Category Archives: WNBL

Purcell into Australian WNBL Grand Final



Kiwi Kalani Purcell, in her first season as a professional player, has helped guide Melbourne Boomers to the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) Grand Final.

The Boomers finished fourth in the regular season but beat regular season champions Perth Lynx in the best of three semi-final series 2-0.

Purcell scored 8 points in the 92-76 home victory on Wednesday but it was in the second victory (78-69) in Perth on Friday night that she showed her true worth filling the stats line with four points, a game high six assists, six rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocks.

Purcell displayed the type of form that she demonstrated in a standout college career at Brigham Young University Cougars (BYU) where in her senior season she averaged 12.9 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game and holds the all-time record for the most rebounds in a season (416 in 2015-16).

Tall Ferns assistant Guy Molloy coaches the Boomers. A third member from the 2017 Tall Ferns campaign, Rebecca Ott, also features for the Boomers who will meet the winner of the Townsville Fire versus Sydney University Flames match up in the final. Townsville, with Micaela Cocks in their lineup lead that three game series 1-0 with game two to be played today (Saturday) and game three if required on Monday.

The loss by Perth brought to a close another Kiwi’s hopes of a first WNBL title. Toni Farnworth (nee Edmondson) has played ten seasons in the WNBL, the last six in Perth, but her wait for a championship will continue for at least another 12 months.


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.

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.

Paalvast signs for Canberra Capitals


And then there were five.

News that Chevannah Paalvast has signed a one-year deal with the University of Canberra Capitals takes the number of New Zealand internationals that will play in the 2017-18 Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season to five.

Paalvast has joined the Capitals after a two-year stint with Townsville Fire winning a championship with the North Queensland club in 2016.

During the WNBL off-season Paalvast played alongside fellow Tall Fern Micaela Cocks in the Queensland Basketball League (QBL) for Mackay Meteorettes. The Meteorettes reached the QBL grand final series before going down to the Brisbane Spartans in the best of three series. The former Waitakere standout averaged 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for Mackay.

The 26 year old Kiwi guard told the WNBL website, “I have heard nothing but positive stories about the Capitals and this was reinforced by the way they have welcomed me in.”

Canberra coach Paul Gorris is delighted with the signing, “What always stood out for me was her defensive ability and her athleticism.”

“For me, it was about personal development as I wanted to keep playing and I had heard so many wonderful things about Gorrie. I thought he would be a really good coach for my development,” said Paalvast.

The signing is also good news for the Tall Ferns programme with five players that recently featured in the Asia Cup campaign now signed with WNBL clubs. The quintet are likely to form the backbone of the New Zealand team when the Commonwealth Games are played on the Gold Coast and in Cairns next April.

In addition to Paalvast, Micaela Cocks (Townsville Fire), Toni Farnworth (Perth Lynx), Kalani Purcell and Rebecca Ott (both Melbourne Boomers) will be on duty when the new season tips-off on October 5th.

High scoring performances from a number of Tall Ferns

There were some outstanding performances by Tall Ferns overseas over the weekend including a couple of PB’s. In Australia Micaela Cocks equalled her career best to help keep Townsville on track for play-off action. Over in the States Stella Beck did record a career high whilst Penina Davidson and Kalani Purcell were outstanding for their respective colleges and in Italy Jillian Harmon helped her club Lucca stay top of the table.

American Colleges


Penina Davidson produced one of her best performances of the season for the University of California Berkeley on Sunday as the Bears beat USC 63-56.

Neither team led by more than three points until Davidson gave the Bears a five-point cushion with 2:27 left in the game, converting a three-point play. Davidson, in a performance described on the Cal website as “electric” led her team with 17 points, two shy of her season best, and nine rebounds. With the win, the Bears improve to 5-7 in Pac-12 Conference play.

BYU bounced back from two straight losses to thump Portland 77-38 on Sunday. On Friday they had gone down 82-57 at West Coast Conference leaders Gonzaga but made no mistake in their third straight away game.

Kalani Purcell recorded her 13th double double of the season (13 points, 12 rebounds) and added a game high 7 assists for good measure. Cougars are now 8-4 in West Coast Conference play, one game back from St Mary’s in second spot

As reported yesterday Stella Beck produced a career best 28 points as St Mary’s Gaels beat San Diego 77-65 on Sunday. The performance was even more meritorious given Beck had not only missed the previous two games due to concussion but also had to be removed from the starting five as she incurred a mouth injury in the warm up.

“Stella Beck is an incredibly tough kid,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Paul Thomas. “Having her being out for the last couple games, and then in warm-ups gets hit, and then performing like that. She was just a leader today. I think that’s awesome. We need that.”

The Tall Ferns guard scored with 11 from 15 shots from the field and 6 from 9 free throws. She also garnered a team high 8 rebounds, as the Gaels remain second on the West Coast Conference ladder with a 9-3 record.

Seattle University Redhawks are 6-1 at the half way stage of Western Athletic Conference play. Jacinta Beckley scored 6 points as the Redhawks beat Utah Valley 69-51.

Australian WNBL

Micaela Cocks was in stunning form for the Townsville Fire as they convincingly defeated Dandenong Rangers 92-78. The combo guard scored a season best 25 points, which included 6 from 9 threes, and also pulled down 7 rebounds.

24 hours later, on Sunday, Townsville made it two from two on their Victorian road trip beating Bendigo Spirit 83-77. Cocks could only manage a couple of points in that one but the win, over the fifth place Spirit, virtually guaranteed the Fire a trip to the play-offs for a sixth straight season.

Perth Lynx are also play-offs bound after beating Canberra Capitals 84-72 on Sunday. Toni Edmondson scored 8 points for the Lynx.

WNBL standings with 2 rounds to play – teams play 24 regular season games and the top 4 qualify for the semi-finals.

Sydney University Flames 16-6, Dandenong Rangers 14-7, Perth Lynx 14-7, Townsville Fire 13-9, Bendigo Spirit 11-10, Canberra Capitals 11-10


Jillian Harmon continued her good form with a game high 17 points as Le Mura Lucca had little trouble in beating Broni 70-43 in Italian League action. The win means Lucca improved to 15-1 for the season and stay top of the Italian League table.

Jordan Hunter signs for Adelaide


Adelaide Lightning have announced that Tall Ferns point guard Jordan Hunter has signed on for the 2016-17 Australian Women’s National Basketball League season.

Hunter will provide the Lightning with added depth in their guard line up.

The 26 year old has been a regular in the New Zealand team since debuting against Japan in 2010 and played all fifteen games during this year’s international programme.

After completing her studies at St Kentigern College in Auckland Hunter headed to Crowder Community College in the States. She later transferred to Southeast Missouri State University, graduating in 2014. She averaged 8.8 points and a team-leading 3.7 assists for the Redhawks in her senior year.

Since then Hunter has been a stand out in the New Zealand Women’s Basketball Championships (WBC) helping her team, Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks, finish runners-up in 2015. Hunter led the competition in points (20.3ppg) and assists (4.5apg) that season.

Tall Ferns assistant Chris Lucas is at the helm of the Lightning where the Kiwi international playmaker has been training for the past few weeks. During her stay she has made a strong impression on Lucas.

“Jordan brings international experience and has worked for her chance to play in the WNBL,” Lucas told the Adelaide Advertiser.

Hunter is delighted to have been afforded the opportunity to join the Lightning.

“I am extremely privileged to get the chance to play. Chris offered me an opportunity to come over and earn my spot on the team, so I was very relieved to know I had secured a contract for the Lightning.

“Chris has gathered a great bunch of girls, the chemistry between us off court is definitely helping us out on court as we have a mixture of young girls and then some awesome veterans both in the squad and on our coaching staff.

“We’re excited and we’re all working hard for this upcoming season,” she added.

Hunter’s signing brings to five the number of Kiwi internationals that will feature in the WNBL this season.

Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast have re-signed with 2016 champions Townsville Fire, Toni Edmondson has remained with Perth Lynx and Jess Bygate has joined Melbourne Boomers.