Stella Beck showing top form on and off the court.

stella beck

Four Saint Mary’s Gaels women’s basketball players student-athletes earned West Coast Conference All-Academic Team honours on Wednesday, including senior guard Stella Beck.

Beck is knowledgeable on and off the court with a 3.63 GPA in Psychology specialising in Neuroscience. She has the distinction of being named to the All-Academic first team for the third straight year.

The 22 year-old has started in all 27 games for Saint Mary’s this season and has scored in double-figures in 21 of those games. In seven outings Beck recorded 20 or more points.

Beck scored her 1,000th career point on November 24 and scored a career-high 31 points versus Pacific on January 20 while averaging 14.8 points per game.  In addition the former Hutt Valley High standout averages 5.8 rebounds per game, dishes out 3.2 assists and is second on the team shooting 59.7 percent from the field. Beck leads the team with 37 steals.

Last week she logged her third double-double of the season in the win against San Francisco (72-64) scoring a game-high 26 points and tying a season-high with 11 rebounds. She followed that up with a 25-point, nine-rebound performance in the win against Portland. Her 51 points across the two games moved her into 15th all-time on the Saint Mary’s career scoring list.

St Mary’s are 11-5 in West Coast Conference action and with two regular season games remaining look likely to carry second seeding into the WCC Tournament beginning March 1 in Las Vegas.


Kirk Penney memories and numbers



Numbers don’t tell the full story of what Kirk Penney has contributed to the SKYCITY Breakers but they do help illustrate what a massive contribution he has made to the success of the club and the many memories he has provided.

Penney made his debut for the Breakers on October 4th, 2007 at NSEC scoring 23 points against West Sydney Razorbacks – Oscar Forman and Mika Vukona played for Breakers that day although Paul Henare missed the game, bringing to an end a run of 130 consecutive games.

Penney scored 23 points that day, the beginning of quite a sequence of scoring in his first season with the club. In 31 games he passed the twenty points mark in all but four games as the Breakers made the play-offs for the first time. He finished that season with 749 points at 24.2ppg.

The following season he soon waltzed past the 1,000 points mark for the club – tallied in just 41 games. Just 15 players have reached that milestone for the North Shore club and he passed that number in ten games fewer than the second quickest – Mike Chappel.

The Breakers went a game deeper into the play-offs that year but fell in the semi-final to a star studded Melbourne Tigers. Penney’s output was almost identical to season one amassing 747 points in exactly the same number of games.

Season 2009-2010 was the one that got away. The team won the last six games on the bounce but missed the play-offs by a whisker with a team that felt they could have gone all the way to a title. It was also the beginning of the 40-minute game era that naturally impacted on the number of points scored by teams and individuals. It didn’t affect Penney greatly as he still averaged 23 points an outing.

At the back end of that season he scored a career high 49 points against Adelaide which still stand as the second highest individual score by a Breakers player, just behind 50 points from Carlos Powell against Melbourne Tigers in 2006.

2010-2011 was a season to savour, a season when Penney helped bring the first of four NBL Championships to the club. Penney’s numbers were down slightly with 581 points at a still healthy 20 points an outing. However in the play-offs he produced a memorable performance to help take the Breakers to their first Grand Final.

You may remember that in game one of the semi-final series the Breakers suffered a serious bout of stage fright and were stuffed 101-78 by Perth Wildcats at NSEC. To make matters worse Mika Vukona hobbled out of the game with a serious leg injury.

Three days later, in Perth, Penney and the Breakers caused an upset by defeating the Wildcats 93-89. The performance was memorable on two counts. Firstly Vukona not only defied the medics and played but he also garnered a game high 10 rebounds. Secondly Penney reeled off a match- winning 38 points – a couple of his corner three jump shots still live in the memory.

The Breakers took care of business in game three back on the North Shore and went on to claim their first title with a two games to one victory against Cairns.

Following a five-year break Penney returned to the Breakers last season and although they fell one win short of another play-offs appearance he still led the team in scoring. Playing in all 28 games, he scored in double figures 25 times finishing with 486 points at 17.4ppg.

Having missed the last five games with a calf injury Penney’s place as the Breakers all-time leading points scorer has been overtaken by Tom Abercrombie – but only just.

Penney has scored 3,200 points at 20.3ppg with Abercrombie just four points ahead. (3,204 points at 11.7ppg).

Other Penney numbers at the Breakers:

Has made the most 3 point shots for the club (483)

Has scored 30 points or more in a single game on 30 occasions.

158 appearances

641 rebounds

369 assists

125 steals


Stella Beck gets the headline but big performances from Boagni, Clarke, Reed and Le’afa

SMC Women's Basketball vs Gonzags

Stella Beck logged her third double-double of the year for St Mary’s Gaels in the win against San Francisco (72-64) on Thursday, scoring a game-high 26 points and tying a season-high with 11 rebounds. She followed that up with a 25-point, nine-rebound performance in the win against Portland on Saturday. The 51 points across the two games moved her into 15th all-time on the Saint Mary’s career scoring list.

St Mary’s are 11-5 in West Coast Conference action.

Jacinta Beckley produced 11 points and 9 rebounds but unfortunately Seattle Redhawks fell 69-67 in overtime at Texas-Rio Grande Valley. That was followed by a second road loss, 64-53 at New Mexico State, with Beckley scoring 10 points in that one. Despite the losses the Redhawks are still handily placed in the Western Athletic Conference with a 7-4 record.

Brooke Blair produced 13 points (5/11FG), 4 rebounds and 3 assists to help Idaho State Bengals to an 83-71 home win against Sacramento State mid week. She was also in double figures with 11 points in a 72-64 win against Portland State on Sunday. The Bengals are 9-5 in the Big Sky Conference with four games to play.

What a shooting performance from from Tessa Boagni. The Cal State Northridge Matadors centre shot 8 from 10 from the field and 10 out of 10 from the free throw line. Boagni finished with a game high 26 points (plus 9 rebounds) as the Matadors beat Cal Poly 86-66 and are now 7-6 in Pac 12 Conference play.

It was a big night for Penina Davidson on Saturday being recognised at the Cal Berkeley Bears seniors ceremony following the ‘Battle of the Bay’ against arch rivals Stanford.

Stanford, ranked number 17 nationally, and Cal, met twice in three days with Stanford prevailing 74-69 on Thursday but the Bears avenging that defeat with a 78-66 win two days later in front of 4,000 home fans. In her final home game Davidson snared 8 rebounds – 5 at the offensive end – plus 3 points, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.

It’s been quite a week for 2016 Junior Tall Fern Tiarna Clarke. The former Westlake combo-guard enjoyed career nights in consecutive games to help Northern Colorado Bears (12-3 in the Big Sky Conference) to two wins. Clarke bettered her 19 points against Northern Arizona on Thursday by scoring 20 points against Southern Utah two days later.

Kendell Heremaia, another 2016 JTF had her most productive scoring game of the season scoring 11 points (3/5 3PG) in Fordham Rams 79-54 loss at Dayton- Fordham now 11-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

A third JTF Tera Reed snared a career best 16 rebounds to accompany 12 points but Virginia Commonwealth slipped to 3-11 in Atlantic 10 Conference games after a 59-54 loss at Richmond.

And the Men………….

Two former Harbour players met when Jack Salt and newly crowned No 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers visited Sam Waardenburg and Miami Hurricanes. in an internationally televised encounter. It was Virginia’s first game carrying the top ranking in NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball since December 1982 and after losing their last outing – an overtime defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech – ensured their would be no upset and prevailed 59-50.

Salt finished with 2 points, an assist and a team high 7 rebounds whilst Waardenburg, who is enjoying increased court time for Miami, made 6 points (2/3 FG, 2/2 3PG) and claimed a steal.

Izayah Le’afa made all three of his three point attempts as he put up a stats stuffing 15 points, 3 rebounds a pair of steals and blocks plus an assist for Sacramento State Hornets. Unfortunately the Hornets, now 3-11 in the Big Sky Conference, slipped to a fifth straight loss going down 83-73 to Weber State.

Sam Timmins had 8 rebounds and 2 points in the game Washington Huskies retired the No 2 jersey of former Huskie, now Los Angeles Lakers star Isaiah Thomas on Saturday. The Huskies beat Colorado 82-59 and now sit 8-6 in the Pac 12 Conference.

Career high’s for Tiarna Clarke and Tera Reed plus more on Harbour players in college

Tiarna Clarke

Tiarna Clarke posted a career best twice in one week, Tera Reed did it twice plus double doubles from Katie Diakhaby, Alex Talma and Reed.

Read more

Isaac Fotu loses bragging rights to Tai Webster


Prior to the last FIBA international window Tai Webster and Isaac Fotu went head to head for their respective clubs in Germany before boarding a plane to New Zealand for the Tall Black’s game against Korea.

Once again, ahead of the Tall Blacks trip to China and Korea, the Bundesliga fixtures pitched the two Kiwis in direct opposition.

The storyline was the same in both instances with the visitors getting the W on each occasion.

Back in November Fotu and his club Ratiopharm Ulm stole the win on Frankfurt Skyliners home court.

There was a reverse of fortunes on Wednesday night as the Skyliners pinched the narrowest of wins (78-77) at Ulm with Webster making 5 points (2/2FG, 1/1FT) and dishing 3 assists. Fotu had 10 points (5/6FG) and 5 rebounds for Ulm.

Ulm are in seventh spot on the German League ladder with a 12-9 record one place ahead of Frankfurt who have the same number of wins but have an additional loss.

Both Kiwis are in good form ahead of the internationals. Fotu scored 24 points in each of the previous two games for Ulm and Webster also nabbed 24 points a couple of games back for Frankfurt.

Webster is averaging 15.7 points and 4.8 assists per game for the Skyliners with Fotu claiming 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per outing for Ulm.

The pair will fly direct to China after the weekend to link up with their Tall Blacks teammates ahead of the Asian Zone World Cup Qualifiers against China next Friday and Korea in Seoul three days later. The bulk of the Tall Blacks team depart from Sydney on Monday following the Breakers game against the Kings on Sunday afternoon.

Tall Ferns squad announced


Guy Molloy with Tall ferns - credit FIBA-2

Newly appointed Tall Ferns coach Guy Molloy has named a predictable squad ahead of a Commonwealth Games selection camp being held in Melbourne.

That camp is being held this weekend with only Italy based Jillian Harmon a notable absentee. Harmon’s commitments to her club side Napoli rule her out of contention, however the power forward has committed to the New Zealand programme beyond the Commonwealth Games when the Tall Ferns will look to qualify for the next Olympics.

read more

Salt and Virginia beat Waardenburg and Miami


In the latest chapter of Kiwi versus Kiwi Jack Salt scored the first field goal of the game for newly crowned No 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers when they visited Sam Waardenburg and Miami Hurricanes on Tuesday (US time).

It was Virginia’s first game carrying the top ranking in NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball since December 1982 and after losing their last outing – an overtime defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech – ensured their would be no upset and prevailed 59-50.

Virginia made a strong start jumping out to an early 13-2 lead but helped by a Waardenburg triple, with his first shot of the game, Miami narrowed to 13-12.

Aided by a 10-0 run Virginia reached half-time with a 27-16 advantage keeping Miami to their lowest first half score this season.

Another Waardenbug three reduced the Virginia advantage to 38-34 with nine minutes to play but that would be as close as Miami would get to the Atlantic Coast Conference leaders. Virginia now 13-1 in conference play with Miami slipping to 7-6.

Salt finished with 2 points, an assist and a team high 7 rebounds whilst Waardenburg finished with 6 points (2/3 FG, 2/2 3PG) and a steal.

Could they meet again in the ACC Tournament next month?


Salt and Virginia to No1 amongst the American college hoops news

Jack Salt

The biggest news in our weekly look at Kiwis in American college hoops is that Jack Salt has helped take Virginia Cavaliers to the Number 1 ranking in men’s basketball. The achievement comes despite Virginia slipping to their first Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season when they went down in overtime 61-60 to Virginia Tech at the weekend. It’s the first time Virginia have been ranked No 1 since 1982

Tai Wynyard and Kentucky were No 1 in November 2016 but this is probably the first time a Kiwi has been a starter in a top ranked team.

Two other regular starters are Sam Timmins and Izayah Le’afa.

Le’afa dished a game high 5 assists and also scored 11 points (3/7 3PG) but Sacramento State Hornets slid to a third straight loss going down 92-76 at Montana State. The Hornets are 3-8 in Big Sky Conference play.

Timmins scored 4 points (2/2FG) and snared 4 rebounds but Washington Huskies lost a thriller in double overtime (97-94) to Oregon State. The Huskies are now 7-5 in the Pac 12 Conference.

There were also some very good performances amongst our top women.

St Mary’s Gaels made a major statement in the West Coast Conference. Not only did they defeat unbeaten Gonzaga 72-56 but also they achieved the victory at Gonzaga. Stella Beck was a major player in the game adding 13 points and 5 rebounds to a game high 9 assists as the Gaels moved to 9-5 in conference games.

Jacinta Beckley was within three points of a career best as she amassed 23 points (7/13FG, 8/8FT) as Seattle Redhawks beat Chicago State 72-60. With its 7-2 record Seattle are now second on the Western Athletic Conference ladder.

Brooke Blair bounced back in style from a poor midweek showing against Northern Colorado when she failed to score for the first time this season. Against North Dakota she rattled off a team high 19 points (6/11FG) for Idaho State Bengals as they won 68-55 to improve to 7-5 in the Big Sky Conference. The 19 points tally moved Blair past 300 points for the season at an average of 13.6ppg.

Despite a fine shooting performance from Tessa Boagni Cal State Northridge Matadors lost 59-51 at home to Long Beach State. Boagni scored a team high 19 points on the back of 7 from 10 from the field including 4 from 5 from distance. The Cantabrian also added 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Matadors are 6-5 in the Big West Conference after slipping to a second loss of the week going down 72-46 to UC Davis – 7 points and 7 rebounds for Boagni in that one.

Penina Davidson was one rebound shy of a double-double as Cal Berkeley Bears edged a thriller against Colorado winning 78-76. Davidson scored 10 points (4/9FG) and corralled nine rebounds, which included 5 offensive boards. She followed that with team high’s in rebounds (7) and blocks (3) as the Bears improved to 8-6 in Pac 12 Conference contests with an 84-73 win against Utah on Sunday.

Mary Goulding managed 10 points and 4 rebounds as Fordham Rams moved their Atlantic 10 Conference record to 10-2 with a 58-45 record against Davidson.

Also in the Atlantic 10 Tera Reed, who has been outstanding all season for Virginia Commonwealth University Rams, posted 27 points on 11 from 18 (61%) shooting against Duquesne – but it wasn’t enough with the Rams falling 80-71.

The Rams bounced back on Sunday outlasting St Bonaventure 77-75 in overtime and improving to 3-9 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Reed filled the stats line with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in the win.

Krystal Leger-Walker recorded her first double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) to help Northern Colorado Bears move to 10-3 in Big Sky Conference play with a narrow 71-69 overtime win against Weber State. The scores were locked at 60 points apiece after fourty minutes, the Bears securing the win courtesy of a triple with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock. Earlier Leger-Walker had tied the game in regulation with her third triple of the game.

Fresno State Bulldogs are now 9-4 in the Mountain West Conference after a 66-60 win at San Diego State. Katelin Noyer pulled down 5 boards to go with 7 points (3/5FG) for the Dogs. Fresno State head coach Jaime White was pleased with the efforts of the former Westlake centre, “I thought she had a good matchup tonight, she came in with poise and finished some shots.”

Tall Ferns head coach announced


The Tall Ferns will have one of Australia’s leading coaches at the helm as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games, with the appointment of Guy Molloy as the National Team Head Coach.

Molloy worked with the New Zealand women’s basketball team last year as a mentor to the team and its coaching staff.

Basketball New Zealand’s High Performance Manager, Leonard King, says Molloy was the outstanding candidate after a process undertaken over the past three months.

“Guy’s experience and record shone through. He’s a coach with proven results that the players know and respect. We are thrilled Guy has accepted the National Team Head Coach position and and look forward to working with him as we build our women’s programme into a world class operation,” said King.

Speaking from Melbourne, Molloy said he was looking forward to the challenge, with the Commonwealth Games less than two months away.

“It is a great honour to be named the Head Coach of the Tall Ferns. Last year, I saw first-hand how dedicated and hard-working the Tall Ferns players and staff were. They competed fiercely every day, whether it was a training session or a FIBA match. In my stewardship as coach, I hope to do several things: get to know the basketball community of New Zealand, tap into the culture of New Zealand basketball and drive their ethos of team-first basketball, and then use myexperience to increase the skills and standards of the playing list. The mission is to develop the New Zealand team into one of the top teams in the FIBA Asia qualification zone.

“I would like to thank the key people involved at both Basketball New Zealand and the Deakin Melbourne Boomers for their collaboration in making this appointment happen.”

Molloy is currently the Head Coach for the Melbourne Boomers in the Australian WNBL, a team that he coached through to the Grand Final Series this year. He is a six-time WNBL finalist, two-time coach of the year, and previously led the Perth Breakers (now called the Perth Lynx) to the Grand Final in 1993. At a national level Molloy was Assistant Coach with the Australian Opals between 1990 and 1994.

In men’s basketball, Guy coached the fledgling Cairns Taipans in the Australian NBL from 2000 to 2005 where he led the club to their maiden finals appearance in 2004. He was assistant coach on four NBL grand final teams from 1997-2000, and a South Dragons ANBL championship team in 2008-2009.

Molloy led the Australian Under 17 men’s team to a silver medal at the junior FIBA World Cup in 2012, and the Australian Under 21 men’s team to the FIBA World Cup semi-finals in 2004. Molloy was also a three-time Under 18 national championship coach with Victoria.

The Tall Ferns will step into their first training camp of the year on 16 to 18 February in Melbourne.

Molloy is married to Renee, has two daughters Raine and Siena, and resides in Victoria.

Major Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks announcements

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The Tall Blacks playing group for the upcoming FIBA international window has been named ahead of the announcement of the new Tall Ferns head coach due in the next fourty-eight hours.

The MBO New Zealand Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare has named a largely predictable squad for the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifying games in China and Korea although there are a couple of changes from the group that played Korea and Hong Kong in November.

Not surprisingly Mika Vukona has been spared a couple of long international flights with Dan Fotu and Ethan Rubatch added to the other thirteen that assembled in Wellington last year.

Former Rangitoto College standout Fotu, currently a development player with the Breakers, has been named with an eye on the future and if selected in the final 12, will join his older brother Isaac who will join the team from the German League.

Rusbatch played last year in the Asia Cup and is recalled to the squad, presumably with one eye on the Commonwealth Games in April when it is unlikely that the European based guards – Tai and Corey Webster – will be available.

The squad of 15 will be reduced to 12 following the completion of the NBL regular season at the weekend. Those 12 players will assemble in China on February 20th to begin training for the crucial games against China (February 23rd) and Korea (February 26th) as they continue towards the ultimate goal, a place at the 2019 FIBA World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The two road games against the strongest contenders in World Cup Qualifying Group A have assumed greater importance with the Tall Blacks dropping the home tie against Korea in November, before an easy defeat of Hong Kong away from home.

Henare has named 15 players to cover the event of injury or unavailability, with many players involved in club games this weekend, including the SKYCITY Breakers as they face two games in three days, playing the Illawarra Hawks at home on Friday night, before travelling to Sydney to play the Kings on Sunday to round out their regular season in the NBL.

“We have reviewed and gone over November’s window in fine detail, but the bottom line is we didn’t come out firing, we weren’t as ready as we should have been against Korea in Wellington.

“This window has an even tighter schedule, we will get together for the first time as a group in China, have two days on the floor and then go to battle against a very good side, arguably one of the toughest in the world to beat at home.

“We have and will continue to do all we can to learn from November’s experience, to be ready and to play as we expect the Tall Blacks to play, fighting for every possession, punching above our weight and not taking a backward step.”

The team has plenty of experience to all on in the likes of Tom Abercrombie, Corey Webster, and Jarrod Kenny, while Isaac Fotu and Tai Webster will make the trip from Germany where both are putting up good numbers in one of Europe’s best professional leagues.

Also included are Shea Ili, Reuben Te Rangi, Jordan Ngatai, Derone Raukawa and Finn Delany – all playing in the Australian League and all played big minutes at the 2017 Asia Cup in Beirut. Te Rangi will again captain the side.

The team is well served in the size department too, with Breakers centre’s Rob Loe and Alex Pledger leading the front court, along with Tohi Smith-Milner, who has impressed with Melbourne United this season.

Vukona was not cleared by the Breakers medical team as he continues to manage his way through a busy end to the regular season.

“The advice on Mika is that he shouldn’t travel and play in these games and has therefore not been released. He remains an integral part of our group however and plays a huge role what we are trying to achieve in the long term.”

Henare will leave a final decision on the 12 to travel until the last moment, with a final check on fitness before players board planes from various parts of the world after games this weekend.

The bulk of the team will depart from Sydney on Monday 19th, following the completion of NBL games over the weekend.

Tall Blacks Roster to play China and Korea, February 2018

Point guards: Shea Ili (SKYCITY Breakers), Jarrod Kenny (Perth Wildcats), Tai Webster (Fraport Skyliners), Derone Raukawa (SKYCITY Breakers)

Shooting guards: Reuben Te Rangi (Brisbane Bullets), Corey Webster (Ironi Nahariya), Ethan Rusbatch

Small forwards: Tom Abercrombie (SKYCITY Breakers), Jordan Ngatai (SKYCITY Breakers), Finn Delany (SKYCITY Breakers), Dan Fotu (SKYCITY Breakers)

Power forwards: Isaac Fotu (Ratiopharm Ulm), Tohi Milner-Smith (Melbourne United)

Centres: Rob Loe (SKYCITY Breakers), Alex Pledger (SKYCITY Breakers)

Head Coach: Paul Henare
Assistant Coaches: Pero Cameron, Michael Fitchett
Physiotherapist: Anousith Bouaaphone
Massage Therapist: Shelley Hiha
Manager: Andrew Dewhurst


For more information contact:

Andrew Dewhurst
Team Manager
MBO Tall Blacks
021 535501

MBO Tall Blacks – schedule and further information

24 February, 12:30am NZT: China v MBO Tall Blacks. Livestreamed on and delayed broadcast on Maori TV at 1pm, 24 Feb.
26 February, 11:30pm NZT: Korea V MBO Tall Blacks. Livestreamed on and delayed broadcast 11:30am on 27 Feb.