Category Archives: Tall Ferns

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.


Women win NZ Maori v Australian Indigenous Series – Men defeated



The NZ Maori Men’s and Women’s teams have just returned from Cairns after competing against the Australian Indigenous All-Stars.

The Men went down 2-1 in the best-of-three series winning the third encounter 94-81 after dropping the first two games.

New Southland Sharks signing Tom Vodanovich, Hyrum Harris and Dominique Kelman-Poto were prominent in all three games.

The inaugural Women’s series was swept by New Zealand 3-0 with Tall Ferns guard Jordan Hunter named MVP.

Hunter has been sidelined since the opening game of the Women’s Basketball Championship back in May when she tore her ACL.

Hunters’ return, topped with a couple of double-digit outings , is good news for the Tall Ferns selectors ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April.

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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.

Davidson v Beckley and Boagni v Noyer amongst Kiwi v Kiwi encounters


With record numbers of Kiwis playing college basketball in the States instances of New Zealand players taking the floor in direct opposition are becoming more and more common.

In the last three days there have been four editions of Mate v Mate, Kiwi v Kiwi, with Penina Davidson involved in two encounters – in total six Tall Ferns were in action.

First up Davidson and the Cal Berkeley Bears proved too good for Jacinta Beckley and Seattle Redhawks winning 87-67.

Beckley was in good form for the Redhawks nailing 15 points despite fouling out in 23 minutes.

Davidson contributed 3 points, 6 rebounds and a brace of assists in Cal’s fourth win of the season.

In the second episode it took an overtime period for Krystal Leger-Walker and Tiarna Clarke to edge Shalae Salmon and BYU Cougars 79-74.

For the Bears Leger-Walker, the only senior NZ international amongst the trio in this encounter, dished a team high 5 assists to go with 2 points and 3 rebounds. Freshman guard Tiarna Clarke chipped in with 6 points in the win.

Salmon continued her outstanding start to her sophmore season at BYU with 11 points and 6 rebounds.

In the third match up Davidson and Cal Berkeley prevailed once again this time smothering Santa Clara Broncos 79-41.

Dru Toleafoa, after an injury plagued spell, is enjoying some productive minutes for the Broncos and had 7 points, 4 rebounds and a block in a game in which they gave Cal a 16-0 start and never recovered.

It wasn’t the best of outings for Davidson who fouled out in just 16 minutes although in that time the former Rangitoto College standout produced 4 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

In the battle of two Kiwi centres Tessa Boagni and Cal State Northridge Matadors proved too good for Katelin Noyer and Fresno State Bulldogs winning 85-71 in the Matadome.

Boagni was outstanding with a career high 5 blocks to add to 10 points, 8 rebounds plus 2 steals for good measure.

Noyer dealt mainly in pairs having 2 points, 2 assists and 2 blocks for the Bulldogs.

Australian WNBL log jam – three Tall Ferns involved


Kalani purcell_n

There is a three-way tie at the top of the Australian WNBL with three Tall Ferns players in the midst of the action. Townsville Fire, Melbourne Boomers and defending champions Sydney University Flames each have an 8-4 record just over halfway through the regular season.

One of those players is Micaela Cocks. Her Townsville Fire team got the better of Melbourne Boomers (73-66) but came unstuck in Perth on Sunday going down 73-66.

After a 17 points haul the previous weekend Cocks had to settle for just 7 points across the two games in this round.

Melbourne of course boasts two Kiwi internationals with Kalani Purcell and Rebecca Ott in their lineup. However they didn’t enjoy the best of weeks losing to both of their closest rivals.

The loss to Townsville was followed by defeat at home to Sydney, 101-89.

Ott has just returned after injury but did post 4 points against the Sydney.

Purcell is amongst the top 10 rebounders in the WNBL and demonstrated that fact by snaring a team high 11 rebounds in Townsville.

Averaging 7.2 rebounds per game Purcell came up with another 5 against Sydney to go with 9 points

Canberra Capitals now sit dead last on the ladder after going down 83-80 at home to Bendigo Spirit. Chevannah Paalvast failed to put any points on the board but did dish a season high 5 assists.

In Italy Napoli won again with an 84-60 win against Vigarano. Jillian Harmon produced her third double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds as well as 5 assists.

Napoli now has a 4-4 record. Harmon is third on the Italian League individual standings for both points scored (18.0) and rebounds (9.6) per game.

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.

Overseas based Tall Ferns in outstanding form

Micaela cocks

All four overseas based Tall Ferns currently in action performed with distinction last week.

Micaela Cocks was named in the Australian WNBL Team of the Week after her 17 points haul in Townsville Fire’s 101-78 win against Adelaide Lightning.

Cocks was hot from behind the three point arc hitting five of her seven attempts as the Fire moved to the top of the WNBL ladder with a 7-3 record.

Kalani Purcell once again demonstrated her rebounding prowess snaring a game high 12 rebounds as Melbourne Boomers beat Canberra Capitals 96-66 to improve to second behind Townsville with an 8-4 win-loss record.

Purcell finished with 5 points and 5 assists to go with the dozen boards.

For Canberra (2-9), who are languishing in seventh place on the eight team table, Chevannah Paalvast contributed 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, a block and a steal.

The only bad news for Melbourne is that star centre Liz Cambage has received a one game suspension for unduly rough play against Canberra import Mistie Bass. The suspension was reduced from two games after Cambage and Melbourne accepted an early guilty plea.

In Italy the week off whilst the European Championship Qualifying Tournament was on didn’t do Jillian Harmon any harm.

The Tall Ferns forward put together a formidable double-double of 30 points and 13 rebounds as Napoli thumped Broni 77-46.

Napoli sit mid table with a mediocre 3-4 record but Harmon is having a standout campaign in her first season with the club. She is second on the Italian League individual points standings averaging 8.4ppg, sits fourth on the rebounding list (9.4rpg) and is seventh for assists (3.4apg).

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.

Purcell and Cocks shine in WNBL


Micaela cocks

Tall Ferns Micaela Cocks and Kalani Purcell made telling contributions for their respective clubs in the Australian WNBL last weekend.

Melbourne Boomers have bounced back to form with a couple of victories defeating top of the table Sydney University Flames 88-65 and Adelaide Lightning 77-74.

Once again Kalani Purcell was at the heart of the Boomers effort claiming 10 rebounds in each of the Melbourne wins. She added 6 points, 6 assists and 2 steals in Sydney and 4 points and 2 assists against Adelaide.

Incidentally Australian centre Liz Cambage knocked down a career high 44 points for Melbourne against Adelaide

The pair of wins lifts the Boomers to 7-4 for the season and third place on the WNBL ladder.

Sydney remains in top spot but Townsville Fire are second after Micaela Cocks helped the 2016 champions to a comprehensive 94-59 victory against Bendigo Spirit.

Cocks landed 16 points for the Fire including a more than useful four out of six from beyond the three-point arc.

Chevannah Paalvast played 10 minutes – although didn’t trouble the scorers – as Canberra Capitals were defeated 85-67 in Perth.

Jillian Harmon wasn’t in action at the weekend as the Italian League is taking a break whilst the European Championship Qualifying Tournament is taking place.

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.