The team registering the biggest gain on the opening day of Tournament 2 of the 2015 Women’s Basketball Championships in Christchurch was Oceana Gold Rush Otago. Emphasising the closeness of the competition Otago was the only team to record two wins on the day. The double moved them up to second on the overall standings with a 6-1 record.
Jillian Harmon was virtually unstoppable against Harbour Breeze amassing 28 points (9/16FG, 10/11FT) and 13 rebounds for the Gold Rush in a 75-63 win. Later in the day Otago had a much more comfortable 93-31 win against Tauranga City Coasters.
Another feature of the opening day was that two games went to overtime and in one of these Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix notched their first WBC victory.
The Phoenix and Rotorua Lady Vols were both looking for their first win of the campaign and in a low scoring affair it was the team from ‘Up North’ that clinched the victory 41-40.
The Vols, with Awatea Leach (15pts) in good form looked as if they could be heading for victory as they led 20-11 at half time. However the Phoenix, on the back of outstanding performances from Freda Riwai (17pts/14rebs) and Reanon Heataraka-Sadler (13pts/10rebs), stormed back into the game in the second half.
The scores were tied 36-36 after regular time. The extra period was a nervy affair decided by a Jaimie-Lee Tito free throw with 13 seconds left on the clock.
The Capital Flyers edged Probands Nelson Sparks 57-56 after the scores were locked at 51 apiece at the end of normal time.
Capital had a disastrous third quarter succumbing 19-3 but recovered in the final period to take the game into an extra period.
Tegan Graham (19pts/11 rebounds) was outstanding for the Flyers and she produced the game-winning basket with just three seconds remaining. Jess Bygate (17pts/8rebs) and Nikki Rampton (14pts/10rebs) were prominent for the Sparks.
Waikato Wizards look to be the team to beat; the Wizards comfortably beat Waitakere Lady Rangers 63-46 to move their record to 7-1.
The Wizards fed off Jess Tuki’s (10pts/18 rebs) dominance of the boards, the scoring led by Krystal Leger-Walker and Rhaiah Spooner-Knight who both notched 14 points.
The competition’s leading scorer Jordan Hunter produced another barrage of points. Her 31pts/11rebs/6 assists propelled Auckland Counties Manukau to a 77-39 win against Bartercard Taranaki Thunder.
Waitakere Lady Rangers bounced back from that morning defeat against Waikato to pull off a much needed win over the Capital Flyers.
The Flyers were boasting an impressive 6-1 record entering the game but were undone by Moengaroa Subritzky (20pts/9rebs) and Wuanyei Ah-Hing (17pts).
The Rangers won each of the first three periods to ease to a 60-47 victory to keep their top 6 aspirations alive.
Harbour Breeze also kept their top 6 hopes alive thanks to a solid 64-49 victory over hosts Canterbury Wildcats. Penina Davidson flew into Auckland on Friday from the University of California, Berkley and immediately boarded a connection to Christchurch. Her impact was instant, putting together a double double of 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Breeze who were also well served by Deena Franklin (9pts/9rebs). Only Darcy Rose (19pts) could find her scoring touch for the Wildcats who managed just one from 12 from three point land.
Current WBC Standings
7-1 Waikato Wizards
6-1 Oceana Gold Rush Otago.
6-2 Capital Flyers
5-2 Probands Nelson Sparks,
5-3 Waitakere Lady Rangers, NZ Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats, Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks.
4-4 Harbour Breeze.
3-5 Bartercard Taranaki Thunder.
1-7 Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix
0-8 Tauranga City Coasters, Rotorua Lady Vols.