Etco Auckland Dream have been crowned the 2022 Women’s D League champions after defeating the Otago Gold Rush 74-60 at Eventfinda Stadium on Saturday.
The victory was far from straight forward with a resolute Gold Rush out of the blocks the quicker opening up an 11-6 lead, extended to 16-10 at the quarter mark.
In a contrast of styles the guard dominant Dream were being outworked by the front court orientated Gold Rush but made an adjustment in the second. Moving to a two-forwards axis produced immediate dividends as Coola Baudry and Trinity Paeu combined to reduce the deficit to one point.
Baudry gave the Dream its first lead of the game – a dominant second spell meaning they held a 34-29 lead at half-time.
The momentum remained with the Dream at the start of the third with the guards taking their turn to inflict damage – Summer Jean Motufoua, Darci Finnigan and Riana Rangi-Brown taking them to a 45-33 lead.
The response came from Hannah Beede and Sophie Adams (14 points and 18 rebounds), although Rangi-Brown (11 points in the quarter) had the last say of the period – 56-44 the Dream lead with 10 minutes to play.
Twenty points down at the mid-point of the fourth Otago weren’t throwing the towel in – Hannah Matahaere initiated a 7-0 run to fuel the optimism of the travelling supporters.
Fittingly player-coach Darci Finnigan and Tournament MVP Rangi-Brown (25 points) were the next two scorers as the Dream snuffed out the Gold Rush challenge to deservedly take the title.
Auckland Dream 74 – Rangi-Brown 25, Baudry 12, Motufoua 12, Finnigan 9
Otago Gold Rush 60 – Matahaere 15, Adams 14/18rebs, Mitchell 10, Beede 9
The 3rd/4th place game went the way of Canterbury after they defeated Harbour Breeze 73-65.
Canterbury: N Gleason 19, K Herman 17, L Pale 14, H Mischewski 9, K Williams 9
Harbour: H Wentworth 19, Y Negishi 12, N Scales 11, I Pugh 9
Other Placing Results:
5th/6th Waikato Wizards 95 Rotorua Lady Geysers 67
7th/8 Taranaki Airs 76 Southland Storm 56
11th Tauranga City Coasters
12th Auckland Dream Blue
Alyssa Hirawani (Waikato)
Hannah Wentworth (Harbour)
Nicole Gleeson (Canterbury)
Karereatu Williams (Canterbury)
Sophie Adams (Otago)
Caitlin O’Connell (Otago)
Hannah Matahaere (Otago)
Darci Finnigan (Auckland)
Trinity Paeu (Auckland)
MVP – Riana Rangi-Brown (Auckland)