Monthly Archives: February 2023

Gold for Gold and Matthews

There were 9 points, 4 rebounds and a couple of blocks for Ben Gold as Marquette University Blue Demons (15-3) defeated De Paul 90-84. With two games left in the Big East Conference Marquette are guaranteed at least a share of the regular season title – one more victory and they will be outright champions.

It’s Marquette’s second Big East title since joining the conference in 1989 and the first since 2011-12.

Wofford College Terriers (10-4) claimed a first ever Southern Conference regular season title with an 82-76 victory over Mercer. Helen Matthews put together an all-action display with 16 points (3/6 3PG), 9 rebounds and a career high 4 blocks in the win.

It’s not just the first title for the Terriers but the first by any women’s team sport at Wofford.

Back to the men and James Moors made 4 from 8 from the field and 8 out of 9 free-throws in his 16 points as Colorado State (5-11) beat Wyoming 84-71. Moors has a season high 24 points with the 16 points his highest tally in Mountain West Conference play this season.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt and South Dakota enjoyed a monster win to conclude the Summit League regular season. Making 4 from 8 threes KP-H finished with 21 points to pass the 400 points mark for the season.

Sam Mennenga recorded his sixth double-double of the season – adding 11 rebounds to 14 points – as Davidson (7-9) gained a 71-67 win over Duquesne.

Callum McRae scored 13 points and snared 8 rebounds as Sacramento State (6-11) lost a close one at Montana going down 74-72.

Tobias Cameron had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals as Abilene Christian (5-10) were beaten 66-62 by Utah Valley.


A double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds from Charlisse Leger-Walker wasn’t quite enough to get Washington State (9-9) the win against USC with WSU pipped 68-65 in overtime.

McKenna Dale continued her recent strong form with 14 points, on 6 from 8 shooting, 5 rebounds and 3 assists as Virginia were defeated 85-74 by Miami in its ACC regular season finale.

Emme Shearer scored a baker’s dozen – her 13 points came on 5 from 10 shooting, as  Portland (14-3) fell 74-58 at San Diego. Portland will face BYU in a rearranged fixture to conclude West Coast Conference (WCC) play on Tuesday (NZT).

Arielle Mackey-Williams scored 11 points as BYU (9-8) were defeated 58-51 by WCC leaders Gonzaga.

Also with 11 points (5/8FG) was Grace Hunter as Cal State Bakersfield (3-15) lost 57-44 to Cal State Fullerton.

Tayla Dalton contributed 9 points as St Mary’s College Gaels concluded the West Coast Conference regular season with a 68-53 loss to Pacific.

Amiee Book tallied 7 points as Fresno State fell 73-66 at San Jose State.

Dale dials up a ton & Mennenga a couple of dozen

Playing her 100th NCAA Division I game McKenna Dale scored 12 points as Virginia (4-13) fell 79-69 at Clemson. Prior to Virginia the former Junior Tall Fern played 45 games at Brown in the Ivy League. She has become the 24th Kiwi woman to make 100 Division I appearances.

For the first time in programme history Washington State (9-8) scored a win in Pauley Pavilion, the home of UCLA Bruins. Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 12 points and added 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a couple of blocks as Washington State won 62-55. 

Helen Matthews had a very similar stats line as Wofford (9-4) beat Samford 86-60. The Cantabrian finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Grace Hunter scored 11 points as California State Bakersfield (3-13) were beaten 65-52 by Hawaii. It was the seventh double figure outing of the season from the Wellingtonian guard.

Tara Manumaleuga tallied 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists as Texas Christian went down to Baylor 67-57.

Dani Bayes produced 8 points and a team high 6 assists as Boise State (11-6) defeated San Jose State 78-70.


Sam Mennenga scored 24 points (9/13FG, 3/4 3PG) as Davidson (6-9) eased past St Bonaventure for a 74-61 win. It was the seventh 20+ score of the season for the former Westlake Boys big man.

Flynn Cameron’s good 3-point shooting form was on display once again as UC Riverside (13-5) easily accounted for California State Northridge with a 96-76 win. Cameron made all four of his three point attempts in his 14 points – that’s 71 from 166 threes on the season at an impressive 42.8%.

Callum McRae scored 14 points on 7 from 10 shooting as Sacramento State (6-10) went down 60-56 to Montana State.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored 14 points as South Dakota went down to Summit League leaders Oral Roberts 82-70. 

Milestones for McRae, Mennenga and Cameron

19 February 2023

Another double-double from Callum McRae, his ninth of the season, helped  Sacramento State (6-9) inflict a 70-65 defeat on Idaho State. McRae tallied an impressive 21 points and 15 rebounds and is now just 2 points shy of 1200 career points.

Flynn Cameron dished 5 assists, grabbed 5 rebounds and scored 21 points as UC Riverside Highlanders (11-5) beat UC Santa Barbara 74-63. The 2022 Tall Black took his career tally to 918 points becoming the ninth Kiwi male to reach the 900 NCAA Division I points milestone. In addition he became just the seventh Highlander to log 100 assists in a season.

Sam Mennenga also reached a notable milestone. He scored a team equal best 17 points as Davidson College (5-9) won 76-75 against St Joseph’s. Mennenga was an efficient 5 from 7 from the field and 6 from 8 free throws including the all-important go-ahead freebie with just one second left on the clock.

Mennenga now has 810 career points and up to 10th on the all-time list of New Zealand scorers in Men’s NCAA Division I hoops.

Tafara Gapare scored 11 points and secured 7 rebounds as Massachusetts (4-10) defeated Rhode island 69-45. It was freshman Gapare’s third double figure outing of the season.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt made 4 assists to go with 8 points as South Dakota (6-8) slipped to an 86-68 defeat at Denver.


Tara Manumaleuga made 4 from 8 threes on her way to 16 points as Texas Christian defeated Kansas State 75-62. Manumaleuga had a fine all-court game with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal.

Washington State (8-8) defeated Oregon State 67-57 – Charlisse Leger-Walker with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. That’s 400 points this season at 18.3ppg for CL-W.

McKenna Dale had a nice stats line of 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and an assist as Virginia were pipped 56-52 by Duke.

Emme Shearer scored a team equal best 12 points, and added 3 assists as Portland got the better of Pacific 57-46 to remain second on the West Coast Conference ladder.

Tayla Dalton scored 6 points as West Coast Conference leaders Gonzaga pulled away in the second half to beat St Mary’s 65-51.

Also undone in the West Coast Conference were BYU (9-7) beaten 72-59 by San Francisco. Arielle Mackey-Williams top scored for BYU with 14 points, while Kaylee Smiles tabbed 8 points and 6 rebounds. 

Ashlee Strawbridge scored 7 points as New Mexico State (8-7) slipped to a 73-65 loss to California Baptist.

Brown leads Breakers back to the Grand Final

The Sky Sport Breakers are headed to the NBL Grand Final for the first time since 2016.

In front of a raucous crowd of close to 7,000 at Spark Arena on Sunday the Breakers won the third and deciding semi-final series fixture 92-77. It sounds a comfortable scoreline but the Breakers were only five points ahead (77-72) with five minutes to play and the home supporters were on edge.

However, led by import Barry Brown Jr, the Breakers closed out the game with a 15-5 run -Brown scoring 11 of those points to finish with a game high 32 points.

It was a fabulous performance from the ‘NBL’s Sixth Man of the Year’ and those 32 points have only been bettered once by a Breaker in play-off basketball – Kirk Penney scored a memorable 38 points in Perth against the Wildcats back in 2011.

Brown finished on 10 from 16 shooting from the field and a perfect 10 from 10 at the free throw line. He got great support from Derek Pardon (15 points and 13 rebounds), Jarrell Brantley (14 points and 7 rebounds), Rob Loe (11 points and 8 rebounds) and Izayah Le’afa (10 points and 3 steals).

The Breakers will now enjoy a few days off before looking to win a fifth NBL championship with the best of five Grand Final series beginning in Sydney on March 3rd.

Here are the major numbers from the three semi-final games:

Game 1 at Spark Arena

Barry Browne Jr passed 400 points for the season and Will McDowell White 600 points for the Breakers in his 71stappearance.

With his 8 points Tom Abercrombie moved to 4,301 career points – the fourth highest cumulative total amongst active players in the NBL.

Game 2 in Tasmania

Izayah Le’afa scored his 300th point of the season 

Game 3 at Spark Arena

The Breakers made a collective 24 from 24 free throws, a best performance in club history. The previous best 100% shooting effort was 14 from 14.

Derek Pardon posted his tenth double-double of the season. He becomes only the 8th Breaker to have posted ten or more double-doubles.


Jarrell Brantley is one point shy of 500 points for the season.

Will McDowell-White is 2 points short of 300 points this season. 

NCAA Weekend Wrap – Milestones for Book and Matthews

13 February 2023

Amiee Book with 13 points was one of two Fresno State (1-13) players in double figures in a 61-54 loss to Colorado State. Book now has 1,202 career points – 8th all time on the Kiwi list of Division I scorers.

Helen Matthews tallied 9 points (4/7FG) as Wofford (7-3) defeated Western Carolina 83-62. The junior guard now has 500 career points, the seventh Kiwi amongst active players to reach the milestone.

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 17 points as Washington State were beaten 73-57 at #7 Utah.

Ashlee Strawbridge scored a team high equaling 11 points for New Mexico State (7-6) but it was in a 90-57 thumping at the hands of Utah Tech.

Tayla Dalton scored 9 points and Jade Kirisome 7 as St Mary’s (6-9) overcame Santa Clara for an 89-79 win. Hats off to the St Mary’s administration in recognizing the game as a Waitangi Day celebration.

Next up for St Mary’s is a clash with former Harbour team mate Emme Shearer and Portland.

Grace Hunter, passing 400 NCAA career points in the process, scored 9 points as Cal State Bakersfield (3-12) slipped to a 66-55 loss at the hands of Long Beach State.

BYU snapped a three game losing streak in defeating Loyola Marymount 67-42. There were 9 points for Arielle Mackey-Williams and 6 for Kaylee Smiler in the win.

Dani Bayes scored 8 points as Boise State fell 76-63 to Mountain West Conference leaders UNLV.


Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored 15 points (3/6 3PG) but couldn’t prevent South Dakota (6-8) losing 72-67 to South Dakota State.

A big double-double from Callum McRae, his eighth d-d of the season, helped Sacramento State (6-8) to a convincing 70-54 win against Northern Colorado. McRae finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds.

In a game featuring Kiwis on opposing sides UC Riverside’s Flynn Cameron scored 11 points but UC Irvine’s (9-3) Akiva McBirney-Griffin left with the smile, 4 points (2/2FG) and an 83-64 victory from the Big West Conference clash.

In another game featuring two Kiwis Sam Mennenga scored 9 points for Davidson (4-8) in a narrow 73-71 loss to Fordham (8-4) – Zach Riley with an assist for the victors.

Tobias Cameron tallied 7 points and 4 each in assists and rebounds as Abilene Christian (5-7) slipped to a 77-62 loss to Sam Houston.

No 10 ranked Marquette (12-3) enjoyed an 89-75 win against Georgetown with Ben Gold scoring 7 points on 3 from 5 shooting.

Latest NCAA News: Leger-Walker reaches another milestone

11 February

Former Junior Tall Ferns team mates Charlisse Leger-Walker and Charlotte Whittaker were in opposition as Washington State (6-7) visited #25 Colorado (10-3) in Pac 12 play. Leger-Walker posted a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds as Washington State came up just short going down 71-68. Whittaker had 2 points, 2 rebounds and a block for Colorado.

CL-W has taken her career points tally to 1,312 – just the fifth Kiwi after Erin Rooney, Stella Beck, Megan Compain and Akiene Tea-Reed to reach 1300 points in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

Fresno State struggling at 1-12 almost pulled off one of the upsets of the season against unbeaten Mountain West Conference leaders Nevada Las Vegas. Fresno, with Amiee Book scoring 10 points (3/5FG) were pipped 64-63.

Arielle Mackey-Williams also scored 10 points in a one-point loss as BYU (7-6) were edged 64-63 by Pepperdine.

Also in West Coast Conference play Tayla Dalton scored 6 points in the 69-66 defeat St Mary’s (5-9) suffered at the hands of San Francisco.

Eight points from Dani Bayes helped Boise State register a 69-62 win against New Mexico.

Another freshman, Ella Brow, added 5 assists to 8 points as Southern Methodist (6-4) eased aside Tulsa 81-58.

Tara Manumaleuga  scored 8 points as Texas Christian went down 69-50 to Kansas.

Ashlee Strawbridge claimed 5 rebounds to accompany 7 points as New Mexico State (7-5) were beaten 63-56 by Western Athletic Conference leaders Southern Utah.

Virginia (3-11) were beaten 63-53 by Louisville with McKenna Dale scoring 5 points and grabbing 3 boards. 

Rochelle Fourie had a quadruple in points and rebounds as Cal State Northridge (4-9) got one over on Grace Hunter (3 points) Cal State Bakersfield (3-10) in a 69-60 win.


Freshman Ben Gold posted 12 points (4/5FG, 2/3 3PG) in Marquette’s (11-3) somewhat surprising 87-72 loss to Connecticut. It was a collegiate career high for the 2022 Tall Black

Flynn Cameron also scored a dozen points as UC Riverside (9-4) beat UC Davis 72-65.

Callum McRae tallied 11 points and 8 rebounds as Sacramento State (5-7) were beaten 77-55 by Northern Arizona – that’s 300 points this season for the former Palmerston North Boys High standout.

Ahmed Essahaty scored 8 points as Long Island came within a couple of points of recording their second Northeast Conference win of the season – eventually going down 80-79 to Fairleigh Dickinson.

There were 7 points and 7 rebounds for James Moors as Colorado State (3-9) soared past Air Force 69-53.

Weekend NCAA D1 Wrap – Leger-Walker and Perrott-Hunt on the move

February 6

A game high 25 points from Charlisse Leger-Walker – 4 from 9 from beyond the arc – catapulted Washington State (6-6) to a 70-60 home win against California Berkeley. The Tall Ferns guard has edged past her former Waikato and St Peter’s School teammate Kendell Heremaia on the all-time list of kiwi scorers in Women’s NCAA Division I basketball.

Heremaia (Fordham University 2017-22) scored 1,291 career points with CL-W now up to 1,295 points.

Tara Manumaleuga put together a fine shooting display despite Texas Christian (0-11) losing 77-65 to Oklahoma State. Manumaleuga finished with a career high 19 points shooting 7 from 11 from the field, 3 of 4 threes and 2 out of 3 freebies.

Grace Hunter, with 10 points, was the only Cal State Bakersfield (3-9) player in double figures in the 56-42 loss to UC San Diego.

Kaylee Smiler scored 9 points and Arielle Mackey-Williams 7 as BYU (7-5) were beaten 52-49 by San Diego.

McKenna Dale was close to a double-double totaling 9 points and 9 rebounds as Virginia (3-10) fell 60-51 to Pitt. Dale also had a brace of steals and blocks.

Emme Shearer’s 8 points (and 5 assists) in Portland’s (12-1) 80-68 win at Santa Clara has carried her beyond 600 career points.

Dani Bayes also scored 8 points – adding 4 rebounds and 3 assists – as Boise State (7-5) defeated Fresno State (1-11) 66-61. Amiee Book scored 5 points for Fresno State.


Tobias Cameron was a perfect 5 from 5 from the field, totaling 15 points, as Abilene Christian got the better of California Baptist to win 87-71.

A couple of Kiwis were in opposition as Davidson College grabbed a much needed 93-78 win against Massachusetts. Tafara Gapare scored 4 points for UMass but that was trumped by Davidson starter Sam Mennenga who posted 14 points on 6 from 9 shooting.

Callum McRae also scored 14 points – and added 8 rebounds and 4 assists – as Sacramento State suffered an agonizing 82-76 overtime loss at Idaho.

James Moors was in good form for Colorado State (2-9) despite an 88-79 loss at Utah State. Moors finished with 13 points making 5 from 8 shots whilst also tallying a team high 7 rebounds and a couple of blocks.

Flynn Cameron scored 8 points as UC Riverside (8-4) slipped to a 64-58 loss against Cal State Fullerton.

Recapping that Kruz Perrott-Hunt has moved into elite company after scoring a team high 18 points in South Dakota’s 86-72 loss to North Dakota.

His fourth point in the game brought up the senior guard’s 1,000th career point – only the fifth Kiwi to reach that mark in Men’s NCAA Division I basketball. 

He joins fellow Tall Blacks Kirk Penney, Tai Webster and Craig Bradshaw, plus current collegiate player Callum McRae, in the 1,000 points club.

Top 10 scorers (NZ Men) in NCAA Division 1 Basketball:

1,454 in 127 games, Kirk Penney (University of Wisconsin Badgers, 1999-2003)

1,146 in 116 games, Callum McRae (UC Riverside 2018-22 & Sacramento State 2022-present)

1,116 in 127 games, Tai Webster (University of Nebraska Huskers, 2013-17)

1,114 in 123 games, Craig Bradshaw (Winthrop University Eagles, 2003-7)

1,014 in 102 games, Kruz Perrott-Hunt (University of South Dakota (2019-present)

973 in 133 games, Rob Loe (University of St Louis Billikens, 2010-14)

945 in 125 games, Mark Dickel (UNLV, 1996-2000)

941 in 117 games, Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa (Sacramento State University, 2016-20)

850 in 115 games, Flynn Cameron (DePaul Univ, 2018-20 & UC Riverside 2018-present)

785 in 63 games, Isaac Fotu (University of Hawaii, 2012-14)

Breakers cap off tremendous regular season with overtime win – semi-finals bound

The Sky Sport Breakers began the season with an overtime loss at Melbourne United and finished their regular season campaign with an 80-75 extra time win in Brisbane against the Bullets.

The 26 games in between saw the Breakers carve out a further 17 victories, 11 of those away from New Zealand – an 11-3 road record the best in NBL’23.

It’s also matches the road record of the all-conquering 2012-13 team that only lost four games all season in its championship winning run.

The Breakers final two regular season games were at Illawarra Hawks on Thursday and at the Brisbane Bullets 48 hours later.

At Illawarra the Breakers had to overcome a 16-point (50-34) half-time deficit to defeat a spirited Hawks outfit and lock in a top three finish. With Cairns Taipans winning in Perth the following evening the Breakers faced a trip to Queensland to secure the coveted second spot on the ladder and with it an automatic semi-final berth.

It wasn’t pretty last night, neither was it at Illawarra for long stretches, but this Breakers team has some inner steal and it was on display in abundance in the final two games.

It was perhaps fitting that the Breakers longest serving player, Tom Abercrombie (playing his 391st game for the club) produced the game winning play. His fourth steal of the night, with 14 seconds to play in the overtime period, meant the Breakers were able to extend their lead from three points to five, secure the win, and return home for a first semi-final series since being swept 2-0 by Melbourne United in 2018.

Abercrombie finished with a season high 14 points with other notable contributions coming from the club’s leading scorer Jarrell Brantley (19 points), Will McDowell-White (15 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds), Izayah Le’afa (12 points) and Tom Vodanovich (10 points).

The Breakers can now rest up for a couple of days as they await the outcome of the third versus fourth play-off game between Cairns Taipans and Tasmania Jack Jumpers. The Breakers will face the winner of that contest in a three game series – dates to be announced in the coming days.

Some other numbers from Round 18:

At Illawarra on Thursday:

Rob Loe, with his first rebound of the game, claimed his 500th for the club – the 13th Breaker to reach that mark.

Tom Vodanovich scored 2 points bringing up 100 points for the season.

At Brisbane on Saturday:

For Rob Loe it was his 64th win for the Breakers moving him ahead of Daryl Corletto (63 wins) as the 11th “winningest” Breaker of all-time.

Will McDowell-White, with 15 points in the game, passed 600 career points (589 for the Breakers).

The regular season record of 18-10 has only been bettered in the four championship winning campaigns.

22-6 (2010-11 first championship year)

21-7 (2011-12 second championship year)

24-4 (2012-13 third championship year)

19-9 (2014-15 fourth championship year)

NCAA wrap – Leger-Walker, Shearer & Cameron catch the eye

February 4

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the women’s Basketball Coaches Association have named Charlisse Leger-Walker as a mid-season finalist for the 2023 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award for the second season running.

The Award goes to the top shooting guard in NCAA Women’s basketball. KL-W is averaging 19.2 points and 4.9 assists per game for the Washington State Cougars.

The Cougars (5-6) found the going too tough against the #2 ranked team in the nation losing 71-38 to Stanford. KL-W had the satisfaction of top scoring and leading the rebounding for the Cougs but it was just 8 and 6 against the Pac 12 Conference leaders.

Also in the Pac 12 Charlotte Whittaker scored 4 points as third placed Colorado (8-3) claimed a 63-53 win against Oregon.

Emme Shearer, one of the leading 3-point shooters in the West Coast Conference made 5 from 7 from deep for a career high equaling 21 points – and grabbed 8 rebounds – as Portland (11-1) overcame a 16-point deficit to defeat San Francisco 83-80 in overtime.

Amiee Book top scored for Fresno State (1-10) in their 74-59 loss to Air Force. Book scored 14 points (4/7FG) taking her career total to 1,174 and up to 9th on the all-time list of NZ Women’s Division I scorers. 22 more points will take Book past the 1,195 scored by Micaela Cocks (University of Oregon Ducks, 2006-10).

Passing 100 points for the season Ashlee Strawbridge scored 13 points (6/11FG) as New Mexico State (7-3) edged past California Baptist 62-61, the winning basket made with just 7 seconds to play.

McKenna Dale was one rebound shy of a double-double tallying 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in Virginia’s (3-9) loss to North Carolina. 

Dani Bayes passed the 200 points mark for the season in scoring 11 points as Boise State (5-5) defeated San Diego State 62-57. The freshman guard made all three of her 3-point attempts and overall was 4 from 6 from the field.

Jade Kirisome scored 8 points, Tayla Dalton 6 and Amy West a couple as St Mary’s (5-7) won 62-55 at Pepperdine.

Grace Hunter totaled 7 points and 4 rebounds as Cal State Bakersfield (3-8) won a very low scoring contest against UC Riverside 43-39.


Flynn Cameron knocked down 5 of 7 threes on his way to 19 points as UC Riverside (8-3) lost an overtime thriller to CS Bakersfield 82-76.

Callum McRae’s 16 points (6/8FG) and 8 rebounds were not enough to grab Sacramento State (5-5) a win – Eastern Washington the victors 82-63.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt, after scoring 15 points, is just 4 points short of 1000 career points. Those points came in South Dakota’s (6-6) 71-62 win over North Dakota State.

Tobias Cameron played a big part in Abilene Christian (4-6) defeating Seattle 83-68. The senior guard mustered 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a brace of steals.

In just his third game for Long Island Ahmed Essahaty was thrust into the starting line-up and didn’t disappoint scoring 10 points, on 5 from 9 shooting. The Wellingtonian guard helped Long Island to their first North East Conference win of the season as they defeated Sacred Heart 74-70.

Akiva McBirney-Griffin had 10 points and 6 rebounds as UC Irvine defeated UC San Diego 76-60.

Tafara Gapare scored 5 points as Massachusetts slipped to a 70-59 defeat at the hands of George Mason.