Category Archives: Womens Basketball

The Fotu’s have something special going on


At some stage in mid 2018 Daniel Fotu will head to San Francisco to link up with the players and coaching staff at St Mary’s College.

The St Mary’s play in the NCAA Division 1 West Coast Conference and the Rangitoto College senior this week signed a letter of intent to suit up for the Randy Bennett coached Gaels for the 2018-19 season and beyond.

There is nothing new of course about Kiwi’s heading to college in the States, after all over thirty young New Zealand players are at Division 1 universities heading into the new season that begins at the end of October.

However what may be unique is that three siblings from the same family have gained basketball scholarships to the USA.


The first Fotu to dip his toes in the US was Isaac who headed to the University of Hawaii in 2012 playing two seasons with the Warriors before turning pro.

The 23-year-old Tall Black regular has recently signed with leading German club Ratiopharm Ulm for the 2017-18 European season. The power forward has spent the last three seasons playing in Spain firstly for La Bruixa d’Or Manresa and for the past two seasons CAI Zaragoza.

Sister Gabriella (Ella) had a less than happy time at Boise State in 2015-16 but enjoyed a successful 2016-17 campaign at Hawaii Pacific. The 21-year-old guard averaged 7.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists last season for the Sharks earning an honourable mention in the All-PacWest Conference. Ella scored a season high 19 points at Notre Dame de Namur in January.

ella fotu

18 year-old Daniel, was a member of the Junior Tall Blacks team that recorded an historic win against Australia at the 2016 Oceania Championships in Fiji last December. Dan averaged 7.5 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in the tournament but injury ruled him out of the subsequent 2017 U19 World Cup in Cairo last July

All three Fotu’s have attended Rangitoto College on Auckland’s north shore. A school that has produced, in addition to Isaac, full internationals Penina Davidson, Brooke Blair, Tai Wynyard and most famously Sean Marks.

Dan already has two Schick New Zealand Secondary Schools National Championships winner’s medals to his name and heads to Palmerston North next week hoping to make it a trifecta.

Neither Ella nor Isaac enjoyed the thrill of winning a Secondary Schools championship but both picked up national titles playing for North Harbour. In fact the pair received the unusual distinction of claiming the MVP title at the same tournament – the Under 23 National Championships in Tauranga in 2013. Ella led Harbour to the Women’s title against Waikato and Isaac the men’s as they defeated Counties Manukau to claim gold.


All three have turned out for Harbour whenever possible, with Ella giving up part of her recent summer break from Hawaii to play for Harbour Breeze in the Women’s Basketball Championship. She made an immediate impact on her return averaging a team high 18 points per game as the Breeze clinched the Plate title in Christchurch back in July.

Perhaps basketball in New Zealand can bottle the genetics of the Fotu seniors Manu and Jenny because whatever they have seems to be a potent potion.

Oh, and the Fotu’s may not be finished yet – 13 year old Jacob, a budding hoopster, is in year 9 at Rangitoto – watch this space.


New Zealand U17 Women’s team named

New Zealand U17 Basketball Headshots & Team Photos- Christchurch, 12th May 2017

Basketball New Zealand has named the Aon New Zealand Under 17 girls team, ahead of the FIBA Under 16 Girls’ Asia Cup, which will be played in Bangalore 22-28 October.

Head Coach Lori McDaniel, who has a strong coaching resume with two Women’s Basketball Championship titles to her name with the Canterbury Wildcats, says the Asia Cup is this young team’s pinnacle event for 2017 and their training has been focused on this event.

“We have had multiple camps during the year to gel as a group and become familiar with our systems and expectations. We have put the girls through some ‘outside the box’ activities in order to prepare them to be adaptable and embrace adversity,” says Coach McDaniel.

There’s no doubt that adversity will come in a number of ways, with Bangalore presenting conditions similar to those the Tall Ferns battled in July this year when they played in the Women’s Asia Cup. The Tall Ferns not only had strong opponents to contend with, but they were hindered by food poisoning, and hot and humid playing conditions. Coach McDaniel says these conditions might not change much for this young age-group team, especially when it comes to the opposition teams.

“The Asian teams play very fast and aggressively, and we all know how skilled and disciplined the Australian players are. Most of the teams we encounter will play a style similar to their women’s teams, which we saw in July when the Tall Ferns played. So we expect a high level of competition with some very fit and skilled athletes.

“It’s a big tournament in a big country, but travel and heat are factors all the teams have to contend with.”
Coach McDaniel says the team will travel to Bangalore early, to allow four days to adjust and finish off their preparation ahead of stepping into their very first Asia Cup.
“We have a talented group of young ladies who are in the unique situation of being the first New Zealand age-group to play in the Asia Zone. We will strive to embrace this opportunity to showcase our skillset on such a large stage.”

As for how this event will test McDaniel as a coach, she says that too is a team effort, alongside Assistant Coaches Jody Cameron and Gina Farmer.
“I am fortunate in my coaching role to be supported by two former Tall Ferns who have a great deal of experience in international travel within the Basketball New Zealand system.”

Aon New Zealand Under 17 Women:
· Ella Bradley (Waikato Basketball Council)
· Isabelle Cook (Taranaki Country Basketball Association)
· Tayla Dalton (North Harbour Basketball)
· Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Basketball Council)
· Paris Lokotui (Wellington Basketball Association)
· Jordyn Maddix (North Harbour Basketball)
· Helen Matthews (North Canterbury Basketball Association)
· Kyra Paniora (Brisbane, Australia)
· Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Auckland Counties Manukau)
· Briarley Rogers (Tauranga City Basketball Association)
· Rosalia Samia (Basketball Hawkes Bay)
· Tessalonia Talo-Tomokino (North Harbour Basketball)

· Head Coach – Lori McDaniel
· Assistant Coach – Gina Farmer
· Assistant Coach – Jody Cameron
· Manager – Ushma Shah

Team Schedule:
· October 15 Assemble
· October 15-16 Preparation Camp – Auckland, New Zealand
· October 17 Travel to India
· October 18-21 Preparation Camp – Bangalore, India
· October 22-28 U16 FIBA Asia Championships – Bangalore, India

Photo caption – U17 squad photo:
· Back row: Kyra Paniora, Brairley Rogers, Rosalia Samia, Helen Matthews, Charlisse Leger-Walker, Jordyn Maddix, Tessalonia Tomokino-Talo
· Front row: Isabelle Cook, Rikki Fiatau (not in team travelling to India), Rashaan Smith (not in team travelling to India), Tayla Dalton, Sharne Pupuke-Robati, Ella Bradley.

Tall Ferns strike Gold



The Australian based Tall Ferns have figured strongly in the recent State Championships Grand Finals.

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Cal Berkeley and NZ Premiers thrill large crowd

Cal and Premiers

Photo courtesy of Mollie McClure

The University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears and New Zealand Premiers put on a cracking exhibition of women’s basketball at North Shore Events Centre on Sunday.

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Penina Davidson retuning to NSEC on Sunday


Penina Davidson is relishing the opportunity to play in front of family and friends for the first time since 2013.

“To get to come back now as a senior and play in my hometown for the first time since high school is pretty cool,” said the former Rangitoto College standout.

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Daysh and Murphy added to NZ Premier Women’s team


The New Zealand Premier team to take on the Penina Davidson led University of California, Berkley at North Shore Events Centre on Sunday shows a couple of changes from that originally named.

Harbour Breeze guard Georgia Agnew has been nursing a leg injury for a while and following an arduous Tall Ferns tour has been forced to withdraw from the team. Her place has been taken by livewire Capital Swish guard Luye Murphy.

In addition Waikato Wizards guard has pulled out due to college commitments. The Premier team have opted to improve their rebounding arsenal by calling in Tauranga City Coasters forward Makayla Daysh.

Daysh was outstanding at the Women’s Basketball Championship finals in Christchurch leading the competition in scoring (18.0 points per game) and rebounding (14.4 per game).

The game will tip off on August 13th at 4.00pm at North Shore Events Centre and tickets are still available.

NZ Premier Team

Makayla Daysh (Tauranga City Coasters)

Deena Franklin (Harbour Breeze)

Hayley Gray (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards)

Luye Murphy (Capital Swish)

Esra McGoldrick (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Sariah Penese (Capital Swish)

Connie Poletti (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Auckland Lady Rangers)

Darcy Rose (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Nicole Ruske (Site Weld Otago Goldrush)

Sapphire Wairau (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Coaches – Jody Cameron and Lori McDaniel

Cal Berkley Golden Bears are only 17 days away

Coach Lori McDaniel says the New Zealand Premier team is looking forward to the challenge of facing the University of California Berkeley Golden Bears when they touchdown in Auckland early next month. And they better be, because there is no doubt NZ Premier are in for a tough match.

The UC Berkeley Golden Bears are one of the top women’s college teams in the US, boasting nine appearances at the NCAA tournament and playing in the prestigious Pac 12 Conference.

New Zealand Tall Fern Penina Davison will headline the Cal challenge. Davidson will be lining up for Cal’ where she attends College. Now in her fourth and final year the formidably talented 21 year old has made 98 appearances for the Golden Bears. This is her first time playing in Auckland since the start of her college career.

“This is a great opportunity for New Zealand youth to see what it takes to play at a large Division One College,” says Lori McDaniel.
“We’re ready to show them what New Zealand has got.”

The game tips-off at 4pm on 13 August, at North Shore Events Centre. Tickets at

New Zealand Premier Team

Georgia Agnew (Harbour Breeze)

Deena Franklin (Harbour Breeze)

Hayley Gray (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Alyssa Hirawani (Waikato Wizards)

Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards)

Esra McGoldrick (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Sariah Penese (Capital Swish)

Connie Poletti (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Aucland Lady Rangers)

Darcy Rose (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Nicole Ruske (Site Weld Otago Goldrush)

Sapphire Wairau (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

Coaches – Jody Cameron and Lori McDaniel

Canterbury Wildcats retain WBC Title

Canterbury Wildcats

It wasn’t all straight forward but Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats held off a gutsy Taranaki Thunder to win back to back WBC titles.

Taranaki were hamstrung by injuries and foul trouble but didn’t go down without a fight.

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WBC Placings confirmed as Wildcats win regular season title


With the last round of regular season games completed at the weekend the Women’s Basketball Championship Play-offs groups are now completed. Check out which five teams will contest the Plate and the six that will compete for the Championship title.

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Exciting Tall Ferns Squad named


The Tall Ferns squad named by coach Kennedy Kereama for the upcoming international programme is close to a full strength lineup.

But for a knee injury Jordan Hunter would have been in the point guard mix and college commitments have ruled out regulars Penina Davidson and Stella Beck.

Otherwise this is a team with a nice blend of veteran experience and youth.

Take a look link