Category Archives: Kiwi’s Abroad

Ili returns plus other news of Kiwis overseas

In our latest wrap we look at Shea Ili’s return to court, a career high for Sam Waardenburg and some early American college news.

Firstly Shea Ili. The dynamic point guard made his first appearance for Melbourne United after missing the opening four rounds of the Australian NBL season with concussion issues. The Tall Black guard made an immediate impact in helping guide Melbourne United, on a three-game slide, to a 94-77 home win against Perth Wildcats.

Ili scored with his first two shots, both threes, and went on to post 9 points (3/4FG), 4 assists and 3 rebounds in just 13 minutes of action. Corey Webster scored 8 points for the Wildcats.

Sam Waardenburg, in his rookie pro season, scored a season high 20 points as Cairns Taipans lost a points-fest at League leaders Sydney Kings 106-103. In a fine all-round game Waardenburg also posted 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a pair of steals. 

In Europe Tai Webster produced 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists as Socar Petkimspor defeated Bursaspor 80-72 to improve to 3-2 in the Turkish Super League.

Finn Delany had a pair of 11-point outings for Bonn as the German club recorded two victories.

Firstly it was a 73-66 European Champions League win against AEK Athens followed by a 94-85 success against Goettingen in the German League.

In the German second division Matt Freeman scored 10 points and added 6 rebounds although his club Bremerhaven suffered a 73-66 loss to Tuebingen.

Isaac Fotu tallied a team high 17 points (8/13FG) but Tochigi Brex were given something of a hiding by Chiba Jets going down 87-58. The Jets (7-2) lead the East Conference of the Japanese League with Brex (3-6) now sixth.

Jillian Harmon, who played on the Tall Ferns 3×3 team at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham earlier in the year, has confirmed she has re-joined Basket Landes for the upcoming French League season.

Tera Reed scored 19 points (5/10FG, 4/4FT) but Tampereen Pyrintö were defeated 82-77 by HBA-Marsky in the Finnish League. Pyrintö have slipped to 2-4 on the season although all four losses have been by 6 points or less.

Most American college campaigns commence in the coming days but a handful of pre-season games have already been played.

Flynn Cameron started his season rolling on a high note as UC Riverside defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills 94-79. The combo guard scored 21 points (5 from 9 threes) and added 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

Asian Cup Tall Black teammate Kruz Perrott-Hunt was also in strong form as South Dakota mauled Simpson 101-55. KP-H finished with a game high 24 points (10/15FG, 4/8 3PG) to accompany 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

James Moors led the Colorado State rebounding count as they inflicted a 91-52 defeat on MSU Denver. The junior forward added 6 points, 2 assists and a steal to 10 rebounds.

Fresh from the Tall Ferns tour to Melbourne Charlisse Leger-Walker filled the stats line with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and a brace of steals as Washington State defeated Westmont 64-40.

Overseas Roundup – Former schoolmates go head to head

Former Rangitoto College class mates Olivia Berry and Penina Davidson were on opposing sides for the first time since school days as the Tall Ferns took on the Melbourne Boomers on Saturday – the Boomers beating an inexperienced New Zealand team 85-62. 

Congratulations to Olivia on scoring her first points in the black singlet while Micaela Cocks stretched her record number of appearances for the Tall Ferns to 145.

Another pair of ex-Harbour and Rangitoto teammates were in opposition in Cairns on Sunday. It was Dan Fotu with the smiles as the Sky Sport Breakers beat Sam Waardenburg’s Cairns Taipans in a low scoring contest 68-64, the win taking the Breakers to second on the NBL ladder. 

Earlier in the week fellow Breaker Rob Loe brought up 600 career NBL rebounds with 8 boards against South East Melbourne Phoenix while Waardenburg scored 13 points as the Taipans registered an impressive 83-78 road win against defending champions the Sydney Kings.

Tyrell Harrison has made a return to the Brisbane Bullets ranks after a long spell out with injury. He was outstanding in the one-point loss to South East Melbourne Phoenix (89-88) accumulating 11 points and 8 rebounds in just 19 minutes.

Further afield Isaac Fotu scored 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting but Tochigi Brex had their three-game winning streak ended as they dropped their Japanese League double-header at Alvark Tokyo, beaten 77-75 and 60-57. Fotu had 13 points and 7 rebounds in the second loss.

Tai Webster produced 14 points and 5 assists as Socar Petkimspor defeated Darussafaka 94-75 and improve to 2-2 in the Turkish League.

Brother Corey Webster scored 9 points for Perth but the Wildcats were trounced 103-72 by the Tasmanian Jack Jumpers in the Australian NBL.

Another former Harbour and Westlake player Yanni Wetzell enjoyed a couple of midweek outings for ALBA Berlin.

ALBA won a German Cup Round of 16 tie 98-95 against Bonn. Wetzell scored a season high 23 points (9/10FG, 5/7FT) for Berlin while former Breakers teammate Finn Delany notched 12 points for Bonn. Wetzell tied the contest in the closing minute after Bonn had led 93-91. He added two free throws with 20 seconds remaining as the reigning champions advanced to the quarter-finals.

48 hours later he scored 11 points as Berlin thumped Greek side Panathinaikos 94-65 in a EuroLeague fixture.

Bonn put the cup defeat behind them by claiming a 79-72 League win at Braunschweig on Saturday – Delany with 11 points and 7 rebounds. 

Also in Germany Matt Freeman scored 13 points, making 3 from 5 from deep, as Bremerhaven won a thriller on the road against Jena 71-69. The victory improves Bremerhaven to 2-2 on the Pro A League ladder.

Tall Fern Tera Reed registered her third double-double in five games as Tampereen Pyrintö secured an exciting 73-72 Finnish League victory at Vimpelin Veto. Tera finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds as Pyrintö improved to 3-2 for the season.

Also close to a third double-double was Zoe Richards as AB Contern easily defeated Les Sangliers 83-60 in Luxemburg League action. Richards finished with 11 points and 9 rebounds as Contern improved to 5-1 on the season.

Nelsonian Gracie Roberts-Hare is playing her fourth season in the Dutch League. After three seasons with Lekdetec she has moved clubs and scored 13 points on debut for Triple Threat in a 71-61 win against Martini Sparks Haren.

Kiwis overseas – an early season roundup

17 October

With Leagues in Europe and Asia, as well as the Australian NBL, recently underway we take a look at the early season form of our overseas based Kiwis.

Nearest home, in the Australian NBL, Sam Waardenburg scored a season high 13 points as Cairns Taipans registered an impressive 83-78 road win against defending champions the Sydney Kings.

Over in Perth Corey Webster registered a dozen points but the Perth Wildcats were undone 84-81 by Melbourne United. 

Beginning the Japanese League season with six consecutive away games Isaac Fotu and Tochigi Brex dropped their opening three games but are now on a three game win streak after defeating Sendai 89ers twice over the weekend.

Playing a shade under 30 minutes a game the Tall Blacks forward is averaging 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game – second on the team in both categories.

There are four New Zealand players plying their trade in Germany this season.

Finn Delaney has scored between 11 points and 13 points in all four games for Bonn this season. 

Bonn are 2-0 in the German BBL and 1-1 in the European Champions League.

Yanni Wetzell scored 10 points (4/6FG) in just 15 minutes as ALBA Berlin won 80-74 on the road at Milan in EuroLeague action on Friday night. 

ALBA sit top of the BBL with a 3-0 record although the former Breakers forward has only played in one of those games. 

In the German second division (Pro-A League) Taki Fahrensohn and his club Jena have enjoyed a 3-0 start to the season with the Tall Blacks wing averaging 7 points and 5 rebounds per game. In a small sample size he has made 63% (5 from 8) 3-pointers in his three outings.

Also in the Pro-A League Matt Freeman scored 14 points for Eisbaeren Bremerhaven but it was a tough game for the hosts thumped 112-78 by Dusseldorf and currently mid table with a 1-2 record.

Tai Webster has averaged 10.5 points and a brace of assists as Socar Petkimspor have opened the Turkish League with a win and a loss.

Tall Fern Tera Reed followed her 27 points haul last week with 23 points at the weekend but Tampereen Pyrintö slipped to 1-3 in the Finnish League after going down 79-73 to Honka. – all three defeats by six points or less. Reed leads the team in points (19ppg) and rebounds (11.0rpg).

Fellow Tall Fern Zoe Richards is averaging 10.8 points and 9.6 rebounds as her club AB Contern sit second on the Luxemburg League ladder with a 4 wins – 1 loss record.

The Southern Hoiho forward recently posted a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds as Contern won a nail biter against Musel Pikes 56-54.

The Australian WNBL begins on November 2nd with Penina Davidson and Lauryn Hippolite again suiting up for defending champions Melbourne Boomers while Kalani Purcell will again play for Sydney Flames.

Krystal Leger-Walker will make her WNBL debut in Townsville Fire colours with the Fire entertaining UC Capitals in the opening round.

Mary Goulding is named to the Bendigo Spirit roster but her status is unclear given she suffered a serious leg injury playing for Mainland Pouākai during the 2022 Tauihi season.

Waardenburg and Miami still Dancing

Sam Waardenburg produced an outstanding performance as Miami University Hurricanes defeated Iowa State 70-56 in an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 match-up in Chicago.

The former Junior Tall Black finished with 13 points (5/9FG), a team high 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and a steal in 35 minutes of high quality basketball.

The result means10th seeded Miami advance to the Elite 8, at the ‘Big Dance’, for the first time in programme history where they will face a number one seed Kansas for a spot in the semi-finals. 

“Iowa State’s a great team we knew they were going to come out and pressure us. We had the most turnovers we’ve had this tournament but we kept our identity and forced 18 turnovers as well. We did a great job executing the game plan,” said Waardenburg.

“It’s the energy from the bench and the energy from these guys that really swings you,” Waardenburg said of his teammates.

“They’ve been amazing and they’ve been like this all season long.”

Miami’s run in the play-offs means that we have Kiwi representation in the quarter-finals of the Men’s NCAA Division I Championship for the first time since Jack Salt and the University of Virginia Cavaliers won the title in 2019.

The one-time Rangitoto College and Harbour standout eclipsed 700 points and reached 500 rebounds at Miami, scoring in double figures for the 13th time this season and the 25th time in his four-year collegiate career.

Waardenburg now has 706 career points and keen to add more in the quarter-final tie against Kansas tomorrow.

Madness latest

Men’s NCAA Division I National Championship, Second Round

Dan Fotu and St Mary’s College Gaels were defeated 72-56 by UCLA Bruins. The West Coast Conference runners-up had few answers for the superior Bruins in the second half, outscored 36-27. In his 120th and final collegiate game Fotu had a single rebound.

Also bundled out in the second round were Yuat Alok and New Mexico State Aggies edged by Arkansas 53-48. The former Rangitoto College forward claimed a rebound and a free throw for the Aggies.

Miami (Sam Waardenburg) and Texas Christian (Harrison Young) play their second round ties tomorrow. 

Women’s NCAA Division I National Championship, First Round

New Zealand’s interest in the Women’s NCAA Tournament ended abruptly with first round defeats for both Washington State and Brigham Young (BYU) despite the best efforts of their Kiwi connections.

Tegan Graham had 11 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists, while Kaylee Smiler scored with her only shot as BYU were pipped 61-57 by Villanova. Tegan’s final tally of 153 games is a New Zealand record for the number of NCAA Division I appearances.

Krystal and Charlisse Leger-Walker carried a heavy load for Washington State University (WSU) as the Cougars went down 50-40 against Kansas State – the Waikato duo scoring all but eleven of the Cougars points. 

Krystal finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds whilst Charlisse scored a game high 20 points, setting a WSU record for the most points in an NCAA Tournament game in the process.

In what turned out to be her final collegiate game Krystal, in a rarity for her, had zero assists. That meant her amazing sequence of making an assist in every game she had played since January 2018 came to an end – the streak finishing at 94 games!  

Women’s NAIA National Championship

The quest of Rocky Mountain College to secure a semi-final berth at the NAIA National Championships came up agonisingly short as they were edged 60-58 by Thomas More University. Former Waikato and St Peter’s School, Cambridge forward Dominique Stephens scored 9 points and added 4 rebounds. 

Freshman Stephens played her part in the historic run of Rocky Mountain. They have won their first NAIA Tournament games, won their first share of the Frontier Conference regular season title and their first Frontier Conference Tournament Championship, since 1988. 

Women’s Basketball Invitational

St Mary’s College Gaels reached the final of the Women’s Basketball Invitational after defeating Bowling Green University 76-67 in the semi-finals.

Tayla Dalton added 2 assists and a block to 10 points (4/6FG) while Amy West snared a season high 11 rebounds to go with a couple of points.

NJCAA (Junior College) National Championships Second Round

Izzy Cook, Rashaan Smith and Western Nebraska College are through to the Final Four of the Junior College National Championships after Western Nebraska claimed a 63-51 quarter-final victory over South Plains.

Western Nebraska will meet Tyler College in the Championship semi-final tomorrow.

March Madness latest – Waardenburg and Miami advance

Men’s NCAA Division I National Championship, First Round

Miami University Hurricanes scraped past USC Trojans 68-66. Sam Waardenburg added 4 points and 3 rebounds to a career high 4 blocks. It needed two free-throws, with three seconds left on the clock, for the Hurricanes to seal the win and book themselves a second round match-up against second seed Auburn.

Sam Mennenga made 3 from 5 from beyond the arc in totalling 15 points but Davidson Wildcats came up just short against Michigan State downed 74-73. Mennenga also tallied 5 rebounds, an assist and a block for the Atlantic-10 regular season champions.

Harrison Young and TCU are through to the second round after the Horned Frogs comfortably beat Seton Hall 69-42.

Women’s NCAA Division I National Championship, First Round

Charlotte Whittaker and Colorado University bowed out in the first round after an 84-74 defeat at the hands of Creighton. 

Women’s National Invitational Tournament, First Round

The curtain has come down on the fabulous collegiate career of Kendell Heremaia after Fordham University were defeated 71-64 by Bucknell in the first round of the WNIT. Heremaia had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in the defeat. The former Waikato and St Peter’s School, Cambridge standout finishes her time at Fordham with 1,291 points and 796 rebounds in 145 appearances – 117 of those as a starter.

Emme Shearer and Portland Pilots got the better of Jess Moors and Colorado State in the battle between two former Harbour and Westlake teammates. Shearer had a game high 3 steals along with 2 points, 4 rebounds and a block.

UCLA were too good for UC Irvine winning 61-48. Olivia Williams tallied 4 points, 2 rebounds an assist and a steal for Irvine.

Houston Baptist 51 (Lauryn Mapusua 2 rebounds)  Toledo 61

Women’s Basketball Invitational

St Mary’s Gaels defeated Austin Peay 77-69 in the quarter-final of the Women’s Basketball Invitational. Tayla Dalton had 7 points and a brace each of rebounds and assists while Amy West contributed 4 points and a pair of rebounds. 

In the semi-finals tomorrow St Mary’s will take on Bowling Green University.

NJCAA (Junior College) National Championships Second Round

Izzy Cook, Rashaan Smith and Western Nebraska College eased through to the quarter-finals of the Championships with a 70-59 victory over Wabash Valley. Western Nebraska sealed the win with a dominant 20-11 fourth quarter.

It wasn’t such good news for Southern Idaho as they were defeated 75-49 by Trinity Valley.

Kyra Paniora had deuces in points, rebounds and assists with Ashlee Strawbridge severely hampered by foul trouble finishing with a rebound and an assist.

Strawbridge will now prepare for her imminent move to Division I school, University of Missouri-Kansas City.

March Madness moves into full swing

The former Rangitoto College duo of Dan Fotu and Yuat Alok have advanced to the second round of the Men’s NCAA Division I Championship on the first full day proper of the tournament.

All the news is right here:

In addition Dominique Stephens and Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears are through to the quarter-finals of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Women’s Basketball National Championship. Rocky beat Wayland Baptist 66-53 with the former Waikato forward leading the rebounding count with 8 boards to accompany 8 points, 2 assists and a block.

The Battlin Bears will face Thomas Moore in the last 8 on March 19.

March Madness – latest news and upcoming games

Taine Murray had a couple of points and a pair of rebounds as Virginia University Cavaliers beat Mississippi State 60-57 in the opening round of the NIT (National Invitation Tournament). Virginia will play North Texas in the second round.

In Canada Cantabrian guard Sofia Kennedy tallied 3 rebounds and 2 points as Windsor University Lancers were defeated 77-67 by Guelph University Gryphons in the quarter-finals of the Ontario University Athletics Conference Tournament.

Izzy Cook, Rashaan Smith and Western Nebraska Cougars are through to the Second Round of the Women’s s NJCAA (Junior College) National Championships after the Cougars beat Murray State 71-59. Smith claimed 3 rebounds, 2 blocks and a made free throw.

The Cougars will next play Wabash Valley in the Second Round.

Yesterday Nate Wilson and South Georgia Tech Jets were eliminated 88-80 by #14 South Plains in the First Round of the Men’s NJCAA (Junior College) National Championships. Nate had 3 rebounds and an assist in the loss.

Upcoming Games:

NCAA Division I National Championships First Round

March 17

St Mary’s Gaels (Dan Fotu and Quinn Clinton) v Wyoming/Indiana

Colorado State (James Moors) v Michigan

New Mexico State (Yuat Alok) v UConn

March 18

Davidson (Sam Mennenga) v Michigan State

TCU (Harrison Young) v Seton Hall

Miami (Sam Waardenburg) v USC

Colorado (Charlotte Whittaker) v Creighton

March 19 

Washington State (Charlisse and Krystal Leger-Walker) v Kansas State

BYU (Tegan Graham, Kaylee Smiler and Arielle Mackey- Williams) v Villanova

NIT (National Invitation Tournament) Second Round

March 19 or 20 

Virginia (Taine Murray) v North Texas

WNIT (Women’s National Invitation Tournament) First Round

March 17

Wofford (Helen Matthews) at Middle Tennessee

March 18

Houston Baptist (Lauryn Mapusua) at Toledo

UC Irvine (Olivia Williams) at UCLA

Fordham (Kendell Heremaia) v Bucknell

Portland (Emme Shearer) v Colorado State (Jess Moors).

Women’s Basketball Invitational

March 18

St Mary’s Gaels (Tayla Dalton and Amy West) v Austin Peay

Men’s Basketball Invitational

March 20

Abilene Christian (Tobias Cameron) v Troy

NAIA Round of 16

March 17

Rocky Mountain (Dominique Stephens) v Wayland Baptist  

Junior College National Championships First Round

March 17

Casper College (Dejaan Schuler) v Hutchinson 

Junior College National Championships Second Round

March 18

Southern Idaho (Kyra Paniora, Ashlee Strawbridge) v Trinity Valley or Walters State

Western Nebraska( Izzy Cook, Rashaan Smith) v Wabash Valley

Alok locked for NCAA Tournament

New Mexico State University Aggies are the Western Athletic Conference Champions after defeating Abilene Christian 66-52 in the Championship game.

The result means that Yuat Alok is the first Kiwi to be declared a starter at next week’s NCAA Tournament. The former Rangitoto College standout scored 2 points for the Aggies while Tobias Cameron had 4 points and a team high 5 rebounds for Abilene. 

The other Kiwi that could join Alok with an automatic berth is Sam Mennenga. After a team high 15 points in the quarters Mennenga produced a more sedate 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists performance as Davidson College eased into the Atlantic 10 Conference Final with an 84-69 win against St Louis – a win in the final would clip Davidson’s ticket for the Big Dance.

In Women’s NCAA Division I action #2 seed UC Irvine had to settle for runners-up spot at the Big West Conference Tournament after being defeated  59-48 in the Grand Final by top seed Hawaii. Freshman guard  Olivia Williams had a couple of rebounds in that one.

Selection Sunday takes place tomorrow when we will learn which other Kiwis will be headed to the NCAA Tournament.

Following a first round win against Teinhardt University Rocky Mountain College pulled away from Dakota State to win their second round tie 89-73 at the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Women’s National Championship. Waikato’s Dominique Stephens finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, all at the offensive end, a block and a steal as Rocky advance to the Round of 16.

Dallas Baptist University returned to the NCAA Division II National Championships for the fifth straight year but had to take on Black Hills State without centre Will Heather. The former Rosmini College National Championship winner has had to undergo surgery for a  lingering back injury. DBU struggled without their influential big man and were defeated 76-68.

Former Harbour guard Hannah Wentworth was New Zealand’s sole representative at the Women’s NCAA Division II National Championships but she and her Eckerd College teammates couldn’t repeat the heroics of their first round victory against Florida Southern. Wentworth made 4 from 5 from deep on her way to 15 points in that one but came up short in the 73-48 second round loss to Union University making 9 points plus pairs of rebounds, assists and steals.

Yuat Alok and Tobias Cameron meet in conference final

Former Rangitoto College big man Yuat Alok had 6 points (3/6FG) as top seed New Mexico State squeezed past Grand Canyon 75-70 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) semi-finals. 

On the other side of the WAC draw 18 points (4/8FG, 10/11FT) from Tobias Cameron helped Abilene Christian edge Seattle 78-76 The result means either Cameron or Alok will be headed to the NCAA Tournament depending on the outcome of the Grand Final between their respective teams.

In the Atlantic 10 Conference quarter-final, Sam Mennenga’s Davidson College proved too good for Zach Riley’sFordham University Rams winning 74-56. Mennenga led the Davidson effort with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists while Riley scored 5 points and added 4 rebounds for Fordham.

Top seed Davidson take on St Louis in semi-final action.

Miami University caused one of the upsets of the season when they defeated Number 1 ranked Duke in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season play. Miami couldn’t quite repeat the feat at the ACC semi-finals beaten  80-76 by the Blue Devils. Sam Waardenburg had 8 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and a couple of blocks in the defeat.

James Moors and second seeded Colorado State University Rams  were beaten 63-58 by third seed San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference semi-finals.

Harrison Young and Texas Christian University were defeated 75-62 the semi-final of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.