It was a super Saturday for the Kiwis involved in conference semi-finals with wins for Jack Salt, Tessa Boagni, Jacinta Beckley, Tiarna Clarke and Krystal Leger-Walker.
The individual performance of the day belonged to Tessa Boagni. The Cantabrian centre amassed 19 points (8/16FG), a game high 11 rebounds and 4 steals as Cal State Northridge Matadors thumped Cal Poly 73-50 in the Big West Conference semi-final in Anaheim today.
It was a seventh double-double of the season for the Matadors senior and a similar performance tomorrow will give her team a chance of upsetting No1 ranked UC Davis in the final. It will be a third championship game in six years for the Matadors.
Jack Salt was all poise in the second half as the University of Virginia Cavaliers reached the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament final with a 64-58 win against Clemson in front of 18,000 fans in Brooklyn.
The 6’10” centre scored all of his 8 points (4/5FG) and snared 6 of his 8 rebounds after half-time. He also secured an important couple of steals as Virginia improved to an impressive 30-2 this season. That record, regardless of the result in the final tomorrow, looks likely to give the Cavaliers No 1 seeding when the NCAA Tournament rankings are announced on Monday.
Brooke Blair and Idaho State Bengals found themselves trailing 36-21 at half-time in their Big Sky Conference Tournament semi-final against Northern Colorado Bears, the regular season champions and number one seeds. They came from 25 points down to win their quarter-final tie so anything was possible.
They certainly got close closing to 65-60 with 2 minutes to play but a couple of key free throws from Krystal Leger-Walker helped the Bears close out a 73-66 win and advance to tomorrow’s final.
Leger Walker finished with 10 points (3/4FG, 2/2FT), 4 rebounds and 2 steals whilst Tiarna Clarke chipped in with 8 points (3/5FG) and 3 rebounds. It wasn’t a night to remember for Blair with her 5 points coming from 10 shots but she did add 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Seattle University Redhawks proved far too strong for New Mexico State in the Western Athletic Conference semi with Jacinta Beckley scoring 11 points for Seattle. Beckley also secured 7 rebounds – the win made more notable as New Mexico State carried top seeding and had won the last three WAC titles.
The lowdown will carry a revue of all four championship games involving New Zealand players tomorrow.