The 2019/20 American collegiate season begins shortly an in the first of a number of previews we take a look at the twenty-one New Zealand women that are preparing for the Women’s NCAA Division I basketball season. This number is slightly down on last season when 24 Kiwis were on Division I scholarships, the same number as 2017/18.
Below we take a brief look at the accomplishments of the 21 players, most of whom have played age-group basketball for New Zealand. In the cases of Krystal Leger-Walker, Katelin Noyer, Zara Jillings, Akiene Tera-Reed and Amy West they have also played for the Tall Ferns.
Tegan Graham (Colgate University)
Season 18/19 Games 29, Starts 17, Points 222 (7.7ppg), Rebounds 69 (2.4rpg), Assists 63 (2.2apg)
Graham finished the season fourth on the Raiders (12-17) scoring list and third in the assists column. The former Wellington Girls College guard scored a career high 24 points against Army West Point in February – the start of a three-game spell where she scored 20 points or more.
Graham has totaled 425 career points in 68 appearances for Colgate to date.
Krystal Leger-Walker (Washington State University)
Season 18/19 at Northern Colorado. Games 27, Starts 24, Points 240 (8.9ppg), Rebounds 125 (4.6rpg), Assists 148 (5.5apg), Steals 53 (2.0spg)
Having transferred from the University of Northern Colorado Bears to Washington State University Leger-Walker will be obliged to sit out the 2019-20 season in accordance with NCAA rules.
Last season, averaging 37 minutes per game, Leger-Walker was fourth in scoring for the Bears with 240 points. In addition she led the Big Sky Conference in assists averaging 5.5 per game and ranked 5thin steals with 2 per game.
The 2016 Tall Fern played 90 career games for the Bears amassing 564 points and 378 assists. The 21-11 Bears fell at the semi-final stage of the Big Sky Conference Tournament after finishing runners-up in the regular season.
Kayla Manuirirangi (Tulane University)
Season 18/19 Games 30, Starts 20, Points 181 (6.0ppg), Rebounds 50 (1.7rpg), Assists 42 (1.4apg)
The former New Plymouth Girls High standout played all 30 games for the Greenwave finishing fourth in scoring with 181 points, making a season best 17 points against SMU in January. The combo guard has played 88 games for Tulane accumulating 461 career points.
Tulane finished last season with a 15-15 record but a disappointing 5-11 in the American Conference.
Katelin Noyer (Fresno State University)
Season 18/19 Games 10, Starts 1 Points 20 (2.0ppg)
Noyer, the former Westlake Girls forward endured a frustrating, injury ravaged, final year with the Bulldogs.
The 2016 Tall Fern picked up a foot injury on Fresno’s pre-season European tour necessitating several weeks in a moon boot recovering from surgery. She returned for the final ten games of the season but didn’t receive much love from the coach averaging just six minutes per game.
Shalae Salmon (Brigham Young University)
Season 18/19 Games 29, Starts 22, Points 163 (5.6.0ppg), Rebounds 120 (4.1rpg)
Salmon was a key member of the Cougars that won the West Coast Conference Championship beating No 1 seed Gonzaga in the final. The victory took them to the NCAA Tournament where they were defeated in the second round.
Scored a career high 19 points against California Baptist in November. Also in November claimed 10 rebounds against Utah Valley although her career high sits at 17 achieved 12 months earlier.
In her BYU career the former Wellington Girls College forward has accumulated 362 points, 336 rebounds and 59 blocks.
Khaedin Taito (Brigham Young University)
Season 18/19 Games 3
Taito has had an injury plagued two years at BYU. After redshirting in 2016-17 Taito has played just seven games since, three of them this season.
McKenna Dale (Brown University)
Season 18/19 DNP
Dale unfortunately missed all of last season due to an ACL injury.
Attended Edwin O Smith High School, Connecticut where Dale was also an accomplished swimmer. Represented the Junior Tall Ferns in 2016.
Kendell Heremaia (Fordham University)
Season 18/19 Games 34, Starts 33, Points 275 (8.1ppg), Rebounds 178 (5.2rpg), Assists 80 (2.4apg).
Heremaia made every post a winner in her second year at Fordham, starting in all but one of Fordham’s games in a season that would see them claim their first Atlantic 10 Championship.
She scored a career high 17 points against Texas in November and pulled down a career best 16 rebounds against St Louis in January. The former St Peter’s, Cambridge dynamo was top 10 in the conference three-point shooting, scoring at 35%.
Joellen How (Wagner College)
Season 18/19 Games 30, Starts 4, Points 84 (2.8ppg), Rebounds 33 (1.1rpg), Assists 30 (1.0apg).
The former New Plymouth Girls High guard played all 30 games for the Seahawks last season and dished a career high 7 assists against Central Connecticut.
Named to the Northeast Conference Academic Honours Roll in 2018 and 2019.
Zara Jillings (Fordham University)
Season 18/19 Games 34, Starts 4, Points 110 (3.2ppg), Rebounds 91 (2.7rpg), Assists 50 (1.5apg).
Jillings, the former Westlake Girls guard played all 34 games for the Ramsin a season that saw them claim their first Atlantic 10 Championship.
Played a key role coming off the bench recording the second best field goal percentage on the team (47%) and also made 50 assists.
A member of the Tall Ferns team that won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Michelle Nicholls (University of Purdue, Fort Wayne)
Season 18/19 Games 31, Starts 15, Points 230 (7.4ppg), Rebounds 86 (2.8rpg), Assists 73 (2.4apg).
Nicholls has transferred to Purdue, Fort Wayne after two years at La Salle University.
Played all 31 games for La Salle last season scoring ten or more points on five occasions including a career high 23 points against Rhode Island.
Akiene-Tera Reed (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Season 18/19 Games 31, Starts 31, Points 388 (12.5ppg), Rebounds 169 (5.8rpg), Assists 70 (2.3apg).
Started all 31 games for VCU who went all the way to the Atlantic 10 Championship Final. Reed earned First Team All-Atlantic 10 honours after leading the VCU scoring for a second consecutive season. Finished top ten in the conference from the foul line (79%).
Made her Tall Ferns debut at the William Jones Cup in 2017.
Amiee Book (California State University Fullerton)
Season 18/19 Games 29, Starts 7, Points 282 (9.7), Rebounds 124 (4.3rpg), Assists 27 (0.9apg).
After an outstanding freshman season Book was named Big West Conference Sixth Player of the Year. Her 43.2% three-point shooting led the Titans and was the third best three-point shooting season in programme history. Scored a career high 18 points v UC Davis.
Book attended Waimea College in Nelson before moving to Middleton Grange in Christchurch.
Jade Kirisome (St Mary’s, California)
Season 18/19 Games 33, Starts 1, Points 133 (4.0), Rebounds 58 (1.8rpg), Assists 20 (0.6apg).
Played all 33 games for Furnham University in her freshman season but then transferred to St Mary’s.
Schooled at Brisbane State High School and played for New Zealand at the 2017 FIBA U17 Oceania Championships.
Tsubasa Nisbett (Georgia Southern University)
Season 18/19 Games 13, Starts 0, Rebounds 9, Assists 2.
The ex-Burnside High School forward had a disrupted freshman year playing just the 13 games for the Eagles.
Named on the Sun Belt Conference Academic Commissioner’s List.
Pareunora Pene (University of Tennessee Chattanooga)
Season 18/19 Games 11, Starts 0, Points 11, Assists 3.
The former Rotorua Girls High standout played 11 games in her freshman season for the Mocs and will be aiming for increased court time in her second season.
Sariah Penese (University of Maryland Baltimore)
Season 18/19 Games 22, Starts 5, Points 27 (1.3), Rebounds 29 (1.8rpg), Assists 16 (0.7apg).
Captained St Mary’s College, Wellington to the Schick Championship title in 2017. Penese played 22 games last season for the Retrievers and had a season high 5 points against Albany.
Amy West (St Mary’s College, California)
Season 18/19 Games 20, Starts 0, Points 25 (1.3), Rebounds 23 (1.2rpg), Blocks 5.
West, who made her Tall Ferns debut earlier this year at the William Jones Cup will, in accordance with NCAA regulations, redshirt the 2019-20 season after transferring from Liberty University where she spent her freshman year.
The Palmerston North Girls High forward played 20 games for Liberty Flames last season.
Tara Manumaleuga (University of Arizona in Tucson)
Attended Hillcrest Christian College in Queensland. Played for New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Belarus.
Kaylee Smiler (BYU)
Smiler attended Melville High School in Hamilton and played on a number of Waikato championship winning teams. Redshirted at BYU during the 2018/19 season.
Charlotte Whittaker (University of Colorado)
As a 16 year old Whittaker played for New Zealand Select against China B and has played for a number of New Zealand age-group teams.She averaged 13.8ppg for the Junior Tall Ferns at the Asia Cup in India last year.The 1.90m centre attended St Andrew’s College, Christchurch.