Category Archives: Kiwi’s Abroad

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.


Penina Davidson spoils Micaela Cocks’ special night

Micaela Cocks

Micaela Cocks

Tall Fern Micaela Cocks has been appointed captain, at least in the short term, of Townsville Fire, three-tim Australian Women’s Basketball League champions.

The  long-time Tall Ferns guard captained the club in the absence of Suzy Batkovic in Friday night’s encounter with Adelaide Lightning.

Since joining the club in 2011/12, the Kiwi Olympian has represented the Fire on 193 occasions – second behind Rachael McCully (228) on the club’s all-time games’ list – and has played a key role in their championship successes.

Despite scoring a team high 17 points Cocks first outing as captain ended in disappointment as Townsville were defeated 85-70 on their home court by Adelaide. Stella Beck, in her first season out of St Mary’s College scored 4 points for the Fire but it was another New Zealand rookie-pro, Penina Davidson, that inflicted major damage on Cocks and her colleagues.


Penina Davidson

The former Cal Berkeley stand-out came up big for Adelaide posting 14 points (6/11FG), her best return of the season to date, and snared 5 rebounds.

Cocks added two assists and a pair of steals but it wasn’t enough for the Fire that slip to a 5-7 record. Just over half-way through the season the Fire are in need of some winning momentum but it doesn’t get any easier for them as next up they face Toni Farnworth and the table topping Perth Lynx (9-2).

Adelaide, after a fourth straight win, sit fourth on the WNBL ladder with a 7-6 record.

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.

Leger-Walker, Salmon, King, Book and Manuirirangi all in double figures in Div 1 college games


Tylah King

Tylah King came close to a career best.

Tylah King was within a point of equalling her career high when she scored 14 points as University of Pacific beat San Jose State 91-67. The senior guard added 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for good measure.

Floor general Krystal Leger-Walker set up an exciting win for Northern Colorado Bears against  Southern Methodist, 58-57. She garnered a steal and then provided the pass for teammate Ali Meyer to make the winning layup in the closing 20 seconds of the game. Leger-Walker was impressive throughout finishing with 10 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and a block.

Tirana Clarke & leger-walker

Krystal Leger-Walker

Shalae Salmon scored in double figures (10 points) but BYU Cougars were pipped 67-64 by Southern Utah despite being up by two points with 37 seconds to play. Salmon added 5 rebounds as BYU slipped to just its second defeat of the season.

The Cougers (6-2) bounced back 48 hours later defeating Utah Valley 77-51 with Salmon adding 7 points to a game high 10 rebounds.

Zara Jillings, making her first start of the season, posted an all-round 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal playing the whole 40 minutes but Fordham University were well beaten by Georgetown 58-38.

Fordham got back to winning ways a couple of days later winning the Battle of the Bronx against Manhattan 65-61. Kendall Heremaia was everywhere with 7 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal. Jillings had 6 points and Mary Goulding, who missed the game against Georgetown, scored 9 points (plus 5 rebounds) as the Rams improved to 5-4.

Amiee Book threw down a pair of blocks to go with 8 points (3/6FG) as California State Fullerton Titans beat Ivy League school Dartmouth College 67-62. Three days later Book had 10 points (3/5FG) as the Titans improved to 4-4 for the season with a 64-56 home win against CSU Bakersfield.

Tulane Greenwave proved far too good for Florida Atlantic winning 88-45. Kayla Manuirirangi scored 12 points (2/4 3PG, 6/6FT) and dished 5 assists – Tulane now off to a 6-1 start to the season.

Joellen How scored six points but Wagner College dropped their fifth straight game going down 69-57 to St Peter’s.

Akiene-Tera Reed fouled out in 24 minutes as Virginia Commonwealth came from behind to edge Georgetown Hoyas 47-45 in a defence orientated game. Reed had 7 points and an assist in that time.

The Fotu’s are firing

Isaac Fotu copy

The Fotu brothers have been in great form of late.

Prior to the FIBA international break Isaac Fotu had enjoyed a couple of standout games for his German club Ratiopharm Ulm.

Isaac scored 15 points on 6 from 9 shooting as Ulm lost a tight encounter with Monaco going down 84-81 in EuroCup action. Ulm (3-5) will have to win both of their two remaining pool games to advance to the next round starting with a home game against Andorra next Tuesday.

The Tall Blacks power forward followed that with a high octane 18 points (8/12FG, 2/2FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals as Ulm gained a much-needed win in the Bundesliga against Telekom Basket. The win, just the third in the German League for Ulm this season, improved their record to 3-5.

Isaac’s efficient scoring efforts were more than matched by younger brother Dan at the weekend.

The 19 year-old is earning more and more minutes in his freshman season at St Mary’s College California. Dan 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 highly impressive knocking down 4 from 4 threes, his only two-pointer and both of his free throws – seven shots with zero misses in 21 minutes on court.

Dan Fotu

Kendell Heremaia and Shalae Salmon record career high’s

Shalae Salmon

Kendell Heremaia and Shalae Salmon both returned career best NCAA scoring performances over Thanksgiving Weekend.

Salmon scored a career high 19 points (8/15FG) as BYU went 2 from 2 at the San Diego State Thanksgiving Classic. California Baptist were defeated 76-69 with Salmon also snaring 7 boards on a productive night that helped BYU registered a fourth straight victory.

At the Gulf Coast Showcase Tournament in Florida, Fordham University Rams finished runners-up to Texas going down 72-54 in the final. Despite the loss the former Waikato forward Kendell Heremaia improved her career best points tally twice during the event making 17 points in the final after tallying 13 in the semi-final win the previous day.

Kendell Heremaia 

Cantabrian Mary Goulding scored 16 points (plus 14 rebounds) in the opening game with Zara Jillings posting 6 points and 3 assists in game two.

Akiene-Tera Reed scored a season high 20 points (8/15FG) as Virginia Commonwealth Rams clawed Weber State Wildcats 64-36 on Saturday. She led the Rams scoring again 48 hours later with 17 points. However VCU dropped that game losing 64-62 to Purdue University Indianapolis. 

Amiee Book continued her good work for California State Fullerton Tigers. The Tigers went down 83-74 against Portland but Amiee still managed 13 points converting three from seven from beyond the arc. In her first five NCAA Division 1 games Aimee is 11 from 21 from three-point land at a striking 52%.

Krystal Leger-Walker scored 10 points, including a step back three to tie proceedings at 46 apiece, as Northern Colorado Bears eked out a 53-47 win against Colorado State. L-W added 6 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals for the Bears who have made a 3-2 start to their campaign.

Kayla Manuirirangi scored 8 points and shared 4 assists as Tulane University moved to 4-1 for the season after defeating Cleveland State 81-72. 

Tegan Graham produced 6 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists as Colgate Raiders enjoyed a first win of the season defeating Canisius 67-53.

Pareunora Pene made her debut for Tennessee Chattanooga in their 75-60 win against Liberty. The Rotorua freshman scored with both shots, one three, to record 5 points in her first appearance for the Mocs.

Kiwis in college busy over Thanksgiving weekend


Last weekend may have been Thanksgiving in the States but there was little time for rest for our Kiwi college players.

Matt Freeman and Jack Salt headed to the Bahamas for the 8-team Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament over the holiday period at Paradise Island. 

It was anything but a vacation playing three games in three days but hopefully Jack and the Virginia Cavaliers got to sample some of the resort delights after beating Wiconsin 53-46 in the final.

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett was full of praise for his captain. 

“Jack was a warrior, playing position and playing hard. He means a lot for our programme, statistically he may not show it but it was a special performance.”

High praise for a man who finished with just 2 points, 5 rebounds, a block and a steal but as Bennett said the game is more than just about statistics.

The two didn’t get to play against each other as they were on opposite sides of the draw but Freeman and the Oklahoma Sooners clinched third spot after a 65-54 win against Dayton – Matt knocking down his only shot for three points and a pair of rebounds.

Also attending a famed location were St Mary’s College Gaels taking part in the MGM Resorts Main Event in Las Vegas. Despite going down 80-63 to Utah State Dan Fotu scored 11 points and also added three rebounds including two at the offensive end.

In their other game in Vegas Fotu came up with 2 points, 5 rebounds and an assist as the Gaels lost 61-57 to Mississippi State.

At the Wooden Legacy Tournament Miami Hurricanes fell agonisingly short in the championship game going down 83-81 to Seton Hall on Sunday night with Sam Waardenburg producing a quintet of points and rebounds.

Earlier in the tournament Waardenbutg scored 10 points as the Hurricanes cruised past La Salle 85-49.

Isaac Letoa and Dartmouth Big Green are headed across the Atlantic to Ireland where they will play in the Belfast Classic beginning on Thursday.

Taki Fahrensohn scored a season best 7 points as Portland Horned Frogs eased to a comfortable 77-57 win against Lewis and Clark.

In a Kiwi v Kiwi match-up it was Tobias Cameron and Abilene Christian that got the better of Callum McRae and University of California Riverside winning a sixth straight game 60-48.

However in terms of personal productivity the outcome favoured McCrae. The former Palmerston North Boys High centre had 10 points, on 5 from 6 from the field, plus 6 rebounds with Cameron getting just a minute of court time. 

Sacramento States Hornets beat Cal State Fullerton 87-82 in overtime for a third consecutive win with Izayah Le’afa scoring 14 points. The Hutt Valley native obviously has the green light to shoot the three-ball launching no fewer than 14 attempts in the contest. He landed four of those and also provided 3 assists to go with 5 rebounds.

Jackson Stent was part of an historic occasion as Houston Baptist University defeated Wake Forrest 93-91 in overtime – the first time in programme history that HBU had beaten an Atlantic Coast Conference member. For the second game running Stent was a perfect 2 from 2 from the field – both triples.

Sam Timmins may lay claim to one of the qickest accumulation of fouls in college basketball this season The Kiwi centre fouled out in just seven minutes as Washington Huskies were pipped 68-66 by Minnesotta – he managed a pair of rebounds and two points in that time.

Look out for the women’s college wrap being posted tomorrow.

NCAA Div 1 Kiwi men wrap ahead of Thanksgiving Weekend action

Matt Freemanpg

Of the sixteen Kiwi men playing NCAA Division I basketball this season seven are freshmen and all have seen cort time at  

In Division I action Matt Freeman scored at almost a point a minute as Oklahoma Sooners won their home opener 75-64 against Wofford. Matt scored 11 points in 12 minutes, knocking down three from four from beyond the arc.

Matt and the Sooners have headed to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament this week which will also be attended by Jack Salt and the Virginia Cavaliers. We will bring you news of that event and all the other Thanksgiving Weekend play in the next roundup. 

Sam Waardenburg has been entrusted with a starting spot at Miami where the Hurricanes have begun the season with a trio of wins after pushing past Bethune-Cookman 78-70. The second year forward scored 8 points (4/6FG) and totalled 4 rebounds in 27 minutes in the win.

St Mary’s College Gaels, after three straight wins, fell to their first loss of the season going down 80-63 to Utah State. However it was a good outing for Dan Fotu who knocked down a pair of threes (4/6FG) on his way to 11 points. The former Rangitoto standout also added three rebounds including two at the offensive end 

Isaac Letoa was 3 from 3 from the field as Dartmouth Big Green handed Elms a hiding. A reverse lay-up from the Tall Blacks guard brought up the ton as Dartmouth won100-54.

Yanni Wetzel scored a couple of points for Vanderbilt in the 79-54 win against Alcorn – the Commodores off to a 3-0 start.

Former Auckland Grammar standout Taki Fahrensohn scored his first college points as PortlandUniversity Pirates beat Multnomah. The freshman scored 2 points as the Pilots won a high scoring affair 111-103.

Angus McWilliam debuted for Texas Christian. The Cantabriam forward coralled three rebounds as TCU beat Oral Roberts 79-62. 

Flynn Cameron scored 6 points for De Paul as the Blue Demons doused Morgan State 91-63.

Seven points from Jackson Stent helped Houston Baptist secure a 75-72 win against Fordham. Stent went a perfect 2 from 2 from the field and also knocked down both of his free throws.

Career best for Leger-Walker the highlight of latest women’s college action



Tirana Clarke & leger-walker

Krystal Leger-Walker was in outstanding form for Northern Colorado Bears. In a productive night the Waikato native scored a career high 22 points (9/12FG) and dished 6 assists in the 74-66 win against Denver.

The Kiwis were prominent as Fordhan University Rams improved to 2-2 after a 71-64 win against Charlotte 49ers. Mary Goulding continued her strong form with 16 points and 12 rebounds, Kendell Heremaia scored 14 points (6/8FG) and Zara Jillings (7pts) was also amongst the scorers for the Rams.

Shalae Salmon crafted 14 points on 5 from 8 shooting from the floor and a perfect 4 out of 4 from the charity stripe as Brigham Young University Provo beat Eastern Washington 80-65.

Amiee Book didn’t miss a shot in California State Fullerton’s 79-65 win against Cal Baptist. She accumulated 14 points on 6 from 6 from the field that included 2 out of 2 triples. Book then scored 12 points (5/9FG) as the Titans went down 83-72 against San Diego.

Also making a dozen points was Tera Reed as Virginia Commonwealth Rams won a low scoring affair against Wake Forest 53-40. The Rams only gave up eight final quarter points as they improve to 3-1 for the season

Sariah Penese was busy for University of Maryland Baltimore in the 81-43 defeat of  Notre Dame. The Retrievers have won their first six games – the best start in programme history – and Penese came up with 3 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and a block in the win.

Kayla Manuirirangi scored 11 points (three from six threes for the second game running) as Tulane University held off Washington to win 63-51 for a third consecutive win.

Tegan Graham was another to score 11 points but Colgate Raiders slipped to a third straight loss, pipped 64-61 by George Mason.

Suffering a fourth loss on the bounce were La Salle going under 92-68 against Towson. Michelle Nicholls was a bright light in the defeat scoring 11 points on 5 from 8 shooting for the Explorers.

There is a feast of basketball ahead in the coming days as many college teams are taking part in Thanksgiving Weekend tournaments.

One win apiece for Fotu and Webster after latest EuroCup encounter


Tall Blacks Isaac Fotu and Tai Webster locked horns in EuroCup action overnight in Istanbul where Fotu’s Ratiopharm Ulm visited Webster’s Galatasaray.

When the two teams met back in October it was the German club that prevailed in overtime (103-92) but on Wednesday it was the hosts that came out on top winning 77-69 in regulation.

Despite the win it wasn’t a game that will live long in Webster’s memory. The Kiwi point guard entered the contest averaging 13.8 points and 5 assists per game but, restricted by foul trouble, managed just 2 points and 3 assists in this one – fouling out in just under 19 minutes.

Fotu led the Ulm rebounding count with 7 boards and also added 9 points but it wasn’t enough to stave off defeat.

Both clubs have a 3-4 record with three games to play in Group A of the Eurocup. The top 4 teams in each pool progress to the last sixteen and it would appear that both clubs will need to win two of their final three games to be sure of progressing.

With both players missing the Tall Blacks World Cup Qualifiers in Christchurch and Wellington at the end of the month it will likely be February before the two get together again when the New Zealand team travels to Lebanon and Jordan.