The Aon New Zealand Women’s U17 team proved too strong for Korea in its second game of the 2017 FIBA U16* Women’s Asian Championship in Bangalore today winning 74-44.
Charlisse Leger-Walker paced the New Zealand effort with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Sharne Pupuke-Robati produced a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds but it was a good all round team effort with 11 players registering points.
Having watched Korea the day before, in its win against Chinese Taipei, New Zealand assistant coach Jody Cameron warned her team, “To expect the unexpected as Korea will be extremely disruptive and very physical.”
Korea dropped a three on the opening play of the game but soon needed a timeout as NZ led 7-3.
That defensive physicality talked about by Cameron was evident after the time out but back to back And-1 plays from Leger-Walker and Tayla Dalton helped the Kiwis to a 25-13 quarter time advantage.
Triples from Jordyn Maddix and Briarley Rogers increased the lead – further extended by a brace of Leger-Walker buckets – NZ in the ascendancy 47-27 at half-time.
As they had in the first half, Korea opened the scoring in the second, but Leger-Walker and Ella Bradley quickly stifled any chance of a Korean revival. The third stanza became scrappy as the Koreans fouled repeatedly and although New Zealand didn’t cash in as heavily as they would of liked from the resulting free-throws they were still in complete control at the three-quarter time mark leading 62-34.
Pupuke-Robati and Isabelle Cook took the NZ lead past thirty and the opening win of the campaign was assured long before the final whistle, the win capped off with a long two from Tessa Talo-Tomokino.
The Kiwis corralled a whopping 63 rebounds, compared to Korea’s 49, and will look to take that domination on the board into the final pool game against Chinese Taipei tomorrow (Tuesday October 24).
That game will tip off at 8.45pm (NZ time).
NZ head coach Lori McDaniel was naturally delighted with her team’s performance.
“The girls put together a great performance and executed the game plan really, really well and we had a number of the bench players stepped up today.
“The girls took care of the ball a lot better and really it just came down to execution. So we are learning as we go, the girls are learning, the coaches are learning.
“They put together a great performance that resulted in a win and I’m really happy with them,” she added.
NZ 74 – Leger-Walker 17p/9r/6a, Pupuke-Robati 11p/10r, Cook 10p/7r, Dalton 8, Bradley 6, Rogers 6, Maddix 5, Matthews 5, Talo-Tomokino 3, Samia 2, Paniora 1,
Korea 44 – D Lee 10, S Eom 7, G Na t
The top four teams at the Asian Championship will qualify for that World Cup, which is to be played in Minsk, Belarus next year.
New Zealand has been drawn in ‘Group A’ alongside Australia, Korea and Chinese Taipei.
Once Pool Play is completed, the Group A teams will cross over with the Pool B teams in the quarter-final match ups. Pool B is made up of three times champions China, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong.
For more on the FIBA U16 Women’s Asia Cup, including information about livestreaming, games and times, go to the official FIBA website HERE.
*Clarification: Please note that New Zealand and FIBA’s terminology are different – FIBA Under 16’s means 16 years and younger, which is the equivalent of New Zealand’s Under 17’s.