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