The Aon New Zealand Women’s Under 17 team has been named ahead of the FIBA Under 17 World Cup being held in Belarus at the end of next month.
New Zealand finished fourth at the FIBA Asian Championship in India last October to clinch a spot at the World Cup. The tournament will be a historic occasion as it is the first FIBA age-group World Cup ever attended by a New Zealand Women’s team.
That fact is not lost on Tall Fern Charlisse-Leger-Walker, the most experienced member of the team.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity especially as no other New Zealand women’s age-group team has been to the World’s before. It will be fun,” she said.
Head Coach Lori McDaniel is delighted to have finalised the team ahead of the championships, but admitted the selection process had not been easy.
“One of the things I like most about this team is how difficult selection was. We have a pool of players to choose from that are growing in depth and skill. Those selected have been driven hard by those that were not picked and that level of competition for selection will only become harder as we have more young women committing to the sport of basketball.
“The team that has been selected is made of a group of young women who have embraced our values and philosophies, and are adjusting well to the New Zealand style of play. I really like the depth of skill, fitness and length this group has to offer. They also have the ability to adapt quickly and be change resilient. The coaching staff and myself are looking forward to seeing this group on the world stage as we introduce Europe, the Americas, and Africa to our up and coming basketball talent,” said McDaniel.
The team will play a couple of practice games in Minsk ahead of the tournament and Coach McDaniel says the players will have some homework to undertake before departure.
“Building upon our camps this year that covered our style of play and expectations, all the players will have shooting programmes to follow and standards of fitness to achieve. They will also have some scouting reports to submit on the teams in our pool that played in the European and American qualifiers to help get them up to speed on the style of play of the opposition.
“Upon arrival in Belarus, we are fortunate to have two warm up games scheduled against teams not in our pool along with some on court practice sessions, and film work.”
“Attending the World Cup is a great opportunity for both our players and our coaches. We are expecting to be challenged as a coaching staff to adapt to a variety of styles of play in a short period of time. I also expect to see growth in our players as they learn and develop game to game against the best competition the world has to offer,” added McDaniel.
The tournament will open on 21 July with New Zealand scheduled to play Spain in Minsk on that day.
New Zealand are drawn in Group C and will also play Americas bronze medalists Argentina and European Championship runners-up Hungary in pool play.
European Champions France is in Group A with Colombia, Japan and hosts Belarus.
Three-time champions USA headline Group B alongside China, Mali and Italy.
Group D contains reigning champions Australia plus Canada, Angola and Latvia.
Aon New Zealand U17 Team:
• Ella Bradley (Waikato Basketball Association/Waikato Wizards)
• Isabelle Cook (Taranaki Basketball Association/Taranaki Thunder)
• Tayla Dalton (North Harbour Basketball/Harbour Breeze)
• Madison Hema (New Zealand)
• Jazzmyne Kailahi-Fulu (North Harbour Basketball/Harbour Breeze)
• Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Basketball Association/Waikato Wizards)
• Tara Manumaleuga (New Zealand)
• Helen Matthews (North Canterbury Basketball)
• Kyra Paniora (New Zealand)
• Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Counties Manukau Basketball/Auckland Dream)
• Shauna Povey (Waitakere West Basketball Inc /Auckland Dream)
• Emilee Tahata (New Zealand)
• Head Coach – Lori McDaniel
• Assistant Coach – Aik Ho
• Assistant Coach – Tania Hunter
• Manager – Ushma Cromarty.
U17 World Cup information including the fixture schedules can be found here: http://www.fiba.basketball/world/u17women/2018.
Live-streaming will be available on this link during the tournament.
For more information go to www.NZ.basketball and the @BasketballNZ social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram