The New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns opened their tour of China with a defeat at the hands of the experienced USA select team in Foshan on Sunday.
The performance was a creditable one given the USA team have all completed their four-year college scholarships and some have already embarked on professional careers.
Report filed by Brent Matehaere (JTF’s head coach).
As a group we really didn’t have a great start to the contest with shots not falling and having to get back quickly to try to negate the speed that the US team possess. We were able to defend well in the half court but it was the trans – defense in the quarter that let us down.
Trailing by 13 to begin the 2nd period, we scored on a par with the US team led by Tai Webster’s former school mate from University of Nebraska Teara Laudermill’s 22 points. An experienced campaigner with a stint in the Finish League and on her second trip to China she proved to be the difference down the stretch.
We had cut the difference to 4 on the back of a Tiarna Clarke triple when Laudermill took control of the games scoring 3 of these herself.
The JTF’s through Charlotte Whittaker, Aliyah Dunn and Katie Diakaby managed to contain the 2015 West Coast Conference Player of the Year Morgan Bailey. Bailey has just come off a professional stint in Portugal.
Charlisse Leger-Walker at the tender age of 14 proved to us all that she can foot it with professional women’s basketball players like Jordan Sullivan who was recently named to the Danish Leagues All-Star Five, splitting traps, controlling the tempo and getting to the basket. She finished equal top scorer with 15-year-old teammate Charlotte Whittaker.
Zara Jillings, Nicole Ruske, Sariah Penese and Darci Finnagan provided perimeter scoring and were also able to get to the basket. The JTF’s were able to get to the foul line a total off 22 times but will be disappointed with only converting 12.
Maia Wattling and Coola Baudry were undersized but proved they could be disruptive defensively and keep players off the boards, Coola in 11 minutes of playing timed picked up an impressive 4 rebounds including 2 offensive boards.