The New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns continued their tour of China with a third defeat in three days against a much older Polish team in Foshan on Tuesday. The Polish Under 23 team eventually proved too strong for the JTF’s winning 65-48 after opening up a 34-25 half-time advantage.
North Canterbury’s Charlotte Whittaker came close to a double double with 8 points and 7 rebounds and she was aided on the boards by Nicole Ruske and Darci Finnigan.
Report filed by Brent Matehaere (JTF’s head coach).
The JTF’s finally got the start they were after going out to an 8 – 2 lead in the first quarter. Poland struggled to convert and the youngsters from NZ were able to take the Poles out of their offense keeping them to one side of the floor.
Poland was able to then adjust and use their physicality and length to challenge us at the defensive end and while we were able to create open looks we struggled to convert consistently. This may have been due to the extra contact that we were receiving on offense. The JTF’s only got to the line 12 times to Poland’s 23. A lesson in loud screaming and flailing limbs may be in order on the Bullet train trip to Yuqing Guizhou Province.
The Poles finished strongly in the first quarter to finish 15-13 ahead. This gave them moment heading into the 2nd quarter when they were able able to take a substantial lead through excellent perimeter shooting from players who had not demonstrated that skill in the earlier two games. This combined with an inability to find the bottom of the net shooting only 21% saw the Polish team take a lead of 34-25.
The JTF’s were able to create 6 turnovers through full court pressure in the quarter but were unable to convert these into points. Our own turnovers were a major factor with the team coughing the ball up a total of 21 times to their 19.
North Harbour forward Katie Daikhaby had a stand out performance scoring 6 points and using her strength to negate the talented 6″6″ Weronica Telenga.
Aliyah Dunn also continued to make steady improvements in understanding the international game and utilising her skill set against quality opposition.
The JTF’s unlike in the previous two nights were unable to close the gap as the Poles continued to keep our disruptive guards at bay.
Darci Finnigan picked up 3 steals in a quality defensive performance and Tiarna Clarke was at her creative best as she caused havoc going to the basket. Clarke only scored 6 points but numerous assists went begging as we failed to convert scoring opportunities.
The game came to a humourous end when the Polish Coach called a time out to advance the ball with 11 seconds remaining. The 5 tallest players were subbed in to disrupt the play. They did just that, all putting their hands up to play the point on the final possession
JTF’s 48 – Whittaker 8/7rebs, Diakaby 6/3rebs, Penese 6/3rebs, Clarke 6, Ruske 5/6rebs, Finnigan 4/4rebs/3st, Dunn 4/2rebs/2stls, Hirawani 4/3rebs, Leger-Walker 3/2rebs, Jillings 2/1block.