New Zealand is guaranteed at least one Australian WNBL championship winner after Townsville Fire proved too good for South East Queensland Stars in the Preliminary Final on Saturday. Townsville protected home court with a solid 91-71 victory to set up a meeting with Perth Lynx in the best of three grand final series.
Micaela Cocks had a game high 8 assists in addition to 6pts/2rebs/1stl/1block against the Stars. Chevannah Paalvast only played the last couple of minutes but she and Cock’s will be relishing the opportunity to play against fellow Tall Fern Toni Edmondson and her Lynx colleagues in game one on Saturday night in Perth.
US College – Women
A number of college conferences have already begun post regular season conference tournaments and a number of Tall Ferns have been in the thick of the action.
The University of California Berkley Golden Bears terrific run in the Pac 12 Conference Tournament at Key Arena in Seattle came to an end at the semi-final stage on Saturday.
The Bears entered the tournament ranked 10th and knocked off higher ranked teams Utah (66-63 AOT) and Arizona State (75-64) before going out in the semis 73-68 against UCLA, again after overtime action.
Former Rangitoto College forward Penina Davidson made a telling contribution for the Bears with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks against Utah. She followed that up with an even more impressive career high 17points (7/8FG) and 7 rebounds against Arizona State.
A third game in three days, two going to overtime, took its toll on Davidson as she could manage only 5 points in the semi final loss.
In the West Coast Conference Tournament number one and two seeds Brigham Young Uni-Provo Cougars and St Mary’s Gaels progressed to the semi-finals at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
St Mary’s beat Loyola Marymount 85-71 aided by 11 rebounds from Stella Beck (plus 3pts/3 assists and 2 steals).
Kalani Purcell threatened a triple double as BYU defeated Pepperdine 72-59. Purcell, the leading rebounder in the conference, had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists.
Josie Stockill spent virtually the whole of the second quarter sitting on the bench as Colgate University Raiders struggled to overcome Lafayette in the first round of Patriot League play-off action on Saturday. Stockill, “Itching to get out there and make an impact”, took control of proceedings in the second half, the former Hawkes Bay forward finishing with a double double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, as the Raiders stole an 80-68 win.
Colgate next faces the highly fancied Army West Point on Monday in quarter final action.
Jacinta Beckley and Seattle University Redhawks fell 66-52 to CSU Bakersfield in its final regular season game of the season. Beckley played just 6 minutes and recorded just a single rebound – the Redhawks will meet Bakersfield again on Wednesday in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
Cal State Northridge Matadors will also begin tournament play this week facing Cal Poly on Tuesday. The Matadors completed its Big Western Conference regular season with a home defeat at the hands of Long Beach State 79-69 on Saturday. Forward Tessa Boagni had 4 points, 2 rebounds and an assist in the loss.
Europe – Women
Jillian Harmon and Le Mura Lucca now boast a 20-1 record at the top of Serie A. Harmon bagged 20 points on Wednesday as Lucca was tested by Venezia before eventually winning 69-59.