Category Archives: NZ WNBL

A Unique Opportunity

After four years of painstaking research, interviewing key individuals and compiling the text, ‘The History of New Zealand Basketball’, the official history of the sport in New Zealand to date, is being released .

Wellington based basketball historian and author Roger Booth will be available to sign individual copies of his unique and outstanding publication, “History of New Zealand Basketball” at the upcoming book launch.

When: Friday June 24, 4.30-6.30pm

Where: Kings Lounge, Eventfinda Stadium

Cost: Free

MC: Former Tall Blacks captain John Macdonald

Special Guests:  John Dybvig, Tom Abercrombie, Dillon Boucher, Leanne Walker, Kim Lucas, and Carolyn Grey.

The launch precedes the Auckland Tuatara v Nelson Giants NBL game being played at Eventfinda (tip-off 7.30pm) that evening.

Fundamentally a people story, individual interviews and subsequent comments are the heart of the text that has now emerged – Booth interviewed over 200 people to formulate this 570 page masterpiece.

The book, with a large quota of photographs, tells the story of the game in New Zealand, its key factor being coverage of every senior international game from 1947.

Please Tell Your Basketball Friends

This is the only full New Zealand history of our sport, and there will not be another one for many years. If you are unable to attend the launch but would like to purchase a copy of the History of New Zealand Basketball you can contact Roger Booth directly –

More Bits and Pieces

Isaac Fotu, with a commanding 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks, helped Tochigi Brex beat Chiba Jets 100-75 to improve to 5-4 in the Japanese League East Division.

Also in Japan the Paul Henare and Zico Coronel coached Susanoo Magic are 6-3 in the West Division.

Taki Fahrensohn is averaging 11 points per game but his club Ehingen Urspring  are 0-6 in the German Second Division.

Also in Germany Matt Freeman is averaging 10.8ppg for Karlsruhe Lions (3-3) in the same division.

In the Romanian League Max Darling (averaging 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game) has helped propel his club Neptun Constanta into the top six on the ladder with a 4-4 record.

Ashley Taia, who made her Tall Ferns debut at the Asia Cup in Jordan last month, came up with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals but couldn’t prevent Wetterbygden falling 75-66 to Norrkoping in the Swedish League. Wetterbygden have lost three games on the bounce to slip to 2-4 on the season.

Gracie Roberts-Hare scored 6 points (2/2 3PG) as Lekdetec crushed Binnenland 76-45 to improve to 2-2 in the Dutch League.

Callum McRae and Flynn Cameron were both in double figures as University of California Riverside eased to a comfortable 90-56 win against Cal State LA in a pre-season game.

Cameron scored 10 points while McRae, having missed all of last season due to injury, posted 11 points and 4 rebounds.

At Davidson University Sam Mennenga scored a game high 13 points to lead the black team to victory over white in another pre-season scrimmage.

James Moors, like Mennenga a former Westlake and Harbour standout, made a nice start to the season recording 17 points on 7 from 8 shooting as Colorado State thumped Adams State 92-55.

Corey Le’aupepe and Menlo University made a fine start to the season. Menlo beat Warner Pacific 87-78 with the Wellington forward scoring 19 points making 7 from 9 from the field.

Maxim Stephens continued his good early season form with 17 points despite Rocky Mountain Battlin Bears going down 63-60 to College of Idaho. 

Tegan Graham (9 points) knocked down 3 from 4 three-pointers as the powerful Blue team beat White 77-40 in BYU’s scrimmage game. Graham led BYU scoring from beyond the arc last season making 46% (38/83) of her shots from deep.

For the white team Kaylee Smiler scored just a single point whilst Arielle Mackey-Williams contributed 2 points and 3 rebounds.

American Amanda Wayment has signed to play for Goldfields Giants in NBL1 West in 2022. The former BYU forward has been a standout for Auckland Dream in the last two NBL seasons.

Williams-Mackey in Dreamland

Arielle Williams Mackey helped propel Auckland Dream to a second straight Sal’s NBL 18IN18 victory at Bruce Pulman Arena on Friday.

The shooting guard produced a game high 19 points (8/13FG) as the Dream proved too good for Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats winning 66-51.

The 18-year old, the youngest member of the Dream, has also announced that she will be headed to Brigham Young University (BYU) on a 4-year basketball scholarship.

Dream forward Amanda Wayment is a former BYU captain and of course former Dream standout and Tall Ferns captain Kalani Purcell is also a former Cougar.

Full game report below:

Canterbury Wildcats showing their claws

Deanna Kuzmanic

A week after announcing that 2019 All-Star Five forward Marita Davydova is returning to the club the Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats have unveiled American-Puerto Rican player Deanna Kuzmanic as their second import signing for the 2020 season.

The Wildcats finished fourth in last season’s Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) but with the revamped league to be known as the Sal’s National Basketball League (NBL) the Wildcats are signalling that a spot on the winners podium is a more desired destination  in 2020.

The Wildcats were WBC champions in 2016 and 2017 and with new coach Dene Robinson at the helm the club will be looking for further glory this year.

“We are very happy to have signed Deanna,” said Robinson.

“With the re-signing of Marita Davydova and the experience of our Kiwi players available from 2019 I feel the team will be very competitive in the 2020 Sal’s NBL,” added Robinson.

The 23 year-old Kuzmanic completed an outstanding four year career at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2019.

During her time playing NCAA Division I basketball for the UAB Blazers, Kuzmanic earned Conference USA All-Conference Team honours twice. The four-year starter played 128 career games, the most in school history. Kuzmanic finished her career with 1,536 points, ranking 11th in programme history.

In her senior year with the Blazers she averaged 12.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists shooting the three-ball at 41%. She is also an 80% shooter from the foul line.

The Wildcats have lacked a consistent perimeter scorer for the last couple of years but if Kuzmanic can provide some outside potency to compliment the inside weaponary of Davydova (14 points and a league high 14 rebounds per game in 2019) the Cantabrians will be a force to be reckoned with.

The Wildcats are yet to announce their local players but if the likes of Tessa Morrison, Tessa Boagni, Ajiah Pepe and Helen Matthews return they will be fun to watch.

Coach Robinson will also be hoping 2017 WBC MVP Fran Edmondson, who missed the whole of the 2019 season due to injury, will be restored to full health to further bolster the Wildcats front court artillery.

With her college career behind her Kuzmanic is looking forward to furthering her basketball experience in New Zealand.

“This will be my second professional contract since graduating from UAB. I played in Puerto Rico’s professional league for the Manati Atenienses in August-October 2019. In that league I was fortunate enough to be named Rookie of the Year and our team won the 2019 championship.

Also in 2019 Kuzmanic represented Puerto Rico at both the Pan American Games where they took home a bronze medal and also the FIBA Americup. She is looking forward to more international appearances next month.

“I am honoured to represent Puerto Rico and am very excited to represent them in February at the Olympic Qualifier in France.

“My mom is Puerto Rican although she was born and raised in the United States. However both of her parents, my grandma and grandpa, were born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States as young adults.”

Kuzmanic will link up with the Wildcats following her international commitments.

“I want to use my platform as a professional player to encourage others and positively impact lives, and I believe that is exactly what this team is all about. I am thrilled to be a Wildcat, and I look forward to competing and working hard on and off the court. I want to play my role to the best of my ability so that I can help put the team in a position to win,” enthused Kuzmanic.

Those words will be music to the ears of Robinson and the Wildcats management.

The 2020 Sal’s NBL season begins in May.