Pride of place this week goes to the New Zealand Women’s team at the 2016 FIBA 3×3 World Championships in China as we reflect on a busy week for Kiwis overseas.
The New Zealand team comprised of Georgia Agnew (Waikato), Breana Jones (Auckland/Counties) and the Tall Ferns pair of Deena Franklin (North Harbour) and Krystal Leger-Walker (Waikato).
The team boasted a 3-1 record in pool play and normally would expect to advance to play-off action but the Kiwis were denied by points differential as Netherlands (15.5 pts per game average) and Ukraine (14.5) marginally bettered NZ (14.0) as all three teams finished with a 3-1 record in Pool A. Unfortunately New Zealand missed out on quarter-final action.
Overall this was a fine effort by the New Zealand team to perform strongly at a World Championship event. The team was seeded 16th of the 20 participating nations and defeated three higher ranked teams before being squeezed out by a three points differential.
Franklin (26 points) and Agnew (24 points) both featured in the top 20 scorers in the tournament. There was a degree of compensation for Agnew, who has just returned to NZ after four years at Utah Valley University, as she took the bronze medal in the Skills Contest at the tournament.
The second best performance belonged to Isaac Fotu, the power forward scoring a highly efficient 16 points (8/11FG) to go with 8 rebounds. His effort couldn’t prevent Zaragoza slipping to a third Spanish League defeat in four outings as they lost 87-84 to Sevilla.
Coming in at number three was Jillian Harmon. The Tall Ferns forward scored 16 points for Le Mura Lucca who were beaten 69-68 by Napoli in the Italian League.
Mike Karena, on the back of a perfect shooting night, claimed fourth spot. The 2016 Tall Blacks rookie notched 10 points (5/5FG), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block as Sammic ISB made it three from three in the Spanish Second Division competition. Sammic beat Navarro 63-56.
Fifth was Jess Bygate who had a nice double of 8 points and 8 rebounds in a starting role for Melbourne Boomers on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Boomers and Bygate they were outscored 25-17 in the fourth to go down 88-85 to Perth Lynx in a tight WNBL encounter.
Rounding out the top six was Jarrod Kenny. He scored 9 points including the go ahead triple in the fourth quarter for Perth Wildcats as they held off the Breakers in the Perth Arena on Friday night.
Also worthy of mention are the Cook Islands women’s team and the New Zealand Men’s team that also competed at the 3×3 World Champs. Both teams exited after pool play with a 0-4 record but the collective 8 losses were all against higher ranked teams.
Any players attending a FIBA World Championship event should be congratulated on a rare achievement regardless of the results.
The North Harbour pair of Rory Fannon and Karl Noyer plus Nick Fee and Hamish Sheridan represented New Zealand Men from Waikato. Noyer led the NZ scoring with 20 points.
The quartet of Johaana Bates, Adoniah Lewis, Janet Main and Terai Sadler, familiar names in NZ women’s basketball circles, made up the Cook Islands team.
Bubbling under last week:
Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast each scored 6 points as Townsville Fire thumped Adelaide Lightning 85-56. Jordan Hunter made it a half dozen trifecta for the Kiwis by landing 6 points for Adelaide as they struggled to compete with the WNBL defending champs.
Toni Edmondson had 4 rebounds and a team high 6 assists for Perth Lynx but it wasn’t a shooting performance to remember for the Cantabrian. The Lynx went down 94-74 at Dandenong with Edmondson a cold 1 from 10 from the field managing just 3 points.
Dion Prewster made his first appearance of the season for the Sydney Kings scoring a couple of points as the Kings defeated Illawarra Hawks 88-84 to hand Andrew Gaze his first W as head coach of Sydney.