Tom Abercrombie’s blocked shot in the game against Perth was the 254th of his career drawing him level with Alex Pledger as the Breakers all-time leading “Blockers”.

There’s a slight difference in number of games played though – Pledge 238, Tom 381 !

V Adelaide 36ers

Will McDowell-White’s 7 assists sees him reach the 100 assists mark for the season at 5.9 per game. He now has 291 dimes for the Breakers in total – shortly to become just the 9th Breaker to dish 300 assists.

The victory in Adelaide was Rob Loe’s 59th in Breakers colours drawing him level with Gary Wilkinson as the 14thwinningest Breaker of all-time. 


The Breakers have a short turn around as they are in action again on Tuesday night, this time in Perth against the Wildcats. 

NCAA Weekend Wrap – Big performances aplenty

January 7

NB Bracketed figures are conference play records (wins-losses)

Following a two game absence Charlisse Leger-Walker returned to the Washington State (1-3) lineup and propelled the Cougars to their first Pac 12 victory defeating Washington 66-52.

Leger-Walker scored a game high 26 points (11/17FG) and also came up with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a pair of steals.

Now with 1,214 career points CL-W moved up two places to 7th on the all-time list of New Zealand scorers in Women’s NCAA Division I basketball passing Micaela Cocks (1,195 points for University of Oregon, 2006-10) and Tegan Graham (1,209 points for Colgate University 2016-20 & BYU 2020-22).

Portland (6-0) guard Emme Shearer has extended her career high points scoring mark twice in consecutive games. After totaling 20 points against Santa Clara on Thursday she got 21 in the 77-46 win against San Francisco 48 hours later.

Shearer sits second on the West Coast Conference 3-point shooting percentage list and made 3 from 4 against San Francisco giving her 23/45 at 51.1% on the season.

Melika Samia scored 8 points, that included a pair of threes, in the win against San Francisco. 

Amiee Book scored 11 points as Fresno State (3-1) eased to a first Mountain West Conference win defeating San Jose State 65-51.

Olivia Williams added 7 rebounds to 10 points as UC Irvine (3-0) edged Long Beach State 60-57

BYU (3-2) accounted for San Diego 63-49 with Arielle Mackey-Williams making 9 points and Kaylee Smiler 5 points. The Kiwi guards also dished 3 assists apiece.

St Mary’s California.(2-3) defeated Pepperdine 68-58 with Amy West grabbing a team high 7 rebounds to accompany 4 points. Tayla Dalton also scored 4 points in the win.

Other Women’s Scores:

Boise State (2-0) 73 (Danni Bayes 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist) Utah State 56

Cal State Northridge (3-1) 52 (Rochelle Fourie 2 points, 2 rebounds) UC Riverside 53 

Cal State Bakersfield (1-3) 43 (Grace Hunter 3 points, 1 rebound,1 assists) UC  Davis 60

New Mexico State (3-1) 61 (Ashlee Strawbridge 2pts, 3rebs, 1 assist, 1 block) Tarleton St 43

Despite South Dakota (3-2) going down 73-61 at North Dakota State the rich vein of scoring continued for Kruz Perrott-Hunt. The senior guard, who dropped 26 points on 10 from 22 shooting that included 3 from 3 from beyond the arc, has averaged 21.6 points per game in his last five outings. 

Sam Mennenga followed up with another 20 -point outing (20 points exactly on 8 from 12 shooting) as Davidson (2-2) were defeated 89-72 at Virginia Commonwealth.

Flynn Cameron top scored with 18 points (8/12FG) as UC Riverside (3-1) comfortably beat Cal State Northridge 68-45. The Tall Blacks guard also tallied 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.

Tobias Cameron claimed 11 points, 3 rebounds and a couple of steals in Abilene Christian’s (1-2) narrow 74-72 home loss to Southern Utah.

Ben Gold produced 8 points, 3 rebounds and a brace of blocks as Marquette gained a big 95-73 win against Georgetown.

Tom Webley also tallied 8 points (4/7FG), plus a season high 6 rebounds, as Hartford Hawks suffered a 78-71 loss to Sacred Heart.

Zach Riley scored all of his 7 points in the first half as Fordham (1-2) downed Saint Joseph’s 66-54.

Colorado State secured its first Mountain West Conference win with a 79-57 defeat of Fresno State. James Moors had 6 points, 4 rebounds a block and a steal in the win. 

Callum McRae had 5 points and 4 rebounds as Sacramento State (2-1)  went down 78-75 at unbeaten Eastern Washington.

Mid week wrap – career high for Emme Shearer

January 7

NB Bracketed figures are conference play records (wins-losses)

Making her 50th start for the Pilots Emme Shearer made 4 from 7 threes and all 6 free throws on her way to a career high 20 points as Portland (5-0) beat Santa Clara 81-71 for a fifth straight West Coast Conference win.

Also in the West Coast Conference Tayla Dalton top scored for St Mary’s (1-3) as the Gaels went down narrowly to Loyola Marymount 66-64. Dalton finished with 17 points while Jade Kirisome added 4 points.  

Amiee Book scored 10 points as Fresno State (0-3)went down 64-49 to UNLV 64-49.

9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists for Helen Matthews as Wofford opened Southern Conference play with a convincing 79-55 victory over Furman. 

Grace Hunter also scored 9 points as Cal State Bakersfield (1-2) lost a low scoring affair against Cal Poly 50-37.

Olivia Williams stroked home 6 from 7 free throws on her way to 8 points as UC Irvine (2-0) easily beat UC Davis 67-38.

Ella Brow helped Southern Methodist (1-1) to a 61-51 win against Central Florida. The freshman guard finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Lauryn Mapusua had an entry in every stats column with 2 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and a steal as Houston Christian (1-1) fell 63-58 to South East Louisiana.

Tara Manumaleuga scored 5 points and snatched a career high 5 steals as Texas Christian (0-2) were beaten 81-69 by Texas.

New Mexico State (2-1) 63 (Ashlee Strawbridge 2 points, 3rebs, 1 block) Utah Valley 57 AOT

Perrott-Hunt hits game winner plus career high from McRae

January 7

NB Bracketed figures are conference play records (wins-losses)

Callum McRae put together a massive double-double of 27 points (13/19FG) and 17 rebounds as Sacramento State (2-0) edged an overtime road win at Idaho 85-83. The rebounds tally was a career high while the points total was a season best from the former Junior Tall Black out of Palmerston North.

McRae currently ranks 10th amongsts all NCAA Division I Men’s players for rebounding average with 10.3 boards per game.

Sam Mennenga again led the Davidson (2-1) scoring as the Wildcats beat Loyola Chicago in Atlantic 10 play. Mennenga shot a very efficient 8 from 11 from the field pus 5 out of 6 from the charity stripe for his 22 points in an 80-57 win. The Tall Blacks forward, who also swept up 7 boards and snatched a pair of steals, has scored in double figures in all but one of Davidson’s 15 games this season.

15 points, including a game winning jump shot with 1.4 seconds left on the clock from Kruz Perrott-Hunt carried South Dakota (3-1) to a 62-60 win against North Dakota. The senior guard also added 4 rebounds and 4 assists. That’s 82 points in the last four games for the Tall Blacks guard.

Flynn Cameron tallied 11 points but UC Riverside (2-1) slipped up 77-62 at home to Cal State Fullerton 77-62. Cameron also had quadruples in rebounds and assists.

Tafara Gapare had a monster 5 blocks, whilst also contributing 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists, as Massachusetts defeated St Louis 90-81.

Other Men’s Scores:

Marquette (3-1) 96 (Ben Gold 2 points) St John 85

Colorado State (0-3) 69 (James Moors 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block) Nevada 80

College Half Term Report Part 4 – The Sharpshooters

January 3

Our fourth and final collegiate half term report highlights the players with the best shooting percentages from the field and from beyond the three-point arc.

Former Waikato and St Peter’s School forward Ella Bradley heads the women’s shooting numbers while ex Rotorua Boys High School standout Nabil Kone tops the men’s list.

The three-point shooting percentages are headed, as probably expected, by guards. Former Harbour and Westlake Girls player Emme Shearer is enjoying a standout season with the University of Portland Pilots.

The same can be said of Tobias Cameron. Younger brother Cameron has grabbed most the headlines in the last few months after his elevation to the Tall Blacks roster but Tobias is going about his work in a very efficient manner for Abilene Christian University.

Special mention to the freshmen who make the lists – Waiata Jennings, Sydney Neale, Dani Bayes, Boston Caldwell and 2022 Auckland Tuatara teammate Brayden Iuli.

Field Goal % – WomenMin 15 Shots%Shots
Ella BradleySophomoreTexas at TylerNCAA D249.024/49
Sydney NealeFreshmanDyersburg State CCJUCO48.944/90
Emme ShearerJuniorPortlandNCAA D148.343/89
Amy WestSeniorSt Mary’s CaliforniaNCAA D148.314/29
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D147.885/178
Arielle Mackey-WilliamsSophomoreBYUNCAA D147.832/67
Kaylee SmilerSeniorBYUNCAA D147.529/61
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA D247.148/102
Jenna Rose MafuaSophomoreDodge City CCJUCO46.452/112
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO46.272/156
Ashlee StrawbridgeSophomoreNew Mexico StateNCAA D145.827/59
Briarley RogersSophomoreWeatherfordJUCO44.935/78
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA44.746/103
Rashaan SmithSophomoreWestern Nebraska JUCO44.0 11/25
Tessa Talo-TomokinoJuniorNortheastern StateNCAA D243.326/60
Field Goal % – MenMin 15 shots%Shots
Nabil KoneSophTrinity InternationalNAIA60.015/25
Tobias Cameron 5th YrAbilene ChristianNCAA D158.051/88
Dallas ClaytonSophMissouri State West PlainsJUCO57.523/40
James MoorsJuniorColorado StateNCAA D156.738/67
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO56.327/48
Corey Le’aupepe SeniorMenloNAIA55.066/120
Brayden IuliFreshmanMenloNAIA53.736/67
Tom WebleyJuniorHartfordNCAA D153.523/43
Isaac Miller-JoseSeniorManitobaCanada53.523/43
Matt BrienSeniorNebraska at KearneyNCAA D253.316/30
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D152.972/136
Josh LoweSeniorLee UniversityNCAA D252.620/38
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA52.026/50
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA50.955/108
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D150.861/120
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D247.251/108
Nate WilsonSophSouth Georgia TechJUCO46.837/79
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO46.249/106
Sean MurphySophNebraska at KearneyNCAA D244.416/36
3-point % – WomenMin 10 Shots%Shots
Emme ShearerJuniorPortlandNCAA D148.313/28
Kaylee SmilerSeniorBYUNCAA D147.116/34
Arielle Mackey-WilliamsSophomoreBYUNCAA D146.714/30
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D142.436/85
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA D241.735/84
Jenna Rose MafuaSophomoreDodge City CCJUCO41.032/78
Ashlee StrawbridgeSophomoreNew Mexico StateNCAA D138.5 5/13
Sydney NealeFreshmanDyersburg State CCJUCO36.814/38
Grace HunterJuniorCSU BakersfieldNCAA D136.8 7/19
Tara ManumaleugaSeniorTexas ChristianNCAA D136.7 11/30
Dani BayesFreshmanBoise StateNCAA D135.923/64
Amiee BookGrad SnrFresno StateNCAA D135.127/77
Jordyn MaddixJuniorAuburn at MontgomeryNCAA D235.3 12/36
3-point % – MenMin 10 Shots%Shots
Tobias Cameron Grad SnrAbilene ChristianNCAA D148.719/39
Zach RileySophFordhamNCAA D146.7 7/15
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA46.2 6/13
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO42.9 9/21
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D139.1 9/23
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO39.118/46
James MoorsJuniorColorado StateNCAA D138.3 5/13
Flynn CameronGrad SnrUC RiversideNCAA D137.925/66
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D235.3 6/17

*records as at 28.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Pre-New Year bumper roundup – Career high’s for Perrott-Hunt and Bayes

It’s doubly interesting as conference play has begun and will continue through until March. The bracketed figures show teams conference record.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt missed South Dakota’s pre-Xmas opening Summit League defeat due to illness. His reappearance brought instant success – he returned 19 points as the Coyotes beat St Thomas 92-84 and then scored a career high in the 80-63 defeat of Western Illinois.

The Tall Blacks guard finished with 30 points making 11 from 20 shots including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. He was also a perfect 4 out of 4 from the foul line while also pulling down 7 rebounds and dishing 4 assists. The Coyotes now 2-1 in Summit League play.

Sacramento State opened its Big Sky Conference programme with a 74-63 home win against Portland State. 8 points, 9 rebounds, a block and an assist for Callum McRae in that one.

Flynn Cameron scored 7 points as UC Riverside opened their Big West Conference campaign with a 71-59 home win against CSU Bakersfield. The 2022 Tall Black was more prominent as Riverside (2-0) won a thriller at Long Beach State 73-72. Passing 700 career points Cameron scored a dozen to accompany 5 rebounds, a pair of assists and a steal.

Abilene Christian (1-1) lost 75-68 to Stephen F Austin in their Western Athletic Conference opener but bounced back to defeat Tarleton 69-63 with Tobias Cameron scoring 11 points (3/3FG, 3/4FT) in the victory. 

Sam Mennenga also came up with 11 points as Davidson College (1-1) had a disappointing 69-55 Atlantic-10 home loss to Dayton. 

Tom Webley took just two shots but scored with both efforts as Hartford Hawks lost 61-54 to Morgan State.

James Moors also scored 4 points as Colorado State (0-2) went down 78-70 to San Jose State. The former Westlake Boys standout added 3 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

Other Men’s Results:

Massachusetts (0-1) 64 (Tafara Gapare 4 points) St Bonaventure 83 

Marquette (3-1) 68 (Ben Gold 3 points) Villanova 66

In Women’s Division I action Dani Bayes top scored with a season high 19 points (7/14FG) as Boise State (1-0) defeated San Jose State 73-62 to open Mountain West Conference play. 14 games into her collegiate career Bayes is averaging 9.7 points per game with the 19 points also doubling as a career best.

Emme Shearer grabbed a steal and 6 points in the final two minutes to help Portland (4-0) to an 86-76 come from behind win at Pepperdine. Shearer finished with 17 points and is now just 9 shy of 500 career points. The win followed a 70-61 success at Loyola Marymount.

St Mary’s, (1-2) in the West Coast Conference), led by 15 points at one stage but were eventually defeated 69-65 by San Diego in overtime. Amy West scored a couple of points, Jade Kirisome made 4 and 3 rebounds while Tayla Dalton produced 9 points and 3 assists in the loss.

St Mary’s then went on to visit BYU (2-2) on New Year’s Eve and were crushed 66-41 with Arielle Mackey-Williams putting up 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists for the Cougars while Dalton scored 7 points for St Mary’s.

Mackey-Williams, with five double digit scoring efforts this season, scored 13 points for the Cougars in their 69-51 win against Pacific – Kaylee Smiler adding 5 points in the victory.

Amiee Book had a handy double of 9 points and 7 rebounds as Fresno State came up short against Colorado State going down 64-58 in their Mountain West Conference opener. The 9 points took Book to exactly 1,100 career points moving her past Jillian Harmon (1,096 points for Stanford University Cardinals, 2005-09) and up to 11th spot on New Zealand’s all-time scorers in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

Olivia Williams scored 10 points with a perfect 3 from 3 from the field and 2 out of 2 at the foul line as UC Irvine (1-0) began Big West Conference play with a 55-49 win against Cal State Bakersfield (1-1). Williams passed the 100 points mark for the season with her seventh point.

Grace Hunter produced 6 points and a couple of assists for Bakersfield.  

48 hours earlier Hunter scored 8 points as the Bakersfield Roadrunners defeated UC Riverside 56-53 in a double overtime thriller to open Big West Conference play.

Yzabelle Tevao added a team high 7 rebounds to 9 points as Chicago State were heavily beaten 119-53 by Ball State.

Helen Matthews, last week named the Southern Conference Student-Athlete of the Week, 

Posted 7 points and added a couple of rebounds and steals as Wofford dominated Erskine to win 78-48.

Washington State played Friday’s game against #11 Utah without its leading scorer Charlisse Leger-Walker who has returned to New Zealand for family reasons. 

Other Women’s Results:

Virginia 69 (McKenna Dale 3 points, 1 rebound) Georgia Tech 6

Southern Methodist 44 (Ella Brow 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist) Houston 60

Texas Christian 42 (Tara Manumaleuga 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block) Baylor 64 

Houston Christian 68 (Lauryn Mapusua 3 points) New Orleans 59

New Mexico State (1-1) 58 (Ashlee Strawbridge 2 points, 3 rebounds) Southern Utah 61

Half Term Report Part 3 – Taking the Minutes

It’s probably no coincidence that New Zealand’s leading scorers in collegiate basketball, Charlisse Leger-Walker and Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones have also played the most minutes.

Playing decent minutes, no matter what the level of college competition, is down to a combination of ability, opportunity, attitude, patience, playing at the appropriate level and good fortune. Many on the lists below, like Tobias Cameron, Kaylee Smiler and Tessa Talo-Tomokino, have had to bide their time before playing big minutes. 

It’s unusual for freshmen to play substantial minutes, particularly at NCAA Division I level, so hats off to the athletes below who are making a mark in their first collegiate year’s.

For some a year or two playing junior college basketball, before transferring to university programmes, has proven a beneficial route – Hannah Wentworth, Ashlee Strawbridge and Ella Bradley are three such cases.

When you consider 64 Kiwi women are playing collegiate basketball in North America in 2022-23 the list below shows that approximately two thirds of the players are averaging less than half a game.

The numbers are very similar for the men with 18 of 53 playing 20 minutes are more.

It will be interesting to see if the numbers move significantly in the second half of the season as freshmen and sophomores gain more experience and earn more trust from their respective coaches. I suspect not as the onset of conference play often results in a shortening of rotations.

Minutes Played per game – WomenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelMPGGames
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D134.812
Te Araroa SopoagaSophomoreCloud County CCJUCO31.914
Kaylee SmilerSeniorBYUNCAA D130.711
Tessa Talo-TomokinoJuniorNortheastern StateNCAA D230.29
Samantha JenkinsSophomoreDawson CCJUCO29.013
Amiee BookGrad SnrFresno StateNCAA D128.713
Helen MatthewsJuniorWoffordNCAA D128.111
Leah MafuaSophDodge CITY CCJUCO27.914
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA DII27.411
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO27.012
Dani BayesFreshmanBoise StateNCAA D126.113
Jenna Rose MafuaSophDodge City CCJUCO25.114
Tayla DaltonJuniorSt Mary’s CaliforniaNCAA D124.412
Ella Paleaae-CookSophomoreMiles CCJUCO24.215
Ashlee StrawbridgeSophomoreNew Mexico StateNCAA D124.012
Arielle Mackey-WilliamsSophomoreBYUNCAA D123.612
Olivia WilliamsSophomoreUC IrvineNCAA D122.911
Ella BrowFreshmanSouthern MethodistNCAA D122.412
Ella BradleySophomoreTexas at TylerNCAA D222.111
Grace HunterJuniorCSU BakersfieldNCAA D121.56
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA21.212
Emme ShearerJuniorPortlandNCAA D120.513
Lilly ParkeFreshmanAuburn at MontgomeryNCAA D220.312

*records as at 28.12.2022

** 64 New Zealand women are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Minutes Played Per Game – MenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelMPGGames
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D232.88
Ezra VaigafaSophNeosho County CCJUCO31.33
Alex BlackmoreSophCastletonNCAA D330.99
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D130.812
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D130.712
Flynn Cameron5th YrUC RiversideNCAA D128.312
Kael RobinsonSophRocky MountainNAIA27.912
Kruz Perrott-HuntSeniorSouth DakotaNCAA D127.812
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA25.712
Tobias Cameron 5th YrAbilene ChristianNCAA D125.513
Sean MurphySophNebraska at KearneyNCAA D223.910
Mac StodartSophColorado-Colorado SpringsNCAA D223.512
Isaac Miller-JoseSeniorManitobaCanada23.38
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO22.910
Corey Le’aupepe SeniorMenloNAIA22.813
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA22.85
Finn McClureJuniorMilliganNAIA22.68
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO21.511

*records as at 28.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

McRae fourth to complete unique double – joins Penney, Webster and Bradshaw 

December 28

Callum McRae has become only the fourth Kiwi to complete the double of 1,000 points and 100 appearances in NCAA Division I Men’s basketball.

Ahead of Sacramento State’s meeting with Stanislaus State the former Junior Tall Black centre was sitting on 991 points in 104 appearances. He claimed the necessary 9 points in the first half before moving on to celebrate the milestone in style. McRae produced his fifth double-double of this campaign (and 21st of his career) finishing with 19 points (7/9FG, 5/6FT) to go with 15 rebounds as Sacramento recovered from a slow start to win 72-51.

The former Palmerston Boys High School standout follows in the footsteps of Tall Blacks Kirk Penney, Tai Webster and Craig Bradshaw in completing the unique double.

Kirk Penney (University of Wisconsin Badgers, 1999-2003) scored 1,454 points in 127 games,

Tai Webster (University of Nebraska Huskers, 2013-17) tallied 1,116 points also in 127 games while Craig Bradshaw (Winthrop University Eagles, 2003-7) made 1,114 points in 123 games.

Barring injury McRae looks destined to pass the points hauls of Webster and Bradshaw and with 701 rebounds to his name he has already set a new career mark by a Kiwi in that statistical category. The previous record, for the most rebounds by a New Zealand player in Men’s NCAA Division I basketball, was held by Craig Bradshaw with 572.

Rob Loe (University of St Louis Billikens, 2010-14) pulled down 520 rebounds and Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami Hurricanes 2016-22 ) claimed 502 boards. They are the only other male players to have surpassed the 500 rebound mark. 

In other news Zach Riley and Sam Mennenga were in opposition as Fordham entertained Davidson in the opening fixture of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Fordham with an overall record before the game of 12-1, and sporting home advantage, would have entered the contest as favourites but managed just 14 points in the first half, eventually going down 57-43.

Mennenga had a defensive rebound and a layup on the first two possessions of the game before going on to record his second double-double of the season – 13 points and 11 rebounds – his first basket bringing up 600 career points in his 68th game.

He is just the 16th Kiwi to score 600  points in men’s Division I NCAA basketball and the 4th Westlaker!

Zach Riley tallied 6 points, 3 rebounds, an assist and a steal for Fordham.

Other Results:

Virginia 66 (Taine Murray 2 points, 3 rebounds) Albany 46

Marquette 83 (Ben Gold 2 points, 1 block, 1 steal) Seton Hall 69

Colorado State 66 (James Moors 2pts, 3rebs, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block) New Mexico 88

Half Term Report Part 2 – The King and Queen of the Boards

December 29

It won’t come as a surprise to those that follow the fortunes of the New Zealander’s playing college hoops to find that Callum McRae leads the rebounding count – the former Junior Tall Black is close to averaging a double-double with his 9.5 boards per game to go with his 11.5 points.

Enda Brennan, one of four Kiwis at Southeast Community College, has made a big impression in the first few weeks of his college career. The , out of Riccarton High School, is second on the list and is also the only freshman amongst the top 17 players.

Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones not only leads the men’s scoring list (remember he averages 17.8 points per game) but is also the third highest rebounder claiming 9.1 boards per outing to emphasise his all-round ability.

Another Wellingtonian Isaac Miller-Jose has played his collegiate basketball at Manitoba University in Canada and is enjoying another fine season with the Bisons. 

Yet another Wellingtonian, Sam Gold, leads the way amongst a strong contingent of players featuring in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) conferences.

Leading Rebounders – MenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelRPGRebs
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D19.5114
Enda BrennanFreshmanSoutheast CCJUCO9.3130
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D29.173
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D17.185
Nate WilsonSophSouth Georgia TechJUCO6.565
Isaac Miller-JoseSeniorManitobaCanada6.552
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA6.578
Corey Le’aupepeGrad SnrMenloNAIA6.078
Sean MurphySophNebraska at KearneyNCAA D26.060
Alex BlackmoreSophCastletonNCAA D35.953
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA5.628
Tobias Cameron Grad SnrAbilene ChristianNCAA D15.470
Flynn CameronGrad SnrUC RiversideNCAA D15.465
Kael RobinsonSophRocky MountainNAIA4.756
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO4.651
James MoorsJuniorColorado StateNCAA D14.559
Nico HillJuniorMissouri BaptistNAIA4.567

*records as at 28.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Te Araroa Sopoaga is again putting up big numbers at Cloud Community College. The sophomore forward is not only the leading rebounder amongst all New Zealand female players but also leads Cloud in assists, steals and blocks – Sopoaga is surely university bound in 2023-24!

If there is any sibling rivalry in the Stephens household Dominique at least can claim bragging rights on the rebounding count. She is currently averaging 6.2 per game, a shade better than brother Maxim who averages 5.6 per game.

Rotorua’s Waiata Jennings and Harbour’s Parehuia Delamere claim the third and fourth spots on the table while Cantabrian Helen Matthews edges Charlisse Leger-Walker as the top NCAA Division I rebounder.

Leger-Walker’s former Waikato and St Peter’s School sidekick Ella Bradley rounds out the Top 10 and is NZ’s leading NCAA Division 2 rebounder. 

Leading Rebounders – WomenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelRPGRebs
Te Araroa SopoagaSophomoreCloud County CCJUCO6.996
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA6.274
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO5.870
Parehuia DelamereSophomoreWestern TexasJUCO5.763
Helen MatthewsJuniorWoffordNCAA D15.667
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D15.262
Ella Paleaae-CookSophomoreMiles CCJUCO5.176
Briarley RogersSophomoreWeatherfordJUCO4.944
Leah MafuaSophomoreDodge City CCJUCO4.867
Ella BradleySophomoreTexas at TylerNCAA D24.752

*records as at 28.12.2022

** 64 New Zealand women are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

If you missed it here is the link to the leading scorers at this point of the season:

College Basketball half term report – Leger-Walker and Tait-Jones lead the way

28 December

In Part 1 of our American collegiate half term report we take a look at the leading scorers amongst the Kiwi contingent currently playing in North America. 

It’s not a total surprise that Charlisse Leger-Walker clearly leads the way in points scored and points per game at the mid-point of the collegiate season. Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones makes it a hyphenated double as he leads the way on the men’s side. 

Leger-Walker scored a career high 40 points earlier in the month and has scored 20 points or more on seven occasions this season. Having already amassed 1188 career points you suspect, barring injury, the former Waikato and St Peter’s guard is on course to pass Erin Rooney’s all-time Kiwi record of 1,647 career points.

Rotorua’s Waiata Jennings and Leah Mafua, both playing at junior college, are second and third on the rankings while Hannah Wentworth is the highest scoring kiwi in Women’s NCAA Division II hoops.

Jennings, in her freshman season, is leading the Collin Cougars scoring and had a season high 25 points against Angeline College. With a 12-0 record Collin are ranked #9 in the country amongst women’s junior college teams.

Leah Mafua is doing the same for #16 Dodge City College and with sister Jenna Rose averaging 11.9 points per game the Wellington siblings are providing a significant one-two back court punch for the Conquistadors.

Hannah Wentworth, in her second season with Eckerd College, is enjoying another strong season for the No 12 ranked NCAA Division II team. The Harbour shooting guard ranks sixth in 3-pointers made (35) – more on our top shooters in an upcoming report.

Leading Scorers – WomenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelPPGPoints
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D121.1253
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO15.3184
Leah MafuaSophomoreDodge City CCJUCO13.0182
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA D212.5137
Briarley RogersSophomoreWeatherford JUCO11.9107
Te Araroa SopoagaSophomoreCloud County CCJUCO11.7164
Jenna Rose MafuaSophomoreDodge City CC JUCO11.4160
Amiee BookGrad SnrFresno StateNCAA D110.2133
Grace HunterJuniorCSU BakersfieldNCAA D19.758
Waiaaria RogersSophomoreMarshalltown CCJUCO9.466
Helen MatthewsJuniorWoffordNCAA D19.3111
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA9.1109
Dani BayesFreshmanBoise StateNCAA D19.0117

*records as at 26.12.2022

** 64 New Zealand women are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones is building nicely on his previous two seasons at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tait-Jones was named PacWest Conference Freshman of the Year in 2020-21 and to All-West Region Second team in 2021-22. This season he averages 17.8 points per game, the best by any Kiwi in collegiate basketball. The former St Pat’s and Wellington forward has amassed 798 career points at 17.0 points per outing across 47 NCAA Division II games.

Sam Mennenga is the second highest scoring Kiwi tallying 15.8 points per game at Davidson College in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Capped earlier in the year by the Tall Blacks at the Asia Cup, the ex-Harbour and Westlake Boys forward is up to 599 career points – already 16th all-time on the NZ Men’s Division I scorers list midway through his third collegiate year..

The Waikato duo of Maxim Stephens and Kael Robinson occupy third and sixth spots on the NZ scoring table as well as the top two spots on the Rocky Mountain College scoring list. Stephens has played just the five games following his recovery from ankle injuries while Robinson is obviously reaping the benefits of the 2022 season in the NBL with the Franklin Bulls – he has started all 12 games for Rocky.

Boston Caldwell, another ex-Westlake and Harbour player, is the highest scoring New Zealander amongst the 16 Kiwi freshmen playing in America in 2022-23. Caldwell scored a massive 38 points in Central Maine’s penultimate game before the Xmas break. Nate Wilson is the only other junior college player to be averaging double figures per game.

Like the women there are a pair of siblings on the leader board. The Cameron brothers – Tobias and Flynn – feature amongst  the top 14 Kiwi scorers (and also amongst the top five NCAA Division I players). 

Leading Scorers – MenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelPPGPoints
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D217.8142
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D115.8189
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA14.673
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO13.4134
Corey Le’aupepeSeniorMenloNAIA13.1170
Kael RobinsonSophRocky MountainNAIA12.2146
Mac StodartSophColorado SpringsNCAA D211.6139
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D111.5138
Kruz Perrott-HuntSeniorSouth DakotaNCAA D111.3136
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA11.3136
Tobias Cameron SeniorAbilene ChristianNCAA D111.2145
Nate WilsonSophSouth Georgia TechJUCO10.6106
Flynn CameronSeniorUC RiversideNCAA D110.2122
Alex BlackmoreSophCastleton NCAA D310.494

*records as at 26.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

In part two, dropping tomorrow, we will take a look at the leading rebounders – which three Kiwis are averaging over nine boards per game?

Le’afa top scores as Breakers are defeated in Tasmania

December 27

Having won the first three encounters with the Tasmanian Jack Jumpers the Sky Sport Breakers went down 93-82 in Hobart on Boxing Day to slip to an 11-6 record – still good enough for second place on the NBL ladder.

After a Covid induced 18 day lay-off the Breakers looked a little out of sync. They gave up 18 turnovers and were out rebounded 45-29, with the differential on the offensive boards 16-6.

Those two factors combined handed extra possessions to the Jack Jumpers who put up 69 field goal attempts to 55 from the Breakers.

Izayah Le’afa led the way for the Breakers with 21 points (4/7 3PG), the second occasion this season he has scored 21 and the 12th time in 16 games he has made double figures.

Other notable contributors were Barry Brown Jr and Jarrell Brantley with 16 points apiece although the latter was guilty of committing 7 turnovers.

Tom Abercrombie scored 11 points (3/4 3PG) while Derek Pardon coupled 8 rebounds with 10 points.

In addition Cam Gliddon played his 300th NBL game against Tasmania, the well-travelled veteran making all three of his shots for 8 points.

Other Numbers:

With a pair of steals Tom Abercrombie took his career total to 254 moving ahead of Mika Vukona (252) into third spot on the Breakers all-time list in that statistical category. Ahead of him are Cedric Jackson (278) and Dillon Boucher (288).

Izayah Le’afa became the fifth Breaker to pass the 200 points mark this season after McDowell-White, Pardon, Brantley and Brown Jr.

Jayden Bezzant, an injury replacement for Will McDowell-White, became the 142nd player to suit up for the Breakers – the ninth debutant this season! 

The playmakers absence broke a sequence of 27 consecutive games by McD-W stretching back to the middle of last season.

18 turnovers equaled the most the Breakers have given up this season and the 6 offensive rebounds the equal fewest they have garnered this campaign. Additionally Tasmania’s 16 O boards was the most the Breakers have given up since allowing the Jack Jumpers to pull down 21 in the second game of the season.


Brown Jr, the Breakers leading scorer this season is only 12 points shy of 300 points.

The Breakers are next in action against Perth Wildcats in New Plymouth on January 4, the first of nine games in January. 

Wrapping up the college pre-Xmas fixtures

December 23

Wrapping up the NCAA Division I pre-Xmas games two form players – Charlisse Leger-Walker and Tobias Cameron – grab the headlines.

More on Cameron’s performance later but first the sizzling form of Leger-Walker continues. She scored 20 points, making 5 from 10 threes, as Washington State defeated A&M Corpus Christi 75-49. It was the 30th occasion, in 66 career games, that Leger-Walker has scored 20 points or more  – she also tallied 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.

There were plenty of Kiwis present as Portland entertained BYU in a West Coast Conference fixture but it was largely one way traffic in favour of Emme Shearer (9 points), Melika Samia (2 points) and Flo Dallow (redshirting) as Portland triumphed 67-45. 

Arielle Mackey-Williams scored 8 points for BYU.

Mackey-Williams scored 15 points (6/10FG) – her third double figure outing of the season – as BYU enjoyed a bounce back win defeating Monmouth 70-50. Kaylee Smiler almost matched that number with 14 points to go with 3 rebounds, 6 assists, a pair of blocks and a steal.

Grace Hunter scored a season high 14 points to help Cal State Bakersfield to a 54-41 win against Pacific. Playing a team high 35 minutes the combo guard also came up with 3 steals, 2 rebounds and 2 assists.

Dani Bayes also scored 14 points, on 6 from 9 shooting, as Boise State got the better of Texas A&M Commerce 75-66. The freshman guard, in her 13th consecutive start, added 3 rebounds an assists and a steal. 

Helen Matthews scored 12 points, passing 400 career points in the process, as Wofford secured a 79-67 win against UNC Asheville. Matthews also corralled 7 rebounds in the victory.

Olivia Williams made 3 from 4 threes on her way to 11 points as UC Irvine defeated Grand Canyon 64-51. The sophomore guard added a brace of assists and steals plus 3 rebounds.

Yzabelle Tevao top scored for Chicago State with 11 points but the Cougars were well beaten by Green Bay going down 92-42.

Ella Brow scored 9 points (4/8FG) as Southern Methodist defeated Incarnate Word 57-44. Brow added 5 rebounds a couple of assists and steals.

Tara Manumaleuga scored 8 points as Texas Christian routed Nicholle 75-32.

Amiee Book filled the stats line with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal but Fresno State were outclassed by UCLA going down 82-48.

Virginia, after 11 straight wins to start the season, suffered a 70-56 loss at Duke. McKenna Dale had 4 points, 3 rebounds, a couple of steals and a block in the defeat.

Other Women’s Results:

Chicago State 51 (Yzabelle Tevao 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 block) Florida Atlantic 63

New Mexico State 90 (Ashlee Strawbridge 4pts, 4rebs, 2 blocks, 1 steal) Northern New Mexico 42

Houston Christian 34 (Lauryn Mapusua 5 points, 2 rebounds) Texas 96

La Salle 55 (Emilee Tahata 2 points) Villanova 81

St Mary’s 45 (Amy West 3pts, Tayla Dalton 2pts, Jade Kirisome 2pts) USC 71

In men’s Division I play Tobias Cameron and Abilene Christian inflicted some pain on Howard Payne with a commanding 113-52 victory. Cameron enjoyed a season best 18 points on 7 from 10 shooting including 4 from 6 triples. He also had 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. 

Davidson were pipped 73-70 by Northeastern with Sam Mennenga a point shy of a double-double. The Tall Black forward finished with 9 points, 10 rebounds and a couple of steals. Mennenga heads into the Christmas break with 599 career points.

Davidson will open Atlantic 10 Conference play with a visit in-form Fordham on December 28. Fordham are 12-1 after an 80-77 overtime win against Virginia Military Institute. Zach Riley knocked down a three with 1:58 to play to give Fordham a 78-75 lead and finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds an assists and a block.

Once again in double-double territory was Callum McRae despite Sacramento State falling 59-49 to Cal State Fullerton. McRae scored 10 points leaving him just 9 short of 1,000 career points whilst pulling down a monster 14 rebounds – the third occasion in this campaign he has pulled down 14 boards.

Tafara Gapare had 5 points, 7 rebounds, a couple of assists and a block as Massachusetts  defeated Dartmouth 68-57 in their last non-conference game of the season.

Other Men’s Results:

Virginia 64 (Taine Murray 2 points, 1 rebound) Miami 66

UC Riverside 76 (Flynn Cameron 1 points, 5rebs, 5 assists, 3 steals) Portland 65

Hartford 53 (Tom Webley 4 points, 1 rebound) San Francisco 85

Merry Xmas.

Career performances from Shearer and West

December 19

Emme Shearer made a career high as Portland were also successful in their West Coast Conference opener. The former Harbour and Westlake Girls guard rattled in 4 from 5 threes to tally 19 points along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. 

It took overtime but St Mary’s made a perfect start with a 69-66 victory at Pacific as West Coast Conference play got underway. Amy West claimed a career high 12 rebounds as well as adding a block and 3 points in the win. Tayla Dalton also starred for the Gaels making a team high 18 points to accompany a quintet of rebounds and assists to go with 3 steals. 

BYU went down 67-58 at reigning West Coast champions Gonzaga. Arielle Mackey-Williams scored 6 points for BYU with Kaylee Smiler posting 2 points and 2 rebounds. 

Washington State have concluded non-conference play with a comfortable 83-56 win against Jackson State. Charlisse Leger-Walker once again led the Cougars with 20 points along with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals

Grace Hunter posted a season high 13 points, making 3 from 5 three-pointers, in California State University Bakersfield’s 75-47 loss to #10 ranked UCLA. 

Tara Manumaleuga scored 9 points, tallied 4 rebounds and added one each in the assists, steals and blocks stats categories as Texas Christian eased to a 56-45 win against Grambling.

Amiee Book scored 8 points in Fresno State’s narrow 53-48 win against Utah Valley.

Helen Matthews had a symmetrical 7 rebounds and 7 points as Wofford accounted for Bellarmine 69-56. The junior guard out of Kaiapoi added 4 assists a block and a steal.

Fellow Cantabrian Ashlee Strawbridge scored 5 points as New Mexico State edged a tight one against Portland State 55-53.

Olivia Williams was a perfect 3 from 3 for her 6 points as UC Irvine carved out a 72-57 win against Dartmouth. The sophomore guard added 4 rebounds, a block and a pair of steals. 

Other Women’s Results:

Chicago State 73 Yzabelle Tevao (2 points, 2rebs, 1 assist, 1 bock) Western Michigan 101

Virginia 84 (McKenna Dale 2pts, 3rebs, 3 assists, 2 steals, I block) Morgan State 28

In Men’s Division I play Callum McRae tallied a game high 21 points, on 10 from 14 shooting, as Sacramento State won 59-53 at Fresno State – the first win for Sacramento at Fresno since 1954! Additionally McRae had 6 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block in 32 minutes.

Abilene Christian, with Tobias Cameron scoring a team high 17 points, erased an 18-point deficit, to claim a 65-59 win over Cal State Bakersfield. The Grad-Senior guard made 6 from 7 shots including 5 from 6 from beyond the arc. The 17 points also brought up 500 career points for Cameron.

Sam Mennenga and Davidson were in heady company on Saturday taking on the top ranked Division I team in the country, Purdue University. Mennenga demonstrated his qualities scoring a team high 14 points (6/11FG) in the 69-61 loss. The Tall Blacks forward also had 3 rebounds, a steal and an assist.

James Moors had 8 points, 4 rebounds and an assists as Colorado State stole a close one at St Mary’s 62-60. He now has exactly 100 points for the season.

Tom Webley had a productive 4 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in Hartford’s 67-51 loss to St Francis, Brooklyn.

Other Men’s Result:

Marquette 69 (Ben Gold 3 points, 3 blocks, 1 rebound) Creighton 58

Flynn Cameron century creates unique family double

December 17

Flynn Cameron has become the 16th Kiwi to play 100 Men’s NCAA Division I games. He did so in University of California Riverside’s 71-65 loss at Oregon. Uniquely he joins brother Tobias as a Division I centurion. The only other New Zealand sibling duos to approach the mark were the Fotu brothers Dan and Isaac and the Leger-Walker sisters Krystal and Charlisse.

Dan Fotu played 126 games for St Mary’s, California (2018-22) with older brother Isaac suiting up on 63 occasions at the University of Hawaii (2012-14). Krystal Leger-Walker finished her college career with 142 appearances including a record 139 starts. Sister Charlisse, in her third year at Washington State, has already played 63 games – all as a starter – and barring a major injury will clock up 100 games around this time next year.

Flynn Cameron began his career at De Paul University in 2018 where he played 40 games. Benefitting from the additional Covid year the Tall Blacks guard is now in his third season at Riverside and, like brother Tobias, his fifth collegiate year overall. Flynn has started all 10 games for Riverside this season and is currently second on the team in scoring (11.1ppg) and assists (3.0apg) as well as leading the steals stat category with 1.6 per game.

Amongst active New Zealand players Kruz Perrott-Hunt looks to be the next destined to make 100 Division I appearances.

Playing his 90th game Perrott-Hunt passed 800 career points as he came up with 18 points, on 6 from 9 shooting, as South Dakota were tipped up at home 87-86 by Coastal Carolina in their final non-conference game of the season.

South Dakota open Summit League play on December 19 at Kansas City.

Perrott-Hunt is just the 8th Kiwi to score 800 points in Men’s NCAA Division I basketball.

In Women’s Division I action:

Despite St Mary’s being heavily beaten 91-56 by Montana State Tayla Dalton made a season high 20 points knocking down 6 from 10 threes. Tayla has now passed the 500 career points mark and is only headed by Charlisse Leger-Walker, Amiee Book and McKenna Dale amongst active Kiwi players.

Amy West scored 7 points (3/5FG) and Jade Kirisome 7 assists, plus 2 points, in the loss.

Olivia Williams scored 15 points, making 3 from 6 threes in the process as UC Irvine dominated Westcliff to record an 85-37 win. The Sophomore guard is now just three points shy of 200 career points.

Other Women’s Results:

Boise State 97 (Dani Bayes 5pts, 3 rebs) Evergreen State 31

Chicago State 56 (Yzabelle Tevao 2 points, 1 rebound) St Thomas 74

New Career high for Leger-Walker

December 12

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored almost two thirds of Washington State’s points as they dropped their Pac-12 Conference opener 82-66 to local rivals Washington. CL-W finished with a career high 40 points and only one point shy of matching WSU’s single-game scoring record.

She drilled 7 from 12 threes, also a career best, in addition to claiming 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block.

It is almost certain that the 40-point haul is a record by a New Zealander in NCAA Division I basketball – male or female. Now with 1,137 career points Leger-Walker is quickly moving up the all-time list of Kiwi scorers in women’s Division I hoops. Currently sitting 11th she needs just 8 points to pass Margaret Johns (Utah State University, 1979-83) and claim a top ten berth.

Take a look at her 40-point performance – you can’t help but be impressed.

In other news from weekend games Amiee Book, with 1,075 career points herself, made 4 from 9 threes for her 12 points as Fresno State accounted for UC Irvine 53-44. Book also had 5 rebounds and 3 assists while Olivia Williams scored 2 points for Irvine.

Grace Hunter top scored for Cal State Bakersfield with 12 points in a 67-46 loss to Sacramento State. The TokomanawaQueens guard also pulled down 5 rebounds. 

Dani Bayes scored 9 points as Boise State were pipped 68-65 in overtime by St Mary’s. Jade Kirisome and Tayla Dalton each scored 4 points for St Mary’s – Dalton also claiming 7 rebounds. 

Kaylee Smiler also had 9 points in BYU’s 76-59 home loss to Utah.

Tara Manumaleuga scored 8 points and corralled a pair of rebounds in Texas Christian’s 63-59 loss to Missouri State.

Helen Matthews scored 8 points and had 3 assists, 2 rebounds a block and a steal although Wofford found the going a little tough against No8 in the country North Carolina, beaten 99-67.

Former Massey High School forward Yzabelle Tevao claimed 6 points and 5 rebounds in Georgia Southern’s 93-71 loss to Georgia Southern.

Other Women’s Results:

Portland 71 (Emme Shearer 5pts, 5rebs, 2 steals,1 block) Portland State 56

California State Northridge 97 (Rochelle Fourie 4pts, 4 rebs) Seattle 90

New Mexico State 64 (Ashlee Strawbridge 5pts, 3rebs, 1 assist) New Mexico 65

In Men’s Division I action from the weekend there was a third double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) of the season plus a pair of blocks from Callum McRae as Sacramento State edged Long Beach State 76-78 and improve their record to 5-5 this season.

Tafara Gapare scored in double figures for the second game running as Massachusetts defeated Hosfra 71-56. The freshman forward scored 13 points, on 5 from 10 shooting, while also bagging a steal and a block in 20 minutes of action.

James Moors added 6 rebounds to 12 points (6/4FG) as Colorado State demolished Peru State 115-72.

Tobias Cameron came up with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists as Abilene Christian defeated Texas A&M Commerce 83-64.

A couple of Kiwis were in opposition as UC Irvine won 83-71 at South Dakota. Akiva McBirney-Griffin scored 4 points for Irvine while Kruz Perrott-Hunt had 8 points for the Coyotes.

Other Men’s Results:

UC Riverside 76 (Flynn Cameron 4pts, 1 rebound, 4 assists) Idaho 74 

Fordham 77 (Zach Riley 4 points (2/2FG), 1 reb, 1 steal) Binghamton 62

Gapare, Book and Leger-Walker headline college midweek wrap

December 10

Kiwis Emme Shearer and Charlisse Leger-Walker, both wearing No5 singlets, went head to head as Portland entertained Washington State. Shearer scored the opening points of the game to help Portland to lead by as many as 19 points in the second quarter.

From there it was Washington State and Leger-Walker that took control to lead the Cougars to a 69-63 victory. The Tall Ferns guard finished with 15 points (5/8FG), 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.

A made three amongst the 15 points was CL-W’s 127th career triple moving her up to 10th on the Washington State all-time 3-Point list.

Amiee Book’s recent good form continued as Fresno State took care of business against Northern Arizona winning 68-63. In addition to connecting with 5 from 7 from beyond the arc, for 17 points, she pulled down a season high 7 rebounds and snared a career high 6 steals.

Southern Methodist beat West Texas 64-46 with Ella Brow demonstrating her all-court prowess recording 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

Grace Hunter scored 9 points although California State University Bakersfield were well beaten by Pepperdine, 80-53.

Arielle Mackey-Williams added 4 rebounds and 2 assists to 8 points as BYU defeated Utah State 64-54.

Houston Christian dominated Arlington Baptist winning 101-42 with Lauryn Mapusua scoring 8 points for Houston.

In Men’s Division I action Tafara Gapare scored a career high 15 points as Massachusetts secured a sixth straight win in defeating Albany 87-73. It was just the seventh NCAA game played by the freshman forward out of Wellington.

Playing game number 101 Callum McRae was again productive as Sacramento State squeezed past Denver 87-85. Edging ever closer to 1,000 career points McRae – currently with 950 – tallied 10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block.

Davidson defeated Western Carolina 72-64 with Sam Mennenga adding 7 rebounds and a pair of assists to 16 points. The Tall Blacks forward is closing in on 600 career points – currently he has 576 points.

Tobias Cameron top scored with 14 points (6/10FG) however Abilene Christian were defeated 81-64 by Kansas State. Cameron was also strong at the defensive end with 5 rebounds, 4 steals and a pair of blocks.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored 8 points as South Dakota were put to flight by Air Force going down 79-58.

Other Men’s Results:

Fordham 72 (Zach Riley 4pts, 1 reb, 1 assist, 1 block) Wagner 59

Colorado State 65 (James Moors 3pts, 4rebs, 2 blocks, 1 assist) Colorado 93

Records Galore in College hoops

December 6

It was a weekend of records in NCAA Division I basketball with Amiee Book, Charlisse Leger-Walker, Kruz Perrott-Hunt and the two Mac’s – Callum McRae and McKenna Dale – setting new marks.

We documented Callum McRae’s journey to 100 NCAA Division I appearances a couple of days ago – if you missed it take a read:

Amiee Book achieved the 100 game milestone last month before at the weekend scoring a career high 31 points. She made 8 from 14 threes and 11 from 17 shots overall but couldn’t prevent Fresno State Bulldogs being pipped 62-60 by Portland State. 

Book followed up with 12 points as Fresno State lost a one possession game for the second time in three days and the fourth time overall this season – they lost 62-61 to Sacramento State.

Also coming up with a career high points scoring effort was Kruz Perrott-Hunt. The South Dakota senior was mightily impressive in the Coyotes exciting  68-67 defeat of BYU. He finished with a game high 26 points making 4 from 5 threes and all 8 of his free-throw attempts.

Charlisse Leger-Walker made a career high equalling 6 threes, from 12 attempts, as Washington State beat Montana 77-57. The Tall Ferns guard finished with 24 points, 6 assists, a pair of rebounds and a steal.

McKenna Dale was in dominant form as Virginia thrashed UNC Wilmington 78-36. Dale finished with a season high 22 points (4/9 3PG) to accompany 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for the unbeaten (10-0) Cavaliers. It was also her highest single game score for Virginia since transferring from Brown University prior to the 2021-22 season. 

Tara Manumaleuga scored a season best 13 points as Texas Christian defeated George Washington 68-56 and improve their record to an even 4-4. Manumaleuga came up with a career high 4 steals in the contest.

Helen Matthews posted her fourth double figure points haul of the season as Wofford defeated Emory & Henry 76.54. The Kaiapoi native totalled 11 points (5/8FG), 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals as Wofford improved to 7-2.

Another Cantabrian Ashlee Strawbridge scored 7 points in New Mexico State’s 57-52 defeat of San Diego. She followed that with 5 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds although New Mexico State came up short against Idaho losing 68-62.

St Mary’s recovered from a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to beat UC Davis 58-53. Tayla Dalton scored 6 points, Amy West 5 points and Jade Kirisome 2 points in the win.

Southern Methodist Ella Brow had an even 6 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists as Southern Methodist accounted for Gardner Webb 84-71.

Grace Hunter, returned to the Cal State Bakersfield line-up after injury. The Wellingtonian guard scored 5 points and although she fouled out in the overtime period Bakersfield hung on to win a nail biter against Omaha 69-68.

Other Women’s Results:

Texas Christian 58 (Tara Manumaleuga 5pts, 4rebs, 2 steals, 2 assists) Rice 68

Boise State 48 (Danni Bayes 3pts, 1reb, 1 assists) Colorado 71 (Charlotte Whittaker 2pts, 2 rebs)

Back to men’s fixtures and Sam Mennenga was within a rebound of a double-double finishing with 20 points (9/16FG), 9 boards and 3 assists as Davidson were pipped 69-67 by Delaware. Mennenga has 150 points this season at a lofty 16.7ppg.

Also beaten narrowly were Colorado State going down 88-83 against Northern Colorado.  James Moors posted 14 points and 3 rebounds in the defeat.

Tafara Gapare scored 8 points, making 3 from 3 triples in the process, as Massachusetts squeezed past Harvard 71-68.

Breakers split Round 9 fixtures after outstanding C-Web performance

The Sky Sport Breakers split their two-game Round 9 fixtures comprehensively beating South East Melbourne Phoenix 110-84 at Christchurch Arena on Thursday but coming unstuck at Spark Arena on Saturday evening going down 92-84 to Perth Wildcats.

The story of the Perth encounter was the display of a former Breaker. Corey Webster demonstrated that on his day he is one of the premier shot makers in the NBL. The three-time championship winner scored a team high 26 points on 10 from 17(59%) shooting. 

Webster poured in 16 third quarter points to put his team in the ascendancy then scored Perth’s last 4 points to seal the win. The fist pump at the final buzzer indicated the satisfaction the performance, and result, gave the shooting guard who played  236 games in a 10-year career for the Breakers.

The Breakers leading scorer this season, Barry Brown Jr, went one better than Webster tallying 27 points – his ninth 20+ score in 12 innings – but it was a night when Perth and C-Web took the honours.

On their way to two consecutive tons the Sky Sport Breakers posted 37 first quarter points against South East Melbourne Phoenix in Christchurch – the highest opening ten minute points haul the club have mounted in the 40 minute era which dates back to 2009.

It was also the first time consecutive 100+ scores have been posted since January 2019 when the Queensland clubs Cairns and Brisbane were walloped.

Here are the numbers:

Beat South East Melbourne Phenix 110-84 at Christchurch Arena on Thursday

Dan Fotu scored his first Breakers points. He scored 5 points in his sixth game of the season and seventh overall – he played once as a Development Player back in the 2017-18 season before he embarked on his 4-year collegiate career at St Mary’s College, California.

Barry Brown Jnr, the team’s leading scorer made a season best 31 points, making 4 from 6 from beyond the arc.

Will McDowell-White with 11 assists became the 11th Breaker to dish 250 assists.

Cam Gliddon scored 5 points to pass 3,000 career points. He sits 12th on the scoring list of active players which is headed by Adelaide 36ers forward Daniel Johnson with 5,971 points.

Tom Abercrombie (4,212 points) is third on the NBL’s active players scoring list.

Abercrombie snared 2 steals to become just the 4th Breaker to pinch 250 steals.

The Breakers top five “Stealers”:

288 Boucher

278 Jackson

252 Vukona

251 Abercrombie

209 Henare

Lost 92-84 to Perth Wildcats at Spark Arena on Saturday

Rob Loe played his 125th game for the Breakers drawing level with Oscar Forman in 12th spot on the club’s all-time games played list.

Derek Pardon produced his 6th double-double of the season adding 14 rebounds to 13 points.


Cam Gliddon will play his 299th NBL game against the Sydney Kings.

Izayah Le’afa needs 3 points for 600 NBL career points.

Will McDowell-White needs to pinch 1 more possession for 50 steals in Breakers colours. 

The Breakers (11-4) are next in action on Thursday when they entertain Sydney Kings (9-3) in a clash between the top two teams on the NBL ladder – tip-off 7.30pm at Spark Arena.

Callum McRae plays 100th game

Playing his 100th Division I game on Sunday (NZT) Callum McRae posted a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds despite Sacramento State University going down 72-65 at Santa Clara. It’s the seventh time in eight games this season he has posted double figures in points or rebounds.

Despite playing his 100th NCAA game it feels as if the collegiate career of McRae has flown under the radar somewhat – if dipping under the radar is possible for someone standing 7’1” tall!

Having spent four years at the University of California Riverside the former Manawatu and Palmerston North Boys High School standout has reunited with coach David Patrick at Sacramento State for the current 2022-23 collegiate campaign.

Coach Patrick was largely responsible for taking McRae to Riverside back in 2018 after his successful youth career. McRae repaid the faith by playing 92 games for the Highlanders over four years although he was forced to redshirt the 2020-21 year due to injury.

That was a particularly trying period for McRae given the timing of the injury.

“The injury was a huge challenge but it was compounded because Covid just hit too. I had great people around me to support me but not being able to be around my family was tough.”

McRae bounced back in style in the 2021-22 season scoring a career best 32 points against UC Santa Barbara and averaging 10.8 points and 7.9 rebounds across 28 games – 27 as a starter. His 6.1 defensive rebounds per game placed him 42nd amongst all men’s Division I players in that statistical category. Given there are over 5,000 male Division I players a 42nd placing is rather impressive! 

Despite the successes of last season when the opportunity to reunite with Patrick presented itself McRae had little hesitation in jumping on board.

“Coach Patrick is a great coach and better person but it came down to trust. I could’ve gone to a lot of places for my last year but playing, and having a significant role, was important to me and I knew I could trust him to have my best interests at heart.” 

Eight games into the new season and the 100th NCAA Division I appearance has rolled around. McRae was aware that the major milestone was imminent but unsure of exactly when.

“Being in college for so long I knew it was coming up. I’m just happy to have made it this far, I had a couple injuries that almost forced me to stop playing so I am very thankful to be able to be on the court still and do what I love. 

Perhaps even more significantly, barring injury, he will soon complete the double of 100 NCAA Division I appearances and 1,000 points and move into elite company – the double has only been achieved previously by Kirk Penney, Tai Webster and Craig Bradshaw.

To date he has 940 points – averaging 10.9 points per game (and 9.6 rebounds) – the 1,000 points mark looks likely to be achieved around the turn of the year.

Only fourteen New Zealand men have racked up 100 Division I appearances and amongst them are Dan Fotu (126 games for St Mary’s College, California) and Sam Waardenburg (118 games for the University of Miami).

The pair were involved in the two most memorable events in McRae’s junior career, both taking place in 2016.

Waardenburg and Fotu were opponents in “That Final” – the 2016 Secondary Schools Boys National Final, one of the most spectacular championship games witnessed in recent years.

Scoring 33 points and snaring 17 rebounds McRae dragged Palmerston North Boys High back from a massive 60-35 half-time deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

Had it not been for the miraculous Rangitoto buzzer beater, courtesy of Cameron Stone’s miraculous shot, the championship would have gone the way of Palmy North Boys.

Later that year, this time playing with Fotu and Waardenburg, McRae enjoyed tremendous success at the FIBA U18 Oceania Championships in Fiji where the New Zealand team pulled off a stunning 57-51 victory against Australia in the final – the win qualifying the Junior Tall Blacks for the U19 World Cup the following year.  

McRae still has vivid memories of both events.

“After all these years that Rangitoto game is always bought up and still hurts a little but the joy of beating Australia helps a little. All I remember was the atmosphere of the game with my school behind us and the haka the boys did for us and then to Rangi. Even though we lost I was proud of that and the fight to come back after being down so much. 

“I still talk with a few of the boys every now and again and have even played with and against some here in college. That year group has been successful and I’m happy to see everyone succeeding and continuing on their paths.”

That 2016 U18 New Zealand team have gone on to achieve big things in the game. In addition to Waardenburg and Fotu, Taki Fahrensohn, Isaac Letoa, Quinn Clinton and the Cameron brothers Tobias and Flynn have played Division I basketball while Fotu, Letoa, Fahrensohn, Flynn Cameron and Taane Samuel, who was also on the team in Fiji, have gone on to play for the Tall Blacks.

Becoming the sixth member of the “Class of 2016” to gain senior international recognition would be special for McRae.

“I’d love to – playing for your country is an honour so if I ever have that opportunity I’d take it.” 

More pressing are the needs of Coach Patrick and the Sacramento State Hornets team as they strive to make an impression in the Big Sky Conference and beyond.

“I want to make my first NCAA tournament. Doing what I can to make that happen is priority number one and hopefully that will lead me to continuing my career professionally and becoming the best player I can be.”

Whether he gets to the Big Dance or not McRae will have plenty of good memories to reflect on when his college career concludes.

“Most of my highlights come from off the court. I’m lucky to have met some great people while being over here and have created lifelong friends. However beating Nebraska by a lot and Arizona state on the buzzer were great highlights too.

“I appreciate all the coaches and people who have helped me get to where I am today.” 

One of those to help McRae along his journey is his former Palmerston North Boys High Head Coach Miles Pearce. The former Tall Black is impressed with what he has seen.

“Cal has achieved so much in his career and it’s really only just beginning. He’s been a starter every year of his college career and improved his game every step of the way.

“I’m so proud of him and his accomplishments and everything he’s worked for. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.”

For now the focus for McRae is the present rather than the future.

Studying for a Master’s Degree in Recreational Therapy and ensuring the Hornets have a successful season are the main priorities for the big Kiwi.

The full list of centurions below includes former Hornet Izayah Le’afa the current New Zealand Breakers guard. 

100+ Men’s NCAA Division I Appearances/Starts (*Currently playing #Playing

 a fifth year)

133/121Rob Loe (University of St Louis, 2010-14)
131/61Sam Timmins (University of Washington 2016-20)
127/106Jack Salt (University of Virginia, 2014-19)
127/92Kirk Penney (University of Wisconsin, 1999-2003)
127/83Tai Webster (University of Nebraska, 2013-17)
126/47Dan Fotu (St Mary’s College, 2018-22)
125/103Mark Dickel (UNLV, 1996-2000)
123/104Craig Bradshaw (Winthrop University, 2003-7)
120/83Tom Vodanovich (James Maddison University, 2013-17)
118/69Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami, 2016-22)
117/108Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa (Sacramento State, 2016-20)
115/31Matt Freeman (Oklahoma, 2016-19, UC Santa Barbara, 19-20)
119/24*#Tobias Cameron (Abilene Christian University, 2017-present)
101/10Rory Fannon (Utah Valley University, 2007-12)

NCAA Midweek Wrap – Mennenga and Mackey-Williams star

December 2

Sam Mennenga scored 21 points and pulled down 7 rebounds as Davidson slipped to only their second loss of the season going down 68-66 in overtime to Charlotte. Up to 540 career points he moved past Matt Freeman (531 points), another former Westlake Boys High player, into 18th on the New Zealand all-time Division I scoring list. Next in line is Sean Marks who scored 557 points for the University of California between 1994 and 1998.

Zach Riley scored a season high 11 points (2/3 3PG, 3/4FT) as Fordham defeated Maine 72-67. Used sparingly so far this season Riley, afforded 17 minutes playing time, demonstrated what he could provide for the Rams moving forward. 

Tobias Cameron produced a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds as Abilene Christian dominated North American 93-46. Cameron also added a trio of steals and assists in the win.

Ben Gold made 7 points, in only 10 minutes, as Marquette defeated Baylor 96-70. The Tall Blacks forward also had a block and a rebound.

In women’s division I action Kiwi guards Arielle Mackey-Williams and Dani Bayes were in opposition as BYU took on Boise State. Bayes scored a season high 16 points, making 4 from 8 threes, but Boise State went down 76-67. Mackey-Williams made 17 points, one short of equalling her season best, for BYU as they improved to 5-3.

All three Kiwis were in scoring mode for St Mary’s as the Gaels pulled away in the second half to defeat San Jose State 63-48. Tayla Dalton added 8 rebounds to a team high 13 points (5/7FG) while Amy West scored 4 points and Jade Kirisome a deuce.

Cantabrian guard Helen Matthews scored 12 points – her third double digit outing in the last four games – as Wofford defeated Davidson 72-51 to make it 5 wins on the bounce.

Emme Shearer scored 11 points in just 11 minutes as Portland dominated Evergreen State to win 87-35. Melika Samia chipped in with 2 assists, 4 rebounds and a point as Portland improved to 5-3 on the season.

Tara Manumaleuga scored 10 points and added 3 steals and a block as Texas Christian put the defensive clamps on Incarnate Word to win 60-33.

Ella Brow scored 7 points (3/5FG) as Southern Methodist easily defeated Arkansas Pine Bluff 74-45.

McKenna Dale (6 points) made a pair of threes and garnered a couple of rebounds as Virginia beat Penn State 89-68.

Other Women’s Results:

Chicago State 43 (Yzabelle Tevao 4pts, 4rebs) Indiana State 68

La Salle 71 (Emilee Tahata 3pts, 2rebs) Lafayette 54 

New Mexico State 61 (Ashlee Strawbridge 4pts, 3rebs, 1 block) Texas El Paso 65

Houston Christian 51 (Lauryn Mapusua 3pts, 1 assist) Rio Grande Valley 68

UC Irvine 67 (Olivia Williams 4pts, 4rebs, 2 assists) Eastern Washington 65

Latest NCAA news including Thanksgiving weekend wrap

November 29

One appearance after playing NCAA game number 100 Amiee Book, with her second triple in Fresno State’s 68-49 loss to Penn State, completed the unique double of 1,000 points and 100 appearances in Women’s NCAA Division I basketball. The Graduate Senior, daughter of former Tall Black Ed Book, is just the 17th New Zealand player to complete the double. 

Kaylee Smiler continued her good form as BYU were edged 61-56 by Ball State. The Waikato guard scored 17 points (7/12FG) to go with 3 assists and 2 rebounds. Arielle Mackey-Williams scored a couple of points in the defeat.

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored in double figures for the 53rd time in her collegiate career as Washington State defeated South Dakota State 61-41. Playing all 40 minutes Leger-Walker finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal

Ashlee Strawbridge scored 11 points (5/10FG), grabbed 6 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in New Mexico State’s 60-51 loss to Denver.

McKenna Dale had a highly productive 10 points (3/3 3PG), 8 rebounds plus an assist, block and steal as Virginia eased to a 72—50 win against East Carolina.

Helen Matthews pulled down 9 boards (6 offensive) to equal her career best haul of rebounds and added 7 points as Wofford cruised past Southern Wesleyan 70-51.

Emme Shearer scored 8 points and snared a game high 3 steals as Portland had a comfortable 67-41 win against Northeastern. Melika Samia scored 2 points in the win.

Dani Bayes scored 7 points as Boise State were pipped 55-54 in overtime by Milwaukee. 

All three Kiwis playing at St Mary’s got on the scoresheet but it didn’t prevent the Gaels going down 73-53 to Kansas. Jade Kirisone scored 5 points, Amy West 4 and Tayla Dalton 3

Other Women’s Scores 

Cal State Northridge 89 (Rochelle Fourie 3 points, 1 rebound) Antelope Valley 59

In Men’s NCAA Division I play Kruz Perrott-Hunt made 4 from 7 threes on his way to a team high 17 points in South Dakota’s 66-59 loss to Coastal Carolina. KP-H also posted 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss. He followed that with 10 points as South Dakota “Kruzed” past Mount Marty 97-58.

Sacramento State were defeated 91-87 by Southern Utah in double overtime. Kiwi centre Callum McRae, in career game number 99,  had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks – he has posted double figures in points or rebounds in every game bar one this season.

Abilene Christian University snapped a three game losing streak to beat Northern Arizona 92-82. It was a 99th win in ACU colours for Tobias Cameron who posted 13 points, 5 rebounds and a couple of assists. 

James Moors added 4 rebounds and a brace of steals to 7 points (3/4FG) as Colorado State comfortably beat Mississippi Valley State 88-45.

Other Men’s Scores

Hartford 50 (Tom Webley 4 points) Delaware 78

Marquette 82 (Ben Gold 4 points) Chicago State 68

Breakers at the double

The Sky Sport Breakers have continued their winning ways with another impressive pair of victories in Round 8 of the Australian NBL.

The 116-79 home win against Brisbane takes the Breakers to 10-3 overall while the 82-71 victory in Cairns on Friday night was a sixth straight road win. That’s a record that has only been bettered on two occasions in the Breakers history.

The 116 points against Brisbane was the highest score posted by the Breakers since they put a colossal 130 on Illawarra Hawks back in February 2019. It was the highest score posted by any team in the NBL this season and also produced the largest winning margin. 

Their shooting percentages were the best of the season across all three major categories – 60% (44/73) from the field, 51% (17/33) from 3-point land and 84% (11/13) from the charity stripe.

It mattered little on the night but in a tighter contest the Breakers might have been a little bemused by the foul count. The home team were pinged on 29 occasions, the Bullets incurring the wrath of the officials just 14 times. Certainly Tom Abercrombie was not a happy chappie picking up four fouls in under ten minutes to spend almost the entire second half cheering on from the bench. 

There were no such issues in Cairns as the Breakers extended their run of away wins to six on the bounce. The current run of 6 consecutive away victories has only been bettered twice:

In 2008-09 the club enjoyed a 7 game winning streak on the road while the team of 2012-13 put together a run of 8 straight road wins – that was the championship winning season when they only lost 4 games all season.

Here are the key numbers from the two games:

Beat Cairns Taipans 82-71 (away) on Friday

Tom Abercrombie secured 8 rebounds – the most the Breakers swingman has pulled down in a single game since December 2019.

Derek Pardon recorded his third consecutive double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds) and his fourth in the last five games. The last player to produce three consecutive double-doubles for the Breakers was Shawn Long in February 2019.

Kiwi Sam Waardenburg, a former Rangitoto College and Harbour Basketball teammate of Dan Fotu, was outstanding for the Taipans. He finished with 15 points (5/6FG) 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and an assist. Yet to play for the Tall Blacks, after a fine career at the University of Miami, you imagine he is climbing up the pecking order on Pero Cameron’s Tall Blacks long list.

Beat Brisbane Bullets 116-79 at Spark Arena on Sunday

Jarrell Brantley and Izayah Le’afa posted season high points. Brantley was a beast in the low post accumulating 29 points on 13 from 19 shooting.

Le’afa scored all his 21 points in the first half on 7 from 10 shooting including 4 from 6 from deep. 

Cam Gliddon, with 3 rebounds, secured his 1,000th career rebound.


Gliddon needs just 2 points for 3,000 career points. With 2,998 career points he sits 12th on the scoring list of active players which is headed by Adelaide 36ers forward Daniel Johnson with 5,971 points.

Tom Abercrombie (4,204 points) is third on the active players scoring list.

Izayah Le’afa needs 12 points for 600 career points and Tom Vodanovich a single point for 400 career points.

Tom Abercrombie, with I more steal will become the 4th Breaker to pinch 250 steals.

The Breakers top five “Stealers”:

288 Boucher

278 Jackson

252 Vukona

249 Abercrombie

209 Henare

Talking of steals Will McDowell-White needs to pinch 3 more possessions for 50 steals in Breakers colours. 

In addition WM-W is only 3 assists shy of becoming the 11th Breaker to dish 250 assists.

The Breakers are next in action on Thursday entertaining South East Melbourne Phoenix at Christchurch Arena – tip-off 7.30pm followed by a Saturday evening encounter with Perth Wildcats at Vector Arena.

Book close to ton number two plus the Black Friday roundup

Amiee Book played NCAA game number 100 as Fresno State won a tight tussle with Delaware 53-49 at the Daytona Beach Invitational on Black Friday.

Book added 6 rebounds, 3 steals, a block and an assists to 4 points and is now just 6 points shy of the unique double of 1,000 points and 100 appearances in Women’s NCAA Division I basketball. It’s a double only achieved previously by 16 New Zealand players. 

Amy West, enjoyed her first outing of the season since recovering from a shoulder injury, as hosts St Mary’s beat Niagara 73-59 in the St Mary’s Thanksgiving Classic. The former Tall Fern finished with 6 points, 8 rebounds and a block in just 8 minutes. Tayla Dalton had a quartet of points and rebounds in the win.

Emme Shearer had 7 points, 5 rebounds and an assist as Portland enjoyed a come from behind 66-60 win against Houston at the St Pete Showcase in Florida.

Olivia Williams added triples of steals and rebounds to 8 points as UC Irvine defeated Long Island 65-56.

Other Women’s Results

New Mexico State 65 (Ashlee Strawbridge 5pts, 2rebs, 1assist, 1steal, 1 block) Yale 73

In Men’s Division I play Sam Mennenga was a highly efficient 7 from 8 from the field making 15 points, 4 rebounds and a couple of steals as Davidson College accounted for San Francisco 89-80.

At the North Shore Classic in Hawaii Sacramento State went down 74-61 to hosts Hawaii. Despite being on the losing team Callum McRae still produced an 11 points and 8 rebounds double.

Other Men’s Results

Hartford 55 (Tom Webley 4pts, 4rebs, 3 assists) Pennsylvania 75

Cameron brothers go head to head – one posts career high

November 24

The Cameron brothers Flynn and Tobias were in opposition for the first time in their long NCAA careers as Abilene Christian University took on the University of California Riverside UCR)  at the Vegas 4 Tournament in Las Vegas on Thursday (NZT). Younger brother Flynn, the Riverside combo-guard, took the opportunity to pour in a career high 26 points to carry UCR to a 76-65 victory.

Tobias tallied 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal in response but it was a game when Flynn grabbed the plaudits. He made 7 from 12 threes, all three freebies and also grabbed a team high 8 rebounds to go with 2 assists, 2 steals and a block. Nailing seven triples he became the first Highlander to achieve that feat for four seasons. 

Both Cameron’s are fifth year seniors having first played their freshman years back in 2018-19. Tobias has played all five years at Abilene Christian while Flynn played two years at De Paul University before transferring to Riverside.

The game in Vegas was the 118th career game for Tobias while for Flynn, capped by the Tall Blacks for the first time earlier this year at the FIBA Asia Cup, it was game number 96.

When game number 100 ticks over for Flynn he will become the 16th kiwi to play a century of Men’s NCAA Division I games – the duo the first New Zealand brothers to reach the notable milestone and also the first to play against each other at Division I level. Tall Blacks head coach Pero Cameron you imagine has been watching the careers of his sons unfold with immense pride.

Callum McRae played on the same Junior Tall Blacks team as the Cameron’s at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup. In his latest outing he was within a point of a double-double grabbing 10 boards to go with 9 points as Sacramento State went down 82-71 to UC Davis. Those 9 points took McRae past 900 career points and up to 4th on the all-time list of New Zealand scorers in Men’ NCAA Division I basketball.

Hartford University Hawks had a comfortable 82-45 win against FDU Florham with Tom Webley claiming 8 points (4/6FG) and 4 rebounds.

Akiva McBirney-Griffin scored a season best 6 points as UC Irvine pounded Life Pacific 116-54.

In women’s NCAA Division I play Helen Matthews helped Wofford to the narrowest of wins, a 67-66 triumph against UNC Wilmington. The Cantabrian combo guard tallied 14 points, one shy of her season best 15, and added 4 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal.

Amiee Book is on the verge of the double of 100 games and 1,000 points in NCAA Division I basketball. In her 99thappearance she scored 9 points as Fresno State won a one sided contest against UC Merced 71-28. Book has now scored 990 career points.

Barring injury that 100th game will be on Saturday (NZT) when Fresno play Delaware at the Daytona Beach Invitational.

BYU had little problem overcoming Carroll College recording a 71-47 win. Kaylee Smiler made 3 from 5 threes to equal her season high of 12 points with Arielle Mackey-Williams scored sored 7 points on 2 from 4 from the field.

Mckenna Dale took just the one shot, that missed, but she did pull down a team high 8 rebounds and garnered a couple of steals as Virginia defeated Campbell 62-41.

Tara Manumaleuga scored 3 points and had a brace each of rebounds, assists and steals as Texas Christian slipped to a 62-54 loss to Sam Houston.

Latest college news with Callum McRae and Kaylee Smiler amongst the grinners

November 18

At the North Shore Showcase in Hawaii a couple of former Waikato rep standouts Charlisse Leger-Walker and Kaylee Smiler were in opposition as Washington State University (WSU) took on BYU. Given BYU were 0-3 entering the contest and Washington unbeaten it was expected that the Cougars of Washington would be too good for the Cougars of Brigham Young. CL-W once again top scored for Washington with 21 points but it was Smiler (7 points and 2 assists) with the grin as BYU prevailed 67-57.  Arielle Mackey-Williams also chipped in with a valuable 9 points for BYU.

BYU couldn’t quite repeat that success 24 hours later going down to Troy 68-62 with Smiler nabbing 5 points and a couple of rebounds.

When WSU took their turn to play Troy they took care of business winning 87-72. CL-W settling for a quiet 14 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists!

Olivia Williams scored a team high 16 points, making 4 from 8 threes, as UC Irvine edged Seattle 54-53 to improve to 3-1 this season.

Portland Pilots were beaten 55-53 by a San Diego buzzer beater. Emme Shearer made a couple of threes on her way to 13 points to sit alongside a couple of rebounds an assist and a steal for Portland.

Southern Methodist defeated Texas A&M Commerce 86-57 with freshman guard Ella Brow scoring a season best 12 points.

Also producing a season best was Helen Matthews who was one rebound away from a double-double as Wofford triumphed 88-79 at High Point. The Cantabrian guard tallied 15 points and 9 rebounds.

Boise State beat Portland State 71-61 with freshman Danni Bayes posting 13 points (5/8FG), 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

Grace Hunter was immediately thrust into the starting point guard spot in her first outing of the season for California State University Bakersfield. The Wellingtonian guard connected with her first two jump shots and added a block, assist and rebound but unfortunately succumbed to injury after just 5 minutes. Bakersfield struggled without Hunter and went down 74-42 to UNLV.

McKenna Dale scored 6 points on 3 from 4 shooting, as well as securing 5 rebounds as Virginia won 74-60 on the road at American.

In Men’s Division I play…..

Tafara Gapare scored his first collegiate points – a made three – as UMass defeated Murray State 71-69.

Sacramento State improved to 3-1 winning their home opener 58-43 against UC Merced with Callum McRae again in excellent form. The Manawatu forward produced a big double-double of 14 points (7/14FG) and 14 rebounds – 6 offensive boards a highlight. 

At the Charleston Classic James Moors followed up his career high 24 points against South Carolina with 6 points and 3 rebounds in a 74-64 loss to Charleston.

Also at the Classic Sam Mennenga scored 23 points as Davidson College saw off Old Dominion 66-61. It was quite a weekend for the Tall Blacks forward in the three games at the Classic he tallied also 57 points, and was named to the Charleston Classic Tournament Team. That’s now 500 Division I career points for the former Westlake and Harbour player.

Tom Webley scored 9 points, and added 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a block as Hartford University pummeled Houghton 98-32.

UC Riverside flogged Occidental 106-30 with Flynn Cameron adding 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and a block to half a dozen points.

Other Results:

Fresno State 47 (Amiee Book 3pts, 2rebs) Cal Poly 48

St Mary’s 66 (Tayla Dalton 2pts, 3rebs, 1 steal) University of California 69