Category Archives: College Hoops

NCAA DI midweek wrap – Mennenga, Cameron, McBirney-Griffin, Mackey-Williams the standouts

21 January

Cameron was just one point shy of his season best in scoring 25 points (10/20FG) as UC Riverside (7-1) took care of business against Cal Poly winning 83-78. 

The Tall Black guard followed that with a team high 19 points and added 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for the Big West Conference leaders as they edged a tight one against UC Davis winning 74-72.

Cameron has passed 200 points for the season and is also closing in on 800 career points – a mark reached in NCAA Division I Men’s basketball by just eight Kiwis including current players Callum McRae and Kruz Perrott-Hunt.

Sam Mennenga remains in good form but Davidson College (2-5) slipped to a fourth straight Atlantic 10 defeat going down 68-61 at Dayton. Mennenga completed his fourth double-double of the season amassing 15 points and 13 rebounds whilst moving his career points tally to 704.

Second in the Big West are UC Irvine (6-1). in their latest game freshman Akiva McBirney-Griffin enjoyed his first double digit outing as Irvine beat Hawaii 76-68. The Waikato native finished with 11 points (4/7FG) and 3 rebounds plus one each in blocks, steals and assists.

Doing well in the Big Sky Conference are Callum McRae and Sacramento State (4-2) although they did drop their latest game, defeated 69-65 at Idaho State. McRae was held to 8 points and 4 rebounds in this one.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored 10 points as South Dakota (3-4) fell 82-64 to South Dakota State.

Tobias Cameron, passing 200 points this season, scored 7 points as Abilene Christian (1-4) fell to a heavy 84-54 defeat against Utah Valley.

Tom Webley posted 6 points on 3 from 4 shooting in Hartford’s 87-62 loss to Maryland Baltimore. The Cantabrian forward also reeled in 3 rebounds along with 3 assists and a block.

Colorado State (2-5) were defeated 82-76 in overtime by San Diego State. James Moors scored just the one point but did snag 8 rebounds and a career high 4 blocks.

In other news former Onslow College and Scots College guard Ahmed Essahaty has been added to the Long Island University roster for the remainder of this season.


BYU (6-2) made it seven wins on the bounce defeating San Francisco 78-59 with Arielle Mackey-Williams posting 13 points (5/8FG) and Kaylee Smiler 6 points. Sophomore  guard AM-W also distributed a career high 6 assists and passed 200 points for the season at 9.2ppg.

Helen Matthews scored 11 points and claimed 3 rebounds as Wofford (3-1) accounted for Chattanooga 64-51.

Joy for Yzabelle Tevao and Chicago State as the Cougars won their first game of the season pounding Olivet 108-50. Tevao finished with 11 points (5/9FG) and 8 rebounds – both season highs for the West Aucklander.

Dani Bayes and Boise State entertained Amiee Book and the Fresno State Bulldogs and it was Boise that protected home court winning 60-53. Bayes scored 10 points – Book 3 points and a couple of steals for Fresno.

Grace Hunter scored 8 points and added a pair of assists and steals as Cal State Bakersfield (2-5) defeated Cal State Fullerton 64-58.

Olivia Williams scored 7 points, snared a couple of rebounds and had a single, assist, steal and block as UC Irvine, 7-0 in Big West Conference play beat UC Santa Barbara 70-60.

McKenna Dale produced 7 points, 6 rebounds and a couple of assists as Virginia (3-5) went down 77-68 to Florida State in the ACC.

In a game featuring a bunch of Kiwis, St Mary’s (4-4) were given a hammering by Portland (7-1) going down 64-41. Emme Shearer (7pts, 4rebs) and Melika Samia (4rebs, 1 block) wore the smiles of victors while Tayla Dalton (6pts), Jade Kirisome (5pts) and Amy West (2pts, 2 assists) will be rueing a poor home performance.

Lauryn Mapusua’s 6 points helped Houston Christian (3-3) to a 71-52 success against Incarnate Word.

Other Women’s Scores:

Cal State Northridge (3-5) 60 (Rochelle Fourie 3 points, 2 rebounds) Hawaii 76

Southern Methodist (3-3) 65 (Ella Brow 2 points, 1reb, 3 assists, 2 steals) Wichita State 73

Texas Christian (0-6) 66 (Tara Manumaleuga 3 points) Oklahoma 93

New Mexico State (4-3) 62 (Ashlee Strawbridge 2pts, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) Grand Canyon 69

NCAA DI Weekend Wrap – 8 Kiwis in double figures

16 January

In NCAA Division I weekend action eighty Kiwis scored in double figures with Charlisse Leger-Walker, Olivia Williams and Helen Matthews leading the way.

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 17 points to help secure Washington State (3-3) an 85-84 overtime win at Oregon. L-W, who added 7 rebounds, 6 assists and a block, moved past the 300 points mark for the season – 310 to be exact at 20.7ppg.

Olivia Williams top scored with 15 points (3/6 3PG) as Big West Conference leaders UC Irvine (4-0) defeated Rochelle Fourie’s California State Northridge 69-62.

Wofford (2-1) eked out a 55-51 win against UNC Greensboro with Helen Matthews scoring a team high equaling 15 points (6/9FG) to accompany 5 rebounds.

Ella Brow made 3 from 5 triples on her way to 14 points as Southern Methodist (3-2) won an overtime contest with East Carolina 68-66. The freshman also had a career high 8 assists to go with 6 rebounds a block and a steal.

Grace Hunter also scored 14 points in California State Bakersfield’s (1-5) 62-50 loss to UC San Diego.

Jade Kirisome scored 10 points as St Mary’s Gaels (3-3) pinched a 67-63 away win at neighbours San Francisco.

There were 9 points apiece for Kaylee Smiler and Arielle Mackey-Williams as BYU (5-2) defeated Pepperdine 63-52 for a fifth straight win.

Dani Bayes added 5 rebounds to 5 points as Boise State (2-2) went down 55-42 to San Diego State.

Unbeaten teams Portland (now 6-1) and Gonzaga met in a West Coast Conference heavyweight clash with the Zags getting the win 73-66. Emme Shearer scored 5 points for Portland.

Other Women’s Scores:

Fresno State (1-5) 71 (Amiee Book 4 points) Air Force 68

Virginia (3-4) 66 (McKenna Dale 2pts, 2rebs, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) Boston College 50

Texas Christian (0-5) 70 (Tara Manumaleuga 2pts, 1 steal, 1 rebound) Oklahoma State 80

In Men’s NCAA Division I play Sam Mennenga’s 13 points – his 17th double digit outing in 18 games – couldn’t prevent Davidson (2-3) slipping to a third straight Atlantic 10 defeat going down 67-65 to George Mason.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt tallied 10 points but South Dakota (3-3) were well beaten by South Dakota State 

Nine of each – points and rebounds – for James Moors as Colorado State (2-4) won a thriller against Nevada, Las Vegas 82-81.

Tobias Cameron had 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists as Abilene Christian (1-4) slipped up against Tarleton State going down 72-63.

Younger brother Flynn Cameron also tallied 9 points as UC Riverside (5-1) won 65-64 for a first win in 25 attempts at UC Santa Barbara. The young Tall Black flirted with a double-double as he also had 9 assists.

Eight points, 10 rebounds and a block for Callum McRae as Sacramento State (5-1) edged Northern Arizona 59-56.

Tafara Gapare scored 6 points and added a block, a steal and 4 rebounds as Massachusetts (2-3) beat Rhode Island 75-65.

NCAA DI mid-week roundup including career high’s for Smiler and Mennenga

January 13 

NB Bracketed figures are conference records (wins-losses)

In this NCAA Division I wrap we feature career high’s from Kaylee Smiler and Sam Mennenga plus a number of other strong performances most notably from Callum McRae, Grace Hunter and Dani Bayes.

Callum McRae was once again in double-double mode as Sacramento State (3-1) defeated Norther Colorado 72-64 with the senior centre tallying 15 points and 11 rebounds as well as dishing 7 assists. That’s 7 double-D’s already this season for McRae with four of them coming in the last five games.

Sam Mennenga pulled down a career high 16 rebounds as Davidson (2-3) slipped to a 61-57 home defeat at the hands of Richmond. Also scoring 11 points it was Mennenga’s third double-double of the season.

Abilene Christian (1-3) were defeated 103-86 by Texas Rio Grande despite 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals from Tobias Cameron.

Flynn Cameron had 6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal as UC Riverside (4-1) eased past UC San Diego 74-68 in Big West Conference action.

Making his first start of the season Tom Webley scored 9 points and also accumulated 5 rebounds, an assists and a steal in Hartford’s narrow 78-73 loss to St Francis Brooklyn.

Other Men’s Scores:

Colorado State (1-4) 74 (James Moors 4pts, 3rebs, 1 assist) Air Force 85 AOT

Fordham 58 (1-3) Zach Riley (3pts, 2 steals, 1 assist) Dayton 82

Marquette 82 (6-1) Ben Gold 3 points) v #6 Connecticut 76

Massachusetts (1-3) 77 (Tafara Gapare 2 points, 2 rebounds) La Salle 78 

In women’s Division I play Grace Hunter was a single point shy of her career best as Cal State Bakersfield (1-4) suffered an agonizing 63-62 defeat at UC Santa Barbara. The Wellingtonian guard scored 22 points (also tallying 6 assists and 5 rebounds) as Bakersfield gave up four points in the final 6 seconds to lose 63-62.

Dani Bayes top scored for Boise State with 16 points, making 4 from 6 3-pointers, but the Broncos (2-1) were beaten 71-50 by Colorado State. It was the eighth double figure outing for the freshman guard in her first 16 collegiate games.

New Mexico State (4-1), with Ashlee Strawbridge making a season best 13 points, comfortably beat Sam Houston 69-48. Strawbridge shot a very efficient 6 from 8 and also added a steal and 2 rebounds.

Kaylee Smiler and Arielle Mackey-Williams shared 20 points as BYU (4-2) comfortably defeated Loyola Marymount 63-46. Mackey-W scored 12 points while Smiler was beaming after a career high 8 assists and 8 points.

Tayla Dalton scored 10 points as St Mary’s (3-3) won 78-64 at Santa Clara. Playing a team high 34 minutes Dalton also had deuces in rebounds, assists and steals. Jade Kirisome had a trio each of points, rebounds and assists in the win.

Helen Matthews grabbed 5 rebounds to compliment 7 points as Wofford (1-1) came off second best against West Carolina going down 53-49.

Freshman starter Ella Brow caught the eye with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal as Southern Methodist (2-2) clawed the Cincinnati Bearcats 55-44.

Fresno State (1-4) went down 49-43 to San Diego State with Amiee Book making 5 points and 5 rebounds in the loss.

Other Women’s Scores

Texas Christian (0-4) 45 (Tara Manumaleuga 3pts, 2rebs, 1 assist, 1 steal) West Virginia 77

UC Irvine (4-0) 57 (Olivia Williams 2 points, 2rebs, 2 assists, 1 steal) Cal State Fullerton 39

NCAA Weekend Wrap – Big performances aplenty

January 7

NB Bracketed figures are conference play records (wins-losses)

Following a two game absence Charlisse Leger-Walker returned to the Washington State (1-3) lineup and propelled the Cougars to their first Pac 12 victory defeating Washington 66-52.

Leger-Walker scored a game high 26 points (11/17FG) and also came up with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a pair of steals.

Now with 1,214 career points CL-W moved up two places to 7th on the all-time list of New Zealand scorers in Women’s NCAA Division I basketball passing Micaela Cocks (1,195 points for University of Oregon, 2006-10) and Tegan Graham (1,209 points for Colgate University 2016-20 & BYU 2020-22).

Portland (6-0) guard Emme Shearer has extended her career high points scoring mark twice in consecutive games. After totaling 20 points against Santa Clara on Thursday she got 21 in the 77-46 win against San Francisco 48 hours later.

Shearer sits second on the West Coast Conference 3-point shooting percentage list and made 3 from 4 against San Francisco giving her 23/45 at 51.1% on the season.

Melika Samia scored 8 points, that included a pair of threes, in the win against San Francisco. 

Amiee Book scored 11 points as Fresno State (3-1) eased to a first Mountain West Conference win defeating San Jose State 65-51.

Olivia Williams added 7 rebounds to 10 points as UC Irvine (3-0) edged Long Beach State 60-57

BYU (3-2) accounted for San Diego 63-49 with Arielle Mackey-Williams making 9 points and Kaylee Smiler 5 points. The Kiwi guards also dished 3 assists apiece.

St Mary’s California.(2-3) defeated Pepperdine 68-58 with Amy West grabbing a team high 7 rebounds to accompany 4 points. Tayla Dalton also scored 4 points in the win.

Other Women’s Scores:

Boise State (2-0) 73 (Danni Bayes 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist) Utah State 56

Cal State Northridge (3-1) 52 (Rochelle Fourie 2 points, 2 rebounds) UC Riverside 53 

Cal State Bakersfield (1-3) 43 (Grace Hunter 3 points, 1 rebound,1 assists) UC  Davis 60

New Mexico State (3-1) 61 (Ashlee Strawbridge 2pts, 3rebs, 1 assist, 1 block) Tarleton St 43

Despite South Dakota (3-2) going down 73-61 at North Dakota State the rich vein of scoring continued for Kruz Perrott-Hunt. The senior guard, who dropped 26 points on 10 from 22 shooting that included 3 from 3 from beyond the arc, has averaged 21.6 points per game in his last five outings. 

Sam Mennenga followed up with another 20 -point outing (20 points exactly on 8 from 12 shooting) as Davidson (2-2) were defeated 89-72 at Virginia Commonwealth.

Flynn Cameron top scored with 18 points (8/12FG) as UC Riverside (3-1) comfortably beat Cal State Northridge 68-45. The Tall Blacks guard also tallied 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.

Tobias Cameron claimed 11 points, 3 rebounds and a couple of steals in Abilene Christian’s (1-2) narrow 74-72 home loss to Southern Utah.

Ben Gold produced 8 points, 3 rebounds and a brace of blocks as Marquette gained a big 95-73 win against Georgetown.

Tom Webley also tallied 8 points (4/7FG), plus a season high 6 rebounds, as Hartford Hawks suffered a 78-71 loss to Sacred Heart.

Zach Riley scored all of his 7 points in the first half as Fordham (1-2) downed Saint Joseph’s 66-54.

Colorado State secured its first Mountain West Conference win with a 79-57 defeat of Fresno State. James Moors had 6 points, 4 rebounds a block and a steal in the win. 

Callum McRae had 5 points and 4 rebounds as Sacramento State (2-1)  went down 78-75 at unbeaten Eastern Washington.

Mid week wrap – career high for Emme Shearer

January 7

NB Bracketed figures are conference play records (wins-losses)

Making her 50th start for the Pilots Emme Shearer made 4 from 7 threes and all 6 free throws on her way to a career high 20 points as Portland (5-0) beat Santa Clara 81-71 for a fifth straight West Coast Conference win.

Also in the West Coast Conference Tayla Dalton top scored for St Mary’s (1-3) as the Gaels went down narrowly to Loyola Marymount 66-64. Dalton finished with 17 points while Jade Kirisome added 4 points.  

Amiee Book scored 10 points as Fresno State (0-3)went down 64-49 to UNLV 64-49.

9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists for Helen Matthews as Wofford opened Southern Conference play with a convincing 79-55 victory over Furman. 

Grace Hunter also scored 9 points as Cal State Bakersfield (1-2) lost a low scoring affair against Cal Poly 50-37.

Olivia Williams stroked home 6 from 7 free throws on her way to 8 points as UC Irvine (2-0) easily beat UC Davis 67-38.

Ella Brow helped Southern Methodist (1-1) to a 61-51 win against Central Florida. The freshman guard finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Lauryn Mapusua had an entry in every stats column with 2 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and a steal as Houston Christian (1-1) fell 63-58 to South East Louisiana.

Tara Manumaleuga scored 5 points and snatched a career high 5 steals as Texas Christian (0-2) were beaten 81-69 by Texas.

New Mexico State (2-1) 63 (Ashlee Strawbridge 2 points, 3rebs, 1 block) Utah Valley 57 AOT

Perrott-Hunt hits game winner plus career high from McRae

January 7

NB Bracketed figures are conference play records (wins-losses)

Callum McRae put together a massive double-double of 27 points (13/19FG) and 17 rebounds as Sacramento State (2-0) edged an overtime road win at Idaho 85-83. The rebounds tally was a career high while the points total was a season best from the former Junior Tall Black out of Palmerston North.

McRae currently ranks 10th amongsts all NCAA Division I Men’s players for rebounding average with 10.3 boards per game.

Sam Mennenga again led the Davidson (2-1) scoring as the Wildcats beat Loyola Chicago in Atlantic 10 play. Mennenga shot a very efficient 8 from 11 from the field pus 5 out of 6 from the charity stripe for his 22 points in an 80-57 win. The Tall Blacks forward, who also swept up 7 boards and snatched a pair of steals, has scored in double figures in all but one of Davidson’s 15 games this season.

15 points, including a game winning jump shot with 1.4 seconds left on the clock from Kruz Perrott-Hunt carried South Dakota (3-1) to a 62-60 win against North Dakota. The senior guard also added 4 rebounds and 4 assists. That’s 82 points in the last four games for the Tall Blacks guard.

Flynn Cameron tallied 11 points but UC Riverside (2-1) slipped up 77-62 at home to Cal State Fullerton 77-62. Cameron also had quadruples in rebounds and assists.

Tafara Gapare had a monster 5 blocks, whilst also contributing 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists, as Massachusetts defeated St Louis 90-81.

Other Men’s Scores:

Marquette (3-1) 96 (Ben Gold 2 points) St John 85

Colorado State (0-3) 69 (James Moors 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block) Nevada 80

College Half Term Report Part 4 – The Sharpshooters

January 3

Our fourth and final collegiate half term report highlights the players with the best shooting percentages from the field and from beyond the three-point arc.

Former Waikato and St Peter’s School forward Ella Bradley heads the women’s shooting numbers while ex Rotorua Boys High School standout Nabil Kone tops the men’s list.

The three-point shooting percentages are headed, as probably expected, by guards. Former Harbour and Westlake Girls player Emme Shearer is enjoying a standout season with the University of Portland Pilots.

The same can be said of Tobias Cameron. Younger brother Cameron has grabbed most the headlines in the last few months after his elevation to the Tall Blacks roster but Tobias is going about his work in a very efficient manner for Abilene Christian University.

Special mention to the freshmen who make the lists – Waiata Jennings, Sydney Neale, Dani Bayes, Boston Caldwell and 2022 Auckland Tuatara teammate Brayden Iuli.

Field Goal % – WomenMin 15 Shots%Shots
Ella BradleySophomoreTexas at TylerNCAA D249.024/49
Sydney NealeFreshmanDyersburg State CCJUCO48.944/90
Emme ShearerJuniorPortlandNCAA D148.343/89
Amy WestSeniorSt Mary’s CaliforniaNCAA D148.314/29
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D147.885/178
Arielle Mackey-WilliamsSophomoreBYUNCAA D147.832/67
Kaylee SmilerSeniorBYUNCAA D147.529/61
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA D247.148/102
Jenna Rose MafuaSophomoreDodge City CCJUCO46.452/112
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO46.272/156
Ashlee StrawbridgeSophomoreNew Mexico StateNCAA D145.827/59
Briarley RogersSophomoreWeatherfordJUCO44.935/78
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA44.746/103
Rashaan SmithSophomoreWestern Nebraska JUCO44.0 11/25
Tessa Talo-TomokinoJuniorNortheastern StateNCAA D243.326/60
Field Goal % – MenMin 15 shots%Shots
Nabil KoneSophTrinity InternationalNAIA60.015/25
Tobias Cameron 5th YrAbilene ChristianNCAA D158.051/88
Dallas ClaytonSophMissouri State West PlainsJUCO57.523/40
James MoorsJuniorColorado StateNCAA D156.738/67
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO56.327/48
Corey Le’aupepe SeniorMenloNAIA55.066/120
Brayden IuliFreshmanMenloNAIA53.736/67
Tom WebleyJuniorHartfordNCAA D153.523/43
Isaac Miller-JoseSeniorManitobaCanada53.523/43
Matt BrienSeniorNebraska at KearneyNCAA D253.316/30
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D152.972/136
Josh LoweSeniorLee UniversityNCAA D252.620/38
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA52.026/50
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA50.955/108
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D150.861/120
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D247.251/108
Nate WilsonSophSouth Georgia TechJUCO46.837/79
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO46.249/106
Sean MurphySophNebraska at KearneyNCAA D244.416/36
3-point % – WomenMin 10 Shots%Shots
Emme ShearerJuniorPortlandNCAA D148.313/28
Kaylee SmilerSeniorBYUNCAA D147.116/34
Arielle Mackey-WilliamsSophomoreBYUNCAA D146.714/30
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D142.436/85
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA D241.735/84
Jenna Rose MafuaSophomoreDodge City CCJUCO41.032/78
Ashlee StrawbridgeSophomoreNew Mexico StateNCAA D138.5 5/13
Sydney NealeFreshmanDyersburg State CCJUCO36.814/38
Grace HunterJuniorCSU BakersfieldNCAA D136.8 7/19
Tara ManumaleugaSeniorTexas ChristianNCAA D136.7 11/30
Dani BayesFreshmanBoise StateNCAA D135.923/64
Amiee BookGrad SnrFresno StateNCAA D135.127/77
Jordyn MaddixJuniorAuburn at MontgomeryNCAA D235.3 12/36
3-point % – MenMin 10 Shots%Shots
Tobias Cameron Grad SnrAbilene ChristianNCAA D148.719/39
Zach RileySophFordhamNCAA D146.7 7/15
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA46.2 6/13
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO42.9 9/21
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D139.1 9/23
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO39.118/46
James MoorsJuniorColorado StateNCAA D138.3 5/13
Flynn CameronGrad SnrUC RiversideNCAA D137.925/66
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D235.3 6/17

*records as at 28.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Pre-New Year bumper roundup – Career high’s for Perrott-Hunt and Bayes

It’s doubly interesting as conference play has begun and will continue through until March. The bracketed figures show teams conference record.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt missed South Dakota’s pre-Xmas opening Summit League defeat due to illness. His reappearance brought instant success – he returned 19 points as the Coyotes beat St Thomas 92-84 and then scored a career high in the 80-63 defeat of Western Illinois.

The Tall Blacks guard finished with 30 points making 11 from 20 shots including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. He was also a perfect 4 out of 4 from the foul line while also pulling down 7 rebounds and dishing 4 assists. The Coyotes now 2-1 in Summit League play.

Sacramento State opened its Big Sky Conference programme with a 74-63 home win against Portland State. 8 points, 9 rebounds, a block and an assist for Callum McRae in that one.

Flynn Cameron scored 7 points as UC Riverside opened their Big West Conference campaign with a 71-59 home win against CSU Bakersfield. The 2022 Tall Black was more prominent as Riverside (2-0) won a thriller at Long Beach State 73-72. Passing 700 career points Cameron scored a dozen to accompany 5 rebounds, a pair of assists and a steal.

Abilene Christian (1-1) lost 75-68 to Stephen F Austin in their Western Athletic Conference opener but bounced back to defeat Tarleton 69-63 with Tobias Cameron scoring 11 points (3/3FG, 3/4FT) in the victory. 

Sam Mennenga also came up with 11 points as Davidson College (1-1) had a disappointing 69-55 Atlantic-10 home loss to Dayton. 

Tom Webley took just two shots but scored with both efforts as Hartford Hawks lost 61-54 to Morgan State.

James Moors also scored 4 points as Colorado State (0-2) went down 78-70 to San Jose State. The former Westlake Boys standout added 3 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

Other Men’s Results:

Massachusetts (0-1) 64 (Tafara Gapare 4 points) St Bonaventure 83 

Marquette (3-1) 68 (Ben Gold 3 points) Villanova 66

In Women’s Division I action Dani Bayes top scored with a season high 19 points (7/14FG) as Boise State (1-0) defeated San Jose State 73-62 to open Mountain West Conference play. 14 games into her collegiate career Bayes is averaging 9.7 points per game with the 19 points also doubling as a career best.

Emme Shearer grabbed a steal and 6 points in the final two minutes to help Portland (4-0) to an 86-76 come from behind win at Pepperdine. Shearer finished with 17 points and is now just 9 shy of 500 career points. The win followed a 70-61 success at Loyola Marymount.

St Mary’s, (1-2) in the West Coast Conference), led by 15 points at one stage but were eventually defeated 69-65 by San Diego in overtime. Amy West scored a couple of points, Jade Kirisome made 4 and 3 rebounds while Tayla Dalton produced 9 points and 3 assists in the loss.

St Mary’s then went on to visit BYU (2-2) on New Year’s Eve and were crushed 66-41 with Arielle Mackey-Williams putting up 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists for the Cougars while Dalton scored 7 points for St Mary’s.

Mackey-Williams, with five double digit scoring efforts this season, scored 13 points for the Cougars in their 69-51 win against Pacific – Kaylee Smiler adding 5 points in the victory.

Amiee Book had a handy double of 9 points and 7 rebounds as Fresno State came up short against Colorado State going down 64-58 in their Mountain West Conference opener. The 9 points took Book to exactly 1,100 career points moving her past Jillian Harmon (1,096 points for Stanford University Cardinals, 2005-09) and up to 11th spot on New Zealand’s all-time scorers in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

Olivia Williams scored 10 points with a perfect 3 from 3 from the field and 2 out of 2 at the foul line as UC Irvine (1-0) began Big West Conference play with a 55-49 win against Cal State Bakersfield (1-1). Williams passed the 100 points mark for the season with her seventh point.

Grace Hunter produced 6 points and a couple of assists for Bakersfield.  

48 hours earlier Hunter scored 8 points as the Bakersfield Roadrunners defeated UC Riverside 56-53 in a double overtime thriller to open Big West Conference play.

Yzabelle Tevao added a team high 7 rebounds to 9 points as Chicago State were heavily beaten 119-53 by Ball State.

Helen Matthews, last week named the Southern Conference Student-Athlete of the Week, 

Posted 7 points and added a couple of rebounds and steals as Wofford dominated Erskine to win 78-48.

Washington State played Friday’s game against #11 Utah without its leading scorer Charlisse Leger-Walker who has returned to New Zealand for family reasons. 

Other Women’s Results:

Virginia 69 (McKenna Dale 3 points, 1 rebound) Georgia Tech 6

Southern Methodist 44 (Ella Brow 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist) Houston 60

Texas Christian 42 (Tara Manumaleuga 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block) Baylor 64 

Houston Christian 68 (Lauryn Mapusua 3 points) New Orleans 59

New Mexico State (1-1) 58 (Ashlee Strawbridge 2 points, 3 rebounds) Southern Utah 61

Half Term Report Part 3 – Taking the Minutes

It’s probably no coincidence that New Zealand’s leading scorers in collegiate basketball, Charlisse Leger-Walker and Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones have also played the most minutes.

Playing decent minutes, no matter what the level of college competition, is down to a combination of ability, opportunity, attitude, patience, playing at the appropriate level and good fortune. Many on the lists below, like Tobias Cameron, Kaylee Smiler and Tessa Talo-Tomokino, have had to bide their time before playing big minutes. 

It’s unusual for freshmen to play substantial minutes, particularly at NCAA Division I level, so hats off to the athletes below who are making a mark in their first collegiate year’s.

For some a year or two playing junior college basketball, before transferring to university programmes, has proven a beneficial route – Hannah Wentworth, Ashlee Strawbridge and Ella Bradley are three such cases.

When you consider 64 Kiwi women are playing collegiate basketball in North America in 2022-23 the list below shows that approximately two thirds of the players are averaging less than half a game.

The numbers are very similar for the men with 18 of 53 playing 20 minutes are more.

It will be interesting to see if the numbers move significantly in the second half of the season as freshmen and sophomores gain more experience and earn more trust from their respective coaches. I suspect not as the onset of conference play often results in a shortening of rotations.

Minutes Played per game – WomenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelMPGGames
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D134.812
Te Araroa SopoagaSophomoreCloud County CCJUCO31.914
Kaylee SmilerSeniorBYUNCAA D130.711
Tessa Talo-TomokinoJuniorNortheastern StateNCAA D230.29
Samantha JenkinsSophomoreDawson CCJUCO29.013
Amiee BookGrad SnrFresno StateNCAA D128.713
Helen MatthewsJuniorWoffordNCAA D128.111
Leah MafuaSophDodge CITY CCJUCO27.914
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA DII27.411
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO27.012
Dani BayesFreshmanBoise StateNCAA D126.113
Jenna Rose MafuaSophDodge City CCJUCO25.114
Tayla DaltonJuniorSt Mary’s CaliforniaNCAA D124.412
Ella Paleaae-CookSophomoreMiles CCJUCO24.215
Ashlee StrawbridgeSophomoreNew Mexico StateNCAA D124.012
Arielle Mackey-WilliamsSophomoreBYUNCAA D123.612
Olivia WilliamsSophomoreUC IrvineNCAA D122.911
Ella BrowFreshmanSouthern MethodistNCAA D122.412
Ella BradleySophomoreTexas at TylerNCAA D222.111
Grace HunterJuniorCSU BakersfieldNCAA D121.56
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA21.212
Emme ShearerJuniorPortlandNCAA D120.513
Lilly ParkeFreshmanAuburn at MontgomeryNCAA D220.312

*records as at 28.12.2022

** 64 New Zealand women are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Minutes Played Per Game – MenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelMPGGames
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D232.88
Ezra VaigafaSophNeosho County CCJUCO31.33
Alex BlackmoreSophCastletonNCAA D330.99
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D130.812
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D130.712
Flynn Cameron5th YrUC RiversideNCAA D128.312
Kael RobinsonSophRocky MountainNAIA27.912
Kruz Perrott-HuntSeniorSouth DakotaNCAA D127.812
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA25.712
Tobias Cameron 5th YrAbilene ChristianNCAA D125.513
Sean MurphySophNebraska at KearneyNCAA D223.910
Mac StodartSophColorado-Colorado SpringsNCAA D223.512
Isaac Miller-JoseSeniorManitobaCanada23.38
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO22.910
Corey Le’aupepe SeniorMenloNAIA22.813
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA22.85
Finn McClureJuniorMilliganNAIA22.68
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO21.511

*records as at 28.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

McRae fourth to complete unique double – joins Penney, Webster and Bradshaw 

December 28

Callum McRae has become only the fourth Kiwi to complete the double of 1,000 points and 100 appearances in NCAA Division I Men’s basketball.

Ahead of Sacramento State’s meeting with Stanislaus State the former Junior Tall Black centre was sitting on 991 points in 104 appearances. He claimed the necessary 9 points in the first half before moving on to celebrate the milestone in style. McRae produced his fifth double-double of this campaign (and 21st of his career) finishing with 19 points (7/9FG, 5/6FT) to go with 15 rebounds as Sacramento recovered from a slow start to win 72-51.

The former Palmerston Boys High School standout follows in the footsteps of Tall Blacks Kirk Penney, Tai Webster and Craig Bradshaw in completing the unique double.

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

Tai Webster (University of Nebraska Huskers, 2013-17) tallied 1,116 points also in 127 games while Craig Bradshaw (Winthrop University Eagles, 2003-7) made 1,114 points in 123 games.

Barring injury McRae looks destined to pass the points hauls of Webster and Bradshaw and with 701 rebounds to his name he has already set a new career mark by a Kiwi in that statistical category. The previous record, for the most rebounds by a New Zealand player in Men’s NCAA Division I basketball, was held by Craig Bradshaw with 572.

Rob Loe (University of St Louis Billikens, 2010-14) pulled down 520 rebounds and Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami Hurricanes 2016-22 ) claimed 502 boards. They are the only other male players to have surpassed the 500 rebound mark. 

In other news Zach Riley and Sam Mennenga were in opposition as Fordham entertained Davidson in the opening fixture of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Fordham with an overall record before the game of 12-1, and sporting home advantage, would have entered the contest as favourites but managed just 14 points in the first half, eventually going down 57-43.

Mennenga had a defensive rebound and a layup on the first two possessions of the game before going on to record his second double-double of the season – 13 points and 11 rebounds – his first basket bringing up 600 career points in his 68th game.

He is just the 16th Kiwi to score 600  points in men’s Division I NCAA basketball and the 4th Westlaker!

Zach Riley tallied 6 points, 3 rebounds, an assist and a steal for Fordham.

Other Results:

Virginia 66 (Taine Murray 2 points, 3 rebounds) Albany 46

Marquette 83 (Ben Gold 2 points, 1 block, 1 steal) Seton Hall 69

Colorado State 66 (James Moors 2pts, 3rebs, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block) New Mexico 88