The current top five teams on the WBC standings will all fancy their chances of not only gaining a top six play-off berth but also winning the round robin series. Harbour Breeze and Waikato Wizards have a slight advantage as they both have yet to play the Junior Tall Ferns. These games regardless of the result are recorded as wins to the opposition as the JTF fixtures are none competition games.
The Wizards, led by former Tall Fern Leanne Walker were the leading offensive team in the first tournament averaging 65 points per game. Krystal Leger-Walker (10.8ppg) and Miriam Stevens (9.3ppg) led the scoring as six players averaged 7 points or more per game. Interestingly the team shot better from beyond the three point arc (37%) than closer range (35%).
The Breeze have suffered more comings and goings than most. Ella Fotu joins up with the JTF’s, Becks van Kuyk is overseas and Chelsea Terei has work commitments. On the plus side Jaycin Tini and Brooke Blair are back from their Junior College freshman years in the US.
Auckland Countie Hawks have possibly the most talented squad and will probably have the unique situation of having four sisters in their line up. The Purcell sisters Charmian, Hailey, Natalie and Kalani will be tough to beat on their home court. Charmian (now Charmian Mellars) led the rebounding count in Christchurch (18.7 per game) and Natalie (now Natalie Taylor) scored an impressive 20 points per game on the southern trip.
Otago had a good first tournament but appear to lean very heavily on Suzie Bates and Samara Gallaher. White Ferns cricket captain Bates was the leading scorer in Christchurch averaging 21.3 points a game and also dishing 4 assists per game. Forward Gallaher was equally impressive contributing 17 points and 9 rebounds per contest.
Canterbury Wizards were driven by Tessa Boagni (17.7ppg/9.0rpg), Shea Crotty (8.3ppg/5.5rpg/3.5apg) and Darcy Rose (12.3reb pg). The Wizards will be relying on these three players repeating their good form but will be helped greatly if Erin Rooney returns from the States to suit up in the red singlet.
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