Over the Thanksgiving holiday period there was plenty of action involving our Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks playing college basketball in the States.
It was quite a weekend for former Hutt Valley standout Stella Beck as she passed the 1,000 career points mark with 18 points as St Mary’s Gaels beat USC Santa Barbara 89-59 in the Hilton Concord Classic. In the same game she also matched a career best 6 steals.
“I didn’t really think about (scoring 1,000 career points) until someone mentioned last game that I was three points away from reaching the 1,000-point record. It’s funny because it makes me think about being a senior, which is sad, but it’s also really exciting,” said Beck.
24 hours later Beck took her tally for the weekend to 40 points, nailing 22 to help St Mary’s to a narrow 88-82 win against Idaho and with it the Hilton Concord Classic – not surprisingly Beck was made MVP.
It was also a good time for Jacinta Beckley who scored a career high 20 points for Seattle in the Redhawks 91-77 win against Portland State. The Kapiti native added 8 rebounds for good measure then followed up with a 15 points haul against UC Davis – a game dropped 70-54 by Seattle after three straight wins.
Brooke Blair posted a team high in points (12) and rebounds (7) as Idaho State Bengals improved to 5-1 for the season with a convincing 64-44 victory against Utah State. Blair is leading the Bengals in scoring over the first six games averaging 15.9 points per outing.
Krystal Leger-Walker and Northern Colorado Bears had a night to forget at Fordham University where in a New Zealand first FIVE Kiwis were in action. The Bears made their second lowest score in programme history going down 48-33. The Bears were awful from the three point line making just one from 26 attempts – that single triple made was from Leger-Walker in the final two minutes of the game. That was Leger-Walker’s only score of the night with teammate Tiarna Clarke quiet with just a couple of rebounds to her name.
The hosts featured three Kiwis in their line up led by Cantabrian forward Mary Goulding (6pts/7rebs). They also have the freshman pair of Kendell Heremaia (2pts/7rebs) and Tall Fern Zara Jillings (5pts/2rebs) on their roster.
Penina Davidson led the Cal Berkeley rebounding with 9 boards (plus 7 points) as the Bears beat Manhattan 87-66 in the Cal Classic.
Tessa Boagni and Cal State Northridge are in the winner’s circle at the sixth attempt after downing Arizona 66-63. Boagni collected a game high 12 rebounds and also added 9 points, 3 assists and a block.
Fresno State Bulldogs are in something of a slump going down 76-59 to Texas State. Katelin Noyer scored two points and secured 4 rebounds but it was a fourth straight loss for the Dogs.
On the men’s front there were good performances from the Tall Blacks in college this week.
Sam Timmins produced a strong performance as Washington Huskies beat cross-town rival Seattle 89-84. Timmins was an efficient 9 points (4/5FG), 8 rebounds and 1 block.
Izayah Le’afa didn’t have the best of shooting night’s (1/9FG) in Sacramento State’s 68-63 loss to Cal State Fullerton but he did dish a career high 11 assists with zero turnovers in 34 minutes. The Hornets point guard followed that with 7 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists but it was a fifth straight loss for Sacramento going down 74-69 to Saint Joseph’s.
Virginia Cavaliers won a seventh straight game with centre Jack Salt contributing 8 rebounds (for the second straight game) along with 4 points (2/2FG) in the low scoring 49-37 win against Wisconsin.
Tai Wynyard saw a small amount of action as Kentucky defeated University of Illinois-Chicago 107-73. Wynyard was only given 5 minutes playing time but it was enough for him to register 4 points and 3 rebounds.