Category Archives: College Hoops

Kiwis in college wrap from mid-week conference games

krystal l-w

Northern Colorado Bears, 4-0 in Big Sky Conference play, beat Eastern Washington 67-62 in overtime. Krystal Leger-Walker scored 17 points for the Bears in addition to 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. She made 3 from 6 from beyond the arc including a crucial make in the overtime period.

All court games from Mary Goulding and Kendell Heremaia propelled Fordham University Rams to a second straight Atlantic 10 Conference win at the expense of Richmond, 68-40. Senior forward Goulding had 16 points (7/12FG), 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. Heremaia was almost as productive collecting 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal to go with her 5 points.

Sophmore guard Joellen How dished 7 assists as Wagner College Seahawks beat Central Connecticut State 75-63 in Northeast Conference play. The seven assists were a game high and career best for the Opunake native.

Also recording a career high in assists was Shalae Salmon who had 4 dimes as BYU squeezed past Pacific 77-74 to move to 5-0 and top of the table in the West Coast Conference. Salmon could well have extended that mark further than four had she not fouled out in just 15 minutes after also posting 6 points and a pair of rebounds.

The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams versus La Salle University Explorers Atlantic-10 match up featured former school mates Akiene-Tera Reed and Michelle Nicholls in opposition.

Reed is again leading the Rams scoring this season (averaging 13.2 points per game) and against La Salle scored a team high 12 points as VCU secured an emphatic 68-38 win.

Nicholls (second on the La Salle scoring list this season averaging 7.7ppg) came up with 5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals in 25 minutes for La Salle but it was a disappointing night for the Explorers who gave up a colossal 34 turnovers.

La Salle have started conference play with back to back losses, VCU in contrast an encouraging 2 from 2 after successive home wins.

After beating Boston College 83-56 Virginia Cavaliers are 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 14-0 overall. Jack Salt, restricted by foul trouble, had 7 points (3/3FG), 2 rebounds a steal and a block for the Cavs.

sam timmins

Another Tall Black centre Sam Timmins swatted a season best 4 blocks as the University of Washington Huskies defeated Utah 69-53 in Pac-12 Conference play. The former Otago Boys standout also came up with 7 boards and 4 points.

Dan Fotu scored 5 points and Quinn Clinton three as St Mary’s College beat BYU 88-66, St Mary’s 1-1 in West Coast Conference play.

Miami University Hurricanes are on a three game losing skid after falling 68-62 at No 13 Florida State. Sam Waardenburg scored 4 points for Miami – all from the foul line.

Yanni Wetzell had 8 points and 5 rebounds but Vanderbilt University fell 82-63 at Georgia, its second loss in its opening two Southeastern Conference games.


Kiwi v Kiwi – Reed v Nicholls

The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams versus La Salle University Explorers Atlantic-10 match up featured good mates Akiene-Tera Reed and Michelle Nicholls in opposition.

The pair spent their last two high school years together at Life Centre Academy in New Jersey before securing scholarships at their respective NCAA Division I universities.

Reed is again leading the Rams scoring this season (averaging 13.2 points per game) and against La Salle scored a team high 12 points as VCU secured an emphatic 68-38 win.

Nicholls (second on the La Salle scoring list this season averaging 7.7ppg) came up with 5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals in 25 minutes for La Salle but it was a disappointing night for the Explorers who gave up a colossal 34 turnovers.

Reed will face more Kiwi opposition next week when VCU travel to the Bronx to face Fordham University who have Mary Goulding, Kendell Heremaia and Zara Jillings in their lineup.


Leger-Walker lights up good week for Kiwi women in college hoops



Conference play is now underway in all NCAA Division I basketball programmes and there have been some strong performances from Kiwi women in the early exchanges. Here we highlight the best of the best amongst the Kiwi women in the past week beginning with a career high from a former Tall Fern.

The University of Northern Colorado Bears have begun Big Sky Conference play in strong fashion winning their opening three games, the most recent an 86-72 win at Idaho – the Bears have won 11 straight games dating back to last season. Krystal Leger-Walker scored a conference career best 19 points for NCU converting 6 from 8 from the field including both of her three-point attempts.

Kendell Heremaia was in typical stats stuffing form as Fordham University Rams moved to 2-0 in Atlantic 10 Conference play with a 50-38 defensive masterclass against George Washington. The St Peter’s School alumni, like Leger-Walker, dished a career best 6 assists to go with 5 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals.

Cantabrian Mary Goulding was also in good form for the Rams compiling a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, 5 of those at the offensive end. It was the third double-double of the campaign for Goulding who is averaging 10.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in her senior season.

Kayla Manuirirangi scored 16 points (4/7 3PG) as Tulane University Green Wave beat Central Michigan 68-57 at the Miami Holiday Classic. The Taranaki guard then scored 8 points as Tulane began American Conference play with a 68-57 win against East Carolina University.

Akiene-Tera Reed followed up her career best 28 points last week with 11 points, 5 rebounds and a couple of assists as Virginia Commonwealth Rams beat St Joseph’s 59-40 to open their Atlantic 10 Conference slate in positive fashion.

Brigham Young University Cougars beat Loyola Marymount 55-44 in West Coast Conference action with Shalae Salmon getting 8 points, on a perfect 4 from 4 from the field, in addition to 5 rebounds and a block. The Cougars are a perfect four from four in conference play.

La Salle University fell 74-47 to Temple to slump to 3-11 for the season ahead of conference play. Michelle Nicholls scored 9 points (3/5 3PG) for La Salle and added deuces in rebounds, assists and steals.

Opunake native Joellen How came up with 5 points, 3 rebounds and a steal for Wagner College but the Seahawks went down 76-61 against St Francis in their opening Northeast Conference game.

Reed and Wetzell provide fireworks

Tera Reed

There was plenty of hoops played on New Year’s Eve in the States and it was Akiene-Tera Reed and Yanni Wetzell that provided the fireworks from a Kiwi perspective.

Virginia Commonwealth University, and Reed in particular, will be in good heart ahead of conference play after the Rams butted Delaware State 97-55. Reed scored a career best 28 points (11/13FG) in just 19 minutes of action, dished 6 assists, and claimed 4 rebounds as VCU improved to 8-5. Next up at the weekend is a home encounter against St Joseph’s to open the Atlantic 10 Conference schedule.

Yanni Wetzel

Former Westlake Boys big man Yanni Wetzell enjoyed a second straight start for Vanderbilt and rewarded the Commodores coaching staff with a season best 16 points. In front of 8,000 fans he was nearly perfect from the floor (5 from 6) and the foul line (6 from 7). Wetzell also added 6 rebounds and a couple of blocks, Vanderbilt winning 90-59 against UNC Asheville. The 9-3 Commodores entertain Ole Miss on Sunday (NZT) in its Southeastern Conference opener.

Another ex-Westlake ‘Big’ Jack Salt was only required for 17 minutes as #4 Virginia University moved to 11-0 for the season after a comfortable 100-64 victory against Marshall University. 4 assists, 3 rebounds and a couple of points were all that was needed from the Tall Blacks centre.

Northern Colorado University Bears made it two wins from two outings in Big Sky Conference play with a 79-63 win against Portland State. Krystal Leger-Walker didn’t have the best of shooting nights but the starting points guard still manufactured 8 assists and 3 steals to go with 4 rebounds.

Also 2-0 in conference play are BYU after a 67-59 win at San Francisco in their second West Coast Conference game of the campaign. Starting centre Shalae Salmon score 5 points (2/3FG) for the Cougars.

Book ends year on a high – latest from US college basketball


Amiee Book sunk a three-pointer with sixteen seconds left on the clock to clinch a 56-55 win for California State Fullerton Titans in their final game in 2018. The Titans begin conference play in the New Year on the back of an 11-4 start to the season, it’s best since 1990-91. Book has played a significant role averaging 10.9 points per game and shooting the three-ball at a heady 47% (21 from 45).

The Kiwi contingent totaled 19 rebounds as Fordham University squeezed past Maine 72-64 in overtime on Saturday as they hosted the Fordham Holiday Classic. Kendell Heremaia was within one board of a double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds. Zara Jillings had 4 points and 5 rebounds with Mary Goulding totaling 7 points and also nabbing 5 rebounds.

The trio were busy again the next day as Fordham accounted for Middle Tennessee 61-49 to round out the first half of the season with four straight wins and a 9-5 record. Goulding led the home scoring with 16 points (7/13FG) and added 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Heremaia (5 points and 3 rebounds) and Jillings (7 points and 2 assists) also put in solid shifts.

Kayla Manuirirangi scored 16 points (4/7 3PG) as Tulane University Green Wave beat Central Michigan 68-57 at the Miami Holiday Classic. Tulane are a very healthy 10-3 ahead of American Conference fixtures.

A season high 11 assists from Krystal Leger-Walker, along with 5 points and 6 rebounds, helped propel University of Northern Colorado Bears to victory. The Bears began Big Sky Conference play in strong fashion defeating Sacramento State 82-69.

Also beginning conference play were Brigham Young University. The Cougars beat Santa Clara 54-44 in West Coast Conference action with Shalae Salmon getting half a dozen points and rebounds plus a pair of steals and a block. For Santa Clara Dru Toleafoa nabbed a couple of rebounds and dished a pair of assists.

La Salle University fell 74-47 to Temple to slump to 3-11 for the season ahead of conference play. Michelle Nicholls scored 9 points (3/5 3PG) for La Salle and added deuces in rebounds, assists and steals.

Izayah Le’afa totaled 7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal but Sacramento State lost its opening Big Sky Conference game 70-65 to Northern Colorado.

Jackson Stent scored 6 points as Houston Baptist Huskies ran up a cricket score against Dallas Christian winning 143-92.

Tobias Cameron, in his freshman year at Abilene Christian, scored a career best 5 points and added 4 rebounds as the Wildcats thumped McMurry 88-40 to wrap up their non-conference programme with an impressive 11-2 record.

Latest roundup on Kiwi Men playing Div 1 hoops


Here is a wrap on some of the pre-Xmas action involving the best performing Kiwi men of late in NCAA Division I.

Izayah Le’afa scored a season high 15 points (6/8FG) as Sacramento State Hornets overwhelmed Division II visitors Holy Names University 81-56.

Yanni Wetzell received an early Xmas present. Accorded more court time than he has been receiving in the early games for Vanderbilt University he responded with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks as the Commodores convincingly beat #18 Arizona State 81-65. The win improves the Vanderbilt record to 7-2.

Jack Salt dragged down a season best 9 rebounds to go with 4 points as Virginia Cavaliers defeated South Carolina 69-52. The number 5 ranked Cavaliers are unbeaten through 11 games this season.

Another Kiwi centre Callum McRae was in good form for UC Riverside making 11 points (4/5FG) and 7 rebounds as the Highlanders easily beat Life Pacific University 87-50.

St Mary’s College Gaels were defeated 78-74 by Louisiana State with Dan Fotu snaring 5 rebounds to go with 7 points. Fotu followed that with his first career start in the Gaels 85-56 win against Bucknell. He collected a game high 8 rebounds and knocked down a triple from his only attempt – Kiwi team mate Quinn Clinton also converted from beyond the arc from his only scoring shot.

In a Kiwi v Kiwi matchup it was Sam Waardenburg who came away with the lollies as his Miami Hurricanes prevailed 80-73 against Jackson Stent’s Houston Baptist. Waardenburg, a regular starter now for Miami, had 6 points, 4 rebounds, a block and a steal. Stent was afforded 6 minutes for HBU, producing an assist and a rebound.

Freshman Flynn Cameron enjoyed his best outing in De Paul’s 104-70 victory over Chicago State. The 2018 Junior Tall Black scored 6 points for the Blue Demons.

Most of the teams will be back in action between Xmas and the New Year with conference play just around the corner.

Early Xmas for Nisbett, West and McGoldrick

In NCAA Division I Women’s action Amy West, Tsubasa Nisbett and Esra McGoldrick were each given early Xmas presents in the last few days.

Tsubasa Nisbett was awarded her first appearance of the season by Georgia Southern University Eagles. The Eagles swooped on Coastal Georgia winning 68-46 to improve to 4-5 for the season with the Nisbett corralling a couple of rebounds to mark her debut.

Fellow Cantabrian Esra McGoldrick scored her first points in North Carolina State colours, scoring a pair of  baskets as the Wolfpack hounded Maine into submission winning 84-46. The Wolfpack are now 11-0 for the season.

Amy West also scored the first 4 points of her collegiate career for Liberty University Flames last Friday. Unfortunately the Flames were burnt by a buzzer beating three going down 66-63 against East Carolina. The Manawatu Freshman scored from two of her three scoring attempts.

The three Kiwis on the Fordham University roster were prominent as the Rams enjoyed a convincing 69-48 win against Columbia University.

Mary Goulding scored 14 points and added 4 rebounds whilst Kendell Heremaia had a trio of 4’s striking that number in points, rebounds and assists.

Zara Jillings totalled a career high equalling 8 rebounds to go with 6 points (3/5FG) and 3 assists.

Akiene-Tera Reed equalled her best points haul of the season scoring 20 points (3/7FG, 14/16FT) but it wasn’t enough to prevent Virginia Commonwealth going down 54-49 against Radford. Reed also snared 6 rebounds for the Rams.

Cal State Fullerton Titans gave Amiee Book her first start of the season and the freshman guard didn’t disappoint knocking down 3 of her 5 shots from beyond the arc in a 77-65 win against Antelope Valley. That makes 19 made threes for Book from 38 shots in the first ten games of the season at a more than healthy 50%.

It took an overtime period before Northern Colorado Bears secured the win against Chattanooga but they prevailed eventually winning 68-65. Krystal leger-Walker was her usual stats stuffing self – finishing with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals.

Sophmore Michelle Nicholls scored 10 points (4/8FG) but La Salle University slipped to a ninth defeat in ten games going down 83-57 to St John’s.

Jack Salt and Virginia a perfect nine from nine

Jack Salt

Jack Salt and Virginia University Cavaliers are a perfect nine from nine after defeating Virginia Commonwealth 57-49 on Sunday. Jack only had a single points but did pull down 7 boards. Depending on which poll you view Virginia are currently ranked between #3 and #6 nationally.

Vanderbilt University Commodores enjoyed a comfortable 79-51 win against Middle Tennessee to improve to 6-2 for the season. Yanni Wetzel benefitted from 17 minutes court time making 5 points, 3 rebounds, a pair of steals, an assist and a block.

Eight points (4/6FG) and 4 rebounds from Callum McRae helped University of California Riverside Highlanders break a three game losing slide. The Highlanders squeezed past Pepperdine to improve to 3-7 for the season and will enjoy a ten day break before their next outing.

Yuat Alok scored 7 points as Texas Christian University thumped University of California 96-61 at the Staples Centre in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. TCU boast a 7-1 start to the season.

St Mary’s Gaels had little trouble seeing off New Mexico winning 85-60 with Quinn Clinton making one of two threes and Dan Fotu dishing 3 assists to accompany a quartet of points and boards. The Gaels (7-4) followed that with a fourth straight win defeating California State Fullerton 81-66. Fotu claimed a game high equalling 3 offensive boards, snaring six rebounds in total, along with 5 points.

Izayah Le’afa added 3 steals to 9 points but the sophomore guard didn’t have the best of shooting nights as Sacramento State Hornets fell 76-67 at Portland. Le’afa made just 3 from 12 from the field but the Hornets still boast a 4-2 record this season.

Sam Timmins came up with 4 points, 3 rebounds and a block to help Washington Huskies get the win, 70-62, at Seattle on Sunday. Washington now 7-3 for the season.

Career night for Michelle Nicholls the highlight of Kiwi women’s performances in the States

Michelle Nicholls

Career high for Michelle Nicholls

Michelle Nicholls and Akiene-Tera Reed were teammates at Life Centre Academy, New Jersey during their final two years of high school. Both secured NCAA Division 1 scholarships following their time at LCA with Reed grabbing most the headlines for her scoring feats at Virginia Commonwealth University over the last season and a half. However, it was Nicholls turn to shine at the weekend as her all-round performance carried La Salle University Explorers to their first win of the season.

Nicholls had to bide her time last year getting little opportunity during her freshman season. However playing time has increased this season and the additional playing experience helped her put together an outstanding stats line to help La Salle claim that first win after eight straight losses. Nicholls scored a career high 17 points to accompany 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in 30 minutes of action as the Explorers beat Norfolk State 76-65.

Reed produced an efficient shooting display (5/8FG, 6/6FT) but her 16 points were not enough to get VCU Rams across the line at Cincinnati going down 66-54 – the Rams still boast a 6-4 record ahead of a week off.

In other news from NCAA Division 1 hoops 13 points (3/5 3PG) from guard Kayla Manirirangi helped Tulane University Green Wave make it seven wins from the first eight games with a 71-46 win over Nicholls University.

The win was a remarkable 500thfor Tulane Head Coach Lisa Stockton in her 25thseason leading Tulane.

Mary Goulding threatened a double-double in the Fordham University Rams 65-52 loss at Pittsburgh. In addition to 8 points Goulding secured 9 rebounds (4 at the offensive end) and distributed a game high 5 assists. Kendell Heremaia chipped in with 9 points– the Rams now 5-5 for the season.

Amiee Book set new college highs in steals and rebounds as Cal State Fullerton Titans came away from a trip across country to New York with a 61-58 victory over Columbia. Book snared a game high 5 steals, to go with 7 boards and 7 points.

aimee book

Amiee Book

Tegan Graham scored 6 points as Colgate University Raiders stole a 61-52 road win against University of Massachusetts Lowell to improve to 4-4 for the season. The Wellingtonian hit 2 from 5 threes.

Also scoring half a dozen but in a losing cause was Shalae Salmon as BYU were defeated 78-67 by Utah.

Rotorua native Matangiroa Flavell scored a season best 4 points for Houston Baptist but the Huskies fell 100-75 at North Texas.

Freeman and Waardenburg latest college players to produce strong performances

Sam Waardenburg

Sam Waardenburg

Matt Freeman and Sam Waardenburg are the latest of the New Zealand men playing NCAA Division 1 hoops to make an impact.

On Wednesday University of Miami swingman Sam Waardenburg enjoyed a career night despite the Hurricanes going down 89-75 against Penn at the Palestra. Waardenburg, in his second season with the Hurricanes, scored 14 points on 5 from 7 shooting that included 2 from 3 from beyond the arc. In addition to career best points it was significant he also played a career high 37 minutes.

Matt Freeman enjoyed a successful night as Oklahoma University Sooners beat Notre Dame Fighting Irish 85-80.

Freeman chose the historic Madison Square Garden to contribute 11 points (3/6 3PG), 4 rebounds and 2 blocks as his perimeter shooting and strong interior defence helped the Sooners to the win in the first ever meeting between the two famous basketball institutions.

Matt Freemanpg

Matt Freeman


Earlier in the week Dan Fotu and Jack Salt produced standout performances.

Fotu is earning more and more minutes in his freshman season at St Mary’s, California. Fotu rewarded coach Randy Bennett for displaying confidence in him by putting together a perfect shooting display as the Gaels stunned California Golden Bears winning 84-71. Fotu’s numbers were impressive knocking down 4 from 4 threes, his only two-pointer and both of his free throws.

Jack Salt scored a career high 12 points on 6 from 7 shooting and added a team high 7 rebounds as No 4 Virginia Cavaliers beat No 24 Maryland 76-71.

Salt followed that up with 6 points and 4 rebounds as Virginia swept Morgan State 83-45. Virginia now 8-0 for the season.

Sacramento States Hornets (3-1) dropped its first game of the season going down 75-58 at UC Santa Barbara. Former Tall Blacks point guard Izayah Le’afa was one of three Hornets in double figures finishing with 11 points (3/7 3PG), 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He followed that with 9 points and 3 steals in the 88-68 win at Cal State Northridge.

Freshman Tobias Cameron secured 3 rebounds to accompany 5 points (2/2FG) as Abilene Christian won their seventh straight game, inflicting pain on Howard Payne University with a 90-53 win.

Another freshman Callum McRae produced 8 points in 15 minutes for Cal Riverside but the Highlanders were toppled 82-73 by Valparaiso.