The New Zealand women’s team has advanced to the quarterfinals at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in Shenzhen, China.
The women went through pool play undefeated overnight, taking down 2017 Asia Cup silver medalists Malaysia 17-12, and hosts China 21-10.
Whilst the team has minimal experience in 3x3 competitions, they adjusted quickly and looked as good as any team on Day 1.
Their roster includes four Tall Ferns – Kalani Purcell, Micaela Cocks, Antonia Farnworth and Chevannah Paalvast - who recently won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. They certainly aren’t lacking in talent and it showed in their first two games in Shenzhen.
Head coach Leanne Walker was pleased with her team's performance through the first two games.
"The girls were familiar with a lot of the Malaysian players from the Commonwealth Games, so we were able to gameplan accordingly," said Walker.
"The girls showed determination to defend aggressively, rebound solidly and use the ball and space to our advantage. Kalani was especially dominant in the paint, contesting rebounds and getting to the rim offensively. While Chevannah made some solid contributions at key times with her 2-point shot and decisive penetrations to the basket."
Walker said she made some adjustments heading into their second game against China and was happy with the results.
"Playing China, a solidly built and physical team, called for a slightly different game plan. We decided to speed up the game.
"Micaela found her range from the 2-point (3-point line) line and dominated their key guard, not allowing 2-point attempts or her trademark drive and dish. Toni’s offensive decision making was evident and vital to keep the momentum going, while Chevannah again had a strong game, finishing baskets when needed.
"The Chinese bigs had no answer to Kalani's hustle and rebounding strength, while some strong drives ensured she kept our score ticking over too," said Walker.
They’re now set to play Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals at 5:45pm NZT on Tuesday.
The New Zealand men’s team will tip-off at 10:35pm tonight against Australia. Their second game is a few hours later at 12:35am against Kazakhstan.
They need a top-two finish in pool play to advance to the quarterfinals.
FIBA are live streaming all of the 3x3 Asia Cup games on their Youtube channel, and you can also watch live on the Basketball New Zealand Facebook page.
· See FIBA’s tournament website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/3x3asiacup/2018
· More basketball news at www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.