Category Archives: Tall Ferns

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

 

 

Tall Ferns two wins away from retaining William Jones Cup

TF's

Three down two to go for the Tall Ferns as they bid to retain the William Jones Cup.

A strong second half showing took the Kiwis to a comfortable 97-78 win against Chinese Taipei B on Friday.

It appears that Chinese Taipei B are stronger than Chinese Taipei A but we will find ou on Saturday when the Tall Ferns face the A team of the hosts.

Micaela Cocks, with 21 points, took her tally to 62 points in three games to lead all scorers at the tournament but Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy believed Ella Fotu was the MVP.

Game report here

 

 

Tall Ferns 2-0 at William Jones Cup

Tall Ferns huddle v Korea

Two down three to go for the Tall Ferns after defeating Korea 73-61 in Taiwan on Thursday.

The Tall Ferns, paced by a second consecutive twenty points haul from skipper Micaela Cocks, led by twenty points in the third before taking their foot off the gas in the final period.

Coach Guy Molloy was happy with the Tall Ferns performance particularly in the first half when they kept Korea to 31 points and shot an impresive 60% (18 from 30) from the field.

Full report here

Tall Ferns beat Philippines

v Philippines

The Tall Ferns opened the 41st William Jones Cup Tournament with a comfortable 106-72  win against the Phillipines.

However coach Guy Molloy was a little concerned that his team coughed up 23 turnovers, gave the ball away far too easily, and were generally “sloppy”.

“You rarely play your best game at a tournament in the opening game,” reflected Molloy who took heart from his team’s shooting performance.

“A red hot shooting night,” he described it as his team shot a collective 57% from beyond the arc. Kalani Purcell (4/5), Micaela Cocks (3/4), Charlisse Leger-Walker (2/4), Ella Fotu (1/2), Stella Beck (1/2) and Zoe Richards (1/1) were all sucessful from beyond the three-point line.

Full game report here

Buzzer Beater heart break for Tall Ferns

PHOTO-2019-07-20-10-02-12.jpg

After getting something of a whalloping in the opening ‘friendly’ against Japan on Wednesday the Tall Ferns put together a hugely improved performance on Friday.

Playing their third game in as many days the Tall Ferns went down 77-75 to the world #10 ranked side.

Despite the result the Tall Ferns will head to Taiwan on Monday, to defend their William Jones Cup title, in good heart. Three games and a good week of solid practice will see the Tall Fwerns primed for their first game at the William Jones on Wednesday against the Philippines.

Game report from loss to Japan here

 

Tall Ferns lose to Japan

Tall Ferns photo.jpg

The Tall Ferns fielded five debutants in the defeat to Japan in the opening game of their eight-game tour of Japan and Taiawan.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom as Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy explains here

Japan 74

Tall Ferns 44 – Boagni 12, Beck 7, Paalvast 6, Purcell 6, Davidson 4, Goulding 4, Fotu 2, Farnworth 2, Cocks 1

A Dream WBC Final

Dream

Auckland Dream staged a remarkable comeback to win its first Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) title last night, an occasion that was a dream in so many ways.

The game, between two outstanding teams, was the best women’s basketball game seen in New Zealand for many a year.

Harbour Breeze would have been worthy champions but they run down by the Dream in a classic finish.

It was a dream finale with the game going into overtime and the result in doubt until the final posession.

It was a dream contest to have shown live on SKY Sport.

It was a dream to have so many high quality athletes showcasing their ability – ten current or former Tall Ferns on show amongst the two finalists and many others amongst the other ten teams.

It was a dream encounter with every possesion a contest.

In the end it wasn’t a dream it was reality and here’s an inadequate summary of the drama that unfolded link

 

 

Who are the new Tall Ferns?

Ella fotu

Tall Ferns coach Guy Molloy has included five debutants in a 14-player squad for the tour to Japan and theWilliam Jones Cup defence inTaiwan in July.

Matangiroa Flavell, Ella Fotu, Esra McGoldrick, Amy West and Charlotte Whittaker have all been selected for the senior national team for the first time.

“This is an intentional strategy to build depth, increase competition for positions, and satisfy the increasing demands of FIBA for international basketball competition,” said Molloy.

“The team selected to tour Japan and Taiwan features a blend of senior players such as Toni Farnworth, emerging new team leaders such as Penina Davidson, and exciting young potentials.”

What do we know about the five debutants? For a start all five have spent time in the American college system after graduating from high school in NZ.

Ella Fotu probably has the most recognisable name amongst the quintet of newbies with brothers Dan and Isaac having already played for the Tall Blacks.

Ella, like her brothers and Tall Fern Penina Davidson, schooled at Rangitoto College before having a three-year career in the States. She attended Boise State initially before moving on to Hawaii Pacific where she won a PacWest Conference title with the Sharks in 2018. Currently she is playing with Harbour Breeze in the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC).

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Matangiroa Flavell is also a member of the Harbour Breeze. The 21-year old played representative basketball for Rotorua while at Western Heights High School. Post school she played Junior College ball at Midland College, Texas for two years. After graduating from Midland she moved on to Houston Baptist University for a season.

Coach Molloy says that, for the team to compete with the basketball giants in the top 10, New Zealand must develop players with natural height. With this in mind he has selected three teenage forwards for the trip.

Amy west (14)

Amy West (No 14)

Palmerston North Girls High alumna Amy West (195cm) has just completed her freshman year at Liberty University in Virginia playing 20 games for the Flames. She is currently averaging 8.7 points and 6.3 rebounds for North Canterbury Spirit in the WBC.

esra mcGoldrick

Also coming off a college freshman year is former Rangi Ruru standout Esra McGoldrick. The Cantabrian forward played 21 games for North Carolina State University last season where the Wolfpack finished the 2018-19 season ranked ninth on the USA Today Coaches Poll, after making the semi-finals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and the Sweet 16 at the NCAA Tournament.

McGoldrick leads the WBC Division 2 scoring averaging 24 points per game for the North Canterbury Spirit.

charlotte whittaker

The youngest debutant is 18-year old Charlotte Whittaker out of St Andrew’s College, Christchurch. Whittaker, the leading scorer for the Junior Tall Ferns at the Asia Cup in India last year averaging 13.8 points per game, has spent the last six months at the University of Colorado where she was a redshirt freshman. Whittaker created a favourable impression when making her senior international debut for New Zealand Select against China B in 2016 at just 16 years of age.

Molloy says the tour ahead will see the team play possibly two games against Japan in Japan, before defending the William Jones Cup that New Zealand won in 2018.

“Our goal in 2019 is to make it to 2020! What I mean by that is we give ourselves a great shot of qualifying for the Olympics, for which the key event is in February 2020. To do this will be very difficult, but I am expecting our culture and style of play will hold us in good stead.”

Indeed, it will be difficult. Only 12 women’s teams will compete at the 2020 Olympics. To qualify, 16 teams will battle it out in four FIBA qualification tournaments in February 2020. To get there, the Tall Ferns need to go through a pre-qualifying Asia-Oceania tournament in November this year where eight teams will compete for four spots in the 2020 qualifiers. The future is looking bright and Coach Molloy believes great things can happen for New Zealand women’s basketball.

“Everyone can feel the momentum surge in basketball in New Zealand. As I toured the country in May, doing workshops and clinics, I was really impressed with the talent on display. It’s an exciting time to be involved and an exciting time to be a Tall Fern,” said Coach Molloy.

TALL FERNS TEAM:

  1. Stella Beck (Launceston Tornadoes/Townsville Fire)
  2. Tessa Boagni (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)
  3. Micaela Cocks (Townsville Fire)
  4. Penina Davidson (Harbour Breeze/Adelaide Lightning)
  5. Toni Farnworth (Ringwood Hawks/Perth Lynx)
  6. Matanigiroa Flavell (Harbour Breeze)*
  7. Ella Fotu (Harbour Breeze)*
  8. Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards)
  9. Esra McGoldrick (McAlpines M10 Mega North Canterbury Spirit / NC State University)*
  • Chevannah Paalvast (Sunshine Coast Rip)
  • Kalani Purcell (Auckland Dream/Melbourne Boomers)
  • Natalie Taylor (Auckland Dream)
  • Amy West (McAlpines M10 Mega North Canterbury Spirit / Liberty University)*
  • Charlotte Whittaker (McAlpines M10 Mega North Canterbury Spirit / University or Colorado)*

*debutants