The Tall Ferns were defeated by quality Asian opposition for the third time in as many days at the 37th William Jones Cup in Taiwan, losing 75-56 to South Korea.
Kalani Purcell produced a powerful stats line of 10 points/11 rebounds/2 assists/2 steals/1 block but ultimately 31 turnovers was the undoing of the Ferns.
The highly respected Korean’s, are ranked 12th on the FIBA World rankings, the Tall Ferns 22nd.
Former Waitakere guard Chevannah Paalvast (7pts) was rewarded for a strong showing against Japan the previous day with a spot in the starting five alongside Davidson, Taylor, Cocks and Wallbutton.
The Tall Ferns made a very encouraging start to the game opening up a handy 17-10 first quarter lead, led by 5 points from Micaela Cocks. The much vaunted Korean offence was held to just 3 from 14 from the field in the period.
The Tall Ferns were less impressive in the second period giving up 24 points to trail 34-32 at half-time. Samara Gallaher led the New Zealand scoring with 8 points.
The Korean perimeter shooters found their groove in the second half shooting an extremely efficient 43% (12/28) from beyond the three-point arc. The lead was extended to a dominant 59-46 advantage at the end of the third stanza and 75-56 by full time.
Once again the Kiwis completely dominated the boards winning the rebounding count 44-18 but were once again guilty of committing too many turnovers, 32 in this game on the back of 31 the previous day against Japan.
Point guard Cocks scored 8 points, a total matched by Gallaher who also snared 3 boards and 3 steals. 19 year old Penina Davidson added 9 rebounds to 6 points and fellow forward Lisa Wallbutton chimed in with 6 points and 6 rebounds.
Veteran guard Natalie Taylor was far from despondent about the team’s third consecutive loss.
“We’ve definitely seen encouraging things as a team in this game and improved on areas we have identified in the previous two games but we are still needing consistency to win games”
Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama is also looking beyond this week as he prepares his charges for the Olympic Qualifying series against Australia next month.
“We also understand that it’s about growing as a group and getting better everyday. The goal is to still beat Australia and these games give us the perfect opportunity to work on what’s needed to get that job done.”