Category Archives: Tall Ferns

40 points haul by Tall Fern Karaitiana

Ashleigh Karaitiana continued her good scoring form in the Queensland State League (QSL) amassing 40 points as RedCity Roar thumped bottom of the table Toowoomba Mountaineers 113-49. The Tall Fern also added 15 rebounds for good measure and now sits second on the QSL rebounding list averaging 12.3 boards per game and is third on the scoring list averaging 24.3 points per game.

2019 Auckland Dream guard Kayla Kiriau scored 9 points and former Canterbury Wildcat Aijah-Liric Siosiua-Pepe tallied 13 points and 8 assists as the Roar improved to 5-2 for the season.

Toowoomba were on the receiving end of a second heavy defeat of the weekend when beaten 109-39 at Southern District Spartans.

The 7-1 Spartans were well served by Natalie Taylor who top scored with 23 points  (8/12FG) and Kalani Purcell who filled the stats line with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.

The Spartans travel to RedCity next Saturday, a game that will have a major bearing on top-four standings, and involve a bunch of Kiwis.

Still unbeaten, with a 7-0 record, are Logan Thunder after an 88-42 obliteration of North Gold Coast Seahawks. Chev Paalvast had a tidy 8 points and 9 rebounds for the top of the table Thunder.

In the Men’s QSL Tall Black Tyrell Harrison helped Southern District Spartans to a convincing 127-74 win against Toowoomba adding 6 rebounds to 16 points.

Another good week for Kiwi’s in Australia

Brayden Inger scored 24 points (10/17FG) but couldn’t prevent Geraldton Buccaneers going down 77-71 to Willetton Tigers in the West Coast Classic State League.

A multiple championship winner with Rangitoto College and North Harbour age-group teams Inger is in his second season with Geraldton having helped the Buccaneers win the State League title in 2019.

Averaging 13.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game Inger admits he is playing a different role to his high school days.

“It’s been a strange season as I have had to pick up point guard duties which is a lot different to where and how I played during my high school career. It’s definitely opened up a few more opportunities.”

Over on the Australian East Coast Mika Vukona played just 10 minutes as Southern District Spartans slipped to 5-2 in the Queensland State League (QSL) after going down 80-70 to Ipswich Force.

Vukona finished with 3 points and 7 rebounds whilst fellow Tall Black Tyrell Harrison had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.

The Tall Ferns representatives playing in the QSL all enjoyed success as there are a trio of road wins to report.

Chevannah Paalvast and Logan Thunder are riding high at the top of the QSL ladder as they made it six straight wins in an unbeaten start to the season. Their most recent victory was a comprehensive 98-59 mauling of Brisbane Capitals. Paalvast finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds.

The Southern District Spartans are hot on the heels of the Thunder. Boasting a 6-1 record they grabbed a 102-78 win at Ipswich Force. Supplying the force for the Spartans were Kalani Purcell who scored a season high 28 points (12/21FG) with Natalie Taylor (23 points) also in good scoring form.

Ashleigh Karaitiana (21 points) top scored for RedCity Roar in their 79-63 win at Sunshine Coast Phoenix. The Roar also had good contributions from Karlene Kingi and Kayla Kiriau. The ‘Double K’s’ scored 9 points apiece with Kingi also grabbing 9 boards.

Kiwi’s prominent in QBL again

In the latest action from the Queensland Basketball League (QBL) RedCity Roar did anything but roar against the in-form Southern District Spartans whilst Logan Thunder roll on unbeaten. 

The Roar versus Spartans clash featured a posse of Kiwis although it was the Purcell sisters Kalani and Natalie Taylor that were smiling at the finish with the Spartans smashing the Roar 94-63.

Taylor was within an assist of a triple double as she finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 9 dimes whilst Kalani was equally prolific with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.

Ashleigh Karaitiana took her run of double-doubles to four with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Roar and fellow Kiwis Kayla Kiriau (8 points and 12 rebounds), Ajiah Siosiua-Pepe (9 points) and Karlene Kingi (4 points) were also contributors but the Roar were well beaten on the night and slip to a 2-2 record.

The Spartans are 4-1 after making it two-from-two last weekend with a 77-63 road win at North Gold Coast Seahawks.

Once again Kalani Purcell was prominent with 14 points and 9 boards.

Logan Thunder remain top of the QBL ladder with a 4-0 record after two massive wins at the weekend. On Saturday they demolished Ipswich Force 94-56 and were even more convincing on Sunday thumping South West Metro Pirates 89-39. 

Chevannah Paalvast scored just the 2 points against the Pirates but a healthy 14 points against the Force.

Tall Black Tyrell Harrison added 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks to 15 points but the Southern District Spartans couldn’t handle RedCity Roar going down 123-109 in the Men’s QBL.

Tall Ferns in action in QBL

Ashleigh Karairiana has scored 59 points in two games for the RedCity Roar

It’s pleasing to be able to report that some Kiwis are back on the basketball court – the Queensland Basketball League (QBL) got underway a couple of weeks ago. Tall Ferns Natalie Taylor, Ashleigh Karaitiana, Chevannah Paalvast and Kalani Purcell have all been in action.

Kalani Purcell posted a rare triple double (14 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists) as Southern District Spartans obliterated South West Metro Pirates 124-47 in the opening round. Sister Natalie Taylor chimed in with 27 points for the Spartans.

In another first round game Chevannah Paalvast faced off against Ashleigh Karaitiana as Logan Thunder got the better of RedCity Roar winning 94-81. Both players were in fine form with Paalvast recording 19 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists for the Thunder and Karaitiana top scoring for the Roar with 27 points whilst also corralling 9 rebounds. Former Canterbury Wildcats guard Ajiah-Liric Siosiua-Pepe scored 8 points for RedCity.

On Sunday Southern District Spartans made it two wins from two outings with an 85-78 win against Gold Coast Rollers. Taylor was again in good form scoring 22 points and dishing 5 assists.

RedCity Roar eased back to winning ways with a narrow 85-81 win against Northside Wizards on Saturday. Ashleigh Karaitiana had another big game claiming 11 boards to accompany a game high 32 points.

Kayla Kiriau, who won a WBC championship medal with Auckland Dream last year, chipped in with 8 points and 5 rebounds.

1980 Tall Ferns

1980 Team

Researching the past Tall Ferns teams I was sent this photo of the 198O team. I hadn’t realised that Keith Mair had been involved with the Women’s international programme before taking on the Men’s Head Coach role.

The 1980 team hosted Kentucky State University in a four game series before heading to Taiwan for the William Jones Cup.

Please share this photo with those you know will be interested and let me know if you are able to add value to the short player bios below.

Ann McLouglin – Hutt Valley and Whangarei representative Ann McLoughlin played almost 80 games for the National Team between 1979 and 1988. she appeared at the William Jones Cup in 1980 and 1981, the 1983 Commonwealth Championships in New Zealand and at two FIBA Qualifying Tournaments.

Corrina Poto – Averaging 9.6 points per game, Corrina was New Zealand’s second highest scorer at the 1988 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Corina Cordzt had a scoring explosion at the 1994 FIBA World Championship in Australia scoring 25 points against Kenya. Made over 50 appearances in an international career that stretched from 1979 to 1994. In her senior year at Utah State University in 1982 she dished a record 14 assists in one game – a school record that still stands. One of the premier players of her era, with terrific ball handling skills – reportedly she played for the Auckland senior team as a 12-year-old. Mother Agnes Poto was Women’s National assistant Coach in 1983.

Sharon Rennell – Hutt Valley and Canterbury representative Sharon Rennell played five seasons on the national team between 1969 and 1980.

Di Robertson – Hawkes Bay representative Diane Robertson played over 40 games for the Tall Ferns from 1978-1984, the point guard captaining the team in the final year. Won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Tournament in 1983. She won seven national titles captaining the Hawkes Bay and Napier teams between 1978 and 1987. Her mother Dot Leitch was also a former New Zealand representative who was capped in 1949 and 1955. In 2010, she became the first basketballer, male or female, to be inducted into the Hawkes Bay Sports Hall of Fame.

Ann Robertson – Ann ‘Robbie’ Robertson holds the unique distinction of playing (1979-80) and coaching (1988-89) the Tall Ferns. The astute small forward began her career on the West Coast before winning multiple titles with Auckland as both a player and a coach. Her Auckland coaching tenure saw the team win 8 national titles in 12 years.

Lynne Gillies (Pugh) – Guard Lynn Gillies, out of Napier, appeared in 35 games for New Zealand, 1978-1982.

Debbie Smith – The 1980 season was Rotorua representative Debbie Smith’s  only season  in the international programme.

Carolyn Grey – One of the true legends of the game in New Zealand Carolyn had a thirty-year representative career and played for the Waikato WBC team as recently as 2012 at the age of 58! A terrific athlete and tenacious competitor Carolyn represented New Zealand from 1977-1985, selected to the All-Star 5 at the William Jones Cup in both the 1980 and 1981.  She made 70 appearances in the black singlet and was inducted into the BBNZ Hall of Fame in 2016 and a Legend Award in 2017.

Maree Brunton – Wellington representative Maree Brunton. She was comfortable playing any position from point guard to the three spot. She played close to 30 games for the National Team in three campaigns. Later she went on to coach the Wellington team.

Christine Heremaia – Christine Heremaia was a Canterbury representative.

Jenny Mather – A long serving representative player, Jenny played for both Hutt Valley and Napier. Jenny captained the Tall Ferns in 1979 and 1980.

Heather Grayburn (van Siekke) – Heather Grayburn played representative basketball for North Harbour and Otago. She played almost 50 games for the national team over 5 seasons between 1977 and 1981 captaining the side in 1981.

Tall Ferns to the fore as Melbourne Boomers finish WNBL regular season


The Melbourne Boomers completed the Australian Women’s Basketball League (WNBL) regular season with a 104-75 demolition of Perth Lynx in Melbourne on Saturday night.

All four Tall Ferns in the Boomers line-up made a contribution as Melbourne dominated from start to finish.
Kalani Purcell was at her box score filling finest adding 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals to 17 points on 7 from 9 from the field – her highest points haul of the season.

Toni Farnworth contributed 4 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists against her former club and Penina Davidson corralled 3 rebounds to go with 3 points.

Stella Beck has been a revelation starting in the point guard spot where she has had to take the place of the injured Lindsay Allen during the last month. Beck knocked down 3 from 5 from beyond the arc on her way to 11 points but it was her all-round game that impressed Boomers coach Guy Molloy.

“Stella has done an amazing job in Lindsay’s absence,” said Molloy.

“I think Stella probably feels great individually that she’s been able to step up so much and I know that the team has a lot of confidence in her,” he added.

Melbourne finished the season in third spot on the WNBL ladder with a 15-6 record, the same as Canberra Capitals who they will meet in the semi-finals.

That will be a best-of three series but will not take place until after the Australian Opals commitments at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in France (February 7-10).

NCAA Team of the Month – Kiwi Women

Despite missing the last couple of games due to illness Amiee Book still makes the NCAA Kiwi Women’s Team of the Month for November. She is joined by Kendell Heremaia, Shalae Salmon and a couple of Tall Ferns, Akiene-Tera Reed and Zoe Richards.

Aimee book

Amiee Book (Sophomore)

The 2018 Big West Conference Sixth Player of the Year has missed three of Cal State Fullerton’s early season games but when she has been on deck she has averaged 14 points per game. The former Waimea College guard scored a career high 27 points against both Southern Utah and Loyola Marymount and is shooting 44% (16/36) from beyond the arc.

Kendell Heremaia

Kendell Heremaia (Junior)

A co-captain at Fordham University Kendell Heremaia is certainly leading by example. The former St Peter’s School, Cambridge and Waikato standout is leading the Rams in rebounds (8.0rpg) and is also averaging 11.9 points and 2.9 assists per game. Her shooting numbers are good at 86% (12/14) from the foul line and 42% (17/41) from deep. She matched her career high of 19 points in Fordham’s latest win against Lehigh.


Akiene-Tera Reed (Junior)

An All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection last year the 2018 Tall Fern has missed three games due a hand injury. Akiene-Tera Reed has still averaged 11.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game for Virginia Commonwealth Rams. Reed is shooting a remarkable 71% from beyond the three-point arc although admittedly it is a small sample size – 5 from 7 attempts.

Shalae Salmon

Shalae Salmon (Senior)

Shalae Salmon made it consecutive double-doubles with 10 points and 11 rebounds (5 offensive boards) for BYU in their 67-50 triumph against Utah State. The game was played in front of 5,800 fans at the Marriott Centre, the second largest crowd in programme history.

The Wellington Girls College alumni is averaging 8.2 points and is second on the team in rebounding with 7.2rpg for the Cougars.

Zoe Richards

Zoe Richards(Senior)

The Otago Gold Rush forward is averaging 13.3 points and 4.5 rebounds for Eckerd College having scored in double figures in all four games the Tritons have played this season. Showing the type of form that earned her Tall Ferns selection this year Richards scored a season high 18 points (9/11FG) against Georgia Southwestern recently.

Bubbling Under

 Charlotte Whittaker (Freshman)

Charlotte Whittaker has had a growing presence in her first season at Colorado. The Cantabrian has just had three straight games in double for the unbeaten Buffaloes (6-0).

She has a season best 15 points and is averaging 8.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

Michelle Nicholls (Junior)

Michelle Nicholls is in her first season at Purdue Fort Wayne having transferred to the Mastodons after two years at La Salle. Scored a season high 18 points against UIC and is averaging 7.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

Tegan Graham (Senior)

Tegan Graham is averaging 7.4 points and 2.5 assists for the 6-2 Colgate Raiders. The former Wellington Girls College standout scored a season high 16 points against Canisius.

McKenna Dale (Junior)

McKenna Dale missed all of last season at  Brown University due to injury. The former Junior Tall Fern is averaging 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds since her return for the 3-5 Bears.

Eva Langton (Junior)

Eva Langton averaged 6.6 points and 4.0 rebounds for Texas A&M International. The Taranaki guard has attempted ten three-point shots and made six (60%) in her seven games for the Dustdevils in November.

Tall Ferns beat Korea but Olympic dream is over


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.