Monthly Archives: October 2018

Junior Tall Ferns beat Malaysia at Asia Champs

JTF's team

The Aon Junior Tall Ferns are one win away from claiming a berth at the 2019 FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup after defeating Malaysia 99-32 overnight in Bangalore, India.

The victory means the JTF’s finish third in Pool B and now play Australia in a preliminary semi-final tie at the U18 Asian Championships on Thursday. In something of an upset Korea defeated Australia 63-62 in Pool A to advance directly to the semi-finals.

The winner not only secures a semi-final spot but, along with the other three semi-finalists, a place at the U19 World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand next July.

Charlotte Whittaker, on her way to a game high 18 points, scored the first four points of the game against Malaysia. Leah Mafua, Ella Bradley, Charlisse Leger-Walker, Tayla Dalton and Emme Shearer all featured on the scoreboard as New Zealand forged a 28-12 first quarter lead.

From there it was largely one-way traffic as the quarter scores suggest. 26-7 in the second, 22-6 in the third and 22-7 in the fourth – all in favour of the JTF’s.

Nine Kiwis scored seven points or more with Manawatu’s Rochelle Fourie recording a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. The Waikato trio of Bradley (8 points/10 rebounds), Leger-Walker (9 points/10rebounds) and Koha Lewis (8 points/6rebounds/8assists) also threatened double-double territory.

Head Coach Jody Cameron was able to share the workload with all twelve players registering double-digit minutes and only Lewis and Bradley playing in excess of twenty minutes.

“The team performed really well tonight, solidifying our offensive play, as we build up for the game against Australia. We got some really good minutes right across the team which has given the players confidence around what we are trying to achieve. We were able to solidify our offence.

“We feel good about where we are at and we are looking forward to the challenge of playing our counterparts from across the ditch,” said Cameron.

 Time for a bit of team R&R on Wednesday before the sterner test of Australia on Thursday.

In the other Pool B game Japan beat China 94-79.


NZ 98 – C Whittaker 18, T Dalton 15, R Fourie 14/10r, E Shearer 10, C Leger-Walker 9/10r, E Bradley 8/12r, T Talo-Tomokino 8, L Mafua 7, K Lewis 8/6r/8a, S Kennedy 2


Junior Tall Ferns push China all the way

JTF's huddle

The Aon Junior Tall Ferns pushed China all the way in their second game at the 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Bengaluru, India on Monday before eventually going down 67-58.

New Zealand led for large parts of the first half and even when falling behind in the second were still able to keep the contest close. They trailed by just four points with eight minutes to play after the Wellington duo of Leah Mafua and Grace Hunter landed back-to-back threes (52-48).

China scored the next six points before Tayla Dalton scored via a put back and then knocked down three free throws after being fouled beyond the arc.

New Zealand were still applying pressure in the last five minutes and although Mafua and Charlisse Leger-Walker added to their tallies New Zealand could not quite get near enough to cause an upset.

Leger-Walker was outstanding with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals and 5 assists whilst Mafua also filled the stats line with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and a block. Charlotte Whittaker was a constant threat inside and finished with 12 points (6/11FG).

As against Japan on the opening day Whittaker and Leger-Walker combined to give New Zealand an early 5-0 lead. The Kiwis were having trouble with giant Chinese centre Yutong Liu but a score from Emme Shearer and a dozen points in the period from Leger-Walker took the Kiwis to a 16-13 quarter-time lead.

Whittaker opened the scoring in the second frame but a 10-2 run took China to a 23-20 lead. Mafua responded with an And-1 play and a penetrative drive and when Rochelle Fourie scored from a Leger-Walker assist the Kiwis were all square at 27 apiece.

Chine had the final say in the half, a ‘Hail Mary’ triple carrying them to a 30-27 lead at the break.

A Whittaker put back and a Leger-Walker three helped New Zealand to a 36-35 lead before China reeled off a 13-4 run to carry them to a 48-40 three-quarter time advantage.

The Kiwis pushed China all the way in the fourth to the delight of Head Coach Jody Cameron.

“I think Japan and China are surprised at what we have brought to the table, we are contenders not just making up numbers. I would like to play them again now we have had the experience of playing them. We are trying to establish that we are as good as the other teams here and better than some.

“We need to get better at rebounding and limit our turnovers. We are playing against teams that are playing week in week out. Our girls are probably playing a quarter of what some of the other teams are playing. Playing regular international basketball will help our development greatly.

“We are honoured to be part of the Asian Championship and its great for the development of our game in New Zealand,” added Cameron.

New Zealand will round out pool play against Malaysia (tip-off 01.15am Wednesday NZ time). Both teams are looking for its first win with China and Japan, both unbeaten, facing off to decide Pool B winners.



NZ 58 – C Leger-Walker 22/8r, C Whittaker 12/4r, L Mafua 10/4r, T Dalton 5, G Hunter 3, K Lewis 2, E Shearer 2, R Fourie 2


Box Score here

Pool A standings: Australia (2-0), Korea (2-0), Chinese Taipei (0-2) and Indonesia (0-2).

In the B Division Oceania representatives Samoa and Guam are both 0-2 after two rounds.

Leah mafua.jpg

Charlotte Whittaker scores 23 points but Junior Tall Ferns come up short against Japan


Despite 23 points from Canterbury forward Charlotte Whittaker and a double-double (14 points and 13 rebounds) from Waikato guard Charlisse Leger-Walker the Aon Junior Tall Ferns were defeated 77-62 by Japan in their opening game at the 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship campaign in Bengaluru, India early on Monday morning (NZT).

In a spirited display New Zealand only trailed by eight points with five minutes to play but couldn’t overcome their more composed opponents down the stretch.

Whittaker got the Kiwis on the board with an early basket courtesy of a Grace Hunter assist and Charlisse Leger-Walker followed that up with a triple.

However Japan, the silver medalists at the last U18 Asian Championships, were quick to respond forging a double figure advantage.

Despite Koha Lewis making her first basket in international colours Japan led 23-13 at the end of the opening quarter.

Hunter and Whittaker sored again early in the second and with Emme Shearer joining Lewis as a scorer on debut New Zealand were very much in the contest at the mid-point of the stanza trailing 30-23.

Despite a couple of scores from Leah Mafua Japan had the better of the back end of the half leading 41-29 at the interval.

Whatever was said in the locker room by coach Jody Cameron at half-time worked a treat as the Kiwis put together a strong display in the third period.

Nine points from Whittaker and contributions from Leah Mafua, Hunter, Lewis and Leger-Walker meant the JTF’s trailed 52-47 in the shadows of three-quarter time. A three from Tayla Dalton on the final play of the frame pulled the Kiwis to within two points (52-50) with ten minutes to play.

Japan opened the final quarter with a 10-2 run although when Leger-Walker connected with a jump shot the margin was still only eight points (62-54) with five minutes to play.

Missed scoring opportunities and turnovers (26 given up in the contest) proved costly for New Zealand in the closing minutes but the overall performance was certainly encouraging for Head Coach Jody Cameron.

“It was a great hit out against Japan although the turnover count really let us down. If we could have minimized those we would have been well in contention to have taken the win,’” said Cameron.

“The team were well led by Charlotte and Charlisse plus Koha and Emme played very well on debut, both giving us great energy off the bench,” she added.

New Zealand has a short turnaround lining up against defending champions China tonight – tip-off 8.45pm Monday.

NZ 62 – C Whittaker 23, C Leger-Walker 14/13r/4a, G Hunter 9, L Mafua 7/8r, K Lewis 4, T Dalton 3, E Shearer 2, E Bradley 6r


Charlotte Whittaker

JTF’s tip-off Asian Championship campaign


The Aon Junior Tall Ferns open their 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship campaign in Bengaluru, India early on Monday morning.

Having had just a couple of days to acclimatize and get over fatigue from a long flight New Zealand face 2016 Asia Championship silver medalists the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on October 28th (tip-off 01.15am Monday NZ time).

New Zealand, drawn in Pool B face defending champions China (tip-off 20.45pm Monday) and round out pool play against Malaysia (tip-off 01.15am Wednesday NZ time).

Pool A is made up of Australia, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Indonesia.

The top four teams will represent Asia at the 2019 FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup therefore securing a place in the semi-finals earns a trip to Bangkok, Thailand next July.

Four players return to international duty having last played for New Zealand at the 2017 FIBA U17 Oceania Championship in Guam. Grace Hunter, Leah Mafua (both Wellington), Olivia O’Neill (Otago) and Charlotte Whittaker (Canterbury) all played key roles as the Kiwi’s secured silver medals at that championship.

Harbour guard Emme Shearer earns a call-up after some outstanding performances for the New Zealand U16 team last year.

Coach Cameron hands debuts to Rochelle Fourie, Koha Lewis and Sofia Kennedy.

Lewis has been a consistent performer in Waikato age-group teams in recent seasons and Fourie was outstanding at the Schick Secondary Schools National Championships recently earning Tournament MVP recognition as Manukura claimed the Girls ‘A’ title.

Kennedy is set to become, like Shearer a dual international, the Canterbury guard having represented New Zealand at the World Schools Cross Country Championships in Paris in April. Shearer played volleyball for New Zealand earlier in the year.

2018 Aon Junior Tall Ferns

Ella Bradley (Waikato Basketball Council/Waikato Wizards)

Tayla Dalton (North Harbour Basketball/Harbour Breeze)

Rochelle Fourie (Manawatu Basketball)

Grace Hunter (Wellington Basketball)

Sofia Kennedy (Canterbury Basketball)

Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Basketball Council/Waikato Wizards)

Koha Lewis (Waikato Basketball Council/Waikato Wizards)

Leah Mafua (Wellington Basketball)

Olivia O’Neill (Basketball Otago/Otago Gold Rush)

Emilia Shearer (North Harbour Basketball)

Tessa Talo-Tomokino (North Harbour Basketball/Harbour Breeze)

Charlotte Whittaker (Canterbury Basketball/North Canterbury Spirit)

Webster and Fotu suffer EuroCup losses


Both Ratiopharm Ulm and Galatasaray suffered defeats in the latest batch of Pool A EuroCup games on Wednesday.

Tai Webster filled most columns of the stats sheet as Galatasaray suffered an 86-85 home loss at the hands of top of the table Monaco (3 wins, 1 loss). The Tall Blacks guard scored 15 points (6/12FG) in addition to a game high 8 assists, 2 rebounds, a steal and a block. Galatasaray now have a 2-2 record, sitting third on the ladder.

Isaac Fotu scored 6 points and added a pair of rebounds as Ratiopharm Ulm went down 103-95 at Andorra and now find themselves at the bottom of the six team Pool A with a 1-3 record.

The top four teams from each pool advance to the last sixteen.

Former Olympians plotting Junior Tall Ferns course

NZ U17's

The New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns fly out of Auckland on Thursday bound for the Asian Championship in India. The team will be guided by former Olympians Jody Cameron and Leanne Walker (plus Tim Dennis) as they aim to qualify for the 2019 FIB U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup.

The top four teams from next week’s tournament will progress to the World Cup.

The Junior Tall Ferns open their campaign against Japan at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangaluru on October 28th (tip-off 01.15am October 29 NZ time).

New Zealand will be led by Leanne’s daughter Charlisse Leger-Walker playing at her third major tournament in 2018.

The team has three international debutants but also boasts a number of players with international tournament experience including Charlotte Whittaker, Tayla Dalton, Grace Hunter and Ella Bradley.

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Farnworth shines in mixed weekend for Tall Ferns overseas

Toni Perth Captain

Perth Lynx captain Toni Farnworth played a captain’s knock as the Lynx made the most of home court advantage to defeat Townsville Fire 98-88 in the second round of the Australian National Basketball League (WNBL).

The Cantabrian wing scored 13 points and dished a team high 6 assists in Sunday’s win.

Fourty-eight hours earlier the Fire had claimed a road win at Adelaide defeating the Lightning 75-65 with Micaela Cocks adding 6 rebounds to 10 points.

Penina Davidson totaled 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and an assist for the Lightning.

Lightning struck twice for Adelaide as they suffered a second loss of the weekend – 79-75 in Canberra against the Capitals. A handy 8 points and 7 rebounds for Davidson in that one.

Meanwhile in Hungary Jacinta Beckley and Ujbuda tasted success at the third time of asking this season defeating MTK 65-60. Beckley came off the bench for 17 minutes of play scoring 7 points to accompany 3 rebounds.

Jillian Harmon netted 16 points for Ragusa but her new club was defeated 75-72 by Venezia in Italian League action.

13 points for Beckley in second professional outing


Tall Ferns guard Jacinta Beckley knocked down 4 from 8 three-point attempts in her second outing for BEAC Ujbuda in the Hungarian League.

Commencing her first professional contract the former Seattle University Redhawks championship winner  finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals but Ujbuda slumped to a second straight loss to begin the season going down 86-55 at Atomeromu.

Beckley was of course a member of the successful Tall Ferns team that won the William Jones Cup back in July.

Australian WNBL underway but only Penina Davidson gets the W

Penina Davidson copy 3.jpg

Four Tall Ferns appeared in the opening round of the Australian National Basketball League (WNBL) at the weekend but only Penina Davidson enjoyed a win.

Melbourne Boomers, coached by Tall Ferns mentor Guy Molloy, are tipped by many to win the 38th edition of the WNBL but they were surprisingly beaten 82-72 by Bendigo Spirit in front of nearly three thousand fans at the Melbourne State Basketball Centre on Saturday.

Kalani Purcell added four rebounds to one free-throw as Melbourne was outscored 29-5 in the second period giving up 23 turnovers in the contest.

It wasn’t a happy occasion for Micaela Cocks as she began her eighth season with Townsville Fire. Playing her 183rd game for the club (second highest all-time for Townsville) Cocks scored six points and added 8 rebounds but the Fire were doused 73-68 by Dandenong Rangers.

Stella Beck has joined Cocks at Townsville following her successful four year career at St Mary’s College California. Unfortunately Beck will be sidelined for the first couple of weeks of the season as she recovers from a stress fracture in her foot.

Davidson began her professional career on a winning note on Saturday as Adelaide Lightning stole) an opening round win in Perth beating the Lynx 78-66.

“Fans are going to love New Zealand ‘big’ Penina Davidson,” observed respected Adelaide based basketball journalist Boti Nagy before the game.

The former University of California Berkeley standout contributed 3 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in 17 quality minutes off the bench for the Chris Lucas coached Lightning.

The win was based around a solid defensive effort from Adelaide as they held Perth to just twenty points in the middle two quarters to carry a decisive 58-41 lead into the final ten minutes.

Cantabrian Toni Farnworth, in her seventh campaign with the Lynx and her tenth WNBL season overall, scored 7 points but it wasn’t a great shooting night for Tall Ferns wing making just 3 from 12 from the floor.

Australian WNBL underway with strong Kiwi presence

It’s not just the Men’s Australian NBL that is underway this week but the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) also tips-off.

Beginning Friday there are four first round games with three featuring New Zealand Tall Ferns players.

The Sydney against Canberra clash on Friday has no Kiwi presence but on Saturday Perth Lynx featuring Toni Farnworth entertain Penina Davidson and Adelaide Lightning.

Also on Saturday Kalani Purcell and Josie Stockill will be suiting up for the Melbourne Bomers at home against Bendigo Spirit.

The first round concludes on Sunday with champions Townsville Fire hosting Dandenong Rangers. Veteran Micaela Cocks will once again be in the Fire lineup but unfortunately injury has ruled our Stella Beck.

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