Monthly Archives: January 2017

Wins for Purcell, Beck, Leger-Walker & Beckley but disappointment for Cocks

Micaela Cocks scored 13 points, snared 3 rebounds and a steal but the result was not what she wanted in her 150th game for Townsville Fire. The Fire, fourth on the table, lost a tight one 76-75 against second placed Sydney University Flames and still have a bit to do to clinch a WNBL play-off birth.

The reigning WNBL Grand Final MVP became just the second player to represent Townsville in 150 games. “It’s an exciting milestone to have 150 games for the same club,” said Cocks who made her debut in 2011 and has since helped Townsville to play-off basketball in every season since.

Toni Edmondson scored 14 points (5/9FG) for Perth Lynx on Friday night as they secured an 80-60 win on the road against Adelaide Lightning.

Jordan Hunter was busy for the Lightning with 3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and a steal.

Perth returned home for the tie against Dandenong Rangers on Sunday and defeated the top of the table Melbourne club 87-77. Edmondson scored 11 points (4/6FG) in that one.

American Colleges


BYU had a pair of overtime games last week recording a win and a loss. The Cougars were taken to double overtime by Santa Clara on Friday before prevailing 72-66 after the scores were tied 57 each after regulation and 65 apiece after an additional period. Kalani Purcell was within an assist of triple double territory after boasting a stat line of 10pts/17rebs/9a/3stls/2blocks.

Purcell was equally productive on Sunday (9pts/17rebs/5a/5stls) but BYU fell 77-74 against Loyola Marymount. The Cougars are now 7-3 in West Coast Conference play.

St Mary’s Gaels completed a three game road stretch with a hard earned 64-62 win at San Francisco. Stella Beck contributed a more than useful 12p/6r/1a/2b/3st stats line towards the win and improved the Gaels conference results to 6-3.

University of California, Berkley visited No 7 ranked Washington on Saturday and were well beaten 90-67 to slip to 3-6 in Pac-12 Conference play. Penina Davidson had a solid 6 points and 5 rebounds outing for Cal. Interestingly Washington boast the season’s leading scorer in NCAA Division 1 Women’s basketball in their lineup. Kelsey Plum, the nation’s leading scorer, averages 31 points per game so Cal may be satisfied they held her to 24 points!


Jacinta Beckley played a starring role for Seattle University Redhawks as they overturned a 36-22 half-time deficit to eventually beat Rio Grande Valley 67-54.

Beckley impressed with 18 points (7/9FG), 7 rebounds and a pair of steals as the Redhawks improve to 5-1 in Western Athletic Conference play.

Northern Colorado Bears made it 9 from 9 in Big Sky Conference fixtures after beating Northern Arizona 75-64 on Friday. Guard Krystal Leger-Walker knocked down 3 from 4 three-point attempts as she scored 11 points and dished 4 assists.


 Jillian Harmon scored a game high 15 points as Le Mura Lucca came from behind to defeat Ragusa 51-49 in a tight low scoring affair at home. Lucca improved to 14-1 and remains top of the Italian League table.











Milestone for Micaela Cocks

Micaela Cocks suits up for her 150th game for Townsville Fire on Saturday night. The Tall Ferns guard will be assisting the Fire (11-8) in their quest for a sixth consecutive Australian Women’s National Basketball League play-off spot when they host Sydney University Flames (14-6).

Cocks told the Laceylowdown, “I am looking forward for the game against Sydney as we have had many close games with them throughout the season. They are an in form team at the moment and we really want and need to win this one.”

The reigning WNBL Grand Final MVP will become just the second player to represent Townsville in 150 games.

“It’s an exciting milestone to have 150 game for the same club,” said Cocks who made her debut in 2011 and has since helped Townsville to play-off basketball in every season since.

The Beijing Olympian added, “I didn’t really know where Townsville was when I joined the club but I love it up here. It’s my favourite kind of weather, I love the sun.

“I didn’t expect to stay here so long but I haven’t regretted anything.”

The former North Harbour and University of Oregon standout sits fifth on the Townsville all-time scoring list and is third for assists.

Fotu, Purcell, Beck and Wetzell scoop awards

It has been a good week for a four of our overseas based international players with Isaac Fotu, Kalani Purcell, Stella Beck and Yani Wetzell all receiving awards.

Kalani Purcell was named West Coast Conference Women’s Player of the Week. The honour is the first for Purcell this season but the fourth of her BYU career.

The 6-foot-2 Tall Ferns forward recorded back-to-back double doubles in the Cougars’ two wins to keep the team in a tie for first place in the conference with a 6-2 record.

Purcell recorded 10 points and 13 rebounds as BYU beat Pepperdine in Malibu on Friday and threatened a rare triple double on Sunday as the Cougars beat Pacific 68-50. Purcell recorded 10 points, 8 rebounds and career high 10 assists in a dominating performance that kept BYU at the head of the West Coast Conference with a 6-2 record.

For the week, she averaged 10.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.0 steals while shooting 55.6 percent from the field.

She leads the team and the conference in rebounds, has the most double-doubles on the team with 11 and plays the second-most minutes.


Stella Beck plays in the same conference as Purcell and the former Hutt Valley player was named the Student-Athlete of the Week after being one of the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team’s standouts on an unbeaten West Coast Conference road trip.

Beck posted back-to-back double-figure scoring games and was perfect  from the free-throw line to help keep SMC just one game back of first place in the WCC.

Thursday at Pacific, Beck led Saint Mary’s with 14 points, including a perfect 8 for 8 showing at the free-throw line. She tied her season-best with nine rebounds as the Gaels defeated the then-first place Tigers on the road.

Saturday, Beck turned in another double-figures performance with 10 points. 7 of her 8 rebounds came on the offensive end.

Isaac Fotu received the Best Sixth Man award from a leading basketball publication in Spain, Gigantes del Basket. The Tall Blacks forward, in his third season in the Liga Endesa and his second season with Zaragoza, is averaging 10.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the club.


Yani Wetzell is making some waves in Texas or perhaps rattling some cages is a more appropriate phrase given the university he plays for.

Last year the 6’10” freshman averaged 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds for St Mary’s Rattlers, numbers and performances good enough to earn a spot in the New Zealand Select team that toured China.

Last week the former Westlake forward was named Heartland Conference Player of the Week after helping the Rattlers to a couple of Conference victories – Heartland is in an NCAA Division 2 conference.

Wetzell scored a career high 29 points (plus 12 rebounds) in an overtime victory against Newman on Saturday. Two days earlier he had notched 15 points to help St Mary’s overcome Oklahoma Panhandle State. This season he is averaging 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Tall Ferns humming overseas


It was top versus bottom in the Australian WNBL and the score line reflected the difference in the standings as Dandenong Rangers inflicted an 85-58 toweling on the Adelaide Lightning. Jordan Hunter had a highly respectable 7 points, 2 rebounds and 4 assists in 26 minutes for Adelaide.

Toni Edmondson scored 11 points for the Perth Lynx but they were burned 90-78 by the Flames in Sydney on Saturday night. Perth bounced back 24 hours later beating Melbourne Boomers 87-79 but Edmondson had just 4 points and 4 rebounds in that one.

Micaela Cocks had 7 points and 3 rebounds as Townsville Fire were too hot for Bendigo Spirit winning 87-67.

Townsville and Perth are tied for third spot on the WNBL ladder but Adelaide are dead last (2-17).

American College Action

Kalani Purcell put in a pair of performances at the weekend that earned her the West Coast Conference player of the week award.

Purcell recorded a double double of 10 points as BYU Cougars beat Pepperdine in Malibu on Friday and threatened a rare triple double on Sunday as the Cougars washed over Pacific 68-50. Purcell recorded 10 points, 8 rebounds and career high 10 assists in a dominating performance that kept BYU at the head of the West Coast Conference with a 6-2 record.

Stella Beck was also in fine form in the West Coast Conference. Beck was a perfect 8 from 8 free throws on the way to 14 points and 9 rebounds as St Mary’s won 63-54 at Pacific on Friday. She backed that up with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists as St Mary’s completed the road double by defeating Pepperdine 81-60 and improve their conference results to 5-3.

 Jacinta Beckley matched her career high of 18 points (6/14FG) as Seattle University Redhawks defeated Grand Canyon 88-61 on Sunday to improve to 4-0 in Western Athletic Conference play.

There is nothing grizzly about Northern Colorado’s form. The Bears have won 9 straight games including all 8 Big Sky Conference fixtures after heading Weber State 88-79 on Sunday. Freshman Krystal Leger-Walker chipped in with a tidy 7 points and 7 assists for the Bears.

Tessa Boagni had 4 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals but she couldn’t prevent Cal State Northridge slipping to 1-4 in the Big West Conference play after losing 70-63 to Cal Poly.


It was all the two’s for Tall Ferns guard Erin Rooney in a quiet start for Polish club Artego Bydgoszcz who she has joined for the second half of the European season. In 22 minutes Rooney had 2 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds as Bydgoszcz beat Polkowice 72-64.

Salt and Webster shine but other TB’s quiet


The numbers don’t do him justice (5 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block) but Jack Salt impressed everyone including coach Tony Bennett as Virginia beat Georgia Tech 62-49 to improve to 5-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play on Sunday.

“There were some great stat lines, but I don’t think there were any better than the way Jack impacted the game. Statistically, he had six rebounds and played 35 minutes. Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech centre) is a good player and he made him earn everything. He played with his hands free, he fought his position and showed his strength, and that was impressive. I love seeing that, and it was a huge key for us in the game because that guy can score and make some big plays,” said Bennett.

Salt logged a career high 35 minutes and admitted to some weariness post game, “I was pretty tired, I hadn’t played this much in a long time, but I was very happy to be out there. It was so good to be out there and guard a good player. I was excited for the challenge, because his offense means a lot of one-on-one defense.”

Nebraska suffered the agony of a single point defeat twice in four days to slip to 3-4 in Big Ten conference action.

Tai Webster had a game high 18 points, as the Huskers were edged 67-66 by Ohio State on Thursday. He followed that with a team high 14 points as the Huskers lost 65-64 to Rutgers at the weekend.

Isaac Fotu’s form seems to be mirroring that of his team Zaragoza. The Tall Blacks forward contributed just a single point and a pair of rebounds as Zaragoza went down 82-77 at home to Unicaja and they have now lost five of their last seven games in the Spanish League.

In the Australia NBL Brisbane Bullets bounced back from a 33 points mauling at Adelaide on Thursday to upset Melbourne United 88-71 on Saturday. Reuben Te Rangi is finding buckets hard to come by (just 2 points across the two outings) but is doing a fine job defensively as he spends some time in both the small forward and guard spots – he had 3 rebounds in each game.

The same can be said for Jarrod Kenny. The Perth Wildcats point guard didn’t trouble the scorers last week as Perth won at home against Cairns and lost at Vector Arena on Sunday against the Breakers.

World Masters Games – table officials volunteers still needed


As most are aware the World Masters Games is being held in Auckland in the second week of the April school holidays.

Already over 150 teams have entered from all around the globe – close to 100 of these teams are from overseas.

We are still keen to engage more table officials and referees BUT tomorrow – Friday January 20th is the last day for volunteers to register – your help would be very much appreciated.

Last day for volunteer registrations tomorrow – jump on board and join the team


Mike Lacey

Fotu relieved plus season best efforts from Webster, Le’afa and Karena


Isaac Fotu was a relieved man on Sunday as Zaragoza escaped with an overtime win beating Manresa, the bottom club in the Spanish League, 87-77. Fotu, now in his third season in Spain, played for Manresa in his first Liga Endesa season and will have been delighted to gain the victory against his former club – he posted 9 points (4/7FG) and 7 rebounds in 30 minutes of action.

Also in Spain Mike Karena equaled his season best with 23 points at a very efficient 9 from 11 shooting. The Tall Blacks forward added 8 rebounds for good measure as Sammic ISB comfortably disposed of Tarragona, 90-68, in the second tier LEB Silver competition. Sammic remain tied for top spot with a 12-5 record.

In American college action Tai Webster continued his excellent run of form. The combo guard recorded career highs in points (28) and rebounds (9) but couldn’t prevent Nebraska falling 91-85 at Michigan. The combo guard converted 12 from 20 scoring attempts from the field as the Huskers slip to 3-2 in Big Ten Conference play


Jack Salt fouled out in just 18 minutes as Virginia beat Clemson 77-73 and move to 3-2 in Athletic Coast Conference play. Salt has 2 points, 2 rebounds and a block.

Sacramento State had begun 0-3 in Big Sky Conference play but a couple of road wins last week improved their standing. On Friday they beat Southern Utah 88-83 with Izayah Le’afa scoring a season high 16 points (5/7FG). They backed up on Sunday outscoring Northern Arizona 74-62. Le’Afa only scored three points in that one but helped orchestrate the win with 33 minutes of action – he has converted 8 from 10 threes in the last three games.

In the Australia NBL Reuben Te Rangi scored 5 straight points in the third period for Brisbane Bullets against the Breakers. Brisbane looked destined to take the win until Breakers new point guard Kevin Dillard intervened with the last 6 points of the game to snatch an improbable 84-82 victory.


Beckley & Beck in the points, Davidson the blocks and Purcell the rebounds


There were career highs and season bests as a number of Tall Ferns excelled in college action last week.

 University of California Berkley snapped a three game losing streak with a 65-53 victory at Colorado on Saturday. Penina Davidson was highly influential for the Bears snaring 8 rebounds and scoring 8 points as well as swatting a career high 6 blocks.

Unfortunately the Bears went down 63-57 at Utah on Sunday – Davidson had another 8 rebounds plus 5 points in that one. The Bears are now 2-4 in Pac-12 Conference play.

She gobbled up 19 rebounds and added 10 points and 4 assists but it wasn’t enough to secure the win as Kalani Purcell and BYU Cougars fell 70-63 at San Francisco on Friday. They bounced back on Sunday to defeat San Diego 81-63 with Purcell notching 15pts, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. BYU are now 4-2 in West Coast Conference play.

Also in the West Coast Conference St Mary’s Gaels are 3-3 after a win and a loss this week. Stella Beck, with a season high 19 points, plus 4 rebounds and 6 assists, helped the Gaels down Portland 92-76 on Friday. Beck looked set to eclipse that mark on Sunday as she scored 18 first half points against Gonzaga. Unfortunately she and the Gaels faded after the interval as they went down 79-75. The Hutt Valley native didn’t add to her opening half points tally but did amass 9 rebounds to come within a whisker of a double double.

 In a rich vein of form at the moment Jacinta Beckley recorded 13p/3r/1a/1b/1st as Seattle University Redhawks defeated University of Missouri-Kansas City 75-65 on Friday. Seattle moved to 3-0 in Western Athletic Conference play after beating Chicago State 64-51 on Sunday. Beckley went 7 from 9 in accumulating 15 points.


Krystal Leger-Walker only had 4 points as Northern Colorado Bears mauled Montana 65-46 on Friday but the combo guard was huge in general court play. She led the game in both assists (8) and steals (4) as the Bears won a sixth straight game and their fifth in Big Sky Conference fixtures.

Tessa Boagni had 7 points, 6 rebounds and a pair of blocks as Cal State Northridge slipped to 1-3 in the Big West Conference after an 81-65 loss at UC Davis.

Australian WNBL

Townsville Fire couldn’t mark Suzy Batkovich’s 300th WNBL appearance with a win. They went down 73-67 at Canberra Capitals where Micaela Cocks played a strong hand for the Fire with 8 points, 4 assists and 2 steals.


 Le Mura Lucca overcame a one point three-quarter time deficit to defeat Torino 78-62 in Italian Cup quarter-final tie. Jillian Harmon was one of five Lucca players in double figures, scoring 15 points, as Lucca outscored Torino 24-13 in the fourth.

Other News


Tall Ferns guard Erin Rooney has signed with Polish club Artego Bydgoszcz for the second half of the Polish League season.

Rooney has battled back to fitness after undergoing knee surgery early last year. The Cantabrian picked up the knee injury playing for Calais in the French League, an injury that impacted on her ability to perform at her best for the Tall Ferns during last year’s Olympic Qualifying campaign.

Bydgoszcz are the reigning Polish League champions but currently sit seventh on the twelve team competition ladder with a 7-6 record.

Rooney’s signing takes to seven the number of Tall Ferns currently playing on professional contracts overseas joining:

Jillian Harmon – Le Mura Lucca (Italy)

Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast (both Townsville Fire)

Toni Edmondson (Perth Lynx)

Jordan Hunter (Adelaide Lightning)

Jess Bygate (Melbourne Boomers)

Rooney signs on in Poland


Tall Ferns guard Erin Rooney has signed with Polish club Artego Bydgoszcz for the second half of the Polish League season.

Rooney has battled back to fitness after undergoing knee surgery early last year. Rooney picked up the knee injury playing for Calais in the French League, an injury that impacted on her ability to perform at her best for the Tall Ferns during last year’s Olympic Qualifying campaign.

Bydgoszcz are the reigning Polish League champions but currently sit seventh in the twelve team competition with a 7-6 record.

It is unclear when Rooney will make her debut in the Polish competition.

Kiwi Men in College – half term report

Last week we took a look at the New Zealand women in NCAA Division 1 colleges. This week we provide a half-term report on the nine blokes playing in Division 1.



Tai Webster is having a stand out season for the Nebraska Cornhuskers having scored in double figures in every outing this season 20,10,23.16,19,23,12,12,20,22,17,10,21,18,23,17. The Tall Blacks point guard leads the Huskers in points (17.7ppg) and assists (4.1apg) as his team currently boasts a 3-1 record in Big Ten Conference play – their beast start in 41 years. Webster was voted Big Ten Conference Co-Player of the Week in the first week of January after Nebraska won on the road at Maryland and Indiana. Webster averaged 19.5 points, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals across the two games.


Tom Vadonovich is in his final year at James Madison University has made over 100 appearances for the Dukes. The former St Pat’s College forward is averaging 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game this season with a college career high of 18 points against Western Michigan back in October.

The Dukes are currently 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Conference.




Angus Riley is averaging 3.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game at Bryant University where the Bulldogs are 1-3 in the Northeast Conference, one of the losses in overtime another by three points. The ex Nayland college forward scored a season high 11 points against Salve Regina in November. His career best of 18 points came against Prairie View A&M last season.



Zach Young is finding minutes hard to come by at Nicholls State Colonels. A member of the 2012 Junior Tall Backs, alongside fellow Wellingtonian Vadonovich, Young is averaging 2 points per game with a season high 10 points scored against Thomas University in December. The Colonels are 9-7 overall this season and 2-1 in Southland Conference play.




Jack Salt is having a fine season anchoring the defence at the Tony Bennett coached Virginia Cavaliers. The 6’11” centre has started every game for the No 11 ranked Cavs that are 12-3 for the season and 2-2 in the strong Atlantic Coast Conference. The former Westlaker averages 4.6 points per game but it is at the defensive end where he averages 4 rebounds per game that he is most effective. Had a season high 10 points against Robert Morris in December.



The first year in college is normally about transitioning from high school basketball to a totally different environment and culture. Obtaining a decent chunk of court time is often difficult at best.


Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’Afa has transitioned better than most becoming a regular starter at Sacramento State. Overall Le’Afa is averaging 3.9 points per game but in the three Big Sky Conference games – unfortunately all lost by the Hornets – he has upped his average to 9.3ppg playing 30 minutes per fixture. The former St Pat’s point guard had a season best 11 points against Portland last week landing all three efforts from beyond the three-point arc.


Tai Wynyard is struggling to make an impression at the NBA factory otherwise known as the University of Kentucky. Wynyard has clocked less than 3 minutes per game in his 10 appearances for the Wildcats and has accumulated just 8 points and 9 rebounds for the No 6 ranked college team in the nation.



The third ex Westlake Boys student at a Div 1 school is Matt Freeman. He started with a hiss and a roar for Oklahoma Sooners scoring 15 points on debut for last season’s NCAA Championship semi-finalists. As expected in a first season the swingman’s form and opportunities have fluctuated although he has been given court time in every Sooners game. Freeman is averaging 4.6 points and 2.0 rebounds across 15 games. Oklahoma are struggling a little in the Big 12 Conference with a 0-4 record.


Former Otago Boys High, and briefly Middleton Grange, forward Sam Timmins has been providing good minutes, 14 on average with a season best 25, for the University of Washington where the Huskies are 1-2 in Pac-12 action, 8-7 overall.

Having made 7 starts this season Timmins corralled a season high 11 rebounds against Western Kentucky and averages 3.4 boards and 3.7 points per game for the Huskies.