There were a number of excellent performances from our Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks overseas last week.
The majority of our American college players were involved in Thanksgiving tournaments. There were a large number of games and plenty of strong performances so here is a quick recap.
It was a mixed weekend from the Nebraska Huskers at the Wooden Legacy but a stunning three games from Tai Webster. He fouled out in 27 minutes as the Huskers edged Dayton 80-78 on Friday but scored 16 points before exiting. The following night the combo guard produced a career high 7 assists added to 19 points and 7 rebounds as the Huskers fell to UCLA 82-71. The former Westlake standout finished off with a game high 23 points plus 8 boards as Nebraska went down 66-53 to Virginia Tech.
St Mary’s Gaels were the hosts at the Hilton Concord Classic but went down 83-78 to Boise state on Saturday and 63-62 on Sunday to Utah. Stella Beck came within a whisker of a double double in both games. She followed up 15 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds with 11 points and 9 rebounds.
Kalani Purcell went stats stuffing at the UNM tournament in Albuquerque. Coincidentally BYU won both their games 71-56 firstly against St Joseph’s then Tulsa.
No coincidence that Purcell was in the tick of things with 12/11/6/4b v St Joe’s and 19/7/6/2b/3st the next day.
Fellow Tall Ferns forward Penina Davidson was also busy. She landed 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 3 blocks as Cal Berkley beat San Francisco 75-52 at their own Cal Classic tournament. Davidson made an even better return in the second game – 14p/9r/2a/2st/2b as the Golden Bears recorded another win this time against Duquesne 86-66.
Tessa Boagni was in fine rebounding form as Cal State, Northridge accounted for Detroit Mercy 76-67 at the Raddison Chatsworth Classic. Boagni snared 9 boards to accompany 4 points and a pair of blocks. There were another 9 boards plus 8 points for the Cantabrian in the 63-59 loss to Michigan State on Sunday.
Krystal Leger-Walker produced 11 points and 8 assists as Northern Colorado Bears beat the hosts University of Texas-San Antonio 73-66 on Saturday at the UTSA Classic. Leger-Walker had a poor shooting night (2/9FG) as the Bears downed Eastern Michigan 58-57 in their second game but the Waikato guard was all hustle with 4 assists and 5 steals. Her fifth steal was critical – secured with 18 seconds to play it enabled the Bears to set up the game winning final play.
Jacinta Beckley produced her best return of the season to date with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists as Seattle Redhawks went down to Portland State 79-71.
There was a nice return for Jack Salt as Virginia Cavs won both games at the Emarald Coast Classic. The Cavs beat Iowa 74-41 and Providence 63-52. Salt started in both games but really made a mark in game two with 8 points (4/6FG) and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.
Tai Wynyard is struggling for court time at Kentucky but did put his limited time to good use against Cleveland State scoring 4 points and securing 3 rebounds in just four minutes as the Wildcats improved to 5-0 with a 101-70 victory against Cleveland State.
Away from college hoops:
In an Australian WNBL Grand Final rematch Perth Lynx stole a win in Townsville defeating the Fire 89-85 in another classic on Friday night.
The match pitched Tall Fern v Tall Fern as both Micaela Cocks and Toni Edmondson featured strongly for their respective teams.
For Perth Edmondson scored a season high 18 points (6/12FG, 3/7 3PG), secured a game high 11 rebounds and added a block and a steal.
Cocks also came close to a double double adding 9 rebounds to her 14 points for the Fire. The defending champions slip to sixth on the ladder with a 5-6 record, Perth (7-3) moved to second the table.
La Murra Lucca (7-1) proved far too good for bottom of the table Battipaglia in Italian League action. Jillian Harmon bullied the Batt’s to record 25 points and 8 rebounds.
Despite going down 60-57 at Zomotza Mike Karena’s Sammic ISB are still top of the Spanish second division competition with a 7-3 record. Karena had a double double of 10 points and 11 rebounds in his latest outing
In other news
There has been some bad news followed by better news for Tall Ferns Brooke Blair. As reported a couple of weeks ago Blair went down after just seven minutes of Idaho State’s 82-78 season opening loss to Santa Clara.
It can be confirmed that the former Rangitoto College standout has suffered a season ending ACL injury. The Bengals combo guard was looking forward to a successful senior year but will now spend the coming months rehabbing. The silver lining for Blair is that she is permitted to redshirt the current campaign meaning that she will be eligible to conclude her college career in the 2017-18 season.
Last season Blair started all 33 games for the Bengals reaching double figures in 26 contests. Averaging 12.4 points per game she finished second on the teams scoring and fourteenth on the Big Sky Conference scoring list earning Conference All-Tournament team selection.
Her consistent performances caught the eye of the Tall Ferns selectors and Blair made her full international debut against the Czech Republic in May on the tour of China
The following month she returned to her native North Shore and scored 22 points for New Zealand Select against China B at AUT Sports Centre.
The 22 year old is understandably “disappointed” to have to sit out the current season but as she told the Lowdown, “I will now concentrate on my rehab programme with the aim being to be fully fit for next season.”