The second of two games featuring New Zealand Select and China B was played at AUT Sports Centre on Monday night. Once again the Chinese proved too strong for the Select team running out comfortable winners 84-51.
New Zealand added 17 year old Junior Tall Fern Tiarna Clarke to the team that played the first game but used the same starting five of Janet Main, Brooke Blair and the Canterbury Wildcats trio of Ashley Gayle, Shea Crotty and Charlotte Whittaker.
15 year old Whittaker scored the first couple of baskets for NZ Select but they quickly found themselves 15-4 down, coach Jody Cameron calling a timeout after 4 minutes.
Things didn’t improve greatly as the Chinese displayed excellent shooting efficiency converting 12 from 15 shots in the first quarter to lead 29-10.
Gayle made four points at the outset of the second period and Mary Goulding helped the defensive intensity of the Kiwis. Clarke knocked down a jump shot immediately after her introduction but the Kiwis were finding points hard to come by and trailed 50-22 at half-time, Whittaker the best of the Kiwis with 6 points.
In the half China had been damaging from beyond the three point arc connecting with 4 from 5 attempts and shooting an impressive 66% overall.
An attempted dunk from Ashley Gail failed to find the net whilst at the other end China continued to hit from long range extending its lead to 62-26 at the mid point of the third stanza.
Clarke showed a glimpse of her potential with a shimmy to open the lane for a banked floater but getting good looks at the basket remained an issue for the home team trailing 73-36 at three-quarter time.
Shea Crotty drew applause from the crowd with a pair of long triples and a Fran Edmondson put back gave the Select team some scoring momentum. Edmondson then followed up her own block for a break away layup and Crotty nailed her third three as the Kiwis finished a tough night on a positive note by winning the final period 15-11.
NZ Select coach Jody Cameron was pleased with the effort of her team.
“Our experienced guards really set the tone by playing with great heart and competing on every play. Also our youngsters, we had four teenagers in the team, showed glimpses of their potential.
“I like the concept of the Select team as it gives a wider group of players the experience of playing international basketball and I hope this can be repeated in the future.
“The result has to be put into perspective. We had a group of amateur players playing with two practices before the first game and China had a professional team that had been together for three months. Despite that our team played with a lot of spirit in both games.”
NZ Select 51 – Gayle 10pts/4rebs/4 steals, Crotty 9, Edmondson 8, Whittaker 8pts/4rebs, Clarke 6, Jodi Hikuroa-Jeffrey 4, Goulding 3pts/6rebs, Main 2pts/4rebs, Terai Sadler 1pt/5rebs