WBC Preview Part One

The second WBC tournament is being held in Auckland this coming weekend.

Five of the teams boast a 3-1 record following the first tournament held in Christchurch early last month and barring a collapse in form should have no problem securing a top six berth and a place in the play-offs.

Harbour Breeze, Waikato Wizards, Otago Gold Rush, Canterbury Wildcats and Auckland /Counties Hawks are the five teams with positive records leaving Waitakere Lady Rangers, Nelson Sparks, Capital flyers and Rotorua Vols on the outside looking in.

Players returning from their college commitments in the US will boost a number of the teams.

However, in the case of the Capital Flyers (2-2) they will suffer the opposite effect. Young Tall Fern Stella Beck has headed to summer school at St Mary’s College. Last season’s MVP averaged 15.3ppg and 12 rebounds in the first tournament and those numbers will be difficult to replace. It is also reported that Margaret Scott is doubtful due to injury. The likes of Te Amo Amaru-Tibble and Jessica Slade will need to shoulder greater responsibility if last year’s champions are going to force their way into the top six and give themselves a chance to defend their title.

Waitakere Lady Rangers are also 2-2 and they will lose guard Wuanyei Ah-Hing to the Junior Tall Ferns. The Rangers still have plenty of talent and experience led by Tall Fern Penina Davidson (13.8ppg in tournament one), former international Natasha Hall, Emma Bergin and SteveeTheyers.

Nelson Sparks have left themselves a lot to do entering the weekend with a 1-3 record. They probably need to win four of their last five games and will rely heavily on the experience of Kat Jones and Nicky Rampton to achieve that. Jodi Hikuroa (9.3ppg/6.8rebs) and Hana Wilkinson (11.8) were also prominent in tournament one. The games against Waitakere and Capital will be critical. Win both and they could sneak into the top six.

Rotorua Vols have a 0-4 record and already look condemned to be playing off for the minor placings. Takiri Emery-Raerino, Sally Kurei and Ema Pene all averaged 6ppg for the Vols but they will need greater collective scoring output if they are to chalk up some victories.

All four teams will be eager to improve their record but despite having to play three top five teams I feel the all round ability of the Watakere Lady Rangers should see them edge into the top six.

The tournament is being played at the Alan Brewster Centre in Papatoetoe, Friday June 6th – Sunday June 8th

Current WBC Standings 3-1 Harbour Breeze, Waikato Wizards, Otago Gold Rush, Canterbury Wildcats. Auckland /Counties Hawks 2-2 Capital Flyers, Waitakere Lady Rangers 1-3 Nelson Sparks 0-4 Rotorua Vols

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