Pre-New Year bumper roundup – Career high’s for Perrott-Hunt and Bayes

It’s doubly interesting as conference play has begun and will continue through until March. The bracketed figures show teams conference record.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt missed South Dakota’s pre-Xmas opening Summit League defeat due to illness. His reappearance brought instant success – he returned 19 points as the Coyotes beat St Thomas 92-84 and then scored a career high in the 80-63 defeat of Western Illinois.

The Tall Blacks guard finished with 30 points making 11 from 20 shots including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. He was also a perfect 4 out of 4 from the foul line while also pulling down 7 rebounds and dishing 4 assists. The Coyotes now 2-1 in Summit League play.

Sacramento State opened its Big Sky Conference programme with a 74-63 home win against Portland State. 8 points, 9 rebounds, a block and an assist for Callum McRae in that one.

Flynn Cameron scored 7 points as UC Riverside opened their Big West Conference campaign with a 71-59 home win against CSU Bakersfield. The 2022 Tall Black was more prominent as Riverside (2-0) won a thriller at Long Beach State 73-72. Passing 700 career points Cameron scored a dozen to accompany 5 rebounds, a pair of assists and a steal.

Abilene Christian (1-1) lost 75-68 to Stephen F Austin in their Western Athletic Conference opener but bounced back to defeat Tarleton 69-63 with Tobias Cameron scoring 11 points (3/3FG, 3/4FT) in the victory. 

Sam Mennenga also came up with 11 points as Davidson College (1-1) had a disappointing 69-55 Atlantic-10 home loss to Dayton. 

Tom Webley took just two shots but scored with both efforts as Hartford Hawks lost 61-54 to Morgan State.

James Moors also scored 4 points as Colorado State (0-2) went down 78-70 to San Jose State. The former Westlake Boys standout added 3 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

Other Men’s Results:

Massachusetts (0-1) 64 (Tafara Gapare 4 points) St Bonaventure 83 

Marquette (3-1) 68 (Ben Gold 3 points) Villanova 66

In Women’s Division I action Dani Bayes top scored with a season high 19 points (7/14FG) as Boise State (1-0) defeated San Jose State 73-62 to open Mountain West Conference play. 14 games into her collegiate career Bayes is averaging 9.7 points per game with the 19 points also doubling as a career best.

Emme Shearer grabbed a steal and 6 points in the final two minutes to help Portland (4-0) to an 86-76 come from behind win at Pepperdine. Shearer finished with 17 points and is now just 9 shy of 500 career points. The win followed a 70-61 success at Loyola Marymount.

St Mary’s, (1-2) in the West Coast Conference), led by 15 points at one stage but were eventually defeated 69-65 by San Diego in overtime. Amy West scored a couple of points, Jade Kirisome made 4 and 3 rebounds while Tayla Dalton produced 9 points and 3 assists in the loss.

St Mary’s then went on to visit BYU (2-2) on New Year’s Eve and were crushed 66-41 with Arielle Mackey-Williams putting up 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists for the Cougars while Dalton scored 7 points for St Mary’s.

Mackey-Williams, with five double digit scoring efforts this season, scored 13 points for the Cougars in their 69-51 win against Pacific – Kaylee Smiler adding 5 points in the victory.

Amiee Book had a handy double of 9 points and 7 rebounds as Fresno State came up short against Colorado State going down 64-58 in their Mountain West Conference opener. The 9 points took Book to exactly 1,100 career points moving her past Jillian Harmon (1,096 points for Stanford University Cardinals, 2005-09) and up to 11th spot on New Zealand’s all-time scorers in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

Olivia Williams scored 10 points with a perfect 3 from 3 from the field and 2 out of 2 at the foul line as UC Irvine (1-0) began Big West Conference play with a 55-49 win against Cal State Bakersfield (1-1). Williams passed the 100 points mark for the season with her seventh point.

Grace Hunter produced 6 points and a couple of assists for Bakersfield.  

48 hours earlier Hunter scored 8 points as the Bakersfield Roadrunners defeated UC Riverside 56-53 in a double overtime thriller to open Big West Conference play.

Yzabelle Tevao added a team high 7 rebounds to 9 points as Chicago State were heavily beaten 119-53 by Ball State.

Helen Matthews, last week named the Southern Conference Student-Athlete of the Week, 

Posted 7 points and added a couple of rebounds and steals as Wofford dominated Erskine to win 78-48.

Washington State played Friday’s game against #11 Utah without its leading scorer Charlisse Leger-Walker who has returned to New Zealand for family reasons. 

Other Women’s Results:

Virginia 69 (McKenna Dale 3 points, 1 rebound) Georgia Tech 6

Southern Methodist 44 (Ella Brow 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist) Houston 60

Texas Christian 42 (Tara Manumaleuga 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block) Baylor 64 

Houston Christian 68 (Lauryn Mapusua 3 points) New Orleans 59

New Mexico State (1-1) 58 (Ashlee Strawbridge 2 points, 3 rebounds) Southern Utah 61

Half Term Report Part 3 – Taking the Minutes

It’s probably no coincidence that New Zealand’s leading scorers in collegiate basketball, Charlisse Leger-Walker and Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones have also played the most minutes.

Playing decent minutes, no matter what the level of college competition, is down to a combination of ability, opportunity, attitude, patience, playing at the appropriate level and good fortune. Many on the lists below, like Tobias Cameron, Kaylee Smiler and Tessa Talo-Tomokino, have had to bide their time before playing big minutes. 

It’s unusual for freshmen to play substantial minutes, particularly at NCAA Division I level, so hats off to the athletes below who are making a mark in their first collegiate year’s.

For some a year or two playing junior college basketball, before transferring to university programmes, has proven a beneficial route – Hannah Wentworth, Ashlee Strawbridge and Ella Bradley are three such cases.

When you consider 64 Kiwi women are playing collegiate basketball in North America in 2022-23 the list below shows that approximately two thirds of the players are averaging less than half a game.

The numbers are very similar for the men with 18 of 53 playing 20 minutes are more.

It will be interesting to see if the numbers move significantly in the second half of the season as freshmen and sophomores gain more experience and earn more trust from their respective coaches. I suspect not as the onset of conference play often results in a shortening of rotations.

Minutes Played per game – WomenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelMPGGames
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D134.812
Te Araroa SopoagaSophomoreCloud County CCJUCO31.914
Kaylee SmilerSeniorBYUNCAA D130.711
Tessa Talo-TomokinoJuniorNortheastern StateNCAA D230.29
Samantha JenkinsSophomoreDawson CCJUCO29.013
Amiee BookGrad SnrFresno StateNCAA D128.713
Helen MatthewsJuniorWoffordNCAA D128.111
Leah MafuaSophDodge CITY CCJUCO27.914
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA DII27.411
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO27.012
Dani BayesFreshmanBoise StateNCAA D126.113
Jenna Rose MafuaSophDodge City CCJUCO25.114
Tayla DaltonJuniorSt Mary’s CaliforniaNCAA D124.412
Ella Paleaae-CookSophomoreMiles CCJUCO24.215
Ashlee StrawbridgeSophomoreNew Mexico StateNCAA D124.012
Arielle Mackey-WilliamsSophomoreBYUNCAA D123.612
Olivia WilliamsSophomoreUC IrvineNCAA D122.911
Ella BrowFreshmanSouthern MethodistNCAA D122.412
Ella BradleySophomoreTexas at TylerNCAA D222.111
Grace HunterJuniorCSU BakersfieldNCAA D121.56
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA21.212
Emme ShearerJuniorPortlandNCAA D120.513
Lilly ParkeFreshmanAuburn at MontgomeryNCAA D220.312

*records as at 28.12.2022

** 64 New Zealand women are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Minutes Played Per Game – MenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelMPGGames
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D232.88
Ezra VaigafaSophNeosho County CCJUCO31.33
Alex BlackmoreSophCastletonNCAA D330.99
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D130.812
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D130.712
Flynn Cameron5th YrUC RiversideNCAA D128.312
Kael RobinsonSophRocky MountainNAIA27.912
Kruz Perrott-HuntSeniorSouth DakotaNCAA D127.812
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA25.712
Tobias Cameron 5th YrAbilene ChristianNCAA D125.513
Sean MurphySophNebraska at KearneyNCAA D223.910
Mac StodartSophColorado-Colorado SpringsNCAA D223.512
Isaac Miller-JoseSeniorManitobaCanada23.38
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO22.910
Corey Le’aupepe SeniorMenloNAIA22.813
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA22.85
Finn McClureJuniorMilliganNAIA22.68
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO21.511

*records as at 28.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

McRae fourth to complete unique double – joins Penney, Webster and Bradshaw 

December 28

Callum McRae has become only the fourth Kiwi to complete the double of 1,000 points and 100 appearances in NCAA Division I Men’s basketball.

Ahead of Sacramento State’s meeting with Stanislaus State the former Junior Tall Black centre was sitting on 991 points in 104 appearances. He claimed the necessary 9 points in the first half before moving on to celebrate the milestone in style. McRae produced his fifth double-double of this campaign (and 21st of his career) finishing with 19 points (7/9FG, 5/6FT) to go with 15 rebounds as Sacramento recovered from a slow start to win 72-51.

The former Palmerston Boys High School standout follows in the footsteps of Tall Blacks Kirk Penney, Tai Webster and Craig Bradshaw in completing the unique double.

Kirk Penney (University of Wisconsin Badgers, 1999-2003) scored 1,454 points in 127 games,

Tai Webster (University of Nebraska Huskers, 2013-17) tallied 1,116 points also in 127 games while Craig Bradshaw (Winthrop University Eagles, 2003-7) made 1,114 points in 123 games.

Barring injury McRae looks destined to pass the points hauls of Webster and Bradshaw and with 701 rebounds to his name he has already set a new career mark by a Kiwi in that statistical category. The previous record, for the most rebounds by a New Zealand player in Men’s NCAA Division I basketball, was held by Craig Bradshaw with 572.

Rob Loe (University of St Louis Billikens, 2010-14) pulled down 520 rebounds and Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami Hurricanes 2016-22 ) claimed 502 boards. They are the only other male players to have surpassed the 500 rebound mark. 

In other news Zach Riley and Sam Mennenga were in opposition as Fordham entertained Davidson in the opening fixture of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Fordham with an overall record before the game of 12-1, and sporting home advantage, would have entered the contest as favourites but managed just 14 points in the first half, eventually going down 57-43.

Mennenga had a defensive rebound and a layup on the first two possessions of the game before going on to record his second double-double of the season – 13 points and 11 rebounds – his first basket bringing up 600 career points in his 68th game.

He is just the 16th Kiwi to score 600  points in men’s Division I NCAA basketball and the 4th Westlaker!

Zach Riley tallied 6 points, 3 rebounds, an assist and a steal for Fordham.

Other Results:

Virginia 66 (Taine Murray 2 points, 3 rebounds) Albany 46

Marquette 83 (Ben Gold 2 points, 1 block, 1 steal) Seton Hall 69

Colorado State 66 (James Moors 2pts, 3rebs, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block) New Mexico 88

Half Term Report Part 2 – The King and Queen of the Boards

December 29

It won’t come as a surprise to those that follow the fortunes of the New Zealander’s playing college hoops to find that Callum McRae leads the rebounding count – the former Junior Tall Black is close to averaging a double-double with his 9.5 boards per game to go with his 11.5 points.

Enda Brennan, one of four Kiwis at Southeast Community College, has made a big impression in the first few weeks of his college career. The , out of Riccarton High School, is second on the list and is also the only freshman amongst the top 17 players.

Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones not only leads the men’s scoring list (remember he averages 17.8 points per game) but is also the third highest rebounder claiming 9.1 boards per outing to emphasise his all-round ability.

Another Wellingtonian Isaac Miller-Jose has played his collegiate basketball at Manitoba University in Canada and is enjoying another fine season with the Bisons. 

Yet another Wellingtonian, Sam Gold, leads the way amongst a strong contingent of players featuring in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) conferences.

Leading Rebounders – MenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelRPGRebs
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D19.5114
Enda BrennanFreshmanSoutheast CCJUCO9.3130
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D29.173
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D17.185
Nate WilsonSophSouth Georgia TechJUCO6.565
Isaac Miller-JoseSeniorManitobaCanada6.552
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA6.578
Corey Le’aupepeGrad SnrMenloNAIA6.078
Sean MurphySophNebraska at KearneyNCAA D26.060
Alex BlackmoreSophCastletonNCAA D35.953
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA5.628
Tobias Cameron Grad SnrAbilene ChristianNCAA D15.470
Flynn CameronGrad SnrUC RiversideNCAA D15.465
Kael RobinsonSophRocky MountainNAIA4.756
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO4.651
James MoorsJuniorColorado StateNCAA D14.559
Nico HillJuniorMissouri BaptistNAIA4.567

*records as at 28.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Te Araroa Sopoaga is again putting up big numbers at Cloud Community College. The sophomore forward is not only the leading rebounder amongst all New Zealand female players but also leads Cloud in assists, steals and blocks – Sopoaga is surely university bound in 2023-24!

If there is any sibling rivalry in the Stephens household Dominique at least can claim bragging rights on the rebounding count. She is currently averaging 6.2 per game, a shade better than brother Maxim who averages 5.6 per game.

Rotorua’s Waiata Jennings and Harbour’s Parehuia Delamere claim the third and fourth spots on the table while Cantabrian Helen Matthews edges Charlisse Leger-Walker as the top NCAA Division I rebounder.

Leger-Walker’s former Waikato and St Peter’s School sidekick Ella Bradley rounds out the Top 10 and is NZ’s leading NCAA Division 2 rebounder. 

Leading Rebounders – WomenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelRPGRebs
Te Araroa SopoagaSophomoreCloud County CCJUCO6.996
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA6.274
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO5.870
Parehuia DelamereSophomoreWestern TexasJUCO5.763
Helen MatthewsJuniorWoffordNCAA D15.667
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D15.262
Ella Paleaae-CookSophomoreMiles CCJUCO5.176
Briarley RogersSophomoreWeatherfordJUCO4.944
Leah MafuaSophomoreDodge City CCJUCO4.867
Ella BradleySophomoreTexas at TylerNCAA D24.752

*records as at 28.12.2022

** 64 New Zealand women are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

If you missed it here is the link to the leading scorers at this point of the season: https://bit.ly/3WMikxl

College Basketball half term report – Leger-Walker and Tait-Jones lead the way

28 December

In Part 1 of our American collegiate half term report we take a look at the leading scorers amongst the Kiwi contingent currently playing in North America. 

It’s not a total surprise that Charlisse Leger-Walker clearly leads the way in points scored and points per game at the mid-point of the collegiate season. Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones makes it a hyphenated double as he leads the way on the men’s side. 

Leger-Walker scored a career high 40 points earlier in the month and has scored 20 points or more on seven occasions this season. Having already amassed 1188 career points you suspect, barring injury, the former Waikato and St Peter’s guard is on course to pass Erin Rooney’s all-time Kiwi record of 1,647 career points.

Rotorua’s Waiata Jennings and Leah Mafua, both playing at junior college, are second and third on the rankings while Hannah Wentworth is the highest scoring kiwi in Women’s NCAA Division II hoops.

Jennings, in her freshman season, is leading the Collin Cougars scoring and had a season high 25 points against Angeline College. With a 12-0 record Collin are ranked #9 in the country amongst women’s junior college teams.

Leah Mafua is doing the same for #16 Dodge City College and with sister Jenna Rose averaging 11.9 points per game the Wellington siblings are providing a significant one-two back court punch for the Conquistadors.

Hannah Wentworth, in her second season with Eckerd College, is enjoying another strong season for the No 12 ranked NCAA Division II team. The Harbour shooting guard ranks sixth in 3-pointers made (35) – more on our top shooters in an upcoming report.

Leading Scorers – WomenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelPPGPoints
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D121.1253
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO15.3184
Leah MafuaSophomoreDodge City CCJUCO13.0182
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA D212.5137
Briarley RogersSophomoreWeatherford JUCO11.9107
Te Araroa SopoagaSophomoreCloud County CCJUCO11.7164
Jenna Rose MafuaSophomoreDodge City CC JUCO11.4160
Amiee BookGrad SnrFresno StateNCAA D110.2133
Grace HunterJuniorCSU BakersfieldNCAA D19.758
Waiaaria RogersSophomoreMarshalltown CCJUCO9.466
Helen MatthewsJuniorWoffordNCAA D19.3111
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA9.1109
Dani BayesFreshmanBoise StateNCAA D19.0117

*records as at 26.12.2022

** 64 New Zealand women are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones is building nicely on his previous two seasons at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tait-Jones was named PacWest Conference Freshman of the Year in 2020-21 and to All-West Region Second team in 2021-22. This season he averages 17.8 points per game, the best by any Kiwi in collegiate basketball. The former St Pat’s and Wellington forward has amassed 798 career points at 17.0 points per outing across 47 NCAA Division II games.

Sam Mennenga is the second highest scoring Kiwi tallying 15.8 points per game at Davidson College in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Capped earlier in the year by the Tall Blacks at the Asia Cup, the ex-Harbour and Westlake Boys forward is up to 599 career points – already 16th all-time on the NZ Men’s Division I scorers list midway through his third collegiate year..

The Waikato duo of Maxim Stephens and Kael Robinson occupy third and sixth spots on the NZ scoring table as well as the top two spots on the Rocky Mountain College scoring list. Stephens has played just the five games following his recovery from ankle injuries while Robinson is obviously reaping the benefits of the 2022 season in the NBL with the Franklin Bulls – he has started all 12 games for Rocky.

Boston Caldwell, another ex-Westlake and Harbour player, is the highest scoring New Zealander amongst the 16 Kiwi freshmen playing in America in 2022-23. Caldwell scored a massive 38 points in Central Maine’s penultimate game before the Xmas break. Nate Wilson is the only other junior college player to be averaging double figures per game.

Like the women there are a pair of siblings on the leader board. The Cameron brothers – Tobias and Flynn – feature amongst  the top 14 Kiwi scorers (and also amongst the top five NCAA Division I players). 

Leading Scorers – MenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelPPGPoints
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D217.8142
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D115.8189
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA14.673
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO13.4134
Corey Le’aupepeSeniorMenloNAIA13.1170
Kael RobinsonSophRocky MountainNAIA12.2146
Mac StodartSophColorado SpringsNCAA D211.6139
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D111.5138
Kruz Perrott-HuntSeniorSouth DakotaNCAA D111.3136
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA11.3136
Tobias Cameron SeniorAbilene ChristianNCAA D111.2145
Nate WilsonSophSouth Georgia TechJUCO10.6106
Flynn CameronSeniorUC RiversideNCAA D110.2122
Alex BlackmoreSophCastleton NCAA D310.494

*records as at 26.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

In part two, dropping tomorrow, we will take a look at the leading rebounders – which three Kiwis are averaging over nine boards per game?

Le’afa top scores as Breakers are defeated in Tasmania

December 27

Having won the first three encounters with the Tasmanian Jack Jumpers the Sky Sport Breakers went down 93-82 in Hobart on Boxing Day to slip to an 11-6 record – still good enough for second place on the NBL ladder.

After a Covid induced 18 day lay-off the Breakers looked a little out of sync. They gave up 18 turnovers and were out rebounded 45-29, with the differential on the offensive boards 16-6.

Those two factors combined handed extra possessions to the Jack Jumpers who put up 69 field goal attempts to 55 from the Breakers.

Izayah Le’afa led the way for the Breakers with 21 points (4/7 3PG), the second occasion this season he has scored 21 and the 12th time in 16 games he has made double figures.

Other notable contributors were Barry Brown Jr and Jarrell Brantley with 16 points apiece although the latter was guilty of committing 7 turnovers.

Tom Abercrombie scored 11 points (3/4 3PG) while Derek Pardon coupled 8 rebounds with 10 points.

In addition Cam Gliddon played his 300th NBL game against Tasmania, the well-travelled veteran making all three of his shots for 8 points.

Other Numbers:

With a pair of steals Tom Abercrombie took his career total to 254 moving ahead of Mika Vukona (252) into third spot on the Breakers all-time list in that statistical category. Ahead of him are Cedric Jackson (278) and Dillon Boucher (288).

Izayah Le’afa became the fifth Breaker to pass the 200 points mark this season after McDowell-White, Pardon, Brantley and Brown Jr.

Jayden Bezzant, an injury replacement for Will McDowell-White, became the 142nd player to suit up for the Breakers – the ninth debutant this season! 

The playmakers absence broke a sequence of 27 consecutive games by McD-W stretching back to the middle of last season.

18 turnovers equaled the most the Breakers have given up this season and the 6 offensive rebounds the equal fewest they have garnered this campaign. Additionally Tasmania’s 16 O boards was the most the Breakers have given up since allowing the Jack Jumpers to pull down 21 in the second game of the season.

Upcoming:

Brown Jr, the Breakers leading scorer this season is only 12 points shy of 300 points.

The Breakers are next in action against Perth Wildcats in New Plymouth on January 4, the first of nine games in January. 

Wrapping up the college pre-Xmas fixtures

December 23

Wrapping up the NCAA Division I pre-Xmas games two form players – Charlisse Leger-Walker and Tobias Cameron – grab the headlines.

More on Cameron’s performance later but first the sizzling form of Leger-Walker continues. She scored 20 points, making 5 from 10 threes, as Washington State defeated A&M Corpus Christi 75-49. It was the 30th occasion, in 66 career games, that Leger-Walker has scored 20 points or more  – she also tallied 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.

There were plenty of Kiwis present as Portland entertained BYU in a West Coast Conference fixture but it was largely one way traffic in favour of Emme Shearer (9 points), Melika Samia (2 points) and Flo Dallow (redshirting) as Portland triumphed 67-45. 

Arielle Mackey-Williams scored 8 points for BYU.

Mackey-Williams scored 15 points (6/10FG) – her third double figure outing of the season – as BYU enjoyed a bounce back win defeating Monmouth 70-50. Kaylee Smiler almost matched that number with 14 points to go with 3 rebounds, 6 assists, a pair of blocks and a steal.

Grace Hunter scored a season high 14 points to help Cal State Bakersfield to a 54-41 win against Pacific. Playing a team high 35 minutes the combo guard also came up with 3 steals, 2 rebounds and 2 assists.

Dani Bayes also scored 14 points, on 6 from 9 shooting, as Boise State got the better of Texas A&M Commerce 75-66. The freshman guard, in her 13th consecutive start, added 3 rebounds an assists and a steal. 

Helen Matthews scored 12 points, passing 400 career points in the process, as Wofford secured a 79-67 win against UNC Asheville. Matthews also corralled 7 rebounds in the victory.

Olivia Williams made 3 from 4 threes on her way to 11 points as UC Irvine defeated Grand Canyon 64-51. The sophomore guard added a brace of assists and steals plus 3 rebounds.

Yzabelle Tevao top scored for Chicago State with 11 points but the Cougars were well beaten by Green Bay going down 92-42.

Ella Brow scored 9 points (4/8FG) as Southern Methodist defeated Incarnate Word 57-44. Brow added 5 rebounds a couple of assists and steals.

Tara Manumaleuga scored 8 points as Texas Christian routed Nicholle 75-32.

Amiee Book filled the stats line with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal but Fresno State were outclassed by UCLA going down 82-48.

Virginia, after 11 straight wins to start the season, suffered a 70-56 loss at Duke. McKenna Dale had 4 points, 3 rebounds, a couple of steals and a block in the defeat.

Other Women’s Results:

Chicago State 51 (Yzabelle Tevao 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 block) Florida Atlantic 63

New Mexico State 90 (Ashlee Strawbridge 4pts, 4rebs, 2 blocks, 1 steal) Northern New Mexico 42

Houston Christian 34 (Lauryn Mapusua 5 points, 2 rebounds) Texas 96

La Salle 55 (Emilee Tahata 2 points) Villanova 81

St Mary’s 45 (Amy West 3pts, Tayla Dalton 2pts, Jade Kirisome 2pts) USC 71

In men’s Division I play Tobias Cameron and Abilene Christian inflicted some pain on Howard Payne with a commanding 113-52 victory. Cameron enjoyed a season best 18 points on 7 from 10 shooting including 4 from 6 triples. He also had 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. 

Davidson were pipped 73-70 by Northeastern with Sam Mennenga a point shy of a double-double. The Tall Black forward finished with 9 points, 10 rebounds and a couple of steals. Mennenga heads into the Christmas break with 599 career points.

Davidson will open Atlantic 10 Conference play with a visit in-form Fordham on December 28. Fordham are 12-1 after an 80-77 overtime win against Virginia Military Institute. Zach Riley knocked down a three with 1:58 to play to give Fordham a 78-75 lead and finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds an assists and a block.

Once again in double-double territory was Callum McRae despite Sacramento State falling 59-49 to Cal State Fullerton. McRae scored 10 points leaving him just 9 short of 1,000 career points whilst pulling down a monster 14 rebounds – the third occasion in this campaign he has pulled down 14 boards.

Tafara Gapare had 5 points, 7 rebounds, a couple of assists and a block as Massachusetts  defeated Dartmouth 68-57 in their last non-conference game of the season.

Other Men’s Results:

Virginia 64 (Taine Murray 2 points, 1 rebound) Miami 66

UC Riverside 76 (Flynn Cameron 1 points, 5rebs, 5 assists, 3 steals) Portland 65

Hartford 53 (Tom Webley 4 points, 1 rebound) San Francisco 85

Merry Xmas.

Career performances from Shearer and West

December 19

Emme Shearer made a career high as Portland were also successful in their West Coast Conference opener. The former Harbour and Westlake Girls guard rattled in 4 from 5 threes to tally 19 points along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. 

It took overtime but St Mary’s made a perfect start with a 69-66 victory at Pacific as West Coast Conference play got underway. Amy West claimed a career high 12 rebounds as well as adding a block and 3 points in the win. Tayla Dalton also starred for the Gaels making a team high 18 points to accompany a quintet of rebounds and assists to go with 3 steals. 

BYU went down 67-58 at reigning West Coast champions Gonzaga. Arielle Mackey-Williams scored 6 points for BYU with Kaylee Smiler posting 2 points and 2 rebounds. 

Washington State have concluded non-conference play with a comfortable 83-56 win against Jackson State. Charlisse Leger-Walker once again led the Cougars with 20 points along with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals

Grace Hunter posted a season high 13 points, making 3 from 5 three-pointers, in California State University Bakersfield’s 75-47 loss to #10 ranked UCLA. 

Tara Manumaleuga scored 9 points, tallied 4 rebounds and added one each in the assists, steals and blocks stats categories as Texas Christian eased to a 56-45 win against Grambling.

Amiee Book scored 8 points in Fresno State’s narrow 53-48 win against Utah Valley.

Helen Matthews had a symmetrical 7 rebounds and 7 points as Wofford accounted for Bellarmine 69-56. The junior guard out of Kaiapoi added 4 assists a block and a steal.

Fellow Cantabrian Ashlee Strawbridge scored 5 points as New Mexico State edged a tight one against Portland State 55-53.

Olivia Williams was a perfect 3 from 3 for her 6 points as UC Irvine carved out a 72-57 win against Dartmouth. The sophomore guard added 4 rebounds, a block and a pair of steals. 

Other Women’s Results:

Chicago State 73 Yzabelle Tevao (2 points, 2rebs, 1 assist, 1 bock) Western Michigan 101

Virginia 84 (McKenna Dale 2pts, 3rebs, 3 assists, 2 steals, I block) Morgan State 28

In Men’s Division I play Callum McRae tallied a game high 21 points, on 10 from 14 shooting, as Sacramento State won 59-53 at Fresno State – the first win for Sacramento at Fresno since 1954! Additionally McRae had 6 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block in 32 minutes.

Abilene Christian, with Tobias Cameron scoring a team high 17 points, erased an 18-point deficit, to claim a 65-59 win over Cal State Bakersfield. The Grad-Senior guard made 6 from 7 shots including 5 from 6 from beyond the arc. The 17 points also brought up 500 career points for Cameron.

Sam Mennenga and Davidson were in heady company on Saturday taking on the top ranked Division I team in the country, Purdue University. Mennenga demonstrated his qualities scoring a team high 14 points (6/11FG) in the 69-61 loss. The Tall Blacks forward also had 3 rebounds, a steal and an assist.

James Moors had 8 points, 4 rebounds and an assists as Colorado State stole a close one at St Mary’s 62-60. He now has exactly 100 points for the season.

Tom Webley had a productive 4 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in Hartford’s 67-51 loss to St Francis, Brooklyn.

Other Men’s Result:

Marquette 69 (Ben Gold 3 points, 3 blocks, 1 rebound) Creighton 58

Flynn Cameron century creates unique family double

December 17

Flynn Cameron has become the 16th Kiwi to play 100 Men’s NCAA Division I games. He did so in University of California Riverside’s 71-65 loss at Oregon. Uniquely he joins brother Tobias as a Division I centurion. The only other New Zealand sibling duos to approach the mark were the Fotu brothers Dan and Isaac and the Leger-Walker sisters Krystal and Charlisse.

Dan Fotu played 126 games for St Mary’s, California (2018-22) with older brother Isaac suiting up on 63 occasions at the University of Hawaii (2012-14). Krystal Leger-Walker finished her college career with 142 appearances including a record 139 starts. Sister Charlisse, in her third year at Washington State, has already played 63 games – all as a starter – and barring a major injury will clock up 100 games around this time next year.

Flynn Cameron began his career at De Paul University in 2018 where he played 40 games. Benefitting from the additional Covid year the Tall Blacks guard is now in his third season at Riverside and, like brother Tobias, his fifth collegiate year overall. Flynn has started all 10 games for Riverside this season and is currently second on the team in scoring (11.1ppg) and assists (3.0apg) as well as leading the steals stat category with 1.6 per game.

Amongst active New Zealand players Kruz Perrott-Hunt looks to be the next destined to make 100 Division I appearances.

Playing his 90th game Perrott-Hunt passed 800 career points as he came up with 18 points, on 6 from 9 shooting, as South Dakota were tipped up at home 87-86 by Coastal Carolina in their final non-conference game of the season.

South Dakota open Summit League play on December 19 at Kansas City.

Perrott-Hunt is just the 8th Kiwi to score 800 points in Men’s NCAA Division I basketball.

In Women’s Division I action:

Despite St Mary’s being heavily beaten 91-56 by Montana State Tayla Dalton made a season high 20 points knocking down 6 from 10 threes. Tayla has now passed the 500 career points mark and is only headed by Charlisse Leger-Walker, Amiee Book and McKenna Dale amongst active Kiwi players.

Amy West scored 7 points (3/5FG) and Jade Kirisome 7 assists, plus 2 points, in the loss.

Olivia Williams scored 15 points, making 3 from 6 threes in the process as UC Irvine dominated Westcliff to record an 85-37 win. The Sophomore guard is now just three points shy of 200 career points.

Other Women’s Results:

Boise State 97 (Dani Bayes 5pts, 3 rebs) Evergreen State 31

Chicago State 56 (Yzabelle Tevao 2 points, 1 rebound) St Thomas 74

New Career high for Leger-Walker

December 12

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored almost two thirds of Washington State’s points as they dropped their Pac-12 Conference opener 82-66 to local rivals Washington. CL-W finished with a career high 40 points and only one point shy of matching WSU’s single-game scoring record.

She drilled 7 from 12 threes, also a career best, in addition to claiming 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block.

It is almost certain that the 40-point haul is a record by a New Zealander in NCAA Division I basketball – male or female. Now with 1,137 career points Leger-Walker is quickly moving up the all-time list of Kiwi scorers in women’s Division I hoops. Currently sitting 11th she needs just 8 points to pass Margaret Johns (Utah State University, 1979-83) and claim a top ten berth.

Take a look at her 40-point performance – you can’t help but be impressed.

https://wsucougars.com/sports/womens-basketball?path=wbball

In other news from weekend games Amiee Book, with 1,075 career points herself, made 4 from 9 threes for her 12 points as Fresno State accounted for UC Irvine 53-44. Book also had 5 rebounds and 3 assists while Olivia Williams scored 2 points for Irvine.

Grace Hunter top scored for Cal State Bakersfield with 12 points in a 67-46 loss to Sacramento State. The TokomanawaQueens guard also pulled down 5 rebounds. 

Dani Bayes scored 9 points as Boise State were pipped 68-65 in overtime by St Mary’s. Jade Kirisome and Tayla Dalton each scored 4 points for St Mary’s – Dalton also claiming 7 rebounds. 

Kaylee Smiler also had 9 points in BYU’s 76-59 home loss to Utah.

Tara Manumaleuga scored 8 points and corralled a pair of rebounds in Texas Christian’s 63-59 loss to Missouri State.

Helen Matthews scored 8 points and had 3 assists, 2 rebounds a block and a steal although Wofford found the going a little tough against No8 in the country North Carolina, beaten 99-67.

Former Massey High School forward Yzabelle Tevao claimed 6 points and 5 rebounds in Georgia Southern’s 93-71 loss to Georgia Southern.

Other Women’s Results:

Portland 71 (Emme Shearer 5pts, 5rebs, 2 steals,1 block) Portland State 56

California State Northridge 97 (Rochelle Fourie 4pts, 4 rebs) Seattle 90

New Mexico State 64 (Ashlee Strawbridge 5pts, 3rebs, 1 assist) New Mexico 65

In Men’s Division I action from the weekend there was a third double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) of the season plus a pair of blocks from Callum McRae as Sacramento State edged Long Beach State 76-78 and improve their record to 5-5 this season.

Tafara Gapare scored in double figures for the second game running as Massachusetts defeated Hosfra 71-56. The freshman forward scored 13 points, on 5 from 10 shooting, while also bagging a steal and a block in 20 minutes of action.

James Moors added 6 rebounds to 12 points (6/4FG) as Colorado State demolished Peru State 115-72.

Tobias Cameron came up with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists as Abilene Christian defeated Texas A&M Commerce 83-64.

A couple of Kiwis were in opposition as UC Irvine won 83-71 at South Dakota. Akiva McBirney-Griffin scored 4 points for Irvine while Kruz Perrott-Hunt had 8 points for the Coyotes.

Other Men’s Results:

UC Riverside 76 (Flynn Cameron 4pts, 1 rebound, 4 assists) Idaho 74 

Fordham 77 (Zach Riley 4 points (2/2FG), 1 reb, 1 steal) Binghamton 62