Monthly Archives: January 2019

Leger-Walker top 20 in assists plus other fine efforts in Div I Women’s Basketball



Krystal Leger Walker

The three Kiwis at Fordham University all played a part as the Rams went 1-1 last week (4-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference). Kendell Heremaia was close to a double-double in the 56-38 win against Rhode Island, she had 10 points, 9 boards and added 4 steals for good measure – Mary Goulding chipped in with 7 points and 6 rebounds.

On Sunday Fordham were beaten 60-56 by Davidson University despite a mercurial effort from Goulding who hauled in 15 rebounds to accompany 16 points – a game high in both categories.

Zara Jillings went quietly about her work with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists across the two games.

Also, in Atlantic-10 action Michelle Nicholls had 10 points and 5 rebounds but La Salle University suffered a narrow 66-62 loss to Duquesne.

The third women’s team with Kiwi representation in the Atlantic-10 are top of the table Virginia Commonwealth (6-1) who produced almost identical score lines for a win against St Louis (57-47) and a loss at George Washington (57-48). Akiene-Tera Reed had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 dimes and 3 steals in the defeat but didn’t play in the win against St Louis due to injury.

Krystal Leger-Walker was her usual busy self as Northern Colorado Bears recorded wins against Southern Utah (71-44) and Northern Arizona (63-53). Across the two games L-W totalled 18 points, 14 rebounds and a team high 14 assists – she leads the Big Sky Conference with 109 dimes at 5.7 per game and is top-20 in all Division I basketball. The Bears are top of the conference table with an 8-2 record.

BYU stretched its winning run to 11 games (9 in conference games) with a 65-56 defeat of San Diego. Starting centre Shalae Salmon produced 8 points, 6 rebounds and a block for the Cougars.


Joellen How

Taranaki guard Joellen How scored a career high 11 points but it wasn’t enough to prevent Wagner College Seahawks going down 69-46 to Robert Morris University. The Seahawks are 3-4 in Northeast conference play.

Tegan Graham scored 10 points and dished a season equaling high 4 assists but Colgate University fell 86-58 to Lehigh. The Raiders are 4-4 in the Patriot League.

Amiee Book pulled down a career high 8 rebounds but Cal State Fullerton were humbled 75-39 by UC Davis and slip to 3-2 in Big West Conference play.

Double figure efforts from Waardenburg, McRae and Fotu

Sam Waardenburg

Sam Waardenburg scored an Atlantic Coast Conference career best 13 points but the University of Miami went down 78-66 against No 23 Florida State on Sunday. Sam was perfect from the floor making all four of his shots including two from beyond the arc. The Hurricanes slip to 1-6 in conference games.

Freshman Callum McRae recorded the first double-double of his college career posting 10 points and 10 rebounds as UC Riverside lost 82-64 at UC Irvine. The Highlanders are 2-4 in the Big West Conference.

St Mary’s Gaels had a couple of tough road losses going down 71-66 at BYU and 84-77 in overtime at Pepperdine. Dan Fotu had 10 points and 6 rebounds against BYU making a couple of triples in the process.

University of Washington Huskies are travelling well in the Pac-12 Conference, the Huskies unbeaten in seven games after road wins against Oregon (61-56) and Oregon State 79-69. Sam Timmins had 7 points in the first game and 2 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks against Oregon State.

Jack Salt claimed a team high 8 boards to accompany 7 points (3/5FG) as No 3 Virginia eased past Wake Forest 68-45 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and then accounted for the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame 82-55.

More accolades for Micaela Cocks

micaela cocks copy

Micaela Cocks, who became just the second player behind Rachael McCully to chalk up 200 games for the Townsville Fire, won the Players’ Player award for a record-breaking fourth time at the Fire’s Awards evening at the weekend.

Cocks went back-to-back in 2011/12 and 2012/13 and has now repeated the accomplishment after winning the award in 2017/18.

Remarkably, the Players’ Player is the eighth club award the New Zealand Olympian has won during her time at the Fire.

Cock’s received a further accolade on the night as she, alongside Mia Murray and Suzy Batkovic was awarded a life membership.

After missing the finals for the first time in eight seasons, the Fire will look to bounce back in the 2019/20 Australian WNBL season with a new-look squad following Suzy Batkovic’s retirement with Cock’s and fellow Kiwi Stella Beck almost certain to be part of that line-up.

Career high’s for Book, Reed and Nicholls plus milestone for Leger-Walker

aimee book

A 12-day break in the Cal State University Fullerton programme didn’t harm Amiee Book’s fine freshman form as she posted a career high 18 points in the 75-51 loss at UC Davis and followed that with 15 points in the 78-64 victory against Cal Poly.

The former Tasman and Canterbury representative went 12 from 19 from the field across the two games including 6 from 9 (67%) from beyond the arc. Amiee is shooting a highly impressive 50% (29/58) from three-point land overall this season. CSUF are 2-1 early in their Big West Conference programme.

With 2 assists in the 60-56 win against Idaho State Krystal Leger-Walker moved into the top five in Northern Colorado Bears programme history. She has 325 career assist to her name and as we are only just over half-way through L-W’s junior season that total is likely to be extended considerably.

Krystal added 11 points as the Bears moved to second place on the Big Sky Conference ladder.

A fine all-court game from Michelle Nicholls didn’t prevent La Salle University Explorers from slipping to a fifth straight Atlantic-10 defeat going down 60-57 against St Joseph’s. Nicholls had a career high 3 blocks plus 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Still in the Atlantic-10 it’s a different story for Akiene-Tera Reed and Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams extended their winning run to seven games, the last five all conference games, after slamming Rhode Island 74-39. Reed tied a career high four three-pointers as she scored a team high 16 points along with 5 rebounds. Reid has scored double figures in seven of the last eight games for the Rams.

Also unbeaten in conference play are BYU as they registered an eighth victory on the bounce in West Coast Conference play coming back from a 16 points deficit to beat Portland 79-71. Shalae Salmon (2 points) was active at the defensive end executing 3 blocks in addition to grabbing 3 rebounds.

After a 3-0 start in conference fixtures Fordham University Rams have suffered two straight losses. The latest defeat was a 72-50 mauling at Dayton where Kendell Heremaia posted 9 points and 4 rebounds and Mary Goulding came up with 6 boards, 2 steals and 7 points.

McRae shines, Alok moves, whilst Salt and Virginia lose undefeated record


Callum McRae got his first conference start of the season for University of California Riverside and rewarded the Highlanders coaching personnel with a team high 13 points on a perfect 6 from 6 shooting in the 69-61 loss at Cal State Fullerton.

That performance led to a second start a couple of days later and on that occasion the Highlanders (1-3) secured its first Big West Conference victory with a 75-71 home win against Hawaii. Once again the former Palmerston North Boys High big man was highly efficient scoring 12 points (6 from 8 shooting) to go with 5 rebounds.

In the eagerly awaited clash between the No1 ranked Duke University Blue Devils and University of Virginia Cavaliers it was the Blue Devils that prevailed on their home court 72-70. Jack Salt added 5 points to 4 rebounds in 26 minutes as Virginia (16-1) suffered its first loss of the season.

Jackson Stent scored 8 points (2/5FG, 4/4FT) but Houston Baptist came unstuck against Sam Houston State University going down 71-65 and now sit 1-4 in the Southland Conference.

Yanni Wetzell came up with 7 points and 4 rebounds but Vanderbilt University Commodores slipped to a fifth straight loss in Southeastern Conference play with a 71-55 home loss to No 22 Mississippi State.

Sam Timmins produced 6 points, 4 rebounds and a pair of blocks and steals as Washington University Huskies beat Stanford 80-64. Washington are unbeaten with five straight wins in the Pac-12 Conference.

Yuat Alok, the former Rangitoto College forward, has suffered a season ending hand injury. In addition, Alok has moved to Central Florida University from Texas Christian with immediate effect.

Three out of five Tall Ferns in WNBL play-offs


Three out of five ain’t bad.

The Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) play-off’s begin next week with three of the teams contesting the semi-finals featuring current Tall Ferns players.

Penina Davidson in her first season as a professional since graduating from the University of California Berkeley, is in the Adelaide Lightning lineup.

Adelaide, coached by former Tall Ferns assistant coach Chris Lucas, return to the play-offs for the first time since 2013 and after finishing third in the regular season will face second placed Melbourne Boomers in one semi.

penina davidson copy 4

Current Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy is the Melbourne mentor and has Tall Ferns forward Kalani Purcell to lead his team’s defensive effort. Purcell is in her second season with the Boomers and leads the team in steals (1.5spg) and is second in rebounding (5.5rpg).

The first game of the best-of-three series is in Melbourne on Sunday January 27.

Toni Farnworth, like Purcell a Commonwealth Games silver medalist, captains the Perth Lynx that are appearing in a fourth straight semi-final. The experienced Farnworth and the Lynx are bidding to win their first championship.

Perth will face regular season champions Canberra Capitals with the opening game in Canberra on Friday January 25.

The Townsville Fire duo of Stella Beck and Micaela Cocks finished the season on a positive note with a 90-82 victory against Sydney Flames. Beck, promoted to the starting five, scored 10 points to accompany 5 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. The win was not enough to carry the defending champions back to the play-offs, the Fire finishing fifth with a 10-12 record.

Mate v Mates, Kiwi v Kiwis, Ram v Rams


The latest chapter of Kiwi v Kiwi or to be more precise Kiwi v Kiwis in US college basketball occurred in the Bronx on Thursday (NZT) when Akiene-Tera Reed and the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University locked horns with the Rams of Fordham University.

Fordham, with their trio of Kiwis Mary Goulding, Kendell Heremaia and Zara Jillings, would have started as slight favourites on their home court and with a 13 points lead at half-time (30-17) appeared to be justifying that tag.

Both teams entered the game with a 3-0 conference record so it was predictable it would a tight encounter and so it proved as VCU stormed back in the third quarter to level at 40 points apiece with ten to play.

The VCU resurgence coincided with Heremaia (5 points and 8 rebounds) and Goulding (12 points and 6 rebounds), two of Fordham’s starters, forced to the bench with foul issues.

The fourth quarter was a defensive slog with just 11 points scored in the period – crucially for VCU they scored seven of them.

Reed finished with a team high 5 assists along with 8 points, 3 rebounds and a brace of steals.

Kendell Heremaia

The quartet of New Zealand representative players are all having fine seasons. Reed leads the VCU scoring averaging 13.6 points per game whilst Goulding is the leading rebounder for Fordham with 7.4 boards per outing and second in scoring (10.8ppg). Heremaia has established herself in the starting five for Fordham and averages 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds whilst regular sixth man Jillings tallies 4 points and 3 rebounds.

VCU with a 4-0 record now sit top of the Atlantic-10 Conference standings alongside Davidson University with Fordham (3-1) in third place.

Goulding, Manuirirangi, Reed and Le’afa lead array of strong performances by Kiwis

kayla manuiririrangi

Below we reflect on some outstanding individual performances at the weekend in NCAA Division I basketball.

Kayla Manuirirangi passed the 400 career points mark on her way to a team high 17 points (5/10 3PG) as Tulane University Green Wave (3-0 in the American Athletic Conference) defeated Southern Methodist University 61-43. The former New Plymouth Girls High standout also added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.

Akiene-Tera Reed continued her good form with a team high 19 points (6/11FG), 6 rebounds and a brace of steals as Virginia Commonwealth University, on the back of a dominant second half display, won 68-43 at Richmond. VCU, 3-0 in Atlantic-10 Conference play, next face Fordham University with their trio of Kiwis – Mary Goulding, Kendell Heremaia and Zara Jillings.

Jillings was the toast of the Bronx on Sunday as her And-1 play with 5 seconds to play secured Fordham a 56-53 road win at Saint Louis. Jillings finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds and a block. Kendell Heremaia claimed a career high 16 rebounds (her previous best was 10) to go with 5 points and Mary Goulding passed 500 career points for Fordham as she tallied 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Fordham, like VCU are 3-0 in Atlantic-10 play.

Also unbeaten in conference fixtures are Northern Colorado Bears. After defeating Montana 73-62 the Bears are 5-0 in the Big Sky Conference. Krystal Leger-Walker, as usual, filled the stats line with 4 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals.

KL-W leads the conference in minutes played (averaging 38.5 minutes per game) is second on the assists list (79 at 5.6apg) and fourth in steals (34 at 2.4spg).

Michelle Nicholls scored 11 points to go with 5 assists but couldn’t prevent La Salle going down 74-60 to Massachusetts. it was a third straight defeat for the Explorers in Atlantic-10 fixtures.

Tegan Graham accumulated 7 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists but Colgate University Raiders fell 62-49 to Navy – the Raiders 2-2 in the Patriot League.

It took three periods of overtime but Santa Clara eventually secured an 83-75 win against Loyola Marymount. 2014 Tall Fern Dru Toleafoa secured 6 rebounds and 2 points for Santa Clara as they improve to 2-3 in the West Coast Conference.

In Men’s Division I action an Izayah Le’afa three helped Sacramento State Hornets come from five points down in the final thirty seconds, before losing 72-70 on the buzzer against Idaho State. Le’afa finished with 16 points (4/8 3PG), 2 assists and 2 blocks. The Hornets have now lost their opening four Big Sky Conference games.


Sam Waardenburg snared a career high 9 rebounds to accompany 6 points and 3 assists as Miami University Hurricanes collected their first Atlantic Coast Conference point courtesy of a 76-65 win against Wake Forest.

Jack Salt weathered some foul trouble eventually posting 7 points and 8 rebounds as Virginia University Cavaliers extended its unbeaten run this season to 15 games. The defending Atlantic Coast champions won 63-43 at Clemson.

Freshman Callum McRae made 5 points and grabbed 5 rebounds but University of California Riverside dropped their opening Big West Conference opener against Santa Barbara 72-64.

How about this performance?

alex talma copy

In NCAA Division II action Alex Talma not only put together one of the best shooting performances ever seen at Biola University Eagles and in the PacWest Conference but quite possibly the most efficient ever produced by a Kiwi in college basketball.

The Eagles soared past Dominican University 75-66 to improve to 5-4 in conference play after a third straight win but the story behind the score line is a perfect shooting night from the former Westlake and Harbour big man.

Talma made 10 from 10 from the floor and 3 from 3 from the foul line to end up with 23 points. It’s the third-highest number of field goals made without a miss since the PacWest Conference was formed in 1992. He also added 9 rebounds and a block for good measure.

The senior forward is averaging 12.9 points per outing and a team high 9.5 rebounds per game.

Kiwis in college wrap from mid-week conference games

krystal l-w

Northern Colorado Bears, 4-0 in Big Sky Conference play, beat Eastern Washington 67-62 in overtime. Krystal Leger-Walker scored 17 points for the Bears in addition to 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. She made 3 from 6 from beyond the arc including a crucial make in the overtime period.

All court games from Mary Goulding and Kendell Heremaia propelled Fordham University Rams to a second straight Atlantic 10 Conference win at the expense of Richmond, 68-40. Senior forward Goulding had 16 points (7/12FG), 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. Heremaia was almost as productive collecting 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal to go with her 5 points.

Sophmore guard Joellen How dished 7 assists as Wagner College Seahawks beat Central Connecticut State 75-63 in Northeast Conference play. The seven assists were a game high and career best for the Opunake native.

Also recording a career high in assists was Shalae Salmon who had 4 dimes as BYU squeezed past Pacific 77-74 to move to 5-0 and top of the table in the West Coast Conference. Salmon could well have extended that mark further than four had she not fouled out in just 15 minutes after also posting 6 points and a pair of rebounds.

The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams versus La Salle University Explorers Atlantic-10 match up featured former school mates Akiene-Tera Reed and Michelle Nicholls in opposition.

Reed is again leading the Rams scoring this season (averaging 13.2 points per game) and against La Salle scored a team high 12 points as VCU secured an emphatic 68-38 win.

Nicholls (second on the La Salle scoring list this season averaging 7.7ppg) came up with 5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals in 25 minutes for La Salle but it was a disappointing night for the Explorers who gave up a colossal 34 turnovers.

La Salle have started conference play with back to back losses, VCU in contrast an encouraging 2 from 2 after successive home wins.

After beating Boston College 83-56 Virginia Cavaliers are 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 14-0 overall. Jack Salt, restricted by foul trouble, had 7 points (3/3FG), 2 rebounds a steal and a block for the Cavs.

sam timmins

Another Tall Black centre Sam Timmins swatted a season best 4 blocks as the University of Washington Huskies defeated Utah 69-53 in Pac-12 Conference play. The former Otago Boys standout also came up with 7 boards and 4 points.

Dan Fotu scored 5 points and Quinn Clinton three as St Mary’s College beat BYU 88-66, St Mary’s 1-1 in West Coast Conference play.

Miami University Hurricanes are on a three game losing skid after falling 68-62 at No 13 Florida State. Sam Waardenburg scored 4 points for Miami – all from the foul line.

Yanni Wetzell had 8 points and 5 rebounds but Vanderbilt University fell 82-63 at Georgia, its second loss in its opening two Southeastern Conference games.