Monthly Archives: December 2018

Book ends year on a high – latest from US college basketball


Amiee Book sunk a three-pointer with sixteen seconds left on the clock to clinch a 56-55 win for California State Fullerton Titans in their final game in 2018. The Titans begin conference play in the New Year on the back of an 11-4 start to the season, it’s best since 1990-91. Book has played a significant role averaging 10.9 points per game and shooting the three-ball at a heady 47% (21 from 45).

The Kiwi contingent totaled 19 rebounds as Fordham University squeezed past Maine 72-64 in overtime on Saturday as they hosted the Fordham Holiday Classic. Kendell Heremaia was within one board of a double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds. Zara Jillings had 4 points and 5 rebounds with Mary Goulding totaling 7 points and also nabbing 5 rebounds.

The trio were busy again the next day as Fordham accounted for Middle Tennessee 61-49 to round out the first half of the season with four straight wins and a 9-5 record. Goulding led the home scoring with 16 points (7/13FG) and added 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Heremaia (5 points and 3 rebounds) and Jillings (7 points and 2 assists) also put in solid shifts.

Kayla Manuirirangi scored 16 points (4/7 3PG) as Tulane University Green Wave beat Central Michigan 68-57 at the Miami Holiday Classic. Tulane are a very healthy 10-3 ahead of American Conference fixtures.

A season high 11 assists from Krystal Leger-Walker, along with 5 points and 6 rebounds, helped propel University of Northern Colorado Bears to victory. The Bears began Big Sky Conference play in strong fashion defeating Sacramento State 82-69.

Also beginning conference play were Brigham Young University. The Cougars beat Santa Clara 54-44 in West Coast Conference action with Shalae Salmon getting half a dozen points and rebounds plus a pair of steals and a block. For Santa Clara Dru Toleafoa nabbed a couple of rebounds and dished a pair of assists.

La Salle University fell 74-47 to Temple to slump to 3-11 for the season ahead of conference play. Michelle Nicholls scored 9 points (3/5 3PG) for La Salle and added deuces in rebounds, assists and steals.

Izayah Le’afa totaled 7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal but Sacramento State lost its opening Big Sky Conference game 70-65 to Northern Colorado.

Jackson Stent scored 6 points as Houston Baptist Huskies ran up a cricket score against Dallas Christian winning 143-92.

Tobias Cameron, in his freshman year at Abilene Christian, scored a career best 5 points and added 4 rebounds as the Wildcats thumped McMurry 88-40 to wrap up their non-conference programme with an impressive 11-2 record.

Latest roundup on Kiwi Men playing Div 1 hoops


Here is a wrap on some of the pre-Xmas action involving the best performing Kiwi men of late in NCAA Division I.

Izayah Le’afa scored a season high 15 points (6/8FG) as Sacramento State Hornets overwhelmed Division II visitors Holy Names University 81-56.

Yanni Wetzell received an early Xmas present. Accorded more court time than he has been receiving in the early games for Vanderbilt University he responded with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks as the Commodores convincingly beat #18 Arizona State 81-65. The win improves the Vanderbilt record to 7-2.

Jack Salt dragged down a season best 9 rebounds to go with 4 points as Virginia Cavaliers defeated South Carolina 69-52. The number 5 ranked Cavaliers are unbeaten through 11 games this season.

Another Kiwi centre Callum McRae was in good form for UC Riverside making 11 points (4/5FG) and 7 rebounds as the Highlanders easily beat Life Pacific University 87-50.

St Mary’s College Gaels were defeated 78-74 by Louisiana State with Dan Fotu snaring 5 rebounds to go with 7 points. Fotu followed that with his first career start in the Gaels 85-56 win against Bucknell. He collected a game high 8 rebounds and knocked down a triple from his only attempt – Kiwi team mate Quinn Clinton also converted from beyond the arc from his only scoring shot.

In a Kiwi v Kiwi matchup it was Sam Waardenburg who came away with the lollies as his Miami Hurricanes prevailed 80-73 against Jackson Stent’s Houston Baptist. Waardenburg, a regular starter now for Miami, had 6 points, 4 rebounds, a block and a steal. Stent was afforded 6 minutes for HBU, producing an assist and a rebound.

Freshman Flynn Cameron enjoyed his best outing in De Paul’s 104-70 victory over Chicago State. The 2018 Junior Tall Black scored 6 points for the Blue Demons.

Most of the teams will be back in action between Xmas and the New Year with conference play just around the corner.

Early Xmas for Nisbett, West and McGoldrick

In NCAA Division I Women’s action Amy West, Tsubasa Nisbett and Esra McGoldrick were each given early Xmas presents in the last few days.

Tsubasa Nisbett was awarded her first appearance of the season by Georgia Southern University Eagles. The Eagles swooped on Coastal Georgia winning 68-46 to improve to 4-5 for the season with the Nisbett corralling a couple of rebounds to mark her debut.

Fellow Cantabrian Esra McGoldrick scored her first points in North Carolina State colours, scoring a pair of  baskets as the Wolfpack hounded Maine into submission winning 84-46. The Wolfpack are now 11-0 for the season.

Amy West also scored the first 4 points of her collegiate career for Liberty University Flames last Friday. Unfortunately the Flames were burnt by a buzzer beating three going down 66-63 against East Carolina. The Manawatu Freshman scored from two of her three scoring attempts.

The three Kiwis on the Fordham University roster were prominent as the Rams enjoyed a convincing 69-48 win against Columbia University.

Mary Goulding scored 14 points and added 4 rebounds whilst Kendell Heremaia had a trio of 4’s striking that number in points, rebounds and assists.

Zara Jillings totalled a career high equalling 8 rebounds to go with 6 points (3/5FG) and 3 assists.

Akiene-Tera Reed equalled her best points haul of the season scoring 20 points (3/7FG, 14/16FT) but it wasn’t enough to prevent Virginia Commonwealth going down 54-49 against Radford. Reed also snared 6 rebounds for the Rams.

Cal State Fullerton Titans gave Amiee Book her first start of the season and the freshman guard didn’t disappoint knocking down 3 of her 5 shots from beyond the arc in a 77-65 win against Antelope Valley. That makes 19 made threes for Book from 38 shots in the first ten games of the season at a more than healthy 50%.

It took an overtime period before Northern Colorado Bears secured the win against Chattanooga but they prevailed eventually winning 68-65. Krystal leger-Walker was her usual stats stuffing self – finishing with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals.

Sophmore Michelle Nicholls scored 10 points (4/8FG) but La Salle University slipped to a ninth defeat in ten games going down 83-57 to St John’s.

Mate v Mate, Tall Fern v Tall Fern

stella v toni

Stella Beck looks to drive past Toni Farnworth

There were a couple of editions of mate v mate, Tall Fern v Tall Fern, over the weekend in the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL).

Toni Farnworth filled the stats line for Perth Lynx in their visit to Townsville Fire on Friday but the Lynx were torched by the Fire 97-72. Farnworth only made 2 points but came up with a game high 6 assists to accompany 6 rebounds a block and a steal as she filled most of the stats categories.

Micaela Cocks is in hot form for the Fire at the moment and she came up with 14 points (4/8 3PG) and 4 assists whilst Stella Beck also chipped in with a couple of points for Townsville.

Over 2,000 home fans saw Melbourne Boomers come from behind to beat Adelaide Lightning 83-78 with Tall Ferns forward Kalani Purcell her normal vibrant self – 6 points, 5 rebounds, a steal and a block.

Penina Davidson, in her debut season for Adelaide, had a couple of points and a pair of rebounds as the Lightnings five game winning streak came to an end. The win lifts Melbourne past Perth to the top of the WNBL ladder.

WNBL Ladder (at 17.12.18)

10-5 Melbourne Boomers

9-5 Perth Lynx

8-5 Canberra Capitals

8-7 Adelaide Lightning

7-6 Dandenong Rangers

6-7 Townsville Fire

6-9 Bendigo Spirit

2-12 Sydney Flames

Webster exits EuroCup but Fotu fights on



Tai Webster scored 18 points (6/13FG, 6/7FT) for his Turkish club Galatasaray on Wednesday night but it wasn’t enough to stave off elimination from the EuroCup.

Galatasaray needed a win at Group A leaders AS Monaco but fell 76-71 and with a 3-6 record are eliminated from the EuroCup with one round of games still to play.

Still alive are Isaac Fotu and his German club Ratiopharm Ulm. With a 4-5 record Ulm travel to Italy next week to meet Brescia – the winners of the tie will grab the one remaining place available from Group A to progress to the last sixteen.

In Tuesday night’s game Ulm defeated Morabanc Andorra 88-80 to keep their hopes of progressing from group-play alive. Ulm coach Thorston Leibenath used his players sparingly with nine players logging between 14 minutes and 21 minutes. Fotu played just 14 minutes checking out with 2 points, 2 rebounds an assist and a steal.

In German League action Ulm, after a poor start losing five of their first six games, have won three games on the bounce and are up to ninth on the Bundesliga ladder with a 4-5 record.

In the Turkish League Galatasaray are sixth on the table with a 5-4 record after an 86-76 win against Banvit BK last weekend.

Jack Salt and Virginia a perfect nine from nine

Jack Salt

Jack Salt and Virginia University Cavaliers are a perfect nine from nine after defeating Virginia Commonwealth 57-49 on Sunday. Jack only had a single points but did pull down 7 boards. Depending on which poll you view Virginia are currently ranked between #3 and #6 nationally.

Vanderbilt University Commodores enjoyed a comfortable 79-51 win against Middle Tennessee to improve to 6-2 for the season. Yanni Wetzel benefitted from 17 minutes court time making 5 points, 3 rebounds, a pair of steals, an assist and a block.

Eight points (4/6FG) and 4 rebounds from Callum McRae helped University of California Riverside Highlanders break a three game losing slide. The Highlanders squeezed past Pepperdine to improve to 3-7 for the season and will enjoy a ten day break before their next outing.

Yuat Alok scored 7 points as Texas Christian University thumped University of California 96-61 at the Staples Centre in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. TCU boast a 7-1 start to the season.

St Mary’s Gaels had little trouble seeing off New Mexico winning 85-60 with Quinn Clinton making one of two threes and Dan Fotu dishing 3 assists to accompany a quartet of points and boards. The Gaels (7-4) followed that with a fourth straight win defeating California State Fullerton 81-66. Fotu claimed a game high equalling 3 offensive boards, snaring six rebounds in total, along with 5 points.

Izayah Le’afa added 3 steals to 9 points but the sophomore guard didn’t have the best of shooting nights as Sacramento State Hornets fell 76-67 at Portland. Le’afa made just 3 from 12 from the field but the Hornets still boast a 4-2 record this season.

Sam Timmins came up with 4 points, 3 rebounds and a block to help Washington Huskies get the win, 70-62, at Seattle on Sunday. Washington now 7-3 for the season.

Career night for Michelle Nicholls the highlight of Kiwi women’s performances in the States

Michelle Nicholls

Career high for Michelle Nicholls

Michelle Nicholls and Akiene-Tera Reed were teammates at Life Centre Academy, New Jersey during their final two years of high school. Both secured NCAA Division 1 scholarships following their time at LCA with Reed grabbing most the headlines for her scoring feats at Virginia Commonwealth University over the last season and a half. However, it was Nicholls turn to shine at the weekend as her all-round performance carried La Salle University Explorers to their first win of the season.

Nicholls had to bide her time last year getting little opportunity during her freshman season. However playing time has increased this season and the additional playing experience helped her put together an outstanding stats line to help La Salle claim that first win after eight straight losses. Nicholls scored a career high 17 points to accompany 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in 30 minutes of action as the Explorers beat Norfolk State 76-65.

Reed produced an efficient shooting display (5/8FG, 6/6FT) but her 16 points were not enough to get VCU Rams across the line at Cincinnati going down 66-54 – the Rams still boast a 6-4 record ahead of a week off.

In other news from NCAA Division 1 hoops 13 points (3/5 3PG) from guard Kayla Manirirangi helped Tulane University Green Wave make it seven wins from the first eight games with a 71-46 win over Nicholls University.

The win was a remarkable 500thfor Tulane Head Coach Lisa Stockton in her 25thseason leading Tulane.

Mary Goulding threatened a double-double in the Fordham University Rams 65-52 loss at Pittsburgh. In addition to 8 points Goulding secured 9 rebounds (4 at the offensive end) and distributed a game high 5 assists. Kendell Heremaia chipped in with 9 points– the Rams now 5-5 for the season.

Amiee Book set new college highs in steals and rebounds as Cal State Fullerton Titans came away from a trip across country to New York with a 61-58 victory over Columbia. Book snared a game high 5 steals, to go with 7 boards and 7 points.

aimee book

Amiee Book

Tegan Graham scored 6 points as Colgate University Raiders stole a 61-52 road win against University of Massachusetts Lowell to improve to 4-4 for the season. The Wellingtonian hit 2 from 5 threes.

Also scoring half a dozen but in a losing cause was Shalae Salmon as BYU were defeated 78-67 by Utah.

Rotorua native Matangiroa Flavell scored a season best 4 points for Houston Baptist but the Huskies fell 100-75 at North Texas.

Penina Davidson spoils Micaela Cocks’ special night

Micaela Cocks

Micaela Cocks

Tall Fern Micaela Cocks has been appointed captain, at least in the short term, of Townsville Fire, three-tim Australian Women’s Basketball League champions.

The  long-time Tall Ferns guard captained the club in the absence of Suzy Batkovic in Friday night’s encounter with Adelaide Lightning.

Since joining the club in 2011/12, the Kiwi Olympian has represented the Fire on 193 occasions – second behind Rachael McCully (228) on the club’s all-time games’ list – and has played a key role in their championship successes.

Despite scoring a team high 17 points Cocks first outing as captain ended in disappointment as Townsville were defeated 85-70 on their home court by Adelaide. Stella Beck, in her first season out of St Mary’s College scored 4 points for the Fire but it was another New Zealand rookie-pro, Penina Davidson, that inflicted major damage on Cocks and her colleagues.


Penina Davidson

The former Cal Berkeley stand-out came up big for Adelaide posting 14 points (6/11FG), her best return of the season to date, and snared 5 rebounds.

Cocks added two assists and a pair of steals but it wasn’t enough for the Fire that slip to a 5-7 record. Just over half-way through the season the Fire are in need of some winning momentum but it doesn’t get any easier for them as next up they face Toni Farnworth and the table topping Perth Lynx (9-2).

Adelaide, after a fourth straight win, sit fourth on the WNBL ladder with a 7-6 record.

Freeman and Waardenburg latest college players to produce strong performances

Sam Waardenburg

Sam Waardenburg

Matt Freeman and Sam Waardenburg are the latest of the New Zealand men playing NCAA Division 1 hoops to make an impact.

On Wednesday University of Miami swingman Sam Waardenburg enjoyed a career night despite the Hurricanes going down 89-75 against Penn at the Palestra. Waardenburg, in his second season with the Hurricanes, scored 14 points on 5 from 7 shooting that included 2 from 3 from beyond the arc. In addition to career best points it was significant he also played a career high 37 minutes.

Matt Freeman enjoyed a successful night as Oklahoma University Sooners beat Notre Dame Fighting Irish 85-80.

Freeman chose the historic Madison Square Garden to contribute 11 points (3/6 3PG), 4 rebounds and 2 blocks as his perimeter shooting and strong interior defence helped the Sooners to the win in the first ever meeting between the two famous basketball institutions.

Matt Freemanpg

Matt Freeman


Earlier in the week Dan Fotu and Jack Salt produced standout performances.

Fotu is earning more and more minutes in his freshman season at St Mary’s, California. Fotu rewarded coach Randy Bennett for displaying confidence in him by putting together a perfect shooting display as the Gaels stunned California Golden Bears winning 84-71. Fotu’s numbers were impressive knocking down 4 from 4 threes, his only two-pointer and both of his free throws.

Jack Salt scored a career high 12 points on 6 from 7 shooting and added a team high 7 rebounds as No 4 Virginia Cavaliers beat No 24 Maryland 76-71.

Salt followed that up with 6 points and 4 rebounds as Virginia swept Morgan State 83-45. Virginia now 8-0 for the season.

Sacramento States Hornets (3-1) dropped its first game of the season going down 75-58 at UC Santa Barbara. Former Tall Blacks point guard Izayah Le’afa was one of three Hornets in double figures finishing with 11 points (3/7 3PG), 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He followed that with 9 points and 3 steals in the 88-68 win at Cal State Northridge.

Freshman Tobias Cameron secured 3 rebounds to accompany 5 points (2/2FG) as Abilene Christian won their seventh straight game, inflicting pain on Howard Payne University with a 90-53 win.

Another freshman Callum McRae produced 8 points in 15 minutes for Cal Riverside but the Highlanders were toppled 82-73 by Valparaiso.

Leger-Walker, Salmon, King, Book and Manuirirangi all in double figures in Div 1 college games


Tylah King

Tylah King came close to a career best.

Tylah King was within a point of equalling her career high when she scored 14 points as University of Pacific beat San Jose State 91-67. The senior guard added 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for good measure.

Floor general Krystal Leger-Walker set up an exciting win for Northern Colorado Bears against  Southern Methodist, 58-57. She garnered a steal and then provided the pass for teammate Ali Meyer to make the winning layup in the closing 20 seconds of the game. Leger-Walker was impressive throughout finishing with 10 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and a block.

Tirana Clarke & leger-walker

Krystal Leger-Walker

Shalae Salmon scored in double figures (10 points) but BYU Cougars were pipped 67-64 by Southern Utah despite being up by two points with 37 seconds to play. Salmon added 5 rebounds as BYU slipped to just its second defeat of the season.

The Cougers (6-2) bounced back 48 hours later defeating Utah Valley 77-51 with Salmon adding 7 points to a game high 10 rebounds.

Zara Jillings, making her first start of the season, posted an all-round 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal playing the whole 40 minutes but Fordham University were well beaten by Georgetown 58-38.

Fordham got back to winning ways a couple of days later winning the Battle of the Bronx against Manhattan 65-61. Kendall Heremaia was everywhere with 7 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal. Jillings had 6 points and Mary Goulding, who missed the game against Georgetown, scored 9 points (plus 5 rebounds) as the Rams improved to 5-4.

Amiee Book threw down a pair of blocks to go with 8 points (3/6FG) as California State Fullerton Titans beat Ivy League school Dartmouth College 67-62. Three days later Book had 10 points (3/5FG) as the Titans improved to 4-4 for the season with a 64-56 home win against CSU Bakersfield.

Tulane Greenwave proved far too good for Florida Atlantic winning 88-45. Kayla Manuirirangi scored 12 points (2/4 3PG, 6/6FT) and dished 5 assists – Tulane now off to a 6-1 start to the season.

Joellen How scored six points but Wagner College dropped their fifth straight game going down 69-57 to St Peter’s.

Akiene-Tera Reed fouled out in 24 minutes as Virginia Commonwealth came from behind to edge Georgetown Hoyas 47-45 in a defence orientated game. Reed had 7 points and an assist in that time.