Category Archives: Tall Blacks

Double figure outings for Harmon, Fotu and the Webster brothers

Tai Webster copy

It was largely a successful weekend for our Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks internationals playing overseas.

The German based pair Tai Webster and Isaac Fotu both contributed strongly as their respective club’s registered wins.

Webster scored a game high 21 points (7/11FG), dished 6 assists and reeled in 5 rebounds as Frankfurt Skyliners beat Bremerhaven 95-69. The Skyliners are fifth on the Bundesliga ladder with an 8-4 record.

One win back are Ratiopharm Ulm after an 84-70 win at Giessen 46ers. Fotu was in good form for Ulm scoring 17 points on 8 from 11 shooting. The power forward added 6 rebounds a steal and a block in just 20 minutes of action.

Corey Webster also scored in double figures in Israel but his 15 points (5/9FG) were not enough to save Ironi Nahariya from going down 72-69 against Ironi Nes-Ziona. The defeat sees Nahariya slip to fourth on the Israeli League ladder with a 5-4 win/loss record.

In Italy Napoli (6-4) are up to fourth on the Serie A ladder after a fourth straight win defeating San Martino 84-70. Jillian Harmon was her usual busy self, accumulating 21 points (8/14FG), 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

Melbourne Boomers (11-6) solidified their spot in second place on the Australian WNBL ladder with a couple of wins including an 86-42 demolition of Bendigo Spirit. Kalani Purcell had 9 points (4/5FG) and 9 rebounds in the massacre.

Perth Lynx have claimed an eleventh consecutive victory defeating Sydney University Flames in New South Wales. Cantabrian Toni Edmondson, working her way back after injury, contributed 3 points and 2 rebounds as the Lynx improve to 12-4 to top the WNBL table.

Townsville Fire (10-6) suffered a shock 79-64 home loss to Adelaide Lightning going down 79-64 but bounced back on Saturday defeating Bendigo 99-62. Micaela Cocks added a trio of rebounds and assists to 7 points as Townsville retains third spot.


Roundup of the week in college hoops includes career high for Beckley

Jacinta Becley

The highlight of the past week amongst Tall Ferns in Division 1 colleges was the performance of Jacinta Beckley. She posted a career high 22 points (9/13FG) as Seattle beat San Diego 80-73 making a highly respectable 9 from 13 shots.

Not far behind was the effort of Stella Beck – her double-double of 13 points and 10 assists helped St Mary’s Gaels to a fifth straight win as they came from behind to defeat Boise State 74-72. A couple of days later the Gaels went down 74-63 to Utah with Beck collecting 8 points and 3 steals in that one.

Tessa Boagni also produced a noteworthy double-double. The Cal State Northridge Matadors centre accumulated 12 points and 12 rebounds in the 76-59 win against San Diego State.

Idaho State Bengals slipped to a second successive defeat going down 61-53 at Wyoming. Brooke Blair was kept relatively quiet scoring 7 points and bagging 3 rebounds for the Bengals.

Penina Davidson knocked down 13 points (6/7FG) as Cal Berkeley Bears comfortably beat San Diego 89-64 to improve to 6-2 for the season.

Krystal Leger-Walker had a trio of four’s as Northern Colorado Bears improved to 6-2 with a commanding 80-55 victory against Pacific. The Waikato combo guard had 4 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds in the win.

On the men’s front there were also some handy performances from the Tall Blacks in college this week.

Starting centre Jack Salt was needed for just 20 minutes as Virginia Cavs dispatched Lehigh 75-54 for an eighth straight win. Salt scored 4 points and added block and a pair of rebounds.

A couple of days later Salt played just 9 minutes as the Cavs unbeaten run came to an end downed 68-61 by West Virginia.Sam Timmins stuffed the stats line as Washington Huskies beat Kennesaw State 85-71. The Tall Blacks centre produced 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks to a season high 13 points.

 The Huskies had a significant upset win three days later beating No 2 ranked Kansas 74-65. Timmins only scored 8 points but he was a major contributor at the heart of the Huskies zone defense.

 Sacramento State snapped a six game losing streak beating the attractively named Antelope Valley 97-74. Izayah Le’afa was once again a major facilitator dishing 9 assists to compliment 12 points and five rebounds.

Le’afa has totaled 30 assists in his last 4 outings whilst coughing up just 8 turnovers.

It was a good weekend for the Tall Blacks in Europe


Unlike their Breakers buddies all three European based Tall Blacks returned from international duty and registered wins with their respective clubs.

Tai Webster appeared to overcome the 11 hour flight from Hong Kong to Frankfurt without too much trouble as he registered 18 points (6/13FG, 3/3FT) as the Skyliners beat Oettinger Rockets 77-56.

Webster added 5 rebounds, 2 steals, a block and a game high 7 assists as the Skyliners improved to 7-4 for the season holding fifth spot on the German Bundesliga ladder.

Former Breaker Ekene Ibekwe was in the Oettinger lineup.

Ratiopharm Ulm are one win behind the Skyliners after a decisive 93-76 win against Mitteldeutscher.

Isaac Fotu equaled his season best rebounding effort pulling in 9 boards to go with 7 points (2/6FG, 3/4FT) and a steal for Ulm.

In Israel Ironi Nahariya defeated Maccabi Ashdod 81-76 with Nahariya improving to 5-3 for the season.

Corey Webster scored 13 points for Ironi Nahariya, his seventh double figure points haul in eight outings.

In other news former Tall Black Dion Prewster scored 10 points on debut for Uni Baskets Paderborn in their 93-92 win against Trier.

Paderborn competes in the Pro-A League, the equivalent of the German second division.

Career bests for Beck, Beckley and Le’afa in American college action.

stella beck

Over the Thanksgiving holiday period there was plenty of action involving our Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks playing college basketball in the States.

It was quite a weekend for former Hutt Valley standout Stella Beck as she passed the 1,000 career points mark with 18 points as St Mary’s Gaels beat USC Santa Barbara 89-59 in the Hilton Concord Classic. In the same game she also matched a career best 6 steals.

“I didn’t really think about (scoring 1,000 career points) until someone mentioned last game that I was three points away from reaching the 1,000-point record. It’s funny because it makes me think about being a senior, which is sad, but it’s also really exciting,” said Beck.

24 hours later Beck took her tally for the weekend to 40 points, nailing 22 to help St Mary’s to a narrow 88-82 win against Idaho and with it the Hilton Concord Classic – not surprisingly Beck was made MVP.

It was also a good time for Jacinta Beckley who scored a career high 20 points for Seattle in the Redhawks 91-77 win against Portland State. The Kapiti native added 8 rebounds for good measure then followed up with a 15 points haul against UC Davis – a game dropped 70-54 by Seattle after three straight wins.

Brooke Blair posted a team high in points (12) and rebounds (7) as Idaho State Bengals improved to 5-1 for the season with a convincing 64-44 victory against Utah State. Blair is leading the Bengals in scoring over the first six games averaging 15.9 points per outing.

Krystal Leger-Walker and Northern Colorado Bears had a night to forget at Fordham University where in a New Zealand first FIVE Kiwis were in action. The Bears made their second lowest score in programme history going down 48-33. The Bears were awful from the three point line making just one from 26 attempts – that single triple made was from Leger-Walker in the final two minutes of the game. That was Leger-Walker’s only score of the night with teammate Tiarna Clarke quiet with just a couple of rebounds to her name.

The hosts featured three Kiwis in their line up led by Cantabrian forward Mary Goulding (6pts/7rebs). They also have the freshman pair of Kendell Heremaia (2pts/7rebs) and Tall Fern Zara Jillings (5pts/2rebs) on their roster.

Penina Davidson led the Cal Berkeley rebounding with 9 boards (plus 7 points) as the Bears beat Manhattan 87-66 in the Cal Classic.

Tessa Boagni and Cal State Northridge are in the winner’s circle at the sixth attempt after downing Arizona 66-63. Boagni collected a game high 12 rebounds and also added 9 points, 3 assists and a block.

Fresno State Bulldogs are in something of a slump going down 76-59 to Texas State. Katelin Noyer scored two points and secured 4 rebounds but it was a fourth straight loss for the Dogs.

On the men’s front there were good performances from the Tall Blacks in college this week.

Sam Timmins produced a strong performance as Washington Huskies beat cross-town rival Seattle 89-84. Timmins was an efficient 9 points (4/5FG), 8 rebounds and 1 block.

Izayah Le’afa didn’t have the best of shooting night’s (1/9FG) in Sacramento State’s 68-63 loss to Cal State Fullerton but he did dish a career high 11 assists with zero turnovers in 34 minutes. The Hornets point guard followed that with 7 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists but it was a fifth straight loss for Sacramento going down 74-69 to Saint Joseph’s.

Virginia Cavaliers won a seventh straight game with centre Jack Salt contributing 8 rebounds (for the second straight game) along with 4 points (2/2FG) in the low scoring 49-37 win against Wisconsin.

Tai Wynyard saw a small amount of action as Kentucky defeated University of Illinois-Chicago 107-73. Wynyard was only given 5 minutes playing time but it was enough for him to register 4 points and 3 rebounds.

Davidson and Blair shine but plenty of other good Kiwi performers in American College games



Ahead of Thanksgiving celebrations there was plenty of success for our Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks playing college basketball in the States.

It is difficult to pick out a single standout performance but perhaps the double-double from Penina Davidson shades the efforts of another Rangitoto alumni Brooke Blair.

Davidson completed her second-double of the season as she collected a dozen rebounds to accompany 15 points as Cal Berkeley Bears accounted for Brown University 89-79.

Blair had a nice double dose of scoring as Idaho State Bengals mauled College of Idaho 89-32 and followed up by beating University of California Irvine 78-72. Blair scored 14 points in the College of Idaho saunter and 17 against Irvine – four straight wins for the Bengals and four straight double digit outings for the 2016 Tall Fern.

Stella Beck is just 3 points shy of 1,000 career points for St Mary’s Gaels after scoring 10 points in the comfortable 82-64 win against Cal Poly Mustangs.

Jacinta Beckley, made a crucial free throw in the dying seconds in Seattle Redhawks 65-62 win against Pepperdine. Beckley scored 9 points and pulled down 4 rebounds as Seattle improved to 2-2.

Cantabrian Tessa Boagni and Cal State Northridge are doing it tough at the moment slipping to 0-4 in the opening quartet of games. Boagni is certainly doing her bit to get the Matadors across the line coming up with 6 blocks and 14 points in the narrow 58-50 loss against New Orleans.

Krystal Leger-Walker was again dropping plenty of dimes coming up with 7 assists as University of Northern Colorado Bears defeated LSU 58-50. The combo guard followed that with a further 5 assists (plus 5 points and 7 rebounds) in the 73-60 win against San Francisco as the Bears improved to 4-0.

In addition to scoring 8 points Katelin Noyer snared 7 rebounds, including 4 at the offensive end, but Fresno State Bulldogs slipped to a 68-56 loss against UC Riverside.

Amongst players not yet capped at full international level Shalae Salmon takes the plaudits this week.

Salmon isn’t a Tall Fern yet but the new Tall Ferns coach (when appointed) will surely take a look at the BYU Provo centre out of Porirua. Salmon has played a major part in BYU’s start to the season averaging an impressive 9 points, 14.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks across the three games.

 It was reasonably quiet on the men’s front with Sam Timmins the best performer this week.


Timmins came up with 3 blocks to go with 8 rebounds and 6 points in Washington Huskies 77-70 loss to Providence in New York.

Izayah Le’afa played 25 minutes off the bench for Sacramento State Hornets contributing 2 points, 2 rebounds and a steal in the 69-56 loss at San Francisco.

 Jack Salt to go with 4 points and 4 rebounds as Virginia Cavaliers win at state rivals Virginia Commonwealth 76-67.

None of the above players were considered for Tall Blacks duty this week due to their college commitments.

Fotu and Ulm get the win


Tai Webster and Isaac Fotu are about to board a flight back to New Zealand to join up with their Tall Blacks teammates for the World Cup qualifying fixture against Korea on Thursday in Wellington and it will be Fotu who will be the happier as they settle in for the long haul from Frankfurt.

The Tall Blacks forward and his Ratiopharm Ulm team sprung something of a surprise beating the more fancied Frankfurt Skyliners, with Tai Webster at the helm, in their German Bundesliga encounter on Saturday night.

The Skyliners entered the game with a superior 6-3 record and actually led Ulm 59-58 entering the final quarter.

However a blistering last quarter from the visitors, won 31-16, propelled Ulm to the win and improved their record to 5-5. Fotu, with an efficient 10 points (5 from 7 from the field) was one of four of his team in double figures.

Webster scored just the four points but demonstrated his all court ability by leading the Skyliners’ rebounding with 7 boards and also dished 5 assists.

Both players have been in good form this season. In his first season in the professional ranks, since graduating from the University of Nebraska, Webster is averaging 13 points, 4.3 rebounds and a team high 4.3 assists per game.

Fotu, who moved to Ulm this season, after playing three years in the Spanish League, is averaging 9.2 points and 3.6 rebounds for the regular season defending champions.

The pair are expected to arrive in Auckland late Monday before linking with the rest of the Tall Blacks squad on Tuesday morning in Wellington.

Tall Blacks shine in Europe


Tai Webster and Isaac Fotu will share a flight back to New Zealand at the weekend as they look to assemble with their Tall Blacks teammates for the World Cup qualifying fixture against Korea.

Before boarding the flight in Frankfurt the pair will be on opposite sides as Webster’s Frankfurt Skyliners entertain Fotu’s Ratiopharm Ulm in a German Bundesliga game.

Last weekend the Skyliners lost their third game of the campaign going down 75-67 at Brose to slip to fifth on the league table with a 6-3 record.

Webster was once again in fine form top scoring in the game with 19 points to go with 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

Ulm (4-5) are up to tenth on the ladder after an 88-77 home win against Braunschweig with Fotu scoring 9 points on 4 from 8 shooting.

Good news also from Israel where Corey Webster led all scorers with 22 points as Ironi Nahariya defeated Maccabi Haifa 83-73 with Nahariya improving to 4-2 for the season.

In other news former Tall Blacks swingman Dion Prewster has also headed to Germany, signing with Uni Baskets Paderborn.

Paderborn competes in the Pro-A League, the equivalent of the German second division.

It was also announced recently that Prewster has signed for the Bay Hawks for the 2018 NZNBL season after playing for Nelson Giants in 2017.

Kiwis in College – some strong performances as regular season commences


Beck v Davidson

Beck (21) facing Davidson (centre in gold)

The American College basketball regular season swung into action at the weekend with multiple games involving Kiwis taking place. Below is a roundup of the action from Friday and Saturday.

A number of Tall Ferns put in some stirring performances most notably Stella Beck.

Beck knocked down 22 points for St Mary’s Gaels (3/6 3PG) and added 8 rebounds and 4 assists. However it wasn’t enough for the win as Cal Berkeley Golden Bears pipped the Gaels 87-80.

Penina Davidson, making her 100th appearance for the Bears, recorded the second double-double of her college career with 10 points (5/9FG) and a game high 12 rebounds.

In another Mate v Mate clash Brooke Blair emerged with the honours against Jacinta Beckley.

Blair top scored for Idaho State with 16 points (3/5 3PG) as the Bengals beat Seattle Redhawks 74-69. Blair also nabbed a game high 3 steals to accompany 3 rebounds and 4 assists.

Beckley was one of just three Seattle players in double figures scoring 10 points.

Krystal Leger-Walker was also impressive – the combo-guard played 38 minutes and contributed 8 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists as University of Northern Colorado defeated top 25 touted DePaul 94-88 in one of the most significant wins in UNC’s history. It is the Bears first win over a Top 25 rated team since gaining Division 1 status in 2006.

Freshman guard Tiarna Clarke earned the wrath of the referees fouling out in 13 minutes after a mixed bag of 3 points, 4 assists and 3 turnovers.

Tessa Boagni and Cal State Northridge Matadors found the going tough against No 11 ranked Oregon getting whacked 91-43. Boagni finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds and a block.

Kendell Heremaia‪ (2p/5r/4a/2st) and Zara Jillings (4p/5r/1a/1st) played 26mins apiece on their regular season debuts as Fordham University Rams accounted for UMBC 55-46

Dru Toleafoa couldn’t find her scoring touch for Santa Clara finishing with 2 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists as Santa Clara lost 73-69 to Cal state Fullerton.

Katelin Noyer had 4 points, 4 rebounds, a block and a steal as Fresno State Bulldogs beat Eastern Washington 81-56.

News from the Men’s Division 1 scene is that Taki Fahrensohn will redshirt the 2017-18 season. The University of Portland Freshman recently required further surgery on a troublesome knee and although expected back on the training court next month a sensible, cautious approach has been chosen.

On the court Matt Freeman enjoyed a fine opener as the Oklahoma Sooners beat Omaha – that’s the university not the beach – 108-89. Freeman had his perimeter shot going in this one landing all three of his efforts from deep and finishing with 13 points (5/6FG).

 Jack Salt played 29 minutes as Virginia beat UNC Greensboro 60-48 in their season opener. Salt finished with 6 points and 4 rebounds.

Tai Webster sinks 31 points for Frankfurt


Just six weeks into his professional basketball career Tai Webster put up some stunning numbers for Frankfurt Skyliners as they beat Oldenburg 93-82 in the German Bundesliga at the weekend.

Webster put together the best performance to date of his young pro career scoring 31 points, snaring 11 rebounds – including 3 offensive boards – and added 4 assists, a steal and a block in a terrific all court game.

His shooting stats were highly impressive connecting with all three attempts from beyond the arc as he netted 7 from 11 from the field and a tidy 8 from 10 free throws.

The win improves Skyliners to 6-2 for the season and keeps them in second place on the ladder.

Also in Germany Ratiopharm Ulm improved their record to 3-5 with a second successive win downing Tigers Tuebingen 81-74.

Isaac Fotu scored an efficient 8 points to go with 4 rebounds for Ulm. The Tall Blacks forward didn’t miss a shot scoring with all four freebies and both shots from the floor.

Not such good news from Israel where Corey Webster scored just two points as Ironi Nahariya were thumped 97-73 at Gilboa Galil.

Nahariya are 3-2 for the season.

Corey Webster in good form in Israel






Corey Webster celebrated being named in the Tall Blacks squad for the upcoming international fixture against Korea with a game high 23 point as Ironi Nahariya beat Bnei Hertzeliya 95-82 in the Israeli League.

Webster shot the three ball particularly well connecting with 4 from 8 attempts taking his season tally in four games to 15 from 29 at an impressive 52%.

Nahariya move to 3-1 in the early stages of the season.

In Germany Frankfurt Skyliners lost just their second game of the season going down 72-60 to Bayern Munich. Tai Webster scored 9 points in the defeat as the Skyliners slip to 5-2 for the season but still remain in the top three in the Bundesliga.

Also in Germany Ratiopharm Ulm had a much needed win beating Eisbaeren Bremerhaven 85-77 to improve their record to 2-5.

Isaac Fotu only scored two points but he was a major presence at the defensive end for Ulm snaring 9 rebounds and 3 steals.