Category Archives: Tall Ferns

Tall Ferns beat Korea but Olympic dream is over

image

Sport can be cruel.

Despite the Sky Sport Tall Ferns recording a memorable 69-65 victory against Korea at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Auckland on Sunday  the margin of the win wasn’t great enough to carry the Kiwis to the next stage of Olympic qualification.

With points differential deciding the placings it was China (+22) and Korea (-3) that pipped New Zealand (-19) to book their places at the final Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February.

“Funny things can happen in tournaments, Korea had an amazing win against China so we had a big ask today. But I couldn’t be any more proud of the team,” said New Zealand Head Coach Guy Molloy.

Full report here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tall Ferns lose but Olympic dream still alive

Ashleigh K

Ashleigh Karaitiana

A big crowd, including Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming, witnessed a high class game but one that got away from the Tall Ferns as they were defeated 94-71 by world #8 China.

New Zealand captain Kalani Purcell scored a career high 21 points (8/15FG) and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists. She was ably assisted by Ashleigh Karaitiana who posted 17 (7/10FG) points.

Full report

 

 

 

 

“Yes, it’s nice to have played well personally, but we didn’t win the game and we didn’t play well in the first half. We need to play Tall Ferns basketball against Korea tomorrow.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toni Farnworth makes 250th WNBL appearance in Melbourne Boomers win

Toni Farnworth boomers

All five Kiwis playing in the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) this season appeared in the same game on Sunday in Townsville.

All but one of the five are playing for Melbourne Boomers and it will be the quartet of Penina Davidson, Stella Beck, Toni Farnworth and Kalani Purcell who will be the happiest having inflicted an 80-71 defeat on Micaela Cocks and the Townsville Fire.

The match was a big occasion for veteran wing Toni Farnworth. The Cantabrian, having transferred from Perth Lynx in the off-season was playing her 250th WNBL game and didn’t miss a shot in making seven points as well as adding a pair of assists and rebounds.

Beck and Davidson are also in their inaugural seasons with the Boomers having transferred from Townsville and Adelaide Lightning respectively. Beck had 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and a block with Davidson adding 4 points and 2 rebounds.

Purcell, in her third season with the Boomers, didn’t post any points but did claim 4 rebounds, and a brace of steals in the win.

Cocks, the Townsville captain and in her ninth season with the club, had a quiet outing scoring just two points.

Melbourne boast a 4-0 start to the season to head the WNBL table with the Fire languishing last with an 0-4 record.

Kiwis in college preview – NCAA Division II Women

Zoe Richards

Zoe Richards

The New Zealand lineup playing NCAA Division II Women’s basketball in 2019/20 is led by 2019 Tall Fern Zoe Richards.

Richards, who also played for Otago Gold Rush in the 2019 Womens Basketball Championship (WBC) alongside sister Brittany, is in her final year at Eckerd College, Florida

Seniors

Georgia Perrott-Hunt (Tiffin University)

Season 18/19 Games 28, Starts 4, Points 142 (5.1ppg), Rebounds 90 (3.2rpg)

The Former Westlake Girls small forward spent two years at Junior College prior to Tiffin.

The older sister of Tall Black Kruz Perrott-Hunt graduated from North Dakota State College of Science in 2018.

Played all 28 games for Tiffin last season.

Georgia P-H

Georgia Perrott-Hunt

Brittany Richards (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Season 18/19 Games 22, Points 52 (2.4ppg), Rebounds 48 (2.2rpg)

Scored a career best 14 points v Western Oregon last season.

Brittany and twin sister Zoe spent a season at Gillette College after leaving St Hilda’s Collegiate, Dunedin.

Zoe Richards (Eckerd College)

Season 18/19 Games 32, Points 341 (10.7ppg), Rebounds 127 (4.0rpg)

Last season was second on the team in scoring (10.7ppg) and led the Tritons in field goal percentage (55.0%). Named to the Sunshine State Conference All-Tournament team.

Zoe and twin sister Brittany spent a season at Gillette College after leaving St Hilda’s Collegiate, Dunedin.

Made her Tall Ferns debut against Japan in 2019

 

Juniors

Charlotte Armstrong (Barry University, Miami)

Season 18/19 Games 23, Starts 0, Points 54 (2.3ppg), Rebounds 79 (3.4rpg)

The versatile forward out of Epsom Girls Grammar can expect more opportunities in her Junior year. Was second on the Buccaneers shot blocking list last season with 23 including a career best 7 v Florida.

Eva Langton (Texas A&M International)

Prior to Texas A&M the Taranaki Thunder guard attended Western Nebraska Community College. Schooled at St Mary’s Diocesan, Stratford.

Zarya Poulava (University of Mount Olive)

Season 18/19 Games 15, Starts 1, Points 36 (2.4ppg), Rebounds 29 (1.9rpg)

The Hamilton Girls High alumni attended Missouri Western State University for one year prior to Mount Olive.

 

Sophomores

Chanel Brodeur-Muir (St Thomas Aquinas College)

Season 18/19 Games 18, Starts 0, Points 25 (1.4ppg)

Brodeur-Muir finished high school at Westlake Girls having previously attended Kristin School.

Tanaka Gapare (Tuskegee University, Alabama)

Played at Odessa Community College in her freshman year after graduating from Samuel Marsden High School.

Played for the 3×3 Tall Ferns at the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup in China.

Tanaka Gapare

Tanaka Gapare in action for Tall Fern 3×3 team

Freshmen

Madison Hema (Washburn University)

Attended Castle View High School Colorado, dad Matt is a Kiwi who evidently played for the Otago Nuggets.

Played for New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup in Belarus.

Tessa Talo-Tomokino (Northeastern State University)

Graduated from Mt Albert Grammar School.

Played for New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA Asia Cup in India.

 

In addition to ten NCAA Division II Women playing in the States Olivia Bell is attending an NAIA Division I college.

Olivia Bell (Peru State College)

Peru State College, Nebraska play National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division I basketball.

The former Westlake Girls forward has spent the last two years at North Dakota State College of Science.

Kiwis in College Preview – NCAA Div 1 Women

Tera Reed

The 2019/20 American collegiate season begins shortly an in the first of a number of previews we take a look at the twenty-one New Zealand women that are preparing for the Women’s NCAA Division I basketball season. This number is slightly down on last season when 24 Kiwis were on Division I scholarships, the same number as 2017/18.

Below we take a brief look at the accomplishments of the 21 players, most of whom have played age-group basketball for New Zealand. In the cases of Krystal Leger-Walker, Katelin Noyer, Zara Jillings, Akiene Tera-Reed and Amy West they have also played for the Tall Ferns.

Seniors

Tegan Graham (Colgate University)

Season 18/19 Games 29, Starts 17, Points 222 (7.7ppg), Rebounds 69 (2.4rpg), Assists 63 (2.2apg)

Graham finished the season fourth on the Raiders (12-17) scoring list and third in the assists column. The former Wellington Girls College guard scored a career high 24 points against Army West Point in February – the start of a three-game spell where she scored 20 points or more.

Graham has totaled 425 career points in 68 appearances for Colgate to date.

Krystal Leger-Walker (Washington State University)

Season 18/19 at Northern Colorado. Games 27, Starts 24, Points 240 (8.9ppg), Rebounds 125 (4.6rpg), Assists 148 (5.5apg), Steals 53 (2.0spg)

Having transferred from the University of Northern Colorado Bears to Washington State University Leger-Walker will be obliged to sit out the 2019-20 season in accordance with NCAA rules.

Last season, averaging 37 minutes per game, Leger-Walker was fourth in scoring for the Bears with 240 points. In addition she led the Big Sky Conference in assists averaging 5.5 per game and ranked 5thin steals with 2 per game.

The 2016 Tall Fern played 90 career games for the Bears amassing 564 points and 378 assists. The 21-11 Bears fell at the semi-final stage of the Big Sky Conference Tournament after finishing runners-up in the regular season.

Kayla Manuirirangi (Tulane University)

Season 18/19 Games 30, Starts 20, Points 181 (6.0ppg), Rebounds 50 (1.7rpg), Assists 42 (1.4apg)

The former New Plymouth Girls High standout played all 30 games for the Greenwave finishing fourth in scoring with 181 points, making a season best 17 points against SMU in January. The combo guard has played 88 games for Tulane accumulating 461 career points.

Tulane finished last season with a 15-15 record but a disappointing 5-11 in the American Conference.

Katelin Noyer (Fresno State University)

Season 18/19 Games 10, Starts 1 Points 20 (2.0ppg)

Noyer, the former Westlake Girls forward endured a frustrating, injury ravaged, final year with the Bulldogs.

The 2016 Tall Fern picked up a foot injury on Fresno’s pre-season European tour necessitating several weeks in a moon boot recovering from surgery. She returned for the final ten games of the season but didn’t receive much love from the coach averaging just six minutes per game.

Shalae Salmon (Brigham Young University)

Season 18/19 Games 29, Starts 22, Points 163 (5.6.0ppg), Rebounds 120 (4.1rpg)

Salmon was a key member of the Cougars that won the West Coast Conference Championship beating No 1 seed Gonzaga in the final. The victory took them to the NCAA Tournament where they were defeated in the second round.

Scored a career high 19 points against California Baptist in November. Also in November claimed 10 rebounds against Utah Valley although her career high sits at 17 achieved 12 months earlier.

In her BYU career the former Wellington Girls College forward has accumulated 362 points, 336 rebounds and 59 blocks.

Khaedin Taito (Brigham Young University)

Season 18/19 Games 3

Taito has had an injury plagued two years at BYU. After redshirting in 2016-17 Taito has played just seven games since, three of them this season.

Juniors

 

McKenna Dale (Brown University)

Season 18/19 DNP

 Dale unfortunately missed all of last season due to an ACL injury.

Attended Edwin O Smith High School, Connecticut where Dale was also an accomplished swimmer. Represented the Junior Tall Ferns in 2016.

Heremaia v reed

Kendell Heremaia (Fordham University)

Season 18/19 Games 34, Starts 33, Points 275 (8.1ppg), Rebounds 178 (5.2rpg), Assists 80 (2.4apg).

Heremaia made every post a winner in her second year at Fordham, starting in all but one of Fordham’s games in a season that would see them claim their first Atlantic 10 Championship.

She scored a career high 17 points against Texas in November and pulled down a career best 16 rebounds against St Louis in January. The former St Peter’s, Cambridge dynamo was top 10 in the conference three-point shooting, scoring at 35%.

Joellen How (Wagner College)

Season 18/19 Games 30, Starts 4, Points 84 (2.8ppg), Rebounds 33 (1.1rpg), Assists 30 (1.0apg).

 The former New Plymouth Girls High guard played all 30 games for the Seahawks last season and dished a career high 7 assists against Central Connecticut.

Named to the Northeast Conference Academic Honours Roll in 2018 and 2019.

Zara Jillings (Fordham University)

Season 18/19 Games 34, Starts 4, Points 110 (3.2ppg), Rebounds 91 (2.7rpg), Assists 50 (1.5apg).

 Jillings, the former Westlake Girls guard played all 34 games for the Ramsin a season that saw them claim their first Atlantic 10 Championship.

Played a key role coming off the bench recording the second best field goal percentage on the team (47%) and also made 50 assists.

A member of the Tall Ferns team that won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

 Michelle Nicholls (University of Purdue, Fort Wayne)

Season 18/19 Games 31, Starts 15, Points 230 (7.4ppg), Rebounds 86 (2.8rpg), Assists 73 (2.4apg).

Nicholls has transferred to Purdue, Fort Wayne after two years at La Salle University.

Played all 31 games for La Salle last season scoring ten or more points on five occasions including a career high 23 points against Rhode Island.

Akiene-Tera Reed (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Season 18/19 Games 31, Starts 31, Points 388 (12.5ppg), Rebounds 169 (5.8rpg), Assists 70 (2.3apg).

Started all 31 games for VCU who went all the way to the Atlantic 10 Championship Final. Reed earned First Team All-Atlantic 10 honours after leading the VCU scoring for a second consecutive season. Finished top ten in the conference from the foul line (79%).

Made her Tall Ferns debut at the William Jones Cup in 2017.

Sophomores

aimee book

Amiee Book (California State University Fullerton)

Season 18/19 Games 29, Starts 7, Points 282 (9.7), Rebounds 124 (4.3rpg), Assists 27 (0.9apg).

After an outstanding freshman season Book was named Big West Conference Sixth Player of the Year. Her 43.2% three-point shooting led the Titans and was the third best three-point shooting season in programme history. Scored a career high 18 points v UC Davis.

 Book attended Waimea College in Nelson before moving to Middleton Grange in Christchurch.

Jade Kirisome (St Mary’s, California)

Season 18/19 Games 33, Starts 1, Points 133 (4.0), Rebounds 58 (1.8rpg), Assists 20 (0.6apg).

Played all 33 games for Furnham University in her freshman season but then transferred to St Mary’s.

Schooled at Brisbane State High School and played for New Zealand at the 2017 FIBA U17 Oceania Championships.

Tsubasa Nisbett (Georgia Southern University)

Season 18/19 Games 13, Starts 0, Rebounds 9, Assists 2.

 The ex-Burnside High School forward had a disrupted freshman year playing just the 13 games for the Eagles.

Named on the Sun Belt Conference Academic Commissioner’s List.

 Pareunora Pene (University of Tennessee Chattanooga)

Season 18/19 Games 11, Starts 0, Points 11, Assists 3.

 The former Rotorua Girls High standout played 11 games in her freshman season for the Mocs and will be aiming for increased court time in her second season.

 Sariah Penese (University of Maryland Baltimore)

Season 18/19 Games 22, Starts 5, Points 27 (1.3), Rebounds 29 (1.8rpg), Assists 16 (0.7apg).

Captained St Mary’s College, Wellington to the Schick Championship title in 2017.  Penese played 22 games last season for the Retrievers and had a season high 5 points against Albany.

 Amy West (St Mary’s College, California)

Season 18/19 Games 20, Starts 0, Points 25 (1.3), Rebounds 23 (1.2rpg), Blocks 5.

West, who made her Tall Ferns debut earlier this year at the William Jones Cup will, in accordance with NCAA regulations, redshirt the 2019-20 season after transferring from Liberty University where she spent her freshman year.

The Palmerston North Girls High forward played 20 games for Liberty Flames last season.

 

Freshmen

 Tara Manumaleuga (University of Arizona in Tucson)

 Attended Hillcrest Christian College in Queensland. Played for New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Belarus.

Kaylee Smiler (BYU)

 Smiler attended Melville High School in Hamilton and played on a number of Waikato championship winning teams. Redshirted at BYU during the 2018/19 season.

Charlotte Whittaker (University of Colorado)

 As a 16 year old Whittaker played for New Zealand Select against China B and has played for a number of New Zealand age-group teams.She averaged 13.8ppg for the Junior Tall Ferns at the Asia Cup in India last year.The 1.90m centre attended St Andrew’s College, Christchurch.

charlotte whittaker

Tall Ferns finish fifth at Asia Cup

Tall Ferns at 17 Asia cup

The Sky Sport Tall Ferns have gone one place better than 2017 at the FIBA Asia Cup in Bangalore, India.

When the two teams met at the previous Asia Cup that year Chinese Taipei beat the Tall Ferns 65-45 to claim fifth place but the placings were reversed on Saturday night, the Tall Ferns winning 71-56.

All 12 players hit the court including a welcome return from illness for Ella Fotu.

Micaela Cocks led the Tall Ferns scoring with 18 points while Kalani Purcell was within a point of a double-double with 9 points and 11 rebounds.

Other scorers for the Tall Ferns were: Nat Taylor 12, Stella Beck 9, Tessa Boagni 7, Ashleigh Karaitiana 7, Ella Fotu 4, Chev Paalvast 3, Charlisse Leger-Walker 2.

Cocks led the New Zealand scoring at the tournament averaging 10.8 points per game, Purcell (7.6rpg) was comfortably the highest rebounder and she also dished the most assists (2.8apg).

Tessa Boagni finished with the best field goal percentage making 14 shots from 35 at 40% and Cocks was the best three-point shooter – 10/26 at 39%. The Tall Ferns veteran was also the best free-throw shooter making all 6 of her shots from the charity stripe.

Full report here

 

 

Tall Ferns lose to Australia at Asia Cup

 

Tall Ferns.jpegThings were going reasonably well for the Tall Ferns at the back end of the first half against Australia at the FIBA Asia Cup in India on Wednesday.

Micaela Cocks had scored eight straight points and Australia required a timeout as their early lead had been trimmed to two points (21-19).

Australia scored on the resumption but Penina Davidson replied immediately. An 8-0 Aussie run was halted by a Toni Farnworth bucket but after that the Tall Ferns offence hit a green and gold wall as the the Australian lead built to 43-25 at half-time, 63-31 at three-quarters and 82-44 by the full time siren.

Scorers for the Tall Ferns were:

Farnworth 12, Cocks 10,A Karaitiana 6, P Davidson 4, Beck 4, Leger-Walker 3, Taylor 3, Boagni 2

Full rteport here

 

Tall Ferns hit the wall against China

Tall Ferns v China

Down by just ten points late in the second half the New Zealand Tall Ferns eventually went down 44-67 to China this morning, in their opening game at the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup in Bangalore.

When Toni Farnworth made a lay-up with three minutes remaining the Tall Ferns were only ten points adrift (53-43). Thereafter China’s defensive wall was rock solid and the Tall Ferns shooting wayward – the 14-1 run  down the stretch making the scoreline slightly flattering for China who were made to work hard throughout.

Veteran guard Micaela Cocks was the only New Zealand player in double figures scoring 10 points (2/5 3PG). She received solid support from Tessa Boagni and Chevannah Paalvast with 7 points apiece whilst Stella Beck and Penina Davidson both scored 6 points.

The usually reliable trio of Nat Taylor, Kalani Purcell and Charlisse Leger-Walker had a night to forget combining for 0/17 from the field.

Next up world #3 Australia.

Full report here

 

 

 

Melbourne – the basketball capital of New Zealand?

melbourne

Plenty of Kiwis in Melbourne United uniforms this season.

Melbourne is now the basketball capital of New Zealand!

Well the notion is not as daft as it sounds if looked at from a Kiwi professional players and coaches angle.

A Tall Black, three Tall Ferns and two highly regarded Kiwi coaches have added to the New Zealand basketball migration to the Victorian capital in recent months.

Shea Ili, who was a standout at the recent FIBA World Cup where he averaged 10.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, has left the Breakers to link up with Melbourne United.

Ili’s move takes the Tall Blacks player count at United to three with Alex Pledger and Tohi Smith-Milner also on the roster of the 2018 NBL champions.

Also winging into Melbourne immediately after the World Cup was Ross McMains. Less heralded than the move of Ili, it is still significant given that the 30 year-old, who grew up on Waiheke Island, has moved from a video analyst role with the New York Knicks in the NBA to link up with Dean Vickerman as an assistant coach.

If we grant Vickerman honoury New Zealand citizenship, after all he was a decade at the Breakers, that’s a handy Kiwi triumvirate when we add Paul Henare to the mix.

And that’s not the end of the coaching slide across the ditch. Long time Breakers assistant Judd Flavell took up an assistant’s position with NBL expansion club South East Melbourne Phoenix at the end of the last NBL season.

There is an even greater preponderance of Tall Ferns in Melbourne although the three Tall Ferns that have joined the Melbourne Boomers this season have transferred from other Women’s National Basketball League clubs.

 

Stella Beck has moved south after a rookie pro season with Townsville Fire, Toni Farnworth east after almost a decade in Perth and Penina Davidson has made the shorter trip from Adelaide to wear the purple and yellow of the Boomers.

That takes the New Zealand playing contingent at the Boomers to four as Kalani Purcell has played the last two seasons for the club.

Include the fact that former Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama is on the coaching staff it means there are almost as many Kiwi accents as Australian in the Boomers team meetings.

Those meetings chaired by Guy Molloy, the Tall Ferns Head Coach.

Add the likes of Commonwealth Games bronze medalists Josie Stockill and Jess Bygate who are playing State League basketball in Melbourne and you can see why the city that is often described as the sporting capital of Australia could, also be called the basketball capital of New Zealand.

New Zealand senior international players and coaches based in Melbourne:

Australian NBL

Melbourne United:

Players – Shea Ili, Alex Pledger, Tohi Smith-Milner

Coaching staff – Paul Henare, Ross McMains

SE Melbourne Phoenix:

Coaching staff – Judd Flavell

 

Australian WNBL

Melbourne Boomers:

Players – Stella Beck, Penina Davidson, Toni Farnworth, Kalani Purcell

Coaching staff – Judd Flavell

 

Big V League

Sunbury Jets:

Players – Jacinta Beckley, Josie Stockill

 

WNBL 1

Waverley Falcons:

Player – Jess Bygate

Tall Ferns finish second at William Jones Cup

Will Jones Cup 2019

The Tall Ferns had to settle for silver at the 41st William Jones Cup after being given something of a basketball lesson in their 95-63 loss to Japan.

With six rookies on the team, although Matangiroa Flavell missed the game with an ankle injury, the Kiwis were no match for world No 10 ranked Japan who Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy described as “Fantastic, they punished our every error.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom with Molloy saying his team had taken a number of steps forward during the week in which they won five of six games.

Micaela Cocks was named to the Tournament Team after leading the Tall Ferns scoring with 86 points over the five games.

Game report here