Kiwi women exit Big Dance after first round


Last week’s ‘Super Sunday’ when a record five Kiwi women reached the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is replaced by ‘Sad Saturday’ as all five bowed out in the first round of the Big Dance today.

The individual performance of the day belonged to Tessa Boagni. Despite another massive performance from the Big West Tournament MVP Cal State Northridge Matadors went out 99-81 against Notre Dame.

The former Christchurch Girls High standout finished with 23 points (11/14FG), 13 rebounds and 3 blocks for the Matadors. Boagni has finished her career in style. She led the Matadors to a Big West Conference Championship and across the last nine games, since mid February, has averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds per game.

The University of California Berkeley were without Kristine Anigwe, their leading rebounder and scorer for their encounter with Virginia.

Penina Davidson picked up the slack in the paint recording 10 rebounds and 3 blocks plus 2 points but Cal couldn’t quite overcome the loss of Anigwe. The scores were tied at 57 apiece with two minutes to play but Cal were outscored down the stretch losing 68-62. The senior forward finished the season averaging 7.4 points and 7 rebounds for Cal.

Also finishing her career with a loss was Jacinta Beckley. Seattle University Redhawks were up against it facing Oregon Ducks, the Pac-12 champions with a 30-4 record this season and ranked No 6 in the country. As anticipated Seattle struggled throughout and were eventually beaten 88-45. Beckley, playing her last game for Seattle, finished with 6 points but does have a Western Athletic Conference winners-medal to cherish.

Like Seattle it was a first ever appearance at the Big Dance for Northern Colorado Bears. The Bears, featuring Krystal Leger-Walker and Tiarna Clarke, found the going too tough against seventh seeded Michigan losing 75-61. Leger-Walker had 4 points and 4 assists with freshman guard Tiarna Clarke knocking down 2 from 3 threes for 6 points for the Big Sky champions.

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