In a spirited display the Aon New Zealand U17 team went down 60-43 to China in the bronze medal game at the FIBA Asian Championship in Bangalore overnight.
New Zealand trailed by just 11 points (52-41) with 4:30 to play after back-to-back threes from Briarley Rogers (New Zealand’s leading scorer on the night with 12 points) and Jordyn Maddix but couldn’t close the gap any further against the four times Asian Champions.
Earlier Sharne Pupuke-Robati and Charlisse Leger-Walker made the opening baskets for New Zealand in a fairly even first quarter that ended with China ahead 18-13. Maddix, appearing to have recovered from a facial injury incurred in the semi-final against Japan, made the last two baskets of the period for the Kiwis.
China began the second quarter with a 6-0 run before Rogers opened her account with a long three. However it was a disappointing period for the Ferns outscored 21-7 in the stanza to trail 37-20 at the interval. Leger-Walker led the New Zealand scoring effort in the first half with 7 points.
Not much was going right for the Kiwis at the offensive end early in the second half although livewire guard Kyra Paniora did trouble the Chinese defense with a couple of penetrative moves.
Pupuke-Robati scored with a spinning inside move and Rogers added points from the foul line but NZ still trailed 45-27 with 3:30 left in the third quarter.
Pupuke-Robati and Rogers provided another one-two punch as New Zealand enjoyed a good spell before entering the final break trailing 47-33.
The Kiwi effort to claim a bronze medal looked to have fizzled out in the early stages of the fourth quarter– despite an excellent defensive effort they just couldn’t buy a basket going scoreless for almost five minutes.
However, courtesy of Tessa Talo-Tomokino, Maddix and Rogers they produced a rousing finish but unfortunately not one that could produce a victory.
New Zealand didn’t medal at its first Asian Championship appearance but it did achieve its primary objective of qualifying for the 2018 FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup to be played in Belarus next July.
New Zealand Head Coach Lori McDaniel praised her team’s effort.
“Overall the tournament was great for learning for the players and this game showed that the adjustments are being made.
“We now have the exciting prospect of preparing for the World Cup next year. This team have worked hard, made history and should be really, really proud of themselves.”
NZ 43 – Rogers 12, Leger-Walker 9p/9r, Pupuke-Robati 8p/8r, Maddix 7, Paniora 3p/6r, Talo-Tomokino 2, Matthews 1, Bradley 1
China 60 – M Zheng 20, Y Liu 17
The top four teams at the Asian Championship (New Zealand, Australia, Japan and China) have qualified for the 2018 FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup, which is to be played in Minsk, Belarus next July.
New Zealand was drawn in ‘Group A’ alongside Australia (L 61-43), Korea (W 74-44) and Chinese Taipei (W 71-66).
NZ defeated Thailand 80-52 in their quarter-final game and lost to Japan 97-65 in the semi-final.
NZ Under 17 Women’s Team:
• Ella Bradley (Waikato Basketball Council)
• Isabelle Cook (Taranaki Country Basketball Association)
• Tayla Dalton (Harbour Basketball)
• Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Basketball Council)
• Paris Lokotui (Wellington Basketball Association)
• Jordyn Maddix (Harbour Basketball)
• Helen Matthews (North Canterbury Basketball Association)
• Kyra Paniora (Australia)
• Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Auckland Counties Manukau)
• Briarley Rogers (Tauranga City Basketball Association)
• Rosalia Samia (Basketball Hawkes Bay)
• Tessalonia Talo-Tomokino (Harbour Basketball)
• Lori McDaniel – Head Coach
• Jody Cameron – Assistant Coach
• Gina Farmer – Assistant Coach
• Ushma Shah – Manager
• Tegan Tapara – Physiotherapist
• Delwyn Whale – Head of Delegation
For more on the FIBA U16 Women’s Asia Cup, including information about livestreaming, games and times, go to the official FIBA website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/asia/u16women/2017
*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.