Kiwis in College Mid Season report – Part 4

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We conclude our four part series looking at the NCAA Division 1 players in college hoops by taking a look at the women (J-Z) making their mark in the States.

 Zara Jillings

  • Year: Freshman
  • University: Fordham University Rams
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: Atlantic 10

Jillings has played in all 15 games for the Rams averaging 2.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per games as Fordham have built a decent 11-4 record (2-0 in Atlantic 10 Conference play) over the first half of the season. Jillings has been given her first starts in the opening two conference games and has responded with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists.

The 2017 Tall Fern guard plays alongside Kiwis Kendell Heremaia and Mary Goulding at Fordham.

 

Tylah King

  • Year: Junior
  • University: University of the Pacific Tigers
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: West Coast

King, the daughter of Basketball New Zealand High Performance General Manager Leonard King, was born in New Zealand but schooled in Australia where she attained Queensland representative honours. In her sophmore season at Pacific, King connected on 22-of-51 from three-point range (43%) averaging 4.3 points per game for the Tigers. This season her productivity has dipped having played just seven games averaging 1.6 points per outing. The Tigers are 6-7 this season but have lost both the West Coast Conference games played.

 

Krystal Leger-Walker

  • Year: Sophmore
  • University: University of Northern Colorado Bears
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: Big Sky

Leger-Walker has started in 44 straight games for the Bears (30 in 2016-17 and all 14 this season).

She led the Northern Colorado in assists last season and again leads the team in this statistical category with 5.1 per game – came up with a career high 10 dimes against Colorado State in early December. Playing alongside fellow Kiwi Tiarna Clarke the Tall Ferns guard is averaging 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game for the 11-3 Bears that includes wins in their first three Big Sky Conference fixtures.

 

Kayla Manuirirangi

  • Year: Sophmore
  • University: Tulane University Greenwave
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: American

The former New Plymouth Girls High guard, a Tall Ferns trialist in 2017 scored a career high 19 points against Troy in December. Manuirirangi has started every game for the Greenwave and leads the team in assists with3.9 dimes per game. She is averaging 8.9 points per outing with her three point shooting a very useful 39% (32 scored from 81 attempts).

Tulane have an overall 9-6 record this season including a win and a loss in their opening two American Conference games.

 

Michelle Nicholls

  • Year: Freshman
  • University: La Salle University Explorers
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: Atlantic 10

Nicholls spent her final two years of high school at Life Centre Academy in Burlington, New Jersey playing alongside Tera Reed. Prior to that she attended Auckland Girls Grammar School. Nicholls has played six games so far this season for the 5-9 Explorers (0-2in conference play) and yet to post points although she has dished three assists.

 

Katelin Noyer

  • Year: Sophmore
  • University: Fresno State University Bulldogs
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: Atlantic 10

Noyer was performing strongly as the starting centre at the beginning of the season but her opportunities have subsided since suffering a head injury early in December that forced her to miss a couple of games. Since her return she has only averaged 5 minutes per game compared with 20 minutes.

The 2016 Tall Fern and ex Westlake centre averages 2.8 points, 2.7 rebounds. She was outstanding against UC Santa Barbara in November recording 8 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Fresno State are 2-1 in Mountain West Conference play and 7-7 overall.

 

Tera Reed

  • Year: Freshman
  • University: Virginia Commonwealth University Rams
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: Atlantic 10

Reed is a major story in the making. In the opening half of the season she has made an eye catching start to her career at Virginia Commonwealth.

Playing on a young team Reed has been afforded a start in all but one game played by VCU and has capitalized on her opportunities averaging 13.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game – the sort of numbers associated with senior players at the back end of their college careers, not a Freshman. Reed has scored double figures in all but three of the games including a season high 22 points against Old Dominion in early December.

The Rams have lost their opening two Atlantic 10 conference games and sit 3-11 overall this season.

 

Gracie Roberts

  • Year: Junior
  • University: Detroit Mercy University Titans
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: Horizon League

Roberts started most games in 2016-17 and has done the same again this season for DMU who unfortunately have had a horror start to their campaign losing all 13 games. The former Waimea College standout is leading the Titans in assists averaging 2.3 dimes per game. Roberts is also averaging 2 points and 3.5 rebounds per outing.

 

Shalae Salmon

  • Year: Sophmore
  • University: Brigham Young University Provo Cougars
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: West Coast

After a quiet Freshman season Salmon has really flourished in her second season at BYU. The 2016 New Zealand Select forward posted career high rebounds (17) and points (12) against Southern Utah in November. Salmon has started every game this season and leads the Cougars in rebounding (8.2rpg) and blocks (1.2bpg). She is also third in scoring averaging 9.3 points per outing.

BYU are 6-7 overall with a 1-1 record in West Coast Conference play.

 

Rhaiah Spooner-Knight

  • Year: Senior
  • University: Monmouth University Hawks
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: Metro Atlantic

Spooner-Knight previously played three seasons at Utah Valley where she averaged 12.6 points per game in 72 outings. This season Spooner-Knight has started in ten out of twelve games averaging 25 minutes per game. She has had two outings where she has scored 18 points and is second in scoring for Monmouth averaging 10.3 points per game. She also averages 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists for the 2-10 Hawks (0-1 in Metro Atlantic Conference play).

 

Khaedin Taito

  • Year: Junior
  • University: Brigham Young University Provo Cougars
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: West Coast

Playing alongside Shalae Salmon at BYU, Taito has made just three appearances for the Cougars this season. She sat out the 2016/17 season following her transfer from University of Southern California where she played 32 games for the Trojans. Taito was raised in Hastings then went on to study at Palm Beach Currumbin High School, Gold Coast.

BYU are 6-7 overall with a 1-1 record in West Coast Conference play.

 

 Dru Toleafoa

  • Year: Junior
  • University: Santa Clara University Broncos.
  • Division: 1
  • Conference: West Coast

The 2014 Tall Fern had limited opportunities for the Broncos last season due to injury. This season she is enjoying a productive season averaging 6.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, having started in nine games for the 4-9 Broncos (0-2 in West Coast Conference action). She scored a career high 17 points against Santa Barbara in November.

Prior to college Toleafoa attended Brigidine College Randwick, Sydney.

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