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 Japan.at 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)