Category Archives: Tall Ferns

Reed, Goulding, Heremaia and Jillings earn conference honours.

 

Four Kiwi women are on history making teams as Virginia Commonwealth University and Fordham University jointly claimed the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season title on Saturday. Both teams finished with an identical 13-3 record and, perhaps in another A-10 first, both carry the moniker of the ‘Rams’.

For the Rams of VCU, led by sophmore Akiene-Tera Reed, it is their best conference finish in history topping its second place in 2009.

Reed has led the VCU scoring this campaign, as she did last year, averaging 12.3 points per game. Once again on Saturday she led the Rams with 12 points as they won 61-54 against Davidson University.

Reed made 10 of her dozen points at the foul line where she shot 100% making all ten of her attempts in addition to making one from 3 from the field.

Reed has been terrific from the free throw line all season knocking down 102 from 124 attempts at 82.3%, testimony to her consistency at the line and ability to attack the rim.

It was also a first conference topping performance by the Rams from the Bronx as they came home on a wet sail winning nine games on the trot culminating with a 51-41 win at St Joseph’s University.

Senior forward Mary Goulding has been dynamic for Fordham all season sitting third on the A-10 rebounding list with 8.4 boards per game. The Cantabrian exceeded that output on Saturday claiming a game high 13 rebounds whilst also netting 16 points (7/10FG) – her ninth double-double of the season.

Waikato’s Kendell Heremaia accumulated 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and a pair of assists in 36 minutes whilst sixth-man Zara Jillings collected a free-throw and a rebound in 16 minutes of play.

There is not much time to celebrate as the 14 team Conference Tournament begins in Pittsburgh at Duquesne University on Tuesday.  Both teams have earned a bye in the first round, entering at the quarter-final stage next Thursday.

Can either team go on and claim the Atlantic 10 Tournament title and with it automatic entry to the NCAA Tournament? The Final is set down for Sunday March 10th– a Rams v Rams match up would be perfect.

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Penina Davidson and Adelaide Lightning headed to WNBL Grand Final decider

peninadavidson

The Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) Grand Final Series is headed to a deciding game in Canberra on Saturday evening after a pulsating second game was won by Adelaide Lightning last night.

Canberra had comfortably won the opening game 88-67 on its home court but the Lightning bounced back in stirring fashion closing out a nail-biter 74-73. Nicole Seekamp scored with a buzzer beater in front of 3,700 ecstatic fans at the Titanium Security Arena in Adelaide to force a deciding game in the best-of-three series.

Tall Fern Penina Davidson, in her first season as a professional since graduating from the University of California Berkeley in 2018, produced a nice cameo off the bench posting 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and a block.

The winning basket wasn’t without controversy as the referees missed a clear double dribble as the ball was dribbled up court and there was grave doubt as to whether Seekamp got off her winning shot before the final siren sounded.

Earlier Canberra had forged a 44-37 half-time advantage although that lead has virtually evaporated by three-quarter time with Adelaide trailing by just one point (56-55). Even though Canberra led for the majority of the final period Adelaide were never more than two possessions in arrears and timed their final run to perfection.

Adelaide Head Coach and former Tall Ferns assistant Chris Lucas described the game as “An amazing game of women’s basketball. I thought it was just fantastic, it had everything.”

Whatever the outcome on Saturday Davidson has relished her rookie season in Adelaide.

“Making the Grand Final has definitely been a highlight and I couldn’t have asked for much more from my first professional contract,” she said.

Penina Davidson and Adelaide Lightning bolt into WNBL Final

peninadavidson

And then there was one!

This time last week Tall Ferns Toni Farnworth (Perth Lynx), Kalani Purcell (Melbourne Boomers) and Penina Davidson (Adelaide Lightning) were all vying for a shot at the Australian Women’s National Basketball League title.

Now there is just one New Zealand representative chasing Australia’s prime domestic honour after Perth and Melbourne were swept 2-0 in their respective best-of-three semi-finals series.

Having lost 95-76 against regular season champions Canberra Capitals last weekend Perth put up a stronger showing at home on Thursday night. However, the basketball gods were not doing them any favours as two of the Lynx starters, Kayla Steindl and Asia Taylor, played limited minutes due to injury. Toni Farnworth (4 points and 2 rebounds) and her teammates battled bravely but eventually went down 91-75 – eliminated in the semis for the second successive season.

If that result was somewhat predictable the elimination of the Melbourne Boomers, coached by Tall Ferns mentor Guy Molloy, was perhaps more of a surprise.

After starting the season 3-6 Adelaide won all but two of its remaining 13 fixtures although they had lost all three regular season games against Melbourne. However, carrying the confidence of wining seven of its last eight games into the semi-final series, Adelaide pinched an important road win (76-60) last weekend. They completed the job at home on Thursday winning a high quality encounter 100-96.

Davidson, in here rookie pro season, played just three minutes in game two but had been a key spark off the bench in the first encounter scoring 8 points (4/7FG) whilst also securing a couple of rebounds.

Kalani Purcell was her usual industrious self for Melbourne totaling 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a couple of blocks over the two games but her efforts, and those of her teammates, were not quite enough against an inspired Lightning.

The Lightning return to the finals for the first time since 2008 and we will be following the fortunes of Davidson, the Tall Ferns and former Cal Berkeley forward, closely.

The finals will also be a best-of-three series beginning in Canberra on February 9th.

More accolades for Micaela Cocks

micaela cocks copy

Micaela Cocks, who became just the second player behind Rachael McCully to chalk up 200 games for the Townsville Fire, won the Players’ Player award for a record-breaking fourth time at the Fire’s Awards evening at the weekend.

Cocks went back-to-back in 2011/12 and 2012/13 and has now repeated the accomplishment after winning the award in 2017/18.

Remarkably, the Players’ Player is the eighth club award the New Zealand Olympian has won during her time at the Fire.

Cock’s received a further accolade on the night as she, alongside Mia Murray and Suzy Batkovic was awarded a life membership.

After missing the finals for the first time in eight seasons, the Fire will look to bounce back in the 2019/20 Australian WNBL season with a new-look squad following Suzy Batkovic’s retirement with Cock’s and fellow Kiwi Stella Beck almost certain to be part of that line-up.

Three out of five Tall Ferns in WNBL play-offs

Kalani

Three out of five ain’t bad.

The Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) play-off’s begin next week with three of the teams contesting the semi-finals featuring current Tall Ferns players.

Penina Davidson in her first season as a professional since graduating from the University of California Berkeley, is in the Adelaide Lightning lineup.

Adelaide, coached by former Tall Ferns assistant coach Chris Lucas, return to the play-offs for the first time since 2013 and after finishing third in the regular season will face second placed Melbourne Boomers in one semi.

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Current Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy is the Melbourne mentor and has Tall Ferns forward Kalani Purcell to lead his team’s defensive effort. Purcell is in her second season with the Boomers and leads the team in steals (1.5spg) and is second in rebounding (5.5rpg).

The first game of the best-of-three series is in Melbourne on Sunday January 27.

Toni Farnworth, like Purcell a Commonwealth Games silver medalist, captains the Perth Lynx that are appearing in a fourth straight semi-final. The experienced Farnworth and the Lynx are bidding to win their first championship.

Perth will face regular season champions Canberra Capitals with the opening game in Canberra on Friday January 25.

The Townsville Fire duo of Stella Beck and Micaela Cocks finished the season on a positive note with a 90-82 victory against Sydney Flames. Beck, promoted to the starting five, scored 10 points to accompany 5 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. The win was not enough to carry the defending champions back to the play-offs, the Fire finishing fifth with a 10-12 record.

Mate v Mate, Tall Fern v Tall Fern

stella v toni

Stella Beck looks to drive past Toni Farnworth

There were a couple of editions of mate v mate, Tall Fern v Tall Fern, over the weekend in the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL).

Toni Farnworth filled the stats line for Perth Lynx in their visit to Townsville Fire on Friday but the Lynx were torched by the Fire 97-72. Farnworth only made 2 points but came up with a game high 6 assists to accompany 6 rebounds a block and a steal as she filled most of the stats categories.

Micaela Cocks is in hot form for the Fire at the moment and she came up with 14 points (4/8 3PG) and 4 assists whilst Stella Beck also chipped in with a couple of points for Townsville.

Over 2,000 home fans saw Melbourne Boomers come from behind to beat Adelaide Lightning 83-78 with Tall Ferns forward Kalani Purcell her normal vibrant self – 6 points, 5 rebounds, a steal and a block.

Penina Davidson, in her debut season for Adelaide, had a couple of points and a pair of rebounds as the Lightnings five game winning streak came to an end. The win lifts Melbourne past Perth to the top of the WNBL ladder.

WNBL Ladder (at 17.12.18)

10-5 Melbourne Boomers

9-5 Perth Lynx

8-5 Canberra Capitals

8-7 Adelaide Lightning

7-6 Dandenong Rangers

6-7 Townsville Fire

6-9 Bendigo Spirit

2-12 Sydney Flames

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.

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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.

Purcell wins battle of the Tall Ferns

Kalani

A go-ahead basket by Kalani Purcell, with 27 seconds left on the clock, helped propel Melbourne Boomers to an exciting 79-75 home win against Townsville Fire in the latest round of the Australian Women’s National Basketball League.

In a re-match of last season’s Grand Final Purcell pulled down an astonishing 15 rebounds (8 off the offensive glass) as Melbourne recorded a fourth straight win and moved to second on the WNBL ladder with a 7-3 record. The Tall Ferns forward added 9 points, 4 assists and 2 steals in a typical all-action display.

Tall Ferns teammate Micaela Cocks was also in fine form, top scoring for the defending champions with 19 points at a highly efficient 8 from 11 shooting. However the loss means that, a third of the way through the season, the Fire sit outside the top four with 3 wins and 5 losses.

Two earlier clashes in the round also pitched mate versus mate, Tall Fern against Tall Fern.

Adelaide Lightning, with Penina Davidson nabbing 6 points, led by as many as 10 points against Townsville but eventually succumbed 79-77 on their home court. Stella Beck came off the bench for the Fire contributing 3 assists and a pair of rebounds. Also for Townsville Cocks chipped in with 5 points, 3 rebounds and a trio of dimes.

Prior to the win against Townsville Melbourne had travelled west and completed a comprehensive 89-69 victory over league leaders Perth Lynx. It was just the second loss of the season for Perth (6-2) who got 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals from captain Toni Farnworth. Purcell put up more big numbers amassing 6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block.

The next edition of mate v mate will be on Sunday when Penina and Adelaide visit Kalani and Melbourne.

Farnworth and Lynx get the double plus news on other Tall Ferns overseas

Toni Farnworthg

There were some strong performances by New Zealand national team players based overseas at the weekend.

Perth are top of the Australian WNBL table with a 5-1 record after getting a road double by defeating Sydney 78-62 and Townsville Fire 79-71. Perth skipper Toni Farnworth came up with 10pts/3rebs/2a/2steals against Sydney and 7 points and 5 rebounds against the Fire.

For the Fire, that slip to 2-3 for the season, Micaela Cocks scored 10 points and added 4 rebounds and a pair of steals.

Josie Stockill made her WNBL debut for Melbourne Boomers in its 101-75 demolition of Dandenong. The Tall Ferns centre is a Development Player with the Guy Molloy coached Boomers and came on for the final two minutes of the tie and knocked down a free throw to get on the scoreboard.

On Melbourne Cup Day eve Melbourne were kept to just nine points in the closing quarter as they fell 60-58 to Bendigo Spirit in front of almost 3,000 of their own fans. Kalani Purcell snared 9 rebounds, including 5 off the offensive glass, for Melbourne in addition to 3 points, 2 assists and 3 steals but the Boomers slip to a 3-3 record.

In Italy Jillian Harmon will have taken quiet satisfaction from Ragusa’s 67-56 win against Lucca. Harmon played for Lucca in its 2017 championship winning season but on Sunday helped plot Lucca’s downfall scoring 13 points to go with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Ragusa moved into the Serie A top four with a 3-2 record following the victory.

Tessa Boagni produced a monster double-double of 14 points and 17 rebounds for Hatchers Valhyries in the Malaysian League. Hatchers beat Red Barron 58-48 and are fourth on the table with a 2-1 record.

Former Olympians plotting Junior Tall Ferns course

NZ U17's

The New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns fly out of Auckland on Thursday bound for the Asian Championship in India. The team will be guided by former Olympians Jody Cameron and Leanne Walker (plus Tim Dennis) as they aim to qualify for the 2019 FIB U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup.

The top four teams from next week’s tournament will progress to the World Cup.

The Junior Tall Ferns open their campaign against Japan at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangaluru on October 28th (tip-off 01.15am October 29 NZ time).

New Zealand will be led by Leanne’s daughter Charlisse Leger-Walker playing at her third major tournament in 2018.

The team has three international debutants but also boasts a number of players with international tournament experience including Charlotte Whittaker, Tayla Dalton, Grace Hunter and Ella Bradley.

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