Following the high of defeating the Poland Under 23 team on Saturday the Junior Tall Ferns were brought back down to earth in their latest game in China.
The Ferns were defeated 65-46 by the USA Select team in Weng’an on Monday.
The first quarter was tight with the Americans holding a slight 11-9 advantage after ten minutes. The Kiwis were very much in the contest approaching half-time but some key lapses allowed USA Select to open up a 30-19 half-time lead.
The third quarter was a killer for the Ferns, the Select team building momentum and heading into the final quarter with a 50-31 lead that was just too much for the Kiwis to recover from.
Once again the JTF’s held their own on the glass (43-49) but it was poor shooting that hurt them hitting just 17 from 55 from the field. The three point shooting was very poor as they made a paltry 2 from 21 attempts.
Southland’s Aliyah Dunn was the best of the Ferns with 11 points whilst Otago’s Nicole Ruske led the rebounding effort with 7 boards.
Report from Brent Matehaere (Junior Tall Ferns head coach).
Unfortunately the Junior Tall Ferns have not been able to take the scalp of the USA team. When looking at the defensive effort, we could say that one was there for the taking. It was still a one point ball game with 4 minutes to go in the first half when defensive transition errors let the US convert on lay ups off long rebounds and turn overs. The JTF’s were really struggling to convert on offense missing wide open looks, shots near the basket and even lay ups.
The team may be feeling the rigors of international travel and will need to pick themselves up for the last two games.
Highlights . . . these are difficult to find when the performance did not match the effort on the floor and the opportunity missed. Nicole Ruske and Maia Watling gave it everything they had at both ends of the floor and Aliyah Dunn demonstrated the range we know she has with 11 points including a triple from the wing. Ruske also lead the team in rebounds (7) belying her light frame, boxing out the bigger opponents and getting her hands on the ball.
USA Select 65
JTF’s 46 – Dunn 11pts/2rebs, Clarke 9/4/2a, Ruske 4/7/1/1stl, Finnigan 4/2/1, Leger-Walker 4/4/1, Watling 4/3/2, Diakaby 4/6/1stl, Penese 4/3, Hirawani 2/3, Jillings 0/6/1blk/1stl. Baudry 0/2
The Junior Tall Ferns conclude their nine game tour of China with games against China (tonight, Tuesday) and Poland on Wednesday.