In something of an upset result Otago Gold Rush travelled north and put paid to the only undefeated record in the 2018 Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) defeating Waikato Wizards 72-55.
There were also wins in the round for Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons, Auckland Dream and Harbour Breeze.
The standout performance for the Gold Rush came from Dayna Turnbull with a team high 16 points. After an injury ruined 2017 Turnbull has made a welcome return to the Otago ranks and shot a highly efficient 6 from 9 from the floor, including 3 from 4 from beyond the three-point arc, as the Gold Rush recorded their third win of the campaign.
Otago were also well served by Natalie Visger and Dana Goularte who both scored a dozen points and in addition secured 8 rebounds apiece.
Charlisse Leger-Walker and Ella Bradley, both FIBA U17 World Cup bound next month, each scored 19 points for Waikato but there were only minor contributions from the supporting cast.
Despite that Waikato only trailed by 8 points (59-51) with 3:30 to play but were outscored 13-2 down the stretch with Turnbull making six of the points.
Otago won every quarter, building on a 36-27 half-time advantage and a 51-40 three-quarter time lead to snap the Waikato winning streak at five.
Waikato Wizards 55 – C Leger-Walker 19, E Bradley 19, K Ballantyne 6, A Hirawani 6
Otago Gold Rush 72 – D Turnbull 16, N Visger 12, D Goularte 12, D Frost 6, N Smith 6, Z Richards 6
Tauranga City Coasters looked handily placed for their first win of the season when they led visitors Auckland Dream 35-33 at half-time.
Their chances were still looking bright early in the fourth quarter when Maka Daysh (19 points) tied the scores at 54 points each with eight minutes to play.
Auckland had other ideas as a pair of Idaho Purcell threes and another trey from Lu Murphy (22 points) pushed Auckland out to a 70-58 advantage with five minutes to play.
Kaatia Watene and Daysh led the Coasters comeback and when Briarley Rogers scored with 23 seconds left the difference was just two points (72-70). However Purcell, who scored 12 of her 19 points in the fourth period, made a crucial score to secure the win and give Auckland a share of second place on the WBC ladder.
Dream forward Paddy Pupuke-Robati had her most productive game of the season scoring 11 points and adding 8 rebounds.
Tauranga City Coasters 70 – M Daysh 19, K Morrell 12, B Rogers 11, C Wilson 10
Auckland Dream 74 – L Murphy 22, I Purcell 19, P Pupuke 11, J Nicholson 9
Sharing second spot with Auckland Dream on the WBC ladder are Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons who came from behind to defeat Harbour Breeze 82-72 in Te Awamutu.
The Cannons were indebted to guard Bailey Ross-Waitai who scored a game high 29 points (5/11 3PG) ably assisted by double-digit contributions from Arielle Parai and 2017 WBC All-Star Five member Donna Fermanis.
Tayla Dalton (18 points) put Harbour ahead 61-58 with the first score of the final period only for the Cannons to reel off a 13-2 run over the next five minutes – threes from Ross-Waitai and Arielle Parai particularly damaging for the visitors.
Brooke Blair broke the Cannons run and Katie Diakhaby dragged the Breeze to within five points (72-67) with four minutes to play but that was as close as it got for the visitors.
Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons 82 – B Ross-Waitai 29 A Parai 16, D Fermanis 15, K Parai 8
Harbour Breeze 72 – T Dalton 18, B Blair 16, A Lacey 9, P Davidson 7
The Breeze split their road trip with a 90-69 win at Taranaki Thunder. The win was built around a dominating second period in which Harbour outscored their hosts 30-9 to carry a 53-32 lead into the half-time break.
During that quarter Brooke Blair made four triples (finishing the game with 6 from 10 attempts) and Tayla Dalton added two (4 from 6 in the game) to take the game away from Taranaki.
Vanessa Weir and Isabelle Cook reduced the deficit in the early stages of the third but Penina Davidson, recently returned from her four year stint at University of California Berkeley, scored ten of her 34 points (12/17FG) in the period to maintain a 19 points Breeze advantage (71-52) at three-quarter time.
Lyndi Laborn (16 points and 12 rebounds) had a strong game for Taranaki whilst Jazz Kailahi-Fulu also came close to a double-double for the Breeze finishing with 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Taranaki Thunder 69 – L Laborn 16, V Weir 12, I Cook 8, C O’Connell 7
Harbour Breeze 90 – P Davidson 34, T Dalton 21, B Blair 18, J Kailahi-Fulu 9
5-1 Waikato Wizards
4-2 Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons, Auckland Dream
3-2 Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats, Otago Gold Rush
2-4 Harbour Breeze
1-3 Taranaki Thunder
0-6 Tauranga City Coasters
Game Box Scores