Monthly Archives: February 2019

Mary Goulding shines on Senior Day


Mary Goulding

Appropriately on Senior Day Mary Goulding, in her final collegiate year, came up big for Fordham University Rams as they beat Massachusetts 76-64. The Waikato native made 15 points and claimed game highs in rebounds (8), assists (5) and steals (3).

The Rams seventh straight win propels them to 11-3 and maintains them in second place on the Atlantic Coast Conference table.

Amiee Book was once again in good shooting form for California State Fullerton Titans shooting 7 from 10 from the floor on her way to 16 points. It was Book’s fifth double figure points haul in her last six games but the Titans slipped to 4-8 in West Coast Conference play.

Akiene-Tera Reid returned to the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams lineup after a two-game absence due to injury but couldn’t prevent VCU falling 71-68 in overtime to Duquesne University. Reed came up with 11 points (5/8FG) as the Rams, despite the loss, still sit atop the Atlantic 10 Conference with an 12-2 record.

Ten points from Tegan Graham wasn’t enough to get Colgate University across the line against Lehigh, the Raiders going down 75-63 in the Patriot League. Colgate slip to 5-9 in Patriot play after a fifth straight defeat.

Freshman Esra McGoldrick posted 10 points (4/6FG) and 5 rebounds, her best numbers in her fledgling college career, as North Carolina State crushed Wake Forest 80-46 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Kayla Manuirirangi scored 8 points for Tulane Green Wave in narrow 83-82 defeat against Houston University.

Former Tall Fern Dru Toleafoa added 5 points to 9 rebounds and 6 assists in her 98thgame for Santa Clara University Broncos. The Broncos bucked Portland 106-68, the SCU 5-11 in West Coast Conference play.

Career high from Callum McRae the best from Kiwi men in Division I College play


A career high points haul from Callum McRae highlights the latest news on Kiwi men playing NCAA Division I basketball

The freshman centre recorded his second career double-double posting a career high 16 points to accompany 10 rebounds in his latest outing for the University of California Riverside . Despite the efforts of the former Palmerston North Boys High standout the Highlanders fell 71-67 in overtime to Long Beach State in Big West Conference action.

McRae is having a fine debut season averaging 7 points and 4 rebounds per game. Impressively he has averaged 10 points and 5.6 rebounds since claiming a starting spot ten games ago.

A perfect shooting game from Yanni Wetzell couldn’t prevent Vanderbilt University Commodores falling to its fourteenth straight Southeastern Conference defeat at the hands of Alabama University (68-61). The former Westlake forward compiled ten points on 4 from 4 shooting from the floor plus 2 from 2 free throws – he also totalled 8 rebounds.

Jackson Stent scored 9 points (3/5FG, 3/4FT) as Houston Baptist University Huskies suffered an agonising 119-113 double overtime loss at Sam Houston State. The Huskies are 6-8 in Southland Conference play with four regular season games to play.

Izayah Le’afa scored 8 points as Sacramento State Hornets defeated Weber State 78-76 in a come from behind victory. Sacramento State only led for 2:49 in the game as they secured a sixth Big Sky Conference victory.

Miami University Hurricanes secured its fourth Atlantic Coast Conference win of the campaign defeating Georgia Tech 80-65. Sam Waardenburg scored 7 points and was also a defensive pest snatching a pair of steals and also blocking 2 shots.

Six points (3/4FG) from Matt Freeman helped Oklahoma University Sooners beat Texas 69-67 in an exciting contest. The win also kept the Sooners outside chance of making the NCAA Tournament alive – currently they are 5-9 in conference play and 17-10 overall for the season.

Goulding grabs double-double as Kiwis impress in latest college action



Mary Goulding put together her seventh double-double of the season as Fordham University Rams beat Davidson University 58-42. The Rangiora native had 11 points and 11 rebounds as well as dishing 5 assists. Kendell Heremaia also threatened a double-D totaling 7 points and 9 rebounds. The third Kiwi Zara Jillings produced just 2 points but did snare 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

Fordham followed that with a sixth straight win at St Bonaventure (53-44) – the Rams are 10-3 in Atlantic 10 Conference play. Goulding led all scorers with 14 points to go with 7 rebounds and Heremaia posted 8 points and 6 boards.

It was unlucky thirteen for Krystal Leger-Walker and the Northern Colorado University Bears. She strung together 13 points (6/11FG), 4 assists and a pair of steals for the Bears but they were beaten 76-72 by Eastern Washington Eagles.

Two days later Leger-Walker played all 40 minutes as the Bears beat Idaho 77-72 and are now 11-4 in Big Sky Conference play. 10 points (3/7FG) and 5 assists from the Waikato native helped NCU record its bounce back win.

Michelle Nicholls scored 10 points as La Salle University Explorers (1-12 in conference play) were pipped 64-63 by St Joseph’s in a game that featured 15 ties and 16 lead changes. Nicholls also dished 4 assists, that’s 20 dimes in the last five games.

Freshman Aimee Book, who has started the last five games, had 12 points and 7 rebounds in a 73-64 loss against California State University Northridge Aimee scored all her points from beyond the three-point arc making 4 from 7 threes. Six losses on the bounce see the Titans slip to 3-7 in the Big West Conference.

Joellen How scored 11 points as Wagner College Seahawks beat Central Connecticut State 70-62 to pick up its fourth straight win (the last time they won five consecutive games as in 1998). How was highly efficient making four from 5 shots including 3 from 4 threes in just 12 minutes of court time.

A steal and a pair of free throws inside the final six seconds earned Tulane University Green Wave an exciting 61-59 win against the University of Central Florida, the No 2 team in the American Athletic Conference. Kayla Manuirirangi played her part in the win with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists in 26 minutes of action

Amy West pulled down a career high 6 rebounds, including 3 offensive boards, in just 10 minutes of play as Liberty University Flames fired past Lipscomb 74-60. The Palmerston North native also scored a couple of points as the Flames moved to 6-5 in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Freshman forward Esra McGoldrick knocked down her first career three for North Carolina State but the Wolfpack suffered just its third defeat of the season going down 95-72 to No 5 ranked Notre Dame.

Both Akiene-Tera Reed (Virginia Commonwealth) and Shalae Salmon (Brigham Young) have been sidelined in the past week due to injuries.

Season high from Izayah Le’afa


A season best from Izayah Le’afa highlights the latest news about Kiwi men playing NCAA Division I hoops.

Le’afa scored a season high 18 points (5/11 3PG), that included three triples in three minutes, as Sacramento State Hornets secured an 84-73 home win against Southern Utah – the Hornets now 5-9 in the Big Sky Conference after starting 0-4. Six assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals completed the Wellingtonian point guard’s fine all court game.

Yanni Wetzel recorded his first double-double in Vanderbilt University colours but it wasn’t enough to get the Commodores the win. The Vanderbilt forward scored 10 points (4/5FG) and also garnered 10 rebounds but unfortunately it is now 12 straight losses in the Southeastern Conference for Vandy after going down 64-53 against Auburn.

Sam Waardenburg hit double figures for the sixth time this season and the third time in the last seven games but Miami University Hurricanes fell 64-57 at Boston College. Waardenburg’s 10 points came without missing a shot (2/2 3PG, 1/1 2PG, 2/2FT). The former Rangitoto small forward also corralled 5 rebounds and came up with a steal and a block – the Hurricanes 3-10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Callum McRae had his ninth double figure outing of the season, and sixth in the last nine games, in California Riverside’s 87-64 loss at Hawaii. The Manawatu centre scored 13 points on 5 from 8 shooting and also connected with all three attempts from the foul line.

Matt Freeman had half a dozen points as Oklahoma Sooners beat Texas Christian 71-62. The former Westlake forward also added 3 rebounds and a block. It was a welcome win for Oklahoma that improve to 4-9 in the Big 12 Conference after suffering five straight losses.

Six was the common denominator with Jackson Stent slotting half a dozen points (2/5FG, 2/2FT) as Houston Baptist came from behind to defeat Nicholls State 88-82. The Huskies are now 5-7 in the Southland Conference.

Wrap on the women’s performances coming up later in the week.


Penina Davidson and Adelaide Lightning headed to WNBL Grand Final decider


The Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) Grand Final Series is headed to a deciding game in Canberra on Saturday evening after a pulsating second game was won by Adelaide Lightning last night.

Canberra had comfortably won the opening game 88-67 on its home court but the Lightning bounced back in stirring fashion closing out a nail-biter 74-73. Nicole Seekamp scored with a buzzer beater in front of 3,700 ecstatic fans at the Titanium Security Arena in Adelaide to force a deciding game in the best-of-three series.

Tall Fern Penina Davidson, in her first season as a professional since graduating from the University of California Berkeley in 2018, produced a nice cameo off the bench posting 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and a block.

The winning basket wasn’t without controversy as the referees missed a clear double dribble as the ball was dribbled up court and there was grave doubt as to whether Seekamp got off her winning shot before the final siren sounded.

Earlier Canberra had forged a 44-37 half-time advantage although that lead has virtually evaporated by three-quarter time with Adelaide trailing by just one point (56-55). Even though Canberra led for the majority of the final period Adelaide were never more than two possessions in arrears and timed their final run to perfection.

Adelaide Head Coach and former Tall Ferns assistant Chris Lucas described the game as “An amazing game of women’s basketball. I thought it was just fantastic, it had everything.”

Whatever the outcome on Saturday Davidson has relished her rookie season in Adelaide.

“Making the Grand Final has definitely been a highlight and I couldn’t have asked for much more from my first professional contract,” she said.

Nicholls career high the pick of the college performances this week

Michelle Nicholls

A career high in points (23) and assists (7) from Michelle Nicholls propelled La Salle University Explorers to a 77-71 win against Rhode Island – it’s first Atlantic-10 Conference win of the season.

Her 23 points, on 7 from 11 shooting, are the most points scored by an Explorer this season and helped end a run of eleven straight losses dating back to mid-December.

At the other end of the A-10 Conference table Virginia Commonwealth University Rams moved to 10-1, its best conference start in programme history. Akiene-Tera Reed’s 9 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists helped VCU to a 58-37 win against Richmond.

Also chugging along nicely in the A-10 behind VCU are Fordham University – four straight wins moves them to 8-3 in conference play. Its latest successes were home wins against George Mason and St Louis with Mary Goulding and Kendell Heremaia prominent.

Goulding put together a destructive 12 points and 13 rebounds – her sixth double-double of the season against St Louis and followed that with a career high 19 points against George Mason. Kendell Heremaia totaled 13 points, 11 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists and a block across the two fixtures.

Amiee Book was another in double-double mode – the freshman guard added a career high 11 rebounds to 10 points for Cal State Fullerton Titans. It was Book’s first double-double in college basketball but unfortunately the Titans were trumped 62-59 on the road by UC Riverside.

Book followed that with 13 points, 5 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block against UC Irvine but the Titans were outscored 23-7 in the final quarter eventually going down 65-61. Three losses on the bounce for the Titans (3-6 in the Big West Conference) in February but all by single figure margins.

Kayla Mauirirangi dropped 11 points for Tulane University but the Green Wave suffered a third straight loss, rolled 72-67 by Tulsa. Tulane have a 4-6 record in the American Athletic Conference.

There was little in the way of startling numbers from the Kiwi men playing Division I hoops this week.

The short-handed University of Miami Hurricanes snapped a five game losing streak beating Notre Dame 62-47. They came close to making it two wins on the bounce but fell 88-85 in overtime to No 8 ranked North Carolina with Sam Waardenburg scoring 8 points on 3 from 3 shooting – landing both efforts from beyond the arc.

In a high octane encounter between the number two and three ranked NCAA Division I college teams it was Duke University that prevailed beating Virginia University Cavaliers 81-71. Jack Salt produced 6 points and two’s in rebounds, assists and steals as Virginia slip to 8-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (20-2 overall).

Another starting centre with 6 points was Callum McRae. The former Palmerston North Boys High big man also added 4 rebounds as University of California Riverside lost 77-54 at home to UC Santa Barbara.

Also on the losing side was Izayah Le’afa as Sacramento State Hornets were stung 65-59 at Northern Colorado. Le’afa collected 5 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals as the Hornets fall to 1-5 against Big Sky Conference opponents.

Sam Timmins scored with his only two shots but Washington University Huskies lost its unbeaten Pac 12 Conference record after a 75-63 loss at Arizona State and Yanni Wetzel also scored 4 points as Vanderbilt University, still looking for its first Southeastern Conference win, lost 77-67 at Alabama.

WBC defending champions snare Hayley Gray

HG 2

Hayley Gray in Canterbury colours – photo courtesy of Richard Connelly

The Otago Gold Rush are thrilled to announce that former Canterbury Wildcats captain Hayley Gray will be joining the Otago Gold Rush for their Women’s Basketball Championship title defense in 2019.

Basketball Otago General Manager Justin Ludlow says Gray has been an instrumental figure in Canterbury women’s basketball since her debut with the Wildcats at the age of sixteen.

“She played an important role in the Wildcats back to back championship wins in 2016 and 2017, and she captained the team during that time.

“Head coach Greg Brockbank and I met with Hayley recently, and we were just thrilled with her attitude and determination for the game which will be a great asset for us in 2019. She wants to see more females playing basketball at all ages and wants to play a part in that in our region which is fantastic.

“She is still passionate about the game and giving back to the next generation of young female basketballers who aspire to have the opportunities which she has had within the game, and which are still a key component of her desire to remain involved at the highest level. She is excited that she will be able to continue this with the Otago Gold Rush as they look to defend their title won in 2018,” says Ludlow.

“I am really excited to be getting back out on the court again this year, especially with the defending champions. It is always challenging moving cities and teams, but the Otago Gold Rush have been very welcoming and supportive, and I cannot wait to hit the floor running in this year’s WBC. I imagine it will be a tight race to the title as the WBC continues to grow in strength, but I am confident the silverware won’t be moving from the South,” says Gray.

An ACL injury hampered Gray’s 2018 commitments with the North Canterbury Spirit in the WBC’s second division. Gray used this time to give back as a coaching assistant in what proved to be a third championship in three years with the Spirit crowned second division champions during the finals in Dunedin.

The experienced guard has recently relocated to Queenstown with her partner to establish and operate the Black & White Coffee Cartel café in Frankton and believes her experience and leadership qualities will add value to the Gold Rush during the 2019 season.

The Otago Gold Rush begin their WBC campaign against the Auckland Dream on Friday 10 May in Christchurch.

Plenty of success for Kiwi women in college hoops in the last few days

Tegan Graham

Tegan Graham

Wellingtonian guard Tegan Graham was one point shy of equalling her career best, scoring 17 points (7/14FG, 3/5 3PG), as she paced Colgate University Raiders to a 70-58 victory over Army at West Point. Graham was in fine form adding a trio of steals and assists plus a block. The Raiders are 4-4 in the Patriot League.

Akiene-Tera Reed scored a game high 18 points (5/11FG, 7/8FT) as Virginia Commonwealth Rams comfortably accounted for St Joseph’s 65-47. She also added 4 rebounds at VCU moved to 8-1 at the head of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Kendell Heremaia dropped a career high 4 triples (made from 9 attempts) on her way to 14 points and 6 rebounds as Fordham University Rams improved to 6-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, fourth on the table behind VCU, with a 57-46 win against Duquesne. Mary Goulding filled the stats line with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.

Shalae Salmon scored 13 points (6/12FG) but BYU, after starting West Coast Conference play with nine straight wins, slipped to a 79-65 defeat at Pepperdine. The starting centre also garnered 6 rebounds.

Amiee Book made her third start of the season for Cal State Fullerton Titans in their 59-53 loss to Log Beach State. The former Canterbury Wildcat scored 12 points (4/10FG), 4 rebounds and 2 assists – her 12thdouble digit return of the season. The Titans slip to 3-4 in the Big West Conference.

It seems a common theme when talking about Krystal Leger-Walker as she once again stuffed the stats sheet as Northern Colorado Bears won 84-73 at Idaho State. The Waikato guard finished with 10 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals as the Bears moved to 9-2 in the Big Sky Conference.

Former Palmerston North Girls High forward Amy West scored a season best 6 points plus 4 rebounds as Liberty University Flames put the Lipscomb fire out winning 77-60. The Flames are 4-3 in the ASUN Conference.

Katelin Noyer has returned to action for Fresno State after undergoing foot surgery prior to the start of the season. She played 4 minutes for the Bulldogs against Wyoming in her comeback game and was then given a start at New Mexico where the Bulldogs went down 82-73. In front of 6,000 fans Noyer scored a couple of points and secured a pair of rebounds in 16 minutes as Fresno State slip to 6-3 in the Mountain West Conference.

Mate v Mate, Kiwi v Kiwi, Waardenburg v Salt

Sam W

Two North Shore boys Sam Waardenburg and Jack Salt squared off at the Paul Jones Arena, home of the University of Virginia Cavaliers, on Sunday (NZ Time).

It was Salt and the Cavaliers that eventually prevailed 56-46 but the University of Miami Hurricanes were far from blown away by their Atlantic Coast Conference rivals in a low scoring encounter.

Former Rangitoto College standout Waardenburg (10 points) reached double figures for the fifth time this season on 4 from 9 shooting. In 36 minutes of action, the most minutes he has played in a conference game, the sophomore forward also added 3 rebounds a steal and a block.

Salt, in his final year at the No 3 ranked Virginia, was his usual rock solid self on defense picking up a season high 9 rebounds to accompany 7 points (3/5FG).

Next up for Virginia (8-1 in conference play and 20-1 overall) is the mouth-watering prospect of entertaining Duke ranked No 1 or No 2 depending on which polls you view. Duke prevailed 72-70 when the teams last met – the game is scheduled for next Sunday (NZT).

Jack Salt

In other news former Palmerston North Boys High standout Callum McRae was one of few bright lights for University of California Riverside as they were smacked 71-45 by Cal Poly. The freshman centre had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, recording his fifth consecutive game in double figures.

Sacramento State Hornets are 6-4 in the Big Sky Conference after a convincing 74-58 win at Idaho State. Izayah Le’afa led the Hornets scoring effort with a season high 16 points on 6 from 10 shooting including 4 from 7 from beyond the arc.

Another former Tall Black Sam Timmins produced 9 points (3/5FG), 6 rebounds and 3 blocks as the University of Washington Huskies (9-0) remain unbeaten in the Pac 12 Conference after a 69-55 home victory against UCLA.

Penina Davidson and Adelaide Lightning bolt into WNBL Final


And then there was one!

This time last week Tall Ferns Toni Farnworth (Perth Lynx), Kalani Purcell (Melbourne Boomers) and Penina Davidson (Adelaide Lightning) were all vying for a shot at the Australian Women’s National Basketball League title.

Now there is just one New Zealand representative chasing Australia’s prime domestic honour after Perth and Melbourne were swept 2-0 in their respective best-of-three semi-finals series.

Having lost 95-76 against regular season champions Canberra Capitals last weekend Perth put up a stronger showing at home on Thursday night. However, the basketball gods were not doing them any favours as two of the Lynx starters, Kayla Steindl and Asia Taylor, played limited minutes due to injury. Toni Farnworth (4 points and 2 rebounds) and her teammates battled bravely but eventually went down 91-75 – eliminated in the semis for the second successive season.

If that result was somewhat predictable the elimination of the Melbourne Boomers, coached by Tall Ferns mentor Guy Molloy, was perhaps more of a surprise.

After starting the season 3-6 Adelaide won all but two of its remaining 13 fixtures although they had lost all three regular season games against Melbourne. However, carrying the confidence of wining seven of its last eight games into the semi-final series, Adelaide pinched an important road win (76-60) last weekend. They completed the job at home on Thursday winning a high quality encounter 100-96.

Davidson, in here rookie pro season, played just three minutes in game two but had been a key spark off the bench in the first encounter scoring 8 points (4/7FG) whilst also securing a couple of rebounds.

Kalani Purcell was her usual industrious self for Melbourne totaling 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a couple of blocks over the two games but her efforts, and those of her teammates, were not quite enough against an inspired Lightning.

The Lightning return to the finals for the first time since 2008 and we will be following the fortunes of Davidson, the Tall Ferns and former Cal Berkeley forward, closely.

The finals will also be a best-of-three series beginning in Canberra on February 9th.