Monthly Archives: January 2017

Tall Blacks roundup as Webster keeps rolling



In American college action there was another terrific performance from Tai Webster as Nebraska Huskers had an epic double overtime win against Iowa on Friday. Webster played 49 minutes and as the Huskers moved to 3-0 in Big Ten Conference play. To put the 3-0 start in perspective it is the first time that the Huskers have been unbeaten in the first three conference games for 41 years!

Webster ended the marathon encounter with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.

The Tall Blacks guard claimed his 17th consecutive double figure outing on Monday but Nebraska’s unbeaten four game run came to an end, as they were downed 74-62 by Northwestern. Webster had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in that one.

Jack Salt continued in his starting role for No 11 ranked Virginia Cavaliers in a 79-62 victory against Wake Forrest on Monday. Salt managed 5 points, 5 rebounds an assist and a block as the Cavs improved to 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Izayah Le’afa had a season high 11 points (3/3 3PG) but Sacramento State fell to 0-3 in Big Sky Conference play after going down 83-76 against Portland State.

In Europe

 Isaac Fotu produced a double double of 12 points (5/8FG) and 10 rebounds but it wasn’t enough to prevent Zaragoza slipping to a third straight loss in Spanish League action. They went down 94-78 at Estudiantes and have slipped to 13th on the 17 team Liga Endesa ladder.

 Mike Karena landed 8 points and 7 rebounds but fouled out as Sammic ISB beat Gandia 76-64 in the second tier Spanish LEB Silver competition. Sammic are in a four-way tie at the top of the table with an 11-5 record.

Pro and college review of Tall Ferns in action

Basketball - Tall Ferns v Japan, 27 August 2009

Toni Edmondson

Perth Lynx put on a show to help Toni Edmondson celebrate her 200th WNBL game defeating Bendigo Spirit 108-67. Unfortunately for Edmondson she found herself in foul trouble and was limited to 5 points, 5 assists and a pair of rebounds in her 19 minutes of action.

Edmondson first played in the WNBL for the Christchurch Sirens ten years ago. She had stints with Adelaide, Bendigo and Dandenong before settling in Perth, playing 110 games for the franchise since signing in 2012.

Talking about the milestone Edmondson said, “I knew it was coming up I just didn’t know it was so soon. When you are start you don’t think you are going to be around that long – I generally take it season by season.”

 Micaela Cocks was one of five Townsville players in double figures on Friday night as the Fire demolished Canberra Capitals 93-60. The Tall Ferns guard finished with 14 points (5/9FG), 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Continue reading

Kiwi women in college – half term report

It is a bit of a challenge trying to keep tabs on the growing number of Kiwis playing in American college basketball. Here is a little summary of who is doing what in the Women’s teams with apologies in advance for those I have overlooked. Time permits to have a look only at players in NCAA Division 1 schools.

For convenience I have grouped the players by year groups.



Kalani Purcell continues to impresses at BYU. The Tall Ferns forward is averaging almost a double double for the Cougars (12 points and 9.2 rebounds) as well as leading the team in steals. The Cougars were West Coast Conference regular season champions last year and have begun with a win and a loss in defence of that title. Purcell had 18 double doubles last season the most by a BYU player in a season – she has 6 already this season.


Playing in the Big Sky Conference is former Freyberg High guard Freya Newton. She has started all 13 games for Idaho State Bengals that are currently 8-5 for the season. Newton is contributing a very useful 5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Unfortunately she is not getting to play alongside Brooke Blair as her fellow senior went down with an ACL injury in the opening game of the season. Blair is now red shirting this season. Continue reading

So where are the 2009 Junior Tall Blacks now?


Without doubt one of the basketball highlights of 2016 was the success of the Junior Tall Blacks.

Beating Australia 57-51 in the final of the FIBA U18 Oceania Championships in December advanced the JTB’s to the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championships.

The World Championships, to be held in Cairo in early July, will be just the second attended by a New Zealand age group team – the last appearance was the Men’s Under 19’s in Auckland in 2009.

I thought it an opportune time to reflect on 2009 and look at where that group of players, that performed admirably in Auckland under the watch of head coach Kenny McFadden, are now at. Continue reading

Alex Pledger logs 200th game for Breakers



On Friday night in Cairns Alex Pledger will turn out for the 200th time in a Breakers uniform. He will become just the fifth Breaker to reach that mark behind Mika Vukona (315), Paul Henare (250), Tom Abercrombie (241) and Dillon Boucher (220).

Pledger says it is quite ironic that he plays his 200th game against the Taipans, “My 100th and 150th games were both against the Taipans, and it’s a bit of a strange coincidence that the 200th is against them as well.”

Now in his eighth season with the club – he debuted as a development player against Melbourne Tigers in October 2009 – Pledger has played on all four SKYCITY Breakers championship winning teams.

He missed the second half of the 2013-2014 season due to injury but either side of that he has been remarkably resilient missing just 5 of the Breakers 178 games in that time.

“I didn’t think I would get to this in the last couple of years but I’m pretty proud to get to that number and the body is feeling pretty good at the moment so hopefully I can go on and get a few more,” said Pledger.

He was the NBL’s leading shot blocker in 2012/13 (46 at 1.5bpg) and rebounder (227 at 7.3rpg). He also had his most productive scoring season, notching 331 points at 10.7 per outing.

This season he leads the NBL in field goal shooting percentages – 64.8% (75/116), is third on the shot blocking list (26 at 1.4pg) and 7th in rebounding (121 at 6.7pg).

Breakers head coach Paul Henare believes there is plenty more to come from his centre.

“He is only 29 and and big guys come into their prime in their late twenties early thirties so I think we will see further improvements in Alex’s game over the coming seasons.”

Pledger by Numbers

2009 – 2017 New Zealand Breakers

Appearances 199 – 5th all-time

Blocks 218 – First all-time

Rebounds 1,080 – 3rd all-time

Points 1,509 – 8th all-time

Double doubles 16 – 4th all-time

Wins 136 – 3rd all-time

Big Ten weekly honour for Webster


Tai Webster was named Big Ten Conference Co-Player of the Week following the Nebraska Huskers’ road wins over No 16 Indiana and Maryland in the past week. The award caps off a fine week for both Webster and the Huskers.

Webster averaged 19.5 points on 52 percent shooting, 3.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals across the two games as the Huskers opened conference play 2-0 for the first time since 2005-06 with both wins coming on the road.

Webster fuelled the Huskers’ comeback at Maryland on New Years Day, scoring the last seven points of the game including the go-ahead basket with 31.2 seconds left, as Nebraska scored the final 14 points in a 67-65 win.

Webster finished with 18 points and five assists, in handing Maryland only their second Big Ten home loss in three seasons.

The Tall Blacks guard picked up his sixth 20-point game of the season at No. 16 Indiana on Wednesday, finishing with 21 points, five rebounds and four steals, as Nebraska snapped the Hoosiers’ 26-game home win streak.

Webster shared the player of the week award with Minnesota’s Nate Mason, who had 31 points in the Gophers’ win at Purdue on Sunday.

Webster has made double figure scores in all 14 of the Nebraska’s games this season leading the scoring with 243 points at 17.4 per game. He also leads the assists category – 3.9 per outing – and is second in steals (1.4pg) and third in rebounding (4.8pg).

Webster and Davidson continue good form


It was a tale of agony and ecstasy on New Years Day for a couple of Kiwi’s involved in thrilling college basketball games.

Starting with the ecstasy Nebraska Huskers shocked No 16 Indiana, snapping its 26 game home winning streak, on Wednesday and rallied past Maryland, which entered the game 13-1 on the opening day of 2017.

Led by 18 points from Tai Webster, his 15th consecutive double digit game, the Huskers recorded a 67-65 come from behind victory at Maryland and improved to 2-0 in Big Ten Conference play.

The Huskers were as many as 13 points behind in the second half and still trailed by nine with four minutes to play.

Nebraska ate further into the Maryland advantage before Webster took charge in the final three minutes scoring the last 7 points of the game to seal a dramatic win.

“I think just having belief in ourselves and our team. We wanted to play better in moments like this obviously after not having the start of the season we wanted. So to be in this position now is big to have our guys come through and step up and make plays,” said Webster referring to the 14-0 run that stole the win.

For the record the Tall Blacks guard also had 5 assists, 2 steals and a couple of rebounds.


It was mixed emotions for Penina Davidson as the University of California Berkley Bears unbeaten start to the season came to an end in an epic 72-62 double overtime defeat at Arizona State.Cal had entered the game with a 13-0 record for the season – 1-0 in Pac 12 Conference play.

Despite the loss, on a personal note it was a night to remember for the Rangitoto College alumni. Davidson scored a career high 19 points (8/16FG, 3/5 3PG) – the Tall Ferns forward added stuffing to the stats line with 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.

Like Webster, Davidson is in good form at present having posted a massive double double, her first for the No 21 ranked Bears, of 12 points and 14 rebounds in her previous outing.

Plenty of Kiwis were in action on New Years Eve


Kalani Purcell

A bunch of Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks played on New Year’s Eve – see the round up of the action below.

None were more impressive than Kalani Purcell. The Tall Ferns forward threatened triple double territory as she strung together the impressive stats line of 13 points, 6 rebounds, 11 assists and 5 steals as BYU Cougars beat Loyola Marymount 76-59. The win improves BYU to 1-1 in West Coast Conference action.

Also 1-1 in the WCC are St Mary’s Gaels after going down 73-71 at San Diego. Stella Beck followed up her 18 points outing last week with 14 points in this one making 7 of 10 from the field in a game that featured 16 lead changes.

Katelin Noyer was big for Fresno State, her 12 points (6/9FG) key in helping the Bulldogs eke out a 71-70 win at Nevada. Fresno are now 1-1 in Mountain West Conference play.

Krystal Leger-Walker had a relatively quiet night as Northern Colorado Bears improved to 2-0 in Big Sky Conference action. The Waikato guard had just the one basket plus 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals as the Bears mauled Portland State 91-62.

California State Northridge Matadors wrapped up non-conference action with an extremely low scoring encounter against Penn going down 47-36. Tessa Boagni, like her teammates struggled offensively with just 6 points but 2 blocks and 8 rebounds helped the Matadors stay in the contest.

Jack Salt had a team high 7 rebounds for Virginia Cavaliers but they were upset at home by Florida State going down 60-58 – just the second loss in the last 37 Atlantic Coast Conference games for the Cavs!

There was also a close home loss for Izayah Le’Afa as Sacramento State Hornets were beaten 90-82 in overtime by North Dakota. Le’afa had 7 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists as the Hornets slipped to 0-2 in Big Sky Conference play.

In Australia

 There was more New Year cheer across the Tasman. Micaela Cocks scored a season high 17 points (3/6 3PG) as Townsville Fire doused Melbourne Boomers 88-75 to improve to 9-7 after a fourth straight win.

Chevannah Paalvast also scored a couple of points in 13 minutes off the bench for Townsville and Jess Bygate snared three rebounds for Melbourne in the defeat.

Staying in the Sunshine State Reuben Te Rangi and the Brisbane Bullets beat Cairns Taipans 93-76 in the Queensland derby. Te Rangi only scored 6 points (2/2FG) but he put in a sterling shift as he was forced to play substantial minutes in the power forward spot covering for the injured duo of Cameron Bairstow and Anthony Petrie.

Jarrod Kenny was all poise and composure as Perth Wildcats secured a vital away win in Wollongong, beating Illawarra Hawks 95-87. Kenny had 8 points, 2 rebounds and a team high 6 assists for the Wildcats as they upset the in form Hawks.

In Europe

Mike Karena enjoyed an exceptional night amassing 19 points (8/13FG) and 7 rebounds as Sammic ISB edged Alcazar 75-73 in Spanish Liga Endesa Silver action. Sammic are up to third on the ladder with a 10-5 record.

Karena, the Canterbury Rams forward, is enjoying a fine campaign averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds at the halfway mark of his first season in Europe.