Category Archives: College Hoops

Goulding, Heremaia and Jillings headed to the NCAA Tournament

Heremaia v reed

It’s not every year three New Zealand women get to play in the premier American college basketball tournament, the NCAA Tournament. But this year three Kiwi’s from the same team will be in attendance – surely a New Zealand first.

There could only be one winner as the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament reached its climax with a Grand Final involving four Kiwis.

Unfortunately for Akiene-Tera Reed and Virginia Commonwealth University Rams it was Fordham University Rams that prevailed. Fordham won 62-47, its 12thstraight victory, to claim its second ever Atlantic 10 Conference Championship on Monday morning (NZ time).

Cantabrian Mary Goulding was again outstanding for Fordham scoring 19 points and adding 3 rebounds and a game high 4 steals. Goulding was rightly named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Fordham shortened its rotation in the final only using six players but three were from New Zealand emphasising their value to the Rams programme. In addition to Goulding, Waikato’s Kendell Heremaia logged 38 minutes for 6 points and 4 rebounds whilst Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Zara Jillings was the only player used off the bench totaling 2 points (scoring with her only shot) and 2 rebounds.

Akiene-Tera Reed, VCU’s leading scorer this season (averaging 12.5 points per game), was well marshalled by the Fordham defence – the 2018 Tall Fern restricted to 4 points and 3 rebounds.

Fordham and VCU shared the Atlantic 10 regular season title with identical records and VCU won their regular season match-up but it was Fordham that won the game that mattered and finish conference play with a 13-3 record (25-8 overall).

Fordham are now headed for their third ever trip to the NCAA Tournament with the NCAA Selection Show and draw taking place on Monday March 18th.

VCU will head to the WNIT with its draw also out next Monday.

With Jack Salt certain to be headed to the Men’s NCAA Tournament at least four Kiwis will be involved in the 2019 Big Dance


At least one Kiwi heading to the Big Dance

At least one Kiwi will be heading to the Big Dance later this month. Following Saturday’s semi-final victories, Fordham University and Virginia Commonwealth University will meet in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Final – the winners automatically booking themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

In its semi-final Fordham Rams completely, overwhelmed Duquesne 76-34 to advance to its third ever Atlantic 10 Championship game.

Once again, the Kiwi trio of senior forward Mary Goulding alongside sophomores Kendell Heremaia and Zara Jillings were prominent.

Goulding, the leading rebounder for Fordham this season posted 19 points to go with 7 boards. Heremaia was also in double figures with 10 points and 5 rebounds whilst Jillings came up with 6 points and 3 rebounds.

Virginia Commonwealth was forced to work much harder to secure its place in a first ever Atlantic 10 Championship game having to come from behind to defeat Dayton 61-52.

Akiene-Tera Reed couldn’t reproduce her heroics from the day before when she scored 21 points in the quarter-final victory against St Joseph’s. However the sophomore swingman still produced 9 rebounds, 7 points and 3 assists in the win.

Fordham and VCU shared the Atlantic 10 regular season title with identical records and it is fitting that the two teams meet in the Championship game tomorrow.

The two teams met just once in regular season action with VCU prevailing 47-44 back in January. Expect the final to be just as close in the clash Monday morning (NZT).

Double celebration for Mary Goulding


Mary Goulding (34) with Coach Gaitley and fellow seniors

The accomplishments of Fordham University forward Mary Goulding in being named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team and also achieving All-Academic honours is worth celebrating.

It’s an enormous distinction to be recognized by the conference for your academic achievements or your playing prowess but to achieve in both areas is an outstanding accomplishment.

The former Rangiora High School standout attended Gillette College in Wyoming in her 2016-17 freshman season averaging 16.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game before being recruited by Coach Stephanie Gaitley to the Fordham programme where she has excelled for the past three years.

“Mary has had a storybook senior year. Her game, her leadership, and her confidence has grown every day. She leads us in every category but scoring. In my opinion she is the most improved player in the conference,” said Gaitley.

The numbers Gaitley refers to make impressive reading. In her last season at Fordham Goulding is averaging 12.1 points per game and 8.4 rebounds, which ranks third in the conference. In addition, she has dished a team high 85 assists and pinched 34 steals.

Fordham closed out the regular season with a nine game winning streak during which time Goulding averaged 15.2 points and 10.1 points per game.

The Rams shared the A-10 regular season title with Akiene-Tera Reed’s Virginia Commonwealth University. They begin conference tournament play against #10 Massachusetts tomorrow.

In 2016 Goulding played for New Zealand Select against China B. It is to be seen if further national honours come the way of the Cantabrian when her college career ends but for now success at the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament, playing alongside fellow Kiwis Zara Jillings and Kendell Heremaia, is the priority.

Big performances from Tegan Graham

Tegan Graham

Tegan Graham had a massive week for Colgate University amassing 47 points over two games for the Raiders. She scored 23 points as the Raiders fell 80-67 after scoring a career high 24 in the win against Army West Point. The former Wellington College standout shot the ball at 58% (19/33) across the two fixtures including 8 from 12 threes.

In her third season at Colgate Graham is seven points shy of 200 points for the season and 4 points short of 400 career points. The Patriots will carry sixth seeding into the Patriot League play-offs next week.

Kayla Manuirirangi scored 9 points as Tulane University Green Wave lost its final regular season game, 80-65 against Cincinnati. The junior guard scored all her points from three-point land making 3 from 6. Tulane complete American Athletic Conference play with a 5-11 record and now head to the AAC Tournament later this week.

Individual honour for Matt Freeman, team title for Sam Timmins

Congratulations to Matt Freeman who was amongst a programme-record six members of the Oklahoma University Sooners men’s basketball team named to the 2019 Academic All-Big 12 First Team last Thursday. The Sooners’ academic accomplishment marks just the second time in league history that a school has had six men’s basketball players named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team (Nebraska in 2004).

Impressively Freeman has earned Academic All-Big 12 honours for three consecutive seasons.

Sam Timmins scored 4 points and grabbed a couple of rebounds as the University of Washington Huskies overcame Stanford 62-61. The win secured the Pac-12 regular season title for the Huskies that boast a 14-2 record – well ahead of second placed Arizona State that are 11-6 with a couple of games to play this week.

The University of California Riverside, with Callum McRae outstanding, fell to a narrow loss going down 70-68 at Cal State Northridge. The freshman centre out of the Manawatu had another career night in points and rebounds. He led the Highlanders (3-11 in the Big West Conference) in scoring with 20 points (7/14FG, 6/6FT) and rebounds with 13. This was followed by another loss to UC Irvine (68-47) with McRae once again in double-double territory posting 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Also in good form was Izayah Le’afa who rattled in 35 points as Sacramento State Hornets had a win and a loss in the past week. The Hornets trumped Eastern Washington 59-56 with the former Hutt Valley guard scoring 17 points. A couple of days later he equalled his season best 18 points in a disappointing 94-90 loss at Idaho that had lost 14 games in a row.

Sacramento State are 7-11 in Big Sky Conference play with two regular season games remaining.

Former Westlake forward Yanni Wetzell top scored for Vanderbilt University Commodores with 15 points (5/10FG) in its 64-57 loss to Texas A&M. Unfortunately, Vanderbilt have lost all 16 of its Southeastern Conference games and has two regular games remaining to chalk up a victory.

Jackson Stent scored 10 points on 4 from 9 from the field, including 2 from 4 triples, but Houston Baptist Huskies were comfortably beaten 110-75 by Lamar University. The Huskies are 6-9 in the Southland Conference.I

Reed, Goulding, Heremaia and Jillings earn conference honours.


Four Kiwi women are on history making teams as Virginia Commonwealth University and Fordham University jointly claimed the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season title on Saturday. Both teams finished with an identical 13-3 record and, perhaps in another A-10 first, both carry the moniker of the ‘Rams’.

For the Rams of VCU, led by sophmore Akiene-Tera Reed, it is their best conference finish in history topping its second place in 2009.

Reed has led the VCU scoring this campaign, as she did last year, averaging 12.3 points per game. Once again on Saturday she led the Rams with 12 points as they won 61-54 against Davidson University.

Reed made 10 of her dozen points at the foul line where she shot 100% making all ten of her attempts in addition to making one from 3 from the field.

Reed has been terrific from the free throw line all season knocking down 102 from 124 attempts at 82.3%, testimony to her consistency at the line and ability to attack the rim.

It was also a first conference topping performance by the Rams from the Bronx as they came home on a wet sail winning nine games on the trot culminating with a 51-41 win at St Joseph’s University.

Senior forward Mary Goulding has been dynamic for Fordham all season sitting third on the A-10 rebounding list with 8.4 boards per game. The Cantabrian exceeded that output on Saturday claiming a game high 13 rebounds whilst also netting 16 points (7/10FG) – her ninth double-double of the season.

Waikato’s Kendell Heremaia accumulated 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and a pair of assists in 36 minutes whilst sixth-man Zara Jillings collected a free-throw and a rebound in 16 minutes of play.

There is not much time to celebrate as the 14 team Conference Tournament begins in Pittsburgh at Duquesne University on Tuesday.  Both teams have earned a bye in the first round, entering at the quarter-final stage next Thursday.

Can either team go on and claim the Atlantic 10 Tournament title and with it automatic entry to the NCAA Tournament? The Final is set down for Sunday March 10th– a Rams v Rams match up would be perfect.

Kaitlin Burgess commits to the Golden Eagles


Former Rangitoto College basketball standout Kaitlin Burgess has signed with the College of Southern Idaho to a full ride scholarship beginning in August this year.

Kaitlin has just completed her final year at Riverton High School, Utah after moving from Rangitoto at the end of the 2017 academic year. In her recently completed senior year she averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, leading the Riverton High Silverwolves to the quarter-finals at the State Championship.

“I am excited to be given the opportunity to be part of such a great basketball programme and I look forward to working with coach Randall and the girls at CSI next season” said Kaitlin.

The Golden Eagles play in the Scenic West Athletic Conference which is the same conference as Utah State Eastern University, where former Mt Albert Grammar School forward Sharne Pupuke-Robati will be attending later this year.

Kaitlin is following in the footsteps of Rangitoto College alumni Penina Davidson, Brooke Blair and Jaycin Tini who all enjoyed successful college careers in the Sates.

In addition to Burgess and Pupuke-Robati, the trio of Charlotte Armstrong, Awatea Leach and Leah Mafua are other Kiwi women that have committed to playing in the States in the 2019-20 season and beyond.

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.